Review impressions: Earthlock: Festival of Magic
In a world full of retro-styled JRPG throwbacks it’s hard for a game to stand out, but Norwegian indie studio Snowcastle Games found a way with Earthlock: Festival of Magic. It’s a game that’s heavily inspired by the RPGs of the ‘90s, but instead of banking everything on nostalgia, there’s a concerted effort to make this game feel fresh and new. It’s less about trying to remind players of the “good old days” with a nudge and a wink, and more about genuinely trying to recreate the sorts of feelings that those games invoked.

To some extent, it’s an approach that’s worked wonders. Right from the outset, I fell in love with the art style – an anime-like cartooniness, complete with bright colours and eccentric character designs, but with its own identity as well. As I walked around the first few zones, the way the camera swept around along a fixed track to always offer the best view, from both a spectacle and functional standpoint, called to mind the genre’s early 3D endeavours. That was certainly a nice hit of nostalgia, but it achieved the more important task of letting Earthlock make a case for itself. “Look at this world I have waiting for you,” the game seemed to say. “You’ve seen a treasure-filled desert temple many times before, but you’ve never seen one quite like this.”

Full review:

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