Ikenfell is a magical college in its seemingly pure state: peril. Students have gone lacking, unusual timber are cropping up, and different magical anomalies plague the land. As Mariette, the non-magical but nonetheless anxious sister of considered one of Ikenfell’s college students, you embark on a journey by this pixelated 2D RPG journey to save lots of her, the varsity, and perhaps the entire world. Plenty of attention-grabbing concepts in each story and fight make Ikenfell an interesting prospect, however since some show stronger than others in execution, in the end it is a journey with quite a lot of bumps within the street.As the sport begins, Mariette virtually instantly positive factors supernatural pyromantic talents due to unusual magical occurrences. It really feels a bit at odds with the message of not needing to be magical to be heroic, which throws the vibe off kilter proper from the start. The conceit does make sense inside the context of the story, although, and units out one of many first mysteries within the recreation. New types of magic are cropping up, and even some who beforehand had no magical powers all of the sudden discover themselves wielding elemental magic. Mariette can use her new fireplace energy to tackle the assorted magical enemies of Ikenfell in turn-based isometric grid battles, with a little bit of a twist.Ikenfell captured on Nintendo SwitchGallery
Combat is a pretty big a part of the sport and is usually turn-based. Turns are break up between a motion section, the place you place your group on the battlefield, after which an assault section the place you choose from fight choices which have their distinctive ranges and injury, and typically added results. Starting out you’ll have primary assaults which do average injury to a single enemy in entrance of you on the grid. As ranges are gained, social gathering members added, and strikes are unlocked, extra methods and kinds open up.The technique actually will get fairly versatile as no two strikes from any social gathering members are the identical; they every have their very own ability units which go well with their characters. The impulsive electrical wielder can teleport out and in of hazard rapidly, whereas the timid alchemist has restricted vary and does finest at therapeutic or poisons. Even although I finally discovered myself selecting the social gathering of three I most popular, I nonetheless discovered myself utilizing the total choice of their strikes in several battles. This is due to the big variety of enemies which all could be approached in a wide range of methods. I tended to make use of poison and regeneration spells in lengthy fights towards high-HP enemies, for instance, moderately than bombarding them with direct injury. For heavy hitters I’d make be aware of their assault patterns and place my crew accordingly, which might change the possible assaults. The mechanics are easy however current sufficient strategic concerns and alternatives to maintain the method feeling comparatively contemporary over time.The twist to the battles is that, whereas turn-based, they incorporate timed parts. Each assault and even every defensive maneuver could have its personal distinctive animation and timing. Despite being comparatively easy pixel artwork, a few of these are simply attractive and stuffed with persona. Hitting the button in time with the animation and sound will decide how profitable your assaults are. Some could do extra injury, whereas others might have strong timing to inflict standing results. When defending, timing a button press to the block will scale back your injury.In the start, I actually loved this technique. While the early battles had been simple, merely having one thing to offer me a lift made me really feel a way of mastery over the fight. Timing one thing proper simply feels good, virtually such as you’re flicking your wrist within the remaining second of casting a spell or actively bracing for protection on the essential second. It additionally makes spells you’re constantly good at actually really feel like your personal, like your apply has paid off. However, timing one thing badly is irritating and with so many alternative assaults from either side to be taught, it may be difficult to get it proper constantly. The timing parts imply you all the time have to concentrate on what’s taking place on the battlefield and never having the ability to pause throughout battles requires a excessive degree of diligence.The influence of how profitable you might be at timing is immense, which makes it a bit double-sided in that failing them can work towards you as a lot as success can work in your favor. The clutch mechanic, which lets you survive a deadly blow on profitable protection, means it’s actually a life and loss of life distinction. As I went additional by the sport I ended up swapping the choice within the settings to semi-auto, giving me a bit extra leeway, and I a lot most popular it. This change removed among the extra unfair-feeling losses from timing that I swear I had nailed and it inspired me to experiment with out the concern of shedding outright. You may flip it utterly off, and whereas I did not choose that possibility, it is an necessary one to need to make the battles extra accessible.Alongside battling, there are additionally puzzles to resolve. Most are pretty commonplace in