I’ve been rather fortunate lately in that most of the games I’ve picked to review have been good or great. Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition, a turn-based role playing game developed by Stegosoft, definitively falls into the great category and I’m going to tell you the reasons why I feel this way.
My past experience with typical turn-based RPGs is long on attempts but short on completions. This is because most of the time there wasn’t enough there to keep me invested in it; either the combat, the story, or both were just plain boring or repetitious. Eventually I would quit the game and never have the urge to open it again. To me, for a game of this type to qualify as good or better it has to lock down both of these aspects.
While I won’t regurgitate the entire story of Ara Fell, I’ll give a brief rundown of what I’ve played through so far. The main character Lita is a ranger, and she lives in a world that floats above a dead one. While helping her friend (Adrian, a fighter) explore a cave looking for a ring, Lita finds it and on puts it on, even though she was warned not to. Wearing the ring marks Lita as the “Chosen One” by a long ago race of elves. The elves were no longer because in an attempt to stop the world from being overrun by vampires, they chose to turn themselves to stone and starve the vampires into extinction. That obviously never happened, as Lita and her party encounter many vampires.
Lita eventually ends up with more than Adrian in her party, adding a sorceress and a bard. I’ve only made it to somewhere in chapter 2 (I read there are five total, plus an epilogue) despite putting in many hours into Ara Fell, so I couldn’t say if the party gets bigger or if some members get replaced by others. So far, nothing about the story is boring. In fact, I’ve been surprised at how much depth there can be in a game made by RPG Maker. There’s plenty of betrayals, bounties, puzzles, rivalries, banter, and lore to satisfy gamers looking for something more than just combat.
Speaking of combat, there are some strategic aspects of it, but overall I usually ended up using the same tried and true abilities until new, better ones became available. After combat, all MP and HP resets so heals aren’t generally needed. The only time healing is required outside of combat is if a member of the party “falls” during battle. When that happens, they will suffer some stat degradation until they get treated by a healer. There are many tougher battles sprinkled throughout, when trying to earn a bounty or when encountering a boss or special character. These bigger fights are typically preceded by a “are you sure?” type message.
Besides the combat and the story, there are other aspects of Ara Fell that I appreciated. Load and save times were fast and the game’s art style was charming. Lita and her party can swim (more like wade), jump, and eventually fly. As each region’s teleport stone is discovered, fast travel between points makes it easy to get about. I also liked that most combat is avoidable – mobs roam about between waypoints and are easy to skirt. Each region has its own monster “style”, so there is variation overall. Lastly, although I didn’t take advantage of it, when starting out there is a story-mode option that auto-wins combat. Having played it with the combat, I advocate for that.
In my playthrough I’m somewhere in chapter 2, and I’m eagerly anticipating what’s in store. I feel that there has already been a full game’s worth of story already and even more can only be better. Will Lita and her group be able to stop the vampire apocalypse and save her floating world from falling from the sky?
Not what many people expect from an RPG Maker game, Ara Fell is a charming and engrossing game filled with story, exploration, fighting, secrets, and puzzles to spare. Anticipation about discovering what’s next makes it a hard game to put down at the end of the night. You can’t go wrong with Ara Fell.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.