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The "Original Official Statement"  Earthlock: Festival of Magic is a role-playing video game developed and published by the Norwegian company Snowcastle Games for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U.

The Changes from Earthlock: Festival of Magic (which is no longer available) to EARTHLOCK
Keeping all the best parts from EARTHLOCK: Festival of Magic, we have spent the last year improving them in every way while adding loads of new stuff:
Extended and upgraded, this is in many respects a brand new game.
⁃ Craftable weapons and equipment
⁃ New abilities in the overworld
⁃ Numerous new side quests
⁃ New scenes, new creatures and new NPCs
⁃ In addition to all the strange plants you now can grow trees to bring kittens and other cute critters into the world
⁃ Treasure Maps to discover more treasures
⁃ The ability to sell as well as buy stuff
⁃ Loads of new animations, story additions, smarter NPCs and tweaks of every kind to make the game even more engrossing, enjoyable and replayable!

  

EARTHLOCK is not a role-playing game, not in any way shape or form, at least as far as my knowledge of role-playing games is concerned. There are is no character creation, no choice of character (unless you count the swapping from one character to another whenever a special ability is required), no doing what you want or going where you want. If you try to go off the linear path you reach an invisible impassable barrier. If you try to dodge past any creatures they are immediately drawn to you to begin a fight.

     

Combat requires you choosing an attack and watching it happen. There is no aiming, no manipulating your character/s in fact combat doesn't even take place in the region it is initiated. You get attacked by a large flying insect in the desert, the combat takes place in an arena, how ? why ? Your character/s stand to one side of the screen, your opponents to the other and you throw, fire, cast etc. and the battle begins. It continues until one side is defeated, in the first few battles this will be you as the opposition is so weak; but as the game goes along the adversaries get stronger and you need to be more selective of your choice of action - it is often a good idea to have your secondary character cast or use a healing on you. You collect healing balms etc from opening chests etc or from one of the Merchants in town.

  

Okay, so far most of that sounds negative. It isn't meant to be but it is meant to point out some of the hard facts about what is and what isn't a role-playing game. EARTHLOCK is a beautifully designed adventure/puzzle-solving game. The backdrops are amazing, worthy of any Tomb Raider, Prince of Persia or Indiana Jones or similar high profile game, but the turn-based combat system lets all of this excellence down with its strictly old style line them up and knock them down approach. Sure there is a little player input, but it hasn't even the excitement of say Mortal Kombat, not even with the Boss Battles - it's too clinical and that takes the gloss from its imaginative storyline - and in many ways these battles are quite out of character with the rest of the game.

    

For me the best parts of this game are the puzzles. They aren't particularly mind-blowing but they often make you think beyond kicking chests open and fighting obscure creatures. Many of these puzzles are multi-parted, you have to solve one part to get to the next part before completing the final part and reaching the objective. As I say, these aren't horrendously hard but they do introduce more of an air of adventure than the basic moving around and following the only path available to you.

 

The requirement for SAVING your progress is locating the Frog-like statues where you can decide to create a new save slot or overwrite a previous one, all by simply clicking on the selection of your choice - no need to name your saves. There is so much that is good about EARTHLOCK but for me there is also enough that prevents it from being a classic MOVE-FIGHT adventure game. For instance, it tries to be humourous in places but it doesn't reach the heights of say a game such as "Monkey Island" and that was way back in 1990, some 27 years before EARTHLOCK.

 

I never played the original EARTHLOCK: FESTIVAL of MAGIC, but having played EARTHLOCK (which is apparently a revised upgrade) I can understand the need to have rejigged it. I honestly find it hard to recommend this game, even though there is a plethora of what could have been much more interesting characters; 

and Creatures:

Because the action doesn't quantify the brilliance of the backgrounds there are so many possibilities missed. For instance, all of the characters named above should have been given better, more rounded, interesting, stronger background information if this was to work as a role-playing game. So my review is mainly based on this regaling itself as an RPG. If I think of it as a straight-forward Move and Fight game with occasional asides to add a change of scenery then it ranks highly on the list of games in that genre for its beautiful graphics and the formulaic gameplay then becomes incidental. However, there is an underlying secret story which you slowly piece together (by eavesdropping and other means), and that, along with better mechanics, could carry the game play alone if it was slightly more prominent (secret is okay but you cannot get excited about something if you don't know about it).

    

My final thoughts then:
As a role-playing game it isn't even close.
As a combat game it is of a genre with a fight mechanic that has been done to death.
Its comical input is not quite what it should be.
As an action - adventure it's a little weak in the excitement department.
Graphically it is visually beautiful, clean and crisp.

Gamewise it's been done before, sometimes better, often not as good.

    

    

  

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015