A week ago a new title saw the light. Ever Oasis is a new title for the 3DS, a brand-new IP and a new sort of game. It’s a game I’ve been looking forward to since it was first announced a year ago at the E3-2016, so I was happy to download it pronto! It’s time to put my first impressions on paper (oh well, on the screen actually) for those of you who are seeking to try a new fun game.
First of all, what is the game about?
In the game, you are what’s called a Seedling. Don’t worry, you’re not a tree or an Ent. You are an adorable little cute character. After you choose the gender and the skin-tone as well as eyes colour, you are good to go. At first, you are in a thriving Oasis, where your older brother is the chief. He is teaching you all kinds of things to do in the Oasis, which is a good thing. As pretty soon an event happens that forces you to stand on your own two feet and manage an Oasis of your own.
The event was pretty major involving Chaos, the destructor of the desert, and had more emotion behind it then I had expected. I know I’m being cryptic, but I don’t want to spoil things for you. Chaos ravages travellers, turns sweet animals into fierce monsters and spoils the land. Out in the world on your own, you find and befriend a Water Spirit called Esna, and as a Child of the Big Tree, together you go to work to make your own Oasis.
The game is a mix of action-RPG and town-building elements with a little farming and synthesizing thrown in. It’s set in a beautifully colourful fantasy interpretation of ancient Egypt. Though the game is very much one of a kind, I can’t help but compare it to other titles. Mainly to give you an idea of what to expect.
What got my attention a year ago was the Animal Crossing comparison that was made. I’m not sure if I see that likeness, AC is so unique and one of a kind. Yes, you do manage your own oasis deciding which shop (called Bloom Booth) goes where. You can do a bit of gardening, and decorate the Oasis too. You can chat with the residents, and although they are cute, their conversation mainly centre around requests.
The game makes me feel much more like Fantasy Life. Maybe it’s the questing and the action RPG part. Actually it’s more of a cross between Fantasy Life and Rune Factory. The part where you manage your Oasis really makes me think of mobile game Happy Street.
First impressions of the sim part
For me, what makes the game work is the combination of various gameplay components. I love a good simulation game, adore managing a virtual town and when you throw in some good battles, I’m totally happy. This game does that: the sim part here is managing the Oasis. Trying to get new residents in, making the Oasis interesting for Noots to visit. They don’t say anything, but they can sure spend some lovely cash in the Bloom Booths.
First impressions of the RPG part
The game is off to a slow start, but somewhere around the 4 hour mark it opens up. Making a team to go out questing is what made it much more fun for me. Every member has a special skill, so considering who to take with you is vital. The dungeons offer puzzles like we know in Zelda, but often not as difficult. Missing a team member with a skill that’s essential is annoying though but the fact that you can warp back and forth to homebase helps.
I always love finding materials during my quests, which you can use to synthesise stuff once you get new recipes. I’ve been reading that finding special slabs would give you a chance to try your hand a randomly generated Hieroglyph Labyrinths. It gives a chance to find special things, but I haven’t had the chance yet.
The battles aren’t super hard, but you know what: I don’t mind one bit. I’m playing Zelda at the same time, and one game that keeps me on my toes is quite enough.
In short: loving the game
So, there you have it. I really like the game. In fact, even with Zelda waiting for me, I can’t lay it aside. It’s beautiful, the gameplay is good, it has a great atmosfere and the combination of various sorts of gameplay is exactly what I want. I do hope though that the surroundings in the Oasis and the desert opens up a bit more and doesn’t stay as contained as it is now.