Role playing games have certainly played a big role in the gaming industry, as they’ve helped to lay the foundation of how games can be played and just how far you can take them in terms of the story. From classics like Chrono Trigger to the more recently popular Octopath Traveler, there’s one thing that many of these titles have in common: they take the player on a wild adventure full of mystery and depth. KEMCO’s latest fantasy RPG places itself snuggly between these titles, and offers up a unique adventure that combines classic visuals with a modern appeal to provide a satisfying experience. Anyone who loves RPGs will definitely find Fernz Gate to be a worthwhile purchase because it does a splendid job of bringing each character to life, introduces cool mechanics and, most importantly, you can take it on the go with the Nintendo Switch!
What to Expect
With its intuitive controls and easy to understand battle mechanics, Fernz Gate is the perfect entry-level RPG title for anyone who’s perhaps new to this kind of games. Those who are well versed in the genre will still have a wonderful time because it encompasses everything you’d expect from a RPG, and ensures that you feel rewarded for your actions during gameplay. Unlike other RPGs which focus on the player always looking after their HP, Fernz Gate restores all of your team's HP after the battle is adjourned so that your main focus can stay on having fun, rather than stress out about stocking up on an absurd amount of healing items. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that items still play a very important role in the game but rather, your attention now is to focus in the moment rather than run around collecting unnecessary things. Another great feature to expect from Fernz Gate is the buddy system, which essentially gives you the opportunity to collect unique characters, all of whom have their own distinctive abilities that can help you in battle. Due to the overwhelming amount to choose from on your adventure, this creates a lot of depth in regards to how you can approach every battle, thus making every encounter that much more satisfying. Coming up with new formations and tactics along the way with the assistance of buddies is truly a fun ordeal, since every buddy will provide something new each time.
Not only can these buddies be of assistance on the battlefield but they can also be dispatched and help you gather rare items, which only adds more content the longer you play! We’ll cover these buddies and more in the gameplay section, but for now let’s kick things off with the story.
The game kicks off with a young man named Alex, who wakes up to find himself in world that’s totally foreign to him and certainly not the home he’s used to. He ends up in a place called Fernland, where conflict and destruction has overshadowed the once peaceful nation and he’s now caught in the middle of all of it. With no other choice but to fend for himself and deal with constant threats being introduced to him, Alex must now team up with a young woman named Lita from a world similar to his own, and work together alongside other warriors to put an end to the tyranny once and for all. However, what awaits them ahead is something they may not be entirely ready for...
As stated earlier, Fernz Gate is a fantasy RPG that reflects that of the classic 2D era of role playing games, where the focus was primarily placed on the gameplay more than the visuals. Anyone who loves the retro style RPG look will most certainly be swooned by the simple yet charming character designs, and beautifully crafted level designs. The enemies you encounter as well are designed splendidly and compliment the environments you find them in. Everything is laid out in a very clean and organized manner which again, goes back to those good old days of when RPGs maintained a simple aesthetic and placed a much heavier emphasis on the overall gameplay.
Fernz Gate has a pretty diverse soundtrack that’s soothing to listen to as you wander around each village in search for hints from the locals, or that upbeat celebration sound when your quest has been updated. The tone changes when you enter dungeons to a more rugged and eerie feel, while enemy battles have a much more action oriented sound to them which really compliments what’s taking place on screen. Things certainly wouldn’t feel too thrilling if there was say, a more melancholy type of sound to battles and so the fast paced melody really helps to build that momentum and emotion. The opening menu screen music is very fitting as well, giving players that very heroic feeling and makes you want to just go in and slash everything in your path.
So let’s kick things off with the buddy system since that’s where we had left off in the earlier section of the review. To elaborate further, a buddy is a type of creature that can be used to help you both in and out of battle. In battle, they can do things like buffing your skills to increase damage to enemies, increasing the number of attacks you can dish out while also decreasing cool down at times, and using them to heal your squad in more ways than one. Due to their diverse nature and there being so many to discover, we can’t go through all of them but we can say for sure that they add in a new element of gameplay which is very endearing. Buddies can be dispatched —as we also mentioned— and you can do this by going to the Secret House during your excursion, setting your buddy to dispatch and it will go about its business in search for items you can use down the road. Depending on the level of the buddy the item rarity will of course change, so it’s encouraged that if you want the best value out of your buddies, to level them up as much as you can both in and out of battle.
Another interesting feature in Fernz Gate is the planting system, where NPC’s as well as yourself, can obtain seeds that can be planted and harvested. For example, you may come across an item like VIT seed, which is a seed that when planted and harvested, can give you a VIT item which helps to restore or boost your vitality points. Seeds will vary and come in all different forms, so anytime you happen to grab some seeds, be sure to plant them at the Secret House. Both of these features happen in real time and so you’ll need to continue playing the game or keep the game on in order to reap the rewards.
Another cool feature in Fernz Gate is what’s known as the prize tab, which sort of acts like a “login bonus” for those who are familiar with mobile games. You can obtain things like rings which help to buff your character or buddy rings that add an extra attack to your list, giving you more versatility during battle. You can also win things like potions and rare items, like weapons and armor. The shop icon on the menu screen allows you to participate in a game titled Jar Breakers, which once again feels very similar to the gatcha feature you’d find in mobile games. For a certain amount of gems you’ll be able to unlock ultra-rare weapons and armor, buddy rings, and even customize your characters with clothing. Not only do you have a chance to explore and enjoy the RPG experience, you also get some extra added bonuses that you’ll only find in Fernz Gate!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We had a ton of fun playing Fernz Gate not just because of the extra little features that come with it, but because overall the story set the tone very well for the rest of the game, and we really enjoyed the dialogue between all of the characters. Lolita and Alex have this really innocent and pure connection but it becomes obvious that the two have a thing for each other, while Toril can’t control her emotions and whines about things when situations don’t favor her. Kodan is the odd one in the group not just because of his appearance but because he seems to be the most tactful and level headed, always educating everyone on life and how to better themselves. Fernz Gate does an excellent job in this category by really infusing fantasy with some factual life quotes that make you think, but still delivers overall by bringing it all together in one cool package. It’s simple, easy to pick up, and still provides a good challenge on the harder difficulties. We recommend even if you’re new to RPGs to play on anything more than normal because with hard you really get to experience what a true RPG feels like, and overall it’s just more stimulating!
Challenging on the harder difficulties but truly rewarding once you come up with the right strategies.
HP restoring after every battle is so helpful and takes a lot of stress off the mind.
The buddy system is a really cool feature that adds more creativity to how you can engage in battle.
All the added features like the dispatch and planting system are a nice touch, and provide some extra gameplay in case you want to rest from the battles.
Wonderful cast of characters.
Classic 2D sprite style is always a plus on our book!
May be a bit easy at times even on the harder modes, but really depends on the boss battle.
Honey's Final Verdict:
KEMCO certainly delivered on this one and we’re very happy to have the opportunity to review this title for all of you RPG fans out there. The game is also available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita as of this review being written, so download it on the PSN store! Be sure to check out our other reviews and show us your love by commenting down below! Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news and of course, if you want to see Fernz Gate or any other game played live then follow us on Twitch!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!