Chronus Arc (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 25.01.2019

Review for Chronus Arc on Nintendo Switch

Kemco RPGs have become a breed of their own. Anyone who has come in contact with the term is likely to have a few words that come to mind, though not necessarily with good reason: mediocre and generic. Some of those terms are indeed not always fair for those titles. Admittedly some elements may be rehashed time and time again earning them the term 'generic.' However, for one thing Kemco is never the company making those games, but just the publisher while other developers such as Exe-Create are behind those creations. They are therefore not really "Kemco" RPGs. Additionally, they often bundle some qualities that are easily overlooked, and which some bigger RPGs could take a leaf or two out of, as was pointed out in Fernz Gate's review back in late 2018. Chronus Arc however is not the creation of Exe-Create, like the majority of them, but rather the work of a different studio called Hit-Point Co. Ltd. It is also not an entirely fresh creation from 2019, but rather a port of a much older title released for iOS and Android all the way back in 2013. It shall be seen then, whether or not is should quickly be dismissed or given some deserved attention.

Periodically, the world goes through a ritual called 'Time Rewind' where the power of the Chronus Fragments is used to revert back the state of things to how it was several years prior. Broken things get mended and people come back from death. So it has been for a very long time. Loka and his master Teth go to the Chronus Shrine to get the Chronus Fragment for the upcoming Time Rewind ceremony, when a man with a Mohawk raids the shrine. Loka is sent by his master to go get help from Kiribay's Castle, but when he returns there with his childhood friend, the princess Sarna, his master is nowhere to be found and the Chronus Fragment is gone. The search for the man with a Mohawk then begins, as the two, soon to be joined by an idol Magical Girl who travels the world to delight the crowds with her music, attempt to both locate Master Teth, and retrieve Kiribay's own Chronus Fragment.

This is the basis for the plot of Chronus Arc, which sadly lacks some of the snappy and funny dialogue seen in other games of the same type, which made titles already reviewed like Asdivine Cross more fun to play than this one. It is not badly written by any means, but lacks some more originality. Like others of its kind on the Switch eShop, this one feels like a light RPG that won't last much more than 20 hours or so. It does feel quite grindy, however, as potential buyers will find themselves collecting materials from shiny collection points in the field... or killing enemies for random drops more than they will actually experience the clichéd and generic, though not entirely uninteresting, story.

Screenshot for Chronus Arc on Nintendo Switch

Indeed, levelling up does not seem to do much to improve the party's battle aptitudes. Forging and upgrading equipment however does seem to bring the necessary boost required to get through some of the dungeons that seem to spike in difficulty periodically at the beginning of each new area visited. New equipment forgeable or upgradeable only unlocks at the smithy's after talking to a man named Kurius who always seem to pop up in every new area or dungeon visited. It is one of the rare NPCs that do seem to have some back-story to him that only unfolds slowly over the course of the entire adventure. Moreover, characters can also equip "techniques" that affect how their magic acts in battle, such as reducing MP consumption or making a single-target spell become multi-target at reduced efficiency per target. This does add some depth, but not much.

Besides exploring dungeons and grinding, Loka and the gang will also be tackling optional quests handed out at Guild houses but those disappoint by their nature. They come in three styles: more material collecting, more specific monster hunting, or more uniquely killing a unique mini-boss that only pars after the quest description has been read. This comes across as a disappointment indeed for how boring it feels, and really these do nothing to further the plot or make the game world come to life as an intricate virtual society - it just feels like filler content that's there to keep the player occupied and does not feel fun, but more like work.

Screenshot for Chronus Arc on Nintendo Switch

Some of these quests rarely reward the player with materials that are otherwise a bit rarer to come across at that point in the journey, giving a semblance of usefulness but typically, trying to obtain those directly rather than going through the quest itself may well be more efficient use of one's time. On the visual side of things, while other so-called "Kemco RPGs" tend to have fairly generic looking tile-sets for the backgrounds and generic looking sprites for characters that look very stiffly animated... Chronus Arc surprises with nice looking sprites that bear more than a passing resemblance to the style seen in the Seiken Densetsu series. The tile-sets, however, are just as generic as in the rest of those games, sadly. Not ugly at all of course, but just uninspired and, as always, the scaling of those low-resolution graphics does not match the resolutions of both docked mode or handheld mode, resulting in shimmering artefacts as the game scrolls.

Just like in Fernz Gate. Those are less noticeable in 1080p while docked, but are much harder to not notice is handheld mode where the display is in 720p. This one has sprite design going in its favour then. Sadly however, not much else is "better" in this one compared to other Kemco RPGs. In fact, others already reviewed on Cubed3 tend to have better things going for them. For example, Chronus Arc does not include a good map system when inside dungeons, or a comprehensive list of everything that remains to be collected, like the amount of chests left unopened, and so on, which were high points of other titles, or a bar displaying the order of enemy and ally unit actions in battle.

Screenshot for Chronus Arc on Nintendo Switch

A lot of the small perks that were redeeming factors to the generic nature of other Kemco RPGs will not be found here, or not quite as developed at any rate. This may be, simply, because this is a game developed originally in 2012 and the Kemco RPG breed was not quite yet at the status of refinement, if one can call it that, that it is in right now. As a result, Chronus Arc which was already a generic looking title to begin with, going into it now in 2019, suffers the double comparison to the more ambitious indie projects of the same kind, made in this day and age for Nintendo Switch, but even from comparison with other Kemco RPGs.

There are hints of some of the refinements to come in the form of a mana point system in which numbers of enemy defeated, acting as a currency, can be traded for mana points which acts as an in-between currency used to obtain rare permanent stat boosting items or rare pieces of equipment, like the fury ring which doubles the experience gained by its wearer, or another ring that doubles the amount of money earned in battle. The better quality of life options however are hidden behind expensive DLC. Such things as auto HP regen or EXP x3 are indeed considered DLC... this does raise an eyebrow indeed - or both, or even a third, if humans had any. Other Kemco RPGs do that too but in this case, where most of the experience is already grindy, this would only take away from the title's longevity and challenge, so it's hard to see them as indispensable purchases. At the end of the day, this one does indeed feel worthy of the "generic" and "mediocre" adjectives and may be part of the reason Kemco RPGs can sometimes be called that undeservedly.

Screenshot for Chronus Arc on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Chronus Arc certainly does not deserve to be seen as bad, for it does not do anything intrinsically wrong... but it does not really do anything to distinguish itself either in a market already over-saturated with other similar titles. This is especially true from the same publisher, who got gamers accustomed to more feature filled attempts at cashing in on the 16-bit nostalgia, even though it often gets mostly undeservedly bashed for it. Chronus Arc is not a bad old-school RPG by any means, but after all the time since its original release, it now suffers from the comparison with other games from even the same developer that are already out on Switch. If craving for more Kemco RPGs after having already finished every other already available on Switch then sure, it isn't bad, but if not, it's totally possible to do better on the same platform.

Developer

Kemco

Publisher

Kemco

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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