Earthlock Extended Edition Review
Earthlock was originally released back in late 2016 and early 2017 for a multitude of platforms. Being the first of the planned trilogy, its role was not only to introduce players to the series but to set the expectations for them. Instead of starting on the sequel, Snowcastle Games decided to invest in an extended edition to further expand on the story and to offer more than it had originally presented. The result of this was Earthlock Extended Edition, a heartwarming game with endearing characters and a simple, yet captivating, storyline. The game has truly evolved into a matured RPG that certainly set the bar high for the remaining two volumes.
The main story focuses on Amon, our young protagonist who finds a mysterious artifact while scavenging with his sick uncle Benjo. As Benjo’s health was getting worse, Amon hopes to be able to sell the artifact for a high price in order to afford his medical expenses. While in the middle of a transaction with their friend Lady Evandu, the artifact catches the eye of hogbunny Gnart, who claims it is worth twice as much as what was on the table. He recommends Amon to try selling it in Suvia, and Amon, optimistic of its worth, agrees to travel there with Gnart. The two then begin a hopeful journey together and are eventually led to a path more complicated than selling a simple artifact. Joined by Olia, Ive, Taika, and Pat, the six traverse through lands and combine their skills to battle monsters, each character bringing their own strengths and unique abilities to the party.
Classic RPG Feels
Giving off a classic vibe with turn-based battles, Earthlock Extended Edition was a fun and relaxing game to play. At first, we are introduced to what seems like a plethora of characters, but it turns out that most of them are just NPCs with names (unlike other RPGs where these characters are usually named something along the lines of “Young girl” or “Wise old man”). There are also a number of side quests that you can choose to complete, which make grinds more worthwhile as you try to reach a destination while you fight off inevitable monsters. There are also treasure hunts, Ive and Taika’s specialty, where Ive locates treasure on a Treasure Map and Taika digs around the general area. These little side adventures bring small achievements for players so they can gain more than just experience points when attempting to level up.
In most RPGs, you only control the main character while you explore maps. However, in Earthlock Extended Edition you are able to switch the characters you play as to any one of the six in your party. The reason why this is an option is that different characters have different abilities. For example, if you are using Amon to explore, you are able to gather scrap piles lying across the land. However, Amon does not know how to harvest plants. This is within Gnart’s capabilities, so if you see a berry lying around on the ground, you can quickly switch characters to Gnart in order to pick it up. Because of this, I found I started to feel more connection with all the characters instead of just using for battles.
Earthlock Extended Edition boasts a variety of different elements in its game that are effortlessly introduced. To name a few, there are talent points, talent bards, character bonds, battle stances, and Amri (the game’s version of mana). None of this is actually as overwhelming as it sounds, as every time a new concept is introduced, a short and helpful tutorial is added to the menu. One of the wonderful things about this game is the ability to warp to a home base. This area, known as Plumpet Island, allows our main protagonists to prepare for battles, such as purchase items, plant ingredients for potions, craft weapons, and many more. It creates a stress-free experience for the players as well, as we are able to restock and spend as much time as we want to perform these activities while spending as little money as possible. Another benefit of this home base is once you warp here, your HP is restored. You can then warp back to any area of the map you have visited with ease. This function makes it convenient to complete side quests and travel long distances.
I found my one challenge in this game to be boss fights. There was little to no warning as to when you would walk into a boss fight. I have wandered into almost all of them without expecting it. Fortunately, there is a handy little dialogue that occurs between party members before the fight begins. Sometimes, they are encouraging and say that the enemy is tough, but they can handle it. Other times, they mention that the enemy seems too powerful and we might lose. This is usually an indicator of whether or not we are ready for the fight. If you do lose and die, you are brought back to where you last saved the game. Frogboy, one of the NPCs, will appear and ask if you want a hint on how to defeat the boss. What I find is that the bosses are never impossible to beat, and the game wants you to win. With some RPGs, I feel as if the game really wants us to struggle, but with Earthlock Extended Edition, every challenge and obstacle can be overcome with hard work and strategy.
The music in Earthlock Extended Edition was refreshing and the visuals were beautiful. I was whistling the background song for the past few days and couldn’t place where it was from until I turned on the game to play again. The graphics were fabulous and the transitioning between scenes was smooth. It was very easy to control the characters’ movements, and even though I did not always have the capability to adjust the view, the navigation was still straightforward. The sound effects were also well done and believable, naturally blending in with the game. There were no voice actors as the characters do not speak out loud, but there was also not much dialogue happening either. It did not take away from the experience at all, but for those expecting an animated cutscene with voice acting, you will not get it here.
Overall, I am very satisfied with Earthlock Extended Edition, and will not hesitate to recommend this game. The story moves at a comfortable pace and the characters are all easy to love. Despite the fact that none of them speak a single word and their backstories are nothing extravagant, there is a certain charm to each of them. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I got to play as every one of these characters, or maybe because I got to experience their growth in loyalty and friendship. Whatever it may be, I am in love with every aspect of this game, and I am looking forward to the second installment of this promising trilogy.
*** A PS4 code was provided by the publisher ***
- Unique abilities for characters
- Well-paced narrative
- Effective home base
- Abrupt boss battles