Nintendo’s handhelds have been the last bastion for quality, niche RPG’s; whether they are Japanese or Americanized they usually are amazing. Ever Oasis is another title to be proudly written on the long list of great RPG’s on the 3DS, it joins Xenoblade Chronicles, Bravely Default and Tales of the Abyss, to name a few. The developer, Grezzo, did a great job creating this game for Nintendo to publish; it reminds me a lot of Animal Crossing and the Star Ocean games on the PSP. The world they have created is engaging and beautiful and the combat mechanics they developed are so simple even I could do it, successfully.
The story is that of a typical RPG, good versus evil only this time around the Seedlings play the role of good and the Chaos plays the role of the bad. Seedlings carry a seed deep inside them that they unleash when they’re ready to create an oasis, which protects its inhabitants from the desert and the Chaos that looms in that desert. The setting is a vast desert where all the strife takes place, you live on your brother’s oasis only to be sent away by him as it is attacked by Chaos minions. You find yourself with the last water sprite in the desert, so you do the only thing a sane person would do and that is, to create the last oasis in the desert. You take what you learned from your brother’s oasis and with your water sprite begin to create your own oasis, which means wooing residents, setting up shops and protecting your oasis. This battle has been going on for eons and eons and you realize that you are life’s last hope, if you fail to keep your oasis safe then you allow the Chaos to take over the desert forever.
Once you open up your oasis, strangers from the desert will come in to explore the place. Some travelers will have you do little quests for them, and if you achieve them they will become permanent residents. Most of the time when they become residents they will open up a Bloom Booth with your help so that they can sell items to other visitors of your oasis. The more residents and Bloom Booths means more happiness and protection from the Chaos. As you gain more residents your oasis will level up which means that the rainbow protecting it will strengthen, so leveling up your oasis is paramount to your survival. You don’t just stick around in the oasis though, you have to venture out into the desert. Finding travelers and resources in the desert is very important as well for your oasis, your plants in the oasis can only grow so much fruit so venturing out for more and different fruit becomes a necessity.
A huge part of this game is the inclusion of fetch quests, so if you like fetching things for NPC’s this is the game for you. You start off small, looking for things in your Oasis, then you go out into the big bad desert when you have to fight for your life. The controls are pretty simple to defend yourself, A is light-attack, X is heavy-attack, L trigger is lock-on and B is the dodge button. Easy controls to learn for your travels into the desert. Knowing the combat controls is important, but also knowing the menu can help out too if you want to tear through the main story look for Red missions in the menu if you want to dink around and make everyone happy go for those Blue missions. All will help you on your way, but the Red ones will get you closer to that conclusion. The map in the menu isn’t very useful, I kept wandering around the dangerous desert looking for a cave because I could not find where to go on the map, nor could I set a waypoint to follow it. This blind walking through the desert can kill you pretty quickly, make sure you save at a warp point or in your room before you venture out. Losing progress in a game this detailed is very depressing.
The overall look and feel of Ever Oasis is great, when your oasis has just begun it looks pretty sad and pathetic, but as you fix it up and bring more residents to it the oasis becomes prettier and prettier. Soon it will be a gorgeous, vibrant little world that really stands out on the 3DS screen. The music is also amazing and follows your little avatar all over the oasis and the desert with perfect music cues and nice little melodies. The only problem I had with the graphics and design was that I kept getting my residents confused seeing as sometimes the only difference they had from others was a simple hat color change or different shirt on. I talked to a lot of residents at the ends of quests hoping that it was the right one. That did not take anything away from the game though, it just kept me in this nice world for a few minutes more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I honestly surprised at how powerful Nintendo’s little handheld is, and even more surprised at how some developers just know how to use it.
I’m glad that the 3DS has another great RPG to add to its collection, with so many developers ditching the usual RPG tropes it is nice to see a new franchise emerge that has some great potential. For those who think the 3DS doesn’t have enough quality RPG’s to play you need to pick up this title. You will lose countless hours building up your oasis and saving people from the chaos. If you are a fan of Animal Crossing and want to see a world where Tom Nook isn’t an ass, pick this game up, you get to play as Tom Nook and you are charitable. If you like hack-and-slash combat elements in games, oddly enough this is a game that you can sink your teeth into and get hours of hacking and slashing enjoyment. This game has something for everyone and I hope that it becomes a popular Nintendo franchise in the future.
A Nintendo 3DS review copy of Ever Oasis was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.