Earthlock (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Ofisil 18.06.2018

Review for Earthlock on Nintendo Switch

Like all genres, RPGs have their fair share of plain, mediocre titles; ones that will "disappear" in a matter of months. Unlike a mediocre sports or casual puzzle game, however, mediocre RPGs are hard to stomach, because they are usually 30+ hour odysseys. Is the '90s JRPG-inspired Earthlock such a lacklustre experience? Well, while it's far from great, it's definitely not bad, either. Unfortunately, and despite having plenty of good things going for it, it too belongs in that big family of videogames that simply don't have what it takes to leave an impression. Read on to see why, as Cubed3 checks out the Switch version.

The world of Earthlock is your typical, Final Fantasy-like... err, fantasy land, with a variety of races and places - and everything is boring to look at! No, really. The team behind it has produced a vibrantly coloured universe that can certainly be described as pretty but, at the same time, generic and "soulless" to the point of admiration. Imagine those fairytale books rich in hues: the various people, animals, and landscapes are nice to look at, but are just... there. Unfortunately, the immersion-breaking state of the visuals is the least of this game's problems.

Screenshot for Earthlock on Nintendo Switch

The plot starts with a typically simple task, the main function of which is to set the mood and let players get to know the main characters, but, as expected, the adventure will eventually grow into something bigger. Sadly, the transition happens depressingly slowly, and, even when the "real" story kicks in, it will be impossible to care, mostly because of the cast of characters; characters that never go beyond their specific clichés, whether that's a thirsty for adventure young thief, or a newbie soldier/daughter of one of the most powerful men of this realm.

As a result, no one will ever make a connection with you, no matter what happens… which, frankly, is not much. Of course, this being an RPG, the lack of intriguing characters and plot is not just a minor flaw - in fact, for some this will be enough reason to stop playing. What about that actual gameplay, though? Undoubtedly, it starts in quite a promising way, especially when it comes to the variety of it all, as it's possible create weapons and stat upgrades, dig for treasure, do some puzzle-solving in dungeons, or even have a nice little garden that produces helpful crafting resources.

Screenshot for Earthlock on Nintendo Switch

As awesome as all these might sound, in reality, it will soon be obvious that these are just the groundwork for something much better; something better that never comes. Thus, from gardening and crafting, to doing minor "gather X number of Y" side-quests, this game will soon end up feeling like big array of chores, which is the worst thing that can happen to any title, and especially one that belongs in the realm of RPGs; a realm that was never king of gameplay, but it was frequently a force to be reckoned with when it came to storytelling, atmosphere, and immersion.

Screenshot for Earthlock on Nintendo Switch

The biggest disappointment, besides the... passable storyline and characters, is surely the battle system, because, while it starts off pretty good, and feels like it could even make haters of turn-based RPGs change their minds, it does not improve. For starters, not only are there no random encounters, but, upon seeing a group of enemies in the distance, it's up to you to decide how many you will 'engage,' with bigger groups applying a multiplier in the XP gain. Once more, however, Earthlock never goes the distance with that mechanic, not to mention that the rewards aren't really that fascinating.

Once on the actual battlefield, though, it won't take long to see the main problem at hand, which is the lack of a tactical depth - which is a shame, as the battle system's foundations were built with strategy in mind, with each of the characters having a unique set of abilities that go beyond 'attack,' 'defend,' and so on. Sadly, in practice these never really find a way to shine, as all abilities are terribly unbalanced, with some being "must-haves," while others could easily not exist at all and it wouldn't matter. In conclusion, want a great JRPG? Just play Final Fantasy VII instead.

Screenshot for Earthlock on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Those looking for a turned-based RPG, inspired by the golden oldies, are advised to look exactly where Earthlock took its inspiration from, as it's not very good at what it does. Some neat ideas have been included, but these can't make amends for a lack of an engaging plot, or fun battles.

Developer

Snowcastle

Publisher

Snowcastle

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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