Publisher: Square Enix
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Early 2018
Although I find it hard to articulate, the Switch has made me borderline infatuated with video games in a way I haven’t been since the Super NES days. Which is ironic, because a lot of the reason why I’m so interested in Tokyo RPG Factory’s next game, Lost Sphear, stems from an unabashed love for 16-bit Japanese role-playing games as well. I didn’t always have the kind of time you need to devote to a proper world mapping, level upping grindy kind of game…until I bought an all-in-one console that gives me literally no excuses as to why I can’t go back to my old high school flame.
That’s Tokyo RPG Factory’s M.O. – take all the things that you look back fondly upon and spruce it up for a modern audience. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am Setsuna was a second coming of Chrono Trigger, it definitely pays homage in all the right ways. Lost Sphear looks to continue that love letter mentality with a robust turn-based battle system, gorgeous world maps to explore that are inherently superficial but give the game character and a ton of little nuances and nods that quell that need to tear into a black box with a Super NES logo emblazoned on it for some hearty, old school RPGin’.
While Lost Sphear wears its inspirations on its sleeve, it’s worth noting that Tokyo RPG Factory is also establishing that it takes a different tact when it comes to relaying its stories. They tend to be more morose and reflective. Huge swaths of its world have up and vanished and it’s up to its heroes to find out what’s going on and summarily save it. There are stark white holes on the world map that play up the apocalyptic nature and hints of dialog that show people saving the world not for any altruistic nature, but because they lost something more personal. Perhaps it’s a little heavy handed, but it helps to drive the point home.
With a more lush landscape than I am Setsuna and the promise of a more active combat system, Lost Sphear will fit nicely in my suddenly burgeoning library of role-playing games while simultaneously tickling that nostalgia I’m so quick to fall back on.