An Old School Fantasy
It would seem that at least half of all indie games that come out into the market are modeled after titles from the 8bit and 16bit eras. And while plenty of hits have come out of this trend, such as Shovel Knight and Gunman Clive, there have also been plenty of duds. This is particularly true for the RPG genre. Having grown in depth and complexity over the years, the old-school gameplay mechanics that many indie RPGs strive to emulate often feel dated. So, is this the case with this Dragon Fantasy?
Volumes of Westeria starts out with a fairly simplistic premise: the Queen holds a ceremony to pass on the throne to her son, he gets kidnapped by the Black Knight and you have to go save him. Progressing trough the story is done by traversing the land and fighting monsters in random encounters, buying equipment, going into dungeons, etc. Battles are reminiscent of early Dragon Quest games, with some basic skills and magic available to use. There’s also the option to catch certain monsters and add them to your cause, which adds some welcome variety. You can do all this with either the face buttons or the touch screen, an interesting option to say the least.
While there’s not a lot of innovation or novelty in the gameplay itself, Dragon Fantasy manages to carve its own identity thanks to its unique charm. Enemy encounters come packed with Earthbound esque silly dialogue and attack names. All of the sprites are carefully detailed in both 8bit and 16bit styles, with the option to switch between the two looks. The music is also catchy and fitting of each location. Additionally, once you’ve beaten the frankly short story, it’s possible to play it again from other character’s viewpoints.
Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria is a simple, fun and quirky adventure. Its short length could be a considered a fault, but it’s just the thing keeping the game from becoming repetitive. Don’t come to this one looking for a very in-depth experience, but rather, a brief love letter to old-school RPGs.