Lost Sphear by Tokyo RPG factory is a love letter to the SNES/PS1 era with a beautiful art style, no spoken dialogue but a ton of written probably more than the entire Harry Potter books and a familiar turn-based combat. Be warned there is no fast travel which can be annoying because certain dungeons do not have shortcuts and you won’t get the airship until much later in the game.
You play as Kanata a swordsman from the village Elgarthe who develops an ability to restore lost structures from memories. You are very quickly joined by Lumina a melee combat fighter and Locke a long range archer. The game slowly introduces other characters who will join your adventure along the way to a maximum of eight but you can only select four in your battle team.
The game introduces two new features, the first is Spritnite where you have to equip a skill to use in combat but you can then link a momentum effect to each skill like recover HP every time you use that skill in a battle. In combat each skill will have a cool down timer which will reset after a number of a turns. The second is Artefacts, there are various locations on the open world where you can build a structure to give you a boost. For example the Mystic Eye artefact will give you a world mini-map showing you to see locations of dungeons you have visited.
There is no random encounters in the game, all combat is within dungeons. During combat you build up a momentum meter by performing attacks, moving you character or using skills. Once you have built up a momentum charge you can use it in combat and it will usually rewards you a critical or double hit. With certain characters it can be an advantage to ensure they move around the battle area so you can line up a multiple hit attack. Equally you need to be careful to ensure your characters are not too close together so the enemies can’t get in an area attack. Make sure you especially pay attention to your movements during boss fights which are slightly more challenging.
I won’t spoil it in this review but later the game introduces a new combat mechanic which I did enjoy using quite a bit but I had to have constant supplies to recharge or regularly rest at inns. Overall Lost Sphear is a nostalgic trip back to the 90s JRPG formula but remember the game is not finished once the credits roll. I had no issues at all playing this game on the PS5, next for me is a small indie puzzler Gorogoa.
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