8-Bit Adventures 2 is a new JRPG by Critical Games. 8-Bit Adventures 2 takes the JRPG look and feel from the NES generation and adds some modern devices and a strong narrative to bring a fresh retro-like feeling that will keep you busy for hours.
I did not play the first 8-Bit Adventures and I may go back and play it but wanted to give those that did not play the first one a good perspective of coming in fresh to this story.
8-Bit Adventures is available currently on Steam and releases on 1/31/2023. The developers have plans to bring it to consoles in the future.
The story does a great job of pacing the narrative while also retelling what happened in the past. I never felt like I was bogged down in details and it just feels like you are given enough information to continue without slowing you down.
It sprinkles in some lore and happenings from the original game without burdening the player with things that might not matter.
The combat starts out pretty basic. But as you add party members new parts of the combat take shape and offers a good mixup of strategy and old-school feel.
Each character in your party has an almost unique fighting style that is available to them. They have a standard attack and then they have personal powers. The personal powers usually has a chance to cause a negative status effect on the enemies and don’t cost any AP/MP.
Your character roster is a mix of magic users and fighters. And with that, they have points that can be spent on special abilities. Magic users have Magic Points (MP) and fighters have Action Points (AP).
As your characters level up they learn more special abilities. And as you progress there are special team abilities. This is an ability where the benefit affects multiple party numbers but it also means that the AP or MP is tied to two party members. This team ability is a really unique strategy as you can get some good benefits but also drain your AP or MP really quick of your entire party.
Once you have progressed far enough to get more than 3 party members you can now switch out party members during combat. This switching doesn’t cost an action so you can use this to your advantage to swap out a hurt party member or someone that has a negative status effect for someone who is in full health.
The game also has a mini-game where you can duel airships. I thought it was an ok idea but I wasn’t blown away by this addition to the game.
8-Bit. It’s literally in the name.
Ok, all jokes aside the world and cities are beautifully crafted with the 8-Bit style. The developers did a great job of crafting amazing battle scenes. The cities look amazing and the overworld is one I would love to see more of.
Every city and environment is crafted with a unique look and feel. I don’t think I ever saw an area that was just reused assets from a previous one.
The one thing I didn’t like was the battle view. I loved the “hallway” perspective but the size of the players in front of their status bar just looks off. I don’t know why it bothers me but it makes every enemy feel boss size and your players feel like little micro avatars.
The sounds bring back memories of playing Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior on the NES for the first time. I grew up in the 8-Bit era so the joys of the sound effects have me smiling the entire time.
The music is a delightful melody and feels like it was pulled straight from the NES era. It has a good variation and doesn’t feel old and stale after hours of gameplay.
There is a great variation of enemies in every new biome and area you discover. The enemies can group up to provide some formidable matchups. They can even join their powers just like your crew to create some devastating attacks.
Also, there are some great dad jokes and humor put into the names and attacks of the enemies. I won’t spoil them but all I will say is never trust a crocodile.
Bosses are challenging but not overbearing. I found a few bosses that I had to grind out a few levels before taking them on but that might have just been the pace I was playing the game that caused that to happen.
What I didn’t like
The dialogue needs some work. It was either so slow I wanted to fall asleep or it went so fast I couldn’t read and I was having to talk to people a second time. Unfortunately, some dialogues could not be repeated so I missed some things. I feel that maybe if they add some dialogue speed options to the menu this one could be easily resolved.
The overworld felt empty and odd. There is a weird transition between the overworld and other areas and the sparseness of enemies makes it feel very empty. Then you would find a random chest that was just ginormous compared to everything else.
Also when you successfully flee the enemies disappear. I don’t hate this gameplay mechanic but it felt weird to flee and then be able to access the chest without having to fight an enemy.
The game is also missing a quest log in the early game. The menu system was great so it would seem like a good spot to add a quest log to go back to. If I stepped away from the game for the day and came back I didn’t always remember what my immediate quest was.
What I really liked
Save points. Not only was it a humorous interjection but they were always placed in the perfect spot. The save spot would give you hints for bosses and sometimes even offer to heal your party. This was strangely one of my favorite parts of the game.
Tutorials that are accessible in the menu. I found myself often going back to the menu and reading tutorials to make sure I didn’t miss an important part or if I can’t remember what a status icon means.
8-Bit Adventures 2 does a great job of bringing back that retro NES generation joy while adding some fresh JRPG formulas to the mix. The story, 8-Bit nostalgia, and combat system all shine and even without playing the first game make this a great game to add to your collection.
I would give this a solid 8 out of 10 and would recommend a buy on this one if you love the retro look and feel and love fantasy role-playing games.
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*Disclaimer: Critical Games provided us with a review code for 8-Bit Adventures 2.