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  1. #1

    [3DS] Ever Oasis

    So, at the request of everyone in this forum (or just one user, one of the two), here's a first play thread for Ever Oasis.

    In Ever Oasis you play as Tethu (name and appearance are customizable), the chief of a small oasis in the middle of the desert. The Oasis is possible thanks to the power of the water spirit Esna, that at least during the opening hours act as trigger for levelling up the oasis.
    As chief of the oasis it's your duty to welcome travellers and complete their request to have them stay there; residents will set up shops and will sell their wares to more travellers, increasing the oasis population and giving your avatar more powers to protect the oasis and its resident from the looming threat of Chaos. New travellers arrive at every in-game morning, and during the evening you can go around shops restocking their inventory and collecting money. Money is used to grow crops, synthetize new items, build shops, and buy items from merchants. Restocking shop's inventory will increase the shopkeeper happiness and ultimately their level.

    To complete quests Tethu must venture into the desert and caves dotting the landscape. Caves are small dungeons with simple puzzles based on Tethu's or his party members' abilities. Forming a custom party with three members isn't available until the third or so hour into the game, before characters just join Tethu for a short while and leave when the task at hand is complete, but everyone will pay a visit to the oasis and will let you complete a personal requests to become residents.
    So far characters are divided by the weapon they use, sword, lance, or sort-of-boomerang. Each weapon is strong against an enemy type, and all characters also have a special ability like miniming, digging, morphball (no really, they curl into a ball and go into small crevices to solve puzzles; it's a morphball), or passive healing. As your party members are residents of the oasis that might be running a shop, related activities will be closed once they're with Tethu exploring the world.

    Combat is in real time, with two attacks and one dash. At first Tethu is only able to do one attack before recovery and most monsters are able to kill him in one hit. After a short while the oasis will bestow extra health to the party based on how happy the residents are, and levelling up Tethu (levels are awarded when the party gets back to the oasis) will increase offensive options. All attacks are telegraphed with plenty of time to use the somewhat clumsy dodge and recover from heavy attacks, that leave characters open for quite some time. Enemies can be locked on with the L button, and the same button is used to refocus the camera behind the active party member. Locking on is particularly finnicky, enemies must be in front of the character, not just within the camera's point of view, and managing two or three enemies at once is cumbersome; I've found that not locking on targets and relying on light attacks (normally a side swipe for all characters) is best.
    Tethu has the ability to summon gales to dissipate small sand dunes, knock down flying enemies, and decrease defences of certain enemies. He can't summon gales when wielding weapons, and activating the gale itself isn't the most straightforward action ever, especially during combat: gales can be charged up, and in fact must be charged up for a split second to release the least powerful gale, rather than just tapping the button.
    It's possible to change members under your control with the d-pad, but control shifts to that character rather than that character being moved to the one you were previously using, and it can be disorienting when engaged in combat.

    All these small things add up and make the combat feel clunky, not as smooth as you would expect. The low number of attacks available before recovery (I'm at level 5 and it's just two lights or one heavy attack) is probably the worst offender, forcing players to hit-and-run tactics and lenghtening battles when they could be over with a third hit. The camera is decent enough, also thanks to rather expansive environments, and with on a New 3DS the C-stick controls it directly, although I've never felt the need to manipulate it except for recentering it behind my character.
    The management part of the game could use a slicker interface as well, going in and out every shop at the end of a day to restock items gets boring very quickly, and I've just begun the game.

    Graphics in Ever Oasis are very well done. I really like this cutesy and vibrant style, and I'd go so far as saying that this is one of the best looking games on the 3DS. Textures are well defined and vibrant, and so far every single element has been able to withstand close-ups with almost no pixelization. Of course resolution is that of a 3DS, and the framerate appears fixed at 30 on a New 3DS XL.

    Ever Oasis appears to be an OK game, but nothing more. More than Actraiser it feels more like a weird mix of the Mana series, Animal Crossing, and the Streetpass function. None of these elements seem to be particularly complex or refined though.

  2. #2
    Thanks for that, I was actually expecting Actraiser though. What an ace game that was, I wonder why that format hasn't been resurrected?

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