By Steven Marsh
Lesser-known developer Indinera Falls brings us a wonderful throwback to the good ol’ days with “Laxius Force” for the PC.
Any human being who owned a Super Nintendo Entertainment System back in the early 1990s knows that it was the king of gaming during the 16-bit generation of video games. There were hundreds of amazing games, ranging from beat’em ups to fighting games and of course, RPGs. Anyone who’s versed in the history of gaming knows that the SNES was the absolute king of 2D RPGs. There were tons of amazing RPGs, such as “Chrono Trigger” and “Lufia II”. Alas, the 2D market for RPGs is nearly dead and what’s more still is that the few 2D RPGs that actually manage to see the light of day tend to be average at absolute best. That said, it brings me great pleasure to say that “Laxius Force” is one of the few really good 2D RPGs to reach the point of completion in the modern world of hyper realism. Prepare yourself for the emotional, comical and epic adventure that is “Laxius Force” for the PC.
When it comes to 2D visuals, there’s only good and bad. There’s no real “in between” and it’s either ugly or not. In the case of “Laxius Force”, the graphics are quite good. No, they’re not completely unique and no, they’re not the best 2D graphics I’ve ever seen. However, the sheer nostalgia of absolutely every single sprite in this game gives it a strangely alluring appeal. Even the title screen feels like it was taken straight out of the 90s. Any fan of 2D should have no problems with this game, but for anyone close-minded enough to completely shun the idea of 2D gaming, this obviously isn’t the game for you.
In yet another throwback to the good ol’ days of gaming, the sound quality seems intentionally low. Sound effects and music are clear with very little distortion, but everything sounds as though it was made on an old digital music program designed for use over a decade ago. There obviously aren’t very many audio channels being utilized and most instruments used in the various songs are obviously fake, but that’s what’s so great about it. This game not only looks like a mid-90s RPG, but it also sounds like one, which makes the current trend with “Laxius Force” the single fact that that this is surely a “Love it or hate it” game.
The final piece of this ever-so-nostalgic title is the gameplay. Is it too complex to be a truly oldschool game? Is it too dumbed down to be any fun? Are there lots of sidequest? Well, the shortest way to answer all of these questions is this: “Laxius Force” is a perfect blend of oldschool elements that’s sure to please most fans of the SNES style and may even catch the attention of the occasional younger gamer. First and foremost, I need to point out that this game should be played by mature gamers only. There’s a whole lot of adult-themed humor all over the place and in many cases, it’s not child-friendly. So parents, take that as a warning. With that out of the way, it’s only fair to say that on the flipside, the humor is outrageous and quite hilarious at times, while other times it feels out of place and unnecessary. As for the actual story and serious dialogue, well it’s a bit stale. The story and romance are both cliche and have been told over all too many times in the past. The difference here, though, is the weird little references and grammatically incorrect structure at times. One primary example happens right at the start of the game, as one character refers to another one as a “newbie” while they talk about an “experience curse”. This screams “Disgaea” in a few instances, which is never a bad thing. The battles feel just like any other 2D RPG, but there’s one extremely annoying part about those battles that can really hurt this game at times: There’s absolutely no flee feature. You’re forced to fight absolutely every enemy you come into contact with. And on that note, many enemies are avoidable on the map, as there are no random encounters. The equipment, spell and skill systems are all equally basic and provide just enough “Oomph!” to push this game in the right direction. Aside from the lengthy main story, there’s roughly 6-8 hours worth of side quests to partake in that give various worthwhile rewards to any player who chooses to spend the extra time with the game. All told, this game is extremely generic by oldschool standards, but in the world of today, it stands out strictly because of that fact alone. It doesn’t take much to make a generic game, but to make a generic game that’s fun to play and interesting enough to finish and then proceed to talk about it with your friends, that takes real devotion and a serious amount of heart. The developer of this game obviously knows what makes oldschool games so appealing and has done a great job of representing that fact. This little gem is worth every penny and can be purchased for $15 at http://www.laxiusforce.com.
Overall, Indinera Falls has successfully revived the 2D RPG and has earned my complete respect in the process. I can’t wait to play the next titles in the series and see where it goes!
-100% authentic 16-bit era graphics.
-Absolutely hilarious at times.
-Doesn’t take itself too seriously.
-Lengthy story and tons of sidequests.
-Perfectly fitting soundtrack.
-A little too simple at times.
-No flee option during battles.
-Lacks depth with the skill system.
Oldschool RPG fans should definitely check this game out. Try the hour-long demo first and if you dig it, buy it and finish it. This game is worth the time and effort!
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