Old-school RPGs are having quite a renaissance recently so let's play another one that looks promising; it's the intriguing Alphadia Neo.
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Alphadia Neo takes place in the Alphadia universe which revolves around the struggle to control the world's Energi yet it tells a completely different story with a unique cast of characters. This time, you play as Alt who's a pie-eyed hero indebted to Souffle, a kind-hearted princess, for saving his life. You're also joined by an artificial life form who obeys Alt named Enah as well as the cautiously optimistic and laidback Carlo. Throughout the campaign, you'll see how the rulers and citizens of Alphadia, Betadia, and Gammadia struggle as their nations' ambitions create conflict and monsters run rampant which is all rather typical of the genre albeit with the diverse and appealing cast of characters clearly being the stand-out element to the story. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
Although the Alphadia Genesis games featured 3D visuals in its battles, Alphadia Neo is a full-on 2D game and it looks excellent. I especially enjoyed the detailed and animated character sprites in battle which reflect which equipment you have on. The character art is solid, too, and the sprites outside of combat are cute as you run around dungeons and towns.
Meanwhile, the music ranges from orchestral arrangements that set the mood well and rockin' tunes that get you amped up for combat. There may not be any voice acting but the audio still manages to establish the tone wonderfully.
Combat in Alphadia Neo is initiated via random encounters and the battles are incredibly intuitive as you can choose to attack or use magic or skills that can affect multiple foes or allies. Now, there are a good amount of supplementary mechanics but right off the bat, let me just say that most of them feel superfluous due to the overall lack of challenge. In other words, you don't really need to strategize much even though there are plenty of mechanics that allow you to. For example, you can change styles mid-battle even though I rarely did. This actually seems to be the main strategic element to combat which is odd because for the most part, it's unnecessary. One aspect that's cool is the Resonant Skills system which allows allies to team up and perform strong attacks together. 💥
As I mentioned, Alphadia Neo is a mostly unchallenging game and this is primarily due to how easy it is to become overpowered. Quite early on, I managed to get weapons that made me slay enemies in 1 hit and continue to do so for the next dozen or so hours. I wish that equipment had some sort of level threshold to reach before you can equip it to ensure that you don't become overpowered. Similarly, you get way too much money and I ended up with hundreds of thousands of gold with no reason to spend it. One aspect that I appreciate is that you learn magic from rings as it's fun to collect spells. The achievement-like rewards system is a nice touch, too, and it doubles as a tutorial so you can ensure that you're seeing everything Alphadia Neo has to offer.
Lastly, exploration in Alphadia Neo is simple with basic dungeon layouts that have the odd branching path with a treasure chest at the end. This allows the gameplay to be undemanding but it can also be kind of tedious due to the uninteresting and repetitive dungeon layouts. On top of that, the world map can be kind of annoying to navigate with its energy walls that unexpectedly pop up when you're trying to trek to your next destination. Once you get the ship, you can sail around these barriers which is nice. Plus, finding fishing spots is always fun due to the enjoyable fishing mini-game where you have to tap whenever a moving arrow is centered and it moves at varying speeds which is surprisingly tricky and satisfying. You even have your own fishing gear to equip which is a rewarding treat. 🎣
Alphadia Neo is a decent retro-inspired RPG with its main issue being just how profoundly unchallenging it is. With that being said, its many systems actually have a lot of promise so I hope that they're used in a future game with a bit more meat on its bones.
- + Intuitive retro RPG adventure that anyone can easily learn and play
- + Lovely sprites and battle visuals
- + Plenty of promising mechanics
- - Lack of challenge throughout makes for a mostly flat experience
- - Dungeons aren't all that interesting
- - Some systems are superfluous