Imagine living in a world where humans are being suppressed by some sort of superior beings. Twice as tall as any basketballers and twice as big as Mr. Universe. Not only that, they use an entirely new and powerful energy, unknown to our race, which they have managed to store deep in the middle of the sphere! But humans will always be humans, and start an uprising against the oppressing race. As the conflict turns in favour of the homo sapiens, nobody thought about how to control this energy. And yes, the energy implodes and initiates multiple cataclysms, totally transforming the layout of the planet, creating strange vegetation and strange talking animals. Imagine no longer . . . you’re about to enter EARTHLOCK!
EARTHLOCK is an RPG with turn-based combat system developed and published by Snowcastles Games and is available on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and on the Steam platform.
As you start the game, you’ll take control of Ive Lavender, a cadet of the House of The Great Wave and the daughter of their leader, The General Lavender. This first act, if I may refer to it that way, is a nicely designed tutorial on how to play during the turn-based combat phases. Then, Ive will disobey her father’s orders and take part in a scouting mission, and you won’t be able to select this character until a quarter of the way through the game, when she will reappear.
The main character you’ll be playing from here on is Amon, who is a scavenger, and with the help of his uncle and half men-half shark, will attempt to retrieve an artefact from the Zabirum Temple in the burning desert of Umbra. As I am writing this review, and after playing a solid 8 hours, I am around the 40% mark of the game and I must say, it is extremely entertaining; I will leave you to discover the rest of the story from here.
As with most games of this genre, you’ll meet characters in different locations who will give you quests (main or side quests) for you to complete, with a view to receiving a substantial number of experience points, thereby levelling up your characters quicker. However, you can explore part of the Umbra world as you wish, and will encounter all sorts of enemies to tackle in battle. If you face one creature per fight and win, you’ll be given standard experience points. But if you face 4 foe per fight, the experience points will be multiplied by 4 if you win, for example. You might also collect coins or objects as a reward. These objects can be sold at stores or utilised to craft new goodies on the Plumpet Island, home of the Frogboy character (I can’t believe I have my own Island in a magical world)! By the way, you can travel back to this Island anytime you like, as long as you find one of these majestic frog statues somewhere within each of the locations; you will be able to save your progress by clicking on them as well. You can swap from one character to another at any given time. In fact, you’ll be promptied to do so, due to the fact that one character can harvest plants while another has the ability to dig out treasure, for example. It’s very cool! Oh, I nearly forgot . . . there are chests around each of the levels; make sure you reach them, as there are plenty of goodies inside.
Each time your characters level-up, they will be given one talent point. Every single character has a talent tablet which is a 5 X 6 square. Each character profile will be locked on the third square of the first row. Within these tablets, you’ll have a square with a yellow hexagon, and an image printed in the middle. They are your next character abilities, and they are usually not connected to your character profile. What you need to do is to connect your character profile (image) to these squares with talent points you earn by levelling up to access these specific abilities. As you place your talent square on the tablet, you’ll be given the opportunity to associate and upgrade further skills for your characters, such as magic, armour, combat and other interesting ones which I will let you discover.
You’ll also receive extra talent points when the bond between two character grows within the combat phases. You’ll see stars appearing within the character interface.
Each of the locations will end with a boss fight, and let me tell you, it will not be easy at all. There is a trading post north of Zaber where you can redo some side quests and accumulate experience points quickly. You’ll need it. I just managed to destroy the boss of the burning desert, but then one kicked my butt rather quickly -I thought I was fighting super woman!
Graphically the game is very polished, and the soundtrack includes over 30 tracks. You’ll be able to play the game either with your keyboard or gamepad. I find myself travelling back to my island because I like it, but to craft items over and over again. Apart from that, the game is a little jewel!
Positives+ Great cartoonist graphics
+ Stacks of enemies
+ Entertaining story
+ Fun and challenging combat phases, especially with the bosses
+ Over 30 soundtracks
+ Achievements and trading cards
+ I have my own Island - go the Frogboy!
Negatives- I find myself going back and forth to my Island crafting items a bit too often.
What an excellent RPG; EARTHLOCK is well polished and thoroughly entertaining. I invite you to discover the world of Umbra!
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Zeepond Rating: 8/10
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