Although it has had its fair share of loyal fans and players all over the world, JRPGs, a genre that pundits argue is a misnomer, have recently experience a resurgence in popularity. That’s partly due to the wealth of “retro” indie games as well as a sort of counter-culture against the graphically sophisticated but sometimes mind-numbing button-mashing of modern games. Sensing a potential lucrative market, Square Enix formed Tokyo RPG Factory to blend JRPG tropes with modern gaming systems, as can be seen with the studio’s second title: LOST SPHEAR.
The game developer’s first game, “I am Setsuna”, was met with mixed but mostly positive reception. While it was a clear throwback to the mechanics of classic JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, Setsuna injected some modern sensibilities into the experience. The somewhat clunky controls and battle system was also saved by the game’s storyline and gripping soundtrack.
LOST SPHEAR, which isn’t a typo, will try to see if that formula can work a second time. This time, however, Tokyo RPG Factory might have a bit of trouble selling the game’s main plot. Our hero (yes, male) wakes up to find the world around him disappearing. He sets out with his new found friends to restore the world piece by piece by collecting key items. Gamers might be able to draw similarities between SPHEAR and Supergiant’s Bastion, which became an indie hit a few years back.
Like before, SPHEAR might be saved by the game’s aesthetics and appeal to JRPG fans. Staples like overworld maps with disproportionate character avatars, turn-based battles, and over the top effects are of course there. SPHEAR will actually make use of the Active Time Battle system popularized by the Final Fantasy games which Square Enix also owns.
LOST SPHEAR will launch in early 2018 for $49.99. It will be available on the PlayStation 4, Steam for PCs, and, surprisingly, the Nintendo Switch.
SOURCE: Square Enix http://press.na.square-enix.com/releases/968