SAKeRETSU (PC) Review

By Athanasios 28.06.2017

Review for SAKeRETSU on PC

SAKeRETSU is a tiny indie game whose unique gimmick, or art style, if wanting to be polite, is that it attempts to recreate the feel of a Game Boy JPRG, and, in all honesty, it succeeds in doing so. In fact, it's somewhat strange that it got released on PC, when it would fit much better in the library of any of Nintendo's still active handhelds. Unfortunately, that's the only good thing about this, as the gameplay is RPG at its simplest… and then some.

"An open world, turned-based RPG with a unique single-use item based combat system." Well… no, and no! For starters, the developer probably doesn't know what open world is. Final Fantasy (the very first one) was fairly linear, but it could be called open world - this isn't, though, as there's no way to stray from the one path that is available. This is basically, reach the boss, apply some kill, move on to the next one, rinse, and repeat.

As for the unique single-use item based combat, the hero of this tale has only one move; 'Fight.' No magic, no special skills and abilities, no nothing. Actually, he doesn't even get weapons or pieces of armour - like, never. As such, the only alternative to the 'Fight' command is the ability to use some items that can work to your favour. The first problem is that these aren't something unique - they've been here as long as the genre exists. The second problem, however, is that these rarely work.

Screenshot for SAKeRETSU on PC

There are items that do more damage, that poison or put enemies to sleep, boosts that increase EXP gain, and many, many more. Unfortunately, and apart from the fact that their usage doesn't make things more fun, items tend to work at random, with the vast majority having very low success rates. Furthermore, this is one of those RPGs where the encounter rate is such that each five or so steps equals a fight, therefore, the simple, powerful, and accurate attack tends to be the best choice.

Generally, SAKeRETSU isn't a well-made product. Its Game Boy aesthetic is insanely faithful, the music is quite good, it has a weird, grim atmosphere that feels as if Dark Souls has clashed with the Pokémon franchise, and the monster design is great and unique… but the underlying mechanics are broken beyond belief, with one in particular being the best example of that.

Screenshot for SAKeRETSU on PC

There's simply no way to heal but the 'Rest' move. This is a "spell" that may or may not recover some of your health… the trouble is that the scales tip heavily towards the 'may not' part, and since one can only heal during a battle, it's actually a skill that puts you to risk. Is it possible to raise the stakes? Theoretically, yes. Upon levelling up, the player can allocate three points into a couple of stats, with some of them supposedly improving the Rest mechanic - but they don't.

One can spend an eternity grinding, upgrade all stats to sky-high levels, and still being unable to pull off a successful Rest in a series of 10 freaking tries! …and this is all there is to do in SAKeRETSU; grind, grind, grind, and then grind some more, in order to reach the boss of each area, defeat him, and open the path to next one, where more grinding will ensue. No strategy, no technique, no skill required, just grind, and hope that your HP pool will endure the trip to the head honcho.

Screenshot for SAKeRETSU on PC

The final way this disappoints is the story department. In terms of length, this requires an average of two hours to complete, so, yeah, an epic plot this does not have, but that's not a problem as short tales can be entertaining to if done right, and this starts in a pretty interesting way. The main character is either an undead, or someone who got lost in a limbo-like state of being, and must now find out what this place is and why he/she turned out there.

Unfortunately, apart from the need to reach the end and find the answers, there's nothing in between. Reaching a boss and defeating it will lead to a "dialogue" that will basically point you to the next direction, but only the finale will explain things… and disappoint, to be honest, as it's not something worth the two-hour grind that must be done before reaching it.

Screenshot for SAKeRETSU on PC

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

For an RPG that's so damn short, SAKeRETSU turns out to be one the worst of its kind, with battles that are very repetitive and simplistic, and mechanics that simply refuse to work. As for the Game Boy art style, it's definitely nice and all, but style is no substitute for substance.

Developer

Klassen Games

Publisher

Klassen Games

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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