Antiquia Lost is the latest RPG published on the Switch’s eShop. Using a traditional 2D style, the only question remaining would be if this game is closer to the old-school JRPGs from the SNES era or if it’s more like bad and uninspired JRPG imitation.
The story of Antiquia Lost is actually really simple and undeveloped for what you would expect from an RPG. The main character is Bine, who is your usual friendly guy whose role in his town is to protect it. Soon after starting the game, you’ll be asked to visit a forest nearby where you’ll meet the other important character in your party, Lunaria. The funny part is that everything of this is actually irrelevant to the main story which will is about the sudden disappearance of certain important characters around the kingdoms. Your character doesn’t even know anything about this until you’re further into the game.
Besides these issues, there’s also the fact that characters don’t develop much through the game. Every part of the story feels rushed in some way and you’ll be constantly wishing there were more scenes to see their personality better. Overall, the whole story aspect of the game feels undeveloped which isn’t something good in an RPG.
So you may think that, maybe the gameplay area isn’t really that bad. Unfortunately, that’s another part where you can see the game was rushed to see release. The game has a basic RPG turn-based battle system in which you choose whether to attack, choose a skill, defend, use an item, or flee. Besides this, you also have the ability to see the future battle order in a small timeline at the bottom of the screen. Sadly, this feature does not work the way it should when you do attacks that change the speed of your character since you’ll never actually see the results of your choice until you’ve actually wasted your turn. Besides the issues in the basic battle gameplay, the game also has the problem that it’s really unbalanced. Since the game has a gacha feature where you can easily obtain powerful weapon, you’ll easily become really overpowered during your first minutes into the game. Every normal enemy you encounter will be defeated in one hit and bosses won’t feel challenging at all. In fact, battling with bosses feels broken since it ends up becoming a test to see who is the most overpowered. The whole mobile aspect of the game really breaks it.
Outside of battle, the game works mostly like any other 2D RPG. You move your character with your left stick or directional buttons and press A to interact with things. Controlling your character with the left joy-con feels a bit off so using the directional buttons is more recommended. Oddly, the game can’t be played using a single joy-con when you consider that the game barely uses any buttons. Also, even though the game is designed with touch-screen in mind, it doesn’t support touch controls at all.
Each character also has their own field ability, such as being able to break rocks. This feature, though, is mostly used to get secret and powerful items and are quite irrelevant to the game’s main plot. These abilities can also be upgraded by becoming friendlier with your party characters which can be done at certain points of the game through a small multiple choice conversation or by using the right item on them. Also, a minor bother is the fact that you need to change your party’s front character depending on the ability that you want to use.
Part of what’s unique about the game is that Lunaria, unlike the rest of your party, does not level up or use the level system at all. Instead, her stats depend mostly on what you feed her or items you use on her. This, again, causes issues with the balance of the game as she can easily also become really overpowered.
The game also includes a garden feature which also breaks the game’s balance even more. This feature is located right into your pause menu so you can access it at any time you want. You’ll find seeds through the game which you can use to boost a character’s stats or plant them and get several fruits which do an even better effect. The waiting time for a seed to become fruits is just a few minutes so you’ll easily end up with tons of fruits after your first hour of gameplay. Also, worth pointing out that if you leave you suspend your Switch while running the game, the game’s timer still works so you’ll be able to harvest your fruit as soon as you resume your game if enough time has passed already, which will very likely be all the times.
Antiquia Lost is also structured in a way that doesn’t really help it. The game’s plot is divided in several short missions which really make you feel like if you’re doing side-quests instead of progressing in the game’s main story. It’s something that constantly breaks the flow of the game and feels like the developers just wanted to make a game without a real plot. Like if it was a free online game that constantly needs to “reward” you for doing nothing, just so you feel like you’re doing something.
While the game does have decent music, it’s just around five tracks that you’ll be constantly hearing over and over again. The whole music side of the game feels really repetitive and overall boring. There’s really no variety to it. The music itself does do it’s job but it’s not really great or amazing. During my time playing the game, I only noticed one area which had a good music track. Besides that, the soundtrack is just poor and decent.
On the side of sound effects, all of them are nothing special and really generic. There’s no direction to them at all and nothing really feels unique to the game. There’s also one sound effect that is unusually long and you’ll constantly just prefer to skip it.
The graphics in Antiquia Lost are decent but could be a lot better with animations. The 2D sprites look nice overall and really detailed but they barely do anything besides their walking animation. It looks quite bad when they try to portray things like falling in pits or simply characters falling on the ground as it’s just the regular walking sprite rotated to its side. One issue is that the whole art design of the game feels disconnected. You can notice a big mismatch with the art style of the user interface when compared to the backgrounds. The sprites in battle also look quite off when placed against backgrounds and the HD art of the characters feels really contrasting with the rest of the game’s art.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Antiquia Lost was provided by KEMCO for this Antiquia Lost review.