A charming new RPG comes to Nintendo 3DS
Are you looking for a charming, easy-going new RPG for your kids? Grezzo’s latest adventure for 3DS, Ever Oasis, is the perfect game to occupy them during long trips and at home. With help from the water spirit Esna, as a young seedling you’ll develop a lush oasis in the hot desert. Your goal is to offer refuge to local travelers, and create a peaceful respite from the dangers of the Chaos.
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Your Oasis, a safe haven from Chaos
In Ever Oasis, seedlings are special beings who possess a small seed stuck in the heart. Once nourished, they create bloom booths (shops, essentially) that bolster the overall health of your Oasis. There are also special seedlings, which are descendants of the Great Tree, who rule over individual Oases. You play as one such special seedling named Tethu (boy) or Tethi (girl).
Following the destruction of your brother’s Oasis at the hands of Chaos, you head out to establish your own settlement. Once created, your Oasis grows by allowing regional visitors to come settle there. Seedlings will come from far and wide to open shop, with the economy serving to strengthen your Oasis. While life is peaceful for a short while, soon enough the destructive Chaos reappears. As the ruler of the Oasis, it’s your job to defend your lands against the scourge, while searching for its source and eradicating it once and for all.
Ever Oasis offers an adventure where missions send you out to explore the desert, caves, and surrounding villages. Quests are activated by speaking with townsfolk who have seen lost people, and you’re given hints where to find them. Next, you’ll choose two allies before heading out, each one possessing different weapons and abilities useful in battles and dungeons. These weapons vary from shovels, to pickaxes, to magical wands, and each one is valuable in certain situations. For example, rare crystals can be mined using the pickaxe, and shovels are great for digging up buried treasure. It’s important, then, to choose your teammates wisely.
To guide you along on the mission, a mini-map will show your current objective at all times. This is pretty useful and means it’s practically impossible to get lost. You’ll begin by searching land around your Oasis, and soon your world will expand as you search on foot. Later, you’ll unlock helpful portals that will instantly teleport you around the world. You’ll also be able to create portals at any time to warp back to your Oasis, which is very handy. Portals also act as a save point during dungeons, allowing you to return home to rejuvenate and resupply. Needless to say, this game is very user-friendly.
There’s a lot of combat, too
As the special seedling of the Great Tree lineage, you have the power of launching mini whirlwinds. These are used to sweep away sand mounds and destroy Chaos plants that creep into your Oasis. Your whirlwind is also effective against sand monsters you’ll encounter in the game’s many dungeons. Although enemies are generally easy to beat, there’s a nice variety to fight and each have their own attack patterns. There’s also an in-game clock, and you’ll face different enemies at night than during the day. All combat is real-time using sword swings, dodge rolls, and special attacks.
The caves you explore are vast and contain plenty of treasure―both easy to find and many that are hidden. To find them, you’ll need to solve puzzles, often times utilize your character’s special skills. You might, for example, need to use a spear to pull down levers, or use your whirlwind to activate switches. I really enjoyed these mechanics, and the puzzles do regularly make you think.
There will be a few times when you reach puzzles that simply cannot be solved with the characters you have, requiring you to return to your Oasis to swap out party members. Luckily, you have access to an Aqua Portal, which makes it possible to return home any time in an instant. It’s still a bit redundant having to go back and forth, but at least the portal saves significant time.
A joyious game with great 3D effects
While during dungeons you can control any of your three party members, at home you only control your leader. Your primary goal is to promote your citizens’ happiness, including making sure your shops are well supplied to sell merchandise. Sometimes this requires you search for missing ingredients, or assign tasks to teammates who will then go on a mission. The more your Oasis grows, the more facilities you’ll get to manage your burgeoning community.
All these activities look magnificent due to Ever Oasis‘ excellent use of 3D depth. It feels like a living, breathing world, and you can soak it all in using the game’s first-person view. Sometime you’ll need to, as well, when you’re solving puzzles or searching for a tunnel entrance. Overall, the production values are quite good, especially the buoyant music which really suits the theme.
The producer of Ever Oasis, Koichi Ishii, has created another amazing role-playing game adventure. He’s well-known for having worked on the Mana series (Secret of Mana, Legend of Mana) and influences really show. More recently, he worked on Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and Ever Oasis has elements of that game as well. I especially enjoyed the exploration elements of this game, and solving the puzzles contained therein. While it’s a fairly easy game for experience players, it’s introduces the genre to newcomers in delightful ways. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and think it’s perfect for the summer season.
+ Caves are really fun to explore
+ Charming graphics and music
+ Fun to build your Oasis community
+ Nice introduction to RPGs
+ Pick-up-and-play controls
– Low challenge for experienced gamers
– Too much portal hopping
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.9/5 (78%)