There's nothing quite like getting my hands on a fresh retro-style RPG and Sword of Elpisia is a pretty nifty one that's full of cuteness.
Sword of Elpisia stars a fellow named Aldo who is initially cold and determined and soon into his adventure, he meets a little girl named Alice who's alone and simply wants to lead a regular life. As his trade, Aldo is a repairman but he doesn't fix things around the house; instead, he specializes in Magitools such as weapons known as Magiswords that a mysterious entity is transforming people into. You can probably guess where this is going and you'll be right as Alice is transformed into a Magisword that Aldo wields and enhances in the hopes of transforming her into the legendary Sword of Elpisia. Of course, there are folks who want the Magiswords for nefarious reasons so meeting new enemies and allies is interesting stuff, especially when you ally with a warrior named Ariel who's looking for redemption and a carefree drifter named Nate who is trying to resurrect his lover who's now a Magisword. It's an interesting and diverse cast for sure. v1d30chumz 107-21-85-250
Thankfully, the character art is fantastic and you can say the same thing for the sprites which are animated with 8 angles which really brings everyone to life when you're running around. They look great in battle, too, with weapons that reflect what they currently have equipped and animations that make attacking enemies feel satisfying. With all of that being said, most of the dungeons are kind of drab throughout with textures and palettes that get old fast although the battle scenes look much more impressive. The dungeons are fairly straightforward, too, with easily noticeable false walls being the main stand-out element that encourages exploration.
Meanwhile, Sword of Elpisia's battle system is simple and intuitive although there are a few elements that add unexpected enjoyment to combat. For starters, you can unleash various spells that require MP as well as skills that use AP which you can sacrifice a turn to charge. All of that is simple enough but when you throw in summonable pets that are downright adorable as they attack your foes and provide boosts, you're looking at quite a fun-filled formula. At the same time, Alice will sometimes randomly rush in to heal your party or give them buffs which is also cute and her victory animation is the icing on the cake. It all adds up to one enjoyable battle system. 😊
When it comes to setting up your party, Sword of Elpisia keeps things on the simple side as you don't really need to do much except optimize your gear and every once in a while, equip new pets if you want. Optimizing weapons and armour generally involves 2 steps: first, you equip the best gear and second, you combine all unneeded equipment pieces to enhance your weapons and armour which is rather rewarding, especially when you level up a capable sword to +78 or something to give it a substantial boost in attack power.
With that being said, I wish more was involved in setting your party up because I merely felt like I was going through the motions for the most part and not actually strategically thinking about anything. Battles also lack strategy with the only real tactic in place being elemental weaknesses. The only other significant issue that I have with Sword of Elpisia is that I found its quests to be more of a pain to complete than rewarding because often, the requirements are steep and the rewards aren't all that great. There may be the odd one that's worthwhile but I didn't really put much effort in once I was continually disappointed after completing a bunch of them.
Sword of Elpisia provides some good old-school RPG entertainment and its cute pets really liven up its intuitive battle system. Plus, there's a memorable cast of characters and upgrading your gear is always a treat so check it out if you enjoy RPGs from the good old days.
- + Solid and simple battle system with cute pets and fun random boosts
- + Great character sprites and artwork
- + Upgrading gear is rewarding
- - Character customization is lacking
- - Dungeons aren't all that engaging
- - Quests can be kind of a pain to complete