that you just may have to flick a collection of switches, push rocks round, or collect particular gadgets. They’re normally the correct amount of difficult to make you assume with out leaving you caught, they usually present a pleasant break between battles. However, some simply really feel purposefully obtuse. Once I needed to search for books within the library and I simply ended up interacting with all of the cabinets till I discovered them–there didn’t look like a marker or technique to assist. Sometimes there are invisible paths with little to sign them aside from, “I guess I’ll just try walking through this wall.” In that means, Ikenfell can typically really feel as complicated as it’s magical.Battles and puzzles happen all around the college grounds and the encircling areas of Ikenfell. Each space has its personal beautiful chiptune themes to match the setting. The battle music doesn’t have a tendency to vary, although, and as you’ll enter into so many of those it could possibly get repetitive–except when it transitions into a couple of voiced songs for particular character moments to point out off their personalities and intentions. Unfortunately, these aren’t superb and could be extremely jarring when it occurs mid-game. I usually discovered myself turning the quantity down throughout these sections.The story has you discover completely different dungeons within the type of courses, dorms, libraries, and extra as you attempt to discover your sister and work out what’s happening. All the completely different areas supply new backdrops, enemies, and puzzles to resolve. I really feel like each time I used to be losing interest with one place, Ikenfell would usher me into one other with a contemporary set of exploration alternatives. The selection is gorgeous but it surely additionally has a really “Sorry, your princess is in another castle” really feel, the place I all the time felt strung alongside considering the story was near ending but it surely simply stored going. Naturally, this began to really feel tedious at instances. The drip-feed of story development drifts into sluggish and unrewarding in your troubles at instances.The story itself is simply type of odd. It’s positively a direct parody of Harry Potter, although considerably gender-swapped and queer as all get out. But the identical plot holes that plague the halls of Hogwarts are nonetheless current right here. Students are in some way as highly effective, or typically greater than, lecturers and have interaction what’s described as unbelievable feats of magic. Teachers allow them to and don’t appear to have any want to be significantly useful, regardless of the end-of-the-world stakes. They could also be meant as humorous nods, however in impact come off as incongruous.Despite this, Ikenfell has some attention-grabbing takes. It explores the type of toll the actions of a heroic group of do-gooders, not not like the trio from Harry Potter, is certain to tackle a college. What in regards to the those that get damage for his or her brazen actions? How a lot stress does this type of fixed hazard placed on all of these meant to look after these college students? What does a very progressive, queer-positive fantasy world like this even seem like? And how does it really feel to be excluded from this magical world as an unusual particular person? There’s some unexplored concepts to the magical fantasy that deserved taking a look at, and Ikenfell does its finest.Ikenfell made me really feel prefer it wished to essentially care about these necessary points, but it surely does nothing to discover them. Unfortunately, the execution struggles at instances, with issues feeling a bit pressured. For a recreation all about caring for one another, all you may actually do is battle issues and beat the crap out of them. A couple of instances characters will even say issues like “I’m so gay” after the story has already plainly proven us they’re and a lot of the different characters are drawn to the identical intercourse. Why is being homosexual a giant deal on this world? Was there queer oppression? It’s ripe with queer web tradition however with no actual anchor to the context inside the fantasy world. This makes it really feel tacked on as an afterthought moderately than an genuine illustration of actual folks.Ikenfell made me really feel prefer it wished to essentially care about these necessary points, but it surely does nothing to discover them. Characters typically break the fourth wall in odd methods to lampshade these beliefs, however with out context or relevance it usually feels shoehorned in moderately than true illustration. I can see the beating coronary heart of fine intentions and concepts, however they in the end really feel fumbled.Ikenfell is a recreation of fine intentions. The tackle RPG fight is each satisfying and attention-grabbing with sufficient choices, each with in-game tweaks to characters and technique and in addition straight inside the settings, to assist tailor it to your preferences. It simply drags on a bit with out feeling like something has really actually occurred till its remaining moments. The good selection and healthful vibes current a beautiful little world to discover and save. There are simply sufficient little pitfalls within the story and execution that may be fairly grating once I wished to really feel immersed.