Genre: RPG, Strategy
Publisher: Headup Games
Developer: Devespresso Games
Release Date: 29th August 2019
Price: $24.99, £19.99
Vambrace: Cold soul is a turn-based strategy RPG available on the Nintendo Switch Eshop. You play as a woman called Lyric who has an artefact allowing her to cross a deadly barrier into the frozen city of Icenaire. She becomes the only hope for the people trapped there.
I actually found it difficult to keep up with the story and all the things it taught me in the tutorial. It was a little confusing and I felt they tried to add too many elements to the game and the combat- in which that was a big let-down and quite boring, to be blunt. The game is dialogue heavy and long gaps between being able to explore and fight enemies. I was often confused by what to do and where to go. However, sometimes on the main map it would show an exclamation mark but often found myself spending too much trying to find the person I needed to speak to in each place. The town map has a pub, item shops and somewhere to sleep amongst other places including a place to recruit other team members.
As I mentioned the battles are turn based and you can have up to 4 team members including yourself. You select which enemy to attack or use a skill on. You can see the turn order at the bottom of the screen but the way it was displayed wasn’t helpful to me. I played the game in TV mode and handheld mode, and it seemed to play better in handheld mode using a mixture of touch screen and buttons which sometimes confused me. If you die in battle you end up back in the city at the Healing Hall. Also, your character can fall into traps, and if you have a certain character with high awareness level you take less damage. This feature to me was unnecessary because it seemed like you can’t tell where the traps are anyway.
What I do like about the game is the art style. Its very stunning in sort of a 2.5D style. During exploration and battle this changes from a top-down view to a detailed side scrolling view. I also liked the music and sound effects which fit the game well. Although sometimes the game was silent or you could only hear anything while turning up the volume really loud. I could see that a lot of effort was put into some of the locations and characters, which were very detailed and some had unique personalities. I feel it is a shame that the same effort wasn’t put into the gameplay, which is forgettable.
I feel I can only recommend this game to die hard fans of the genre and even then maybe wait for a Eshop sale, as it seems overpriced. Atmospheric music, stunning visuals and interesting characters couldn’t save the game from this dialogue-heavy, overcomplicated but boring gameplay. I tried to will myself to keep playing but lost interest quickly, even the main storyline just didn’t impress me enough to get through it. They tried to incorporate too many elements and it didn’t pay off. I freely admit however that maybe I am not the target market for this game, and I found the review a little difficult to write as it was hard to keep playing the game while feeling confused about what to do.