REVIEW – Earthlock

Everyone once in a while, there is an RPG that draws me in just like the original Final Fantasy, Zelda, and Mana games. While I was not expecting it, Earthlock has become one of my favorite adventures in recent years. 

(Before we get into the review, yes, this is the updated version of Earthlocak: Festival of Magic, which originally launched back in 2017 for various consoles and PC.)

From the opening story, told through animated 2D artwork, you realize the land of Umbra needs your help. You start off as a girl named Ive, who seems to always be sneaking around but must to complete her final exam at the academy to graduate. Her short opening storyline will help you learn the basic controls, but it also left me confused as I was only with her for about 10 or 15 minutes before moving on to the next character.

The graphical stylings and orchestrated music immediately drew me into the world, but it doesn’t stop there. The turn-based battle mechanics work to give a familiar feeling, but because they did not feel old. Not only were they fast-paced, you have different stances to choose from, which each has its own set up combat abilities. For example, the scout stance gives you melee abilities, while the slinger stance provides a list of range attacks. Characters can also bond through battles to activate their Super Stances. Mastering each character’s stances, as well as their Super Stances, gave a fresh take to battling. 

After you complete the prologue, you begin playing as a scavenger named Amon Barros, who has discovered an artifact. You eventually find out his sick uncle needs rescuing from an ancient cult. As you continue to progress, you gain additional party members. Some join your party, but you also bounce around to different storylines, which all play a part in the overall adventure. In all, you will be able to choose between six playable characters, each with their own talents and abilities. One of my favorites is a hogbunny named Gnart Tigermoth, who has mage and focus stances. 

Like many RPGs, you can level up your characters, add additional moves, and gain more abilities as you progress. The Talent Table allowed for easy navigation in leveling up each character. While many games make this complicated, I did not find Earthlock too confusing. In fact, I was very surprised by that. 

I was also surprised by the difficulty of this game. Not only did the battles ramp up quickly, I also realized traversing the world of Umbra required some stealth and strategy. While the story was mostly linear, there were areas that gave me more control over where to go next. And I had to avoid enemies and find helpful items along the way. 

I had so much fun with this game. And when it is all said and done, isn’t that what playing games is all about? If you are looking for a challenging and vibrant RPG, look no further than Earthlock

GAME: Earthlock
PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch

DEVELOPER: Snowcastle Games
PUBLISHER: Snowcastle Games
ESRB: E for Everyone 10+ (Fantasy Violence)
MSRP: $29.90 US
OBTAINED: Code provided by developer/publisher for press purposes