|a game by||Exe-Create|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||RPGs, JRPG Games|
EXE Create has absolutely grown as a developer of role-playing games (RPGs) as time has gone on. They’ve learned from previous mistakes while making sure to add a bit of flare to their newer titles. Fernz Gate (published by Kemco) is another welcome addition to their roster that fans of the genre and publisher should enjoy, albeit if it’s just for the story.
Fernz Gate is a RPG at its core. If you’re a fan of the classic RPGs of the 90’s that were prevalent on Nintendo and PlayStation consoles, then you’ll feel right at home here. The usual gameplay loop for those retro RPGs is ingrained into this game. You’ll start out with a weak protagonist, meet new friends, battle enemies and level up, take quests from NPCs (non-playable characters), fight a giant boss, collect the reward, then rinse and repeat. It’s a formula that has worked for RPGs for decades and it works just as well here.
The graphics are what you would expect from a classic RPG with colorful sprites that really pop out. However on some platforms such as the Switch, you’ll see a degrade in quality in handheld mode. It’s sad to see, but it doesn’t ruin the experience.
As far as the audio and music go, it’s also your usual fare. Chiptunes will play as you traverse the towns and dungeons, but you’ll find that these quickly get old. I found myself turning it down often as I replayed a dungeon or revisited a town.
I Call on You, Buddy!
Battles in Fernz Gate are pretty straight forward. You’ll be using either a standard, special, or magic attack to defeat enemies while using items and support magic occasionally. As you level up your characters throughout your adventure, you’ll learn new and more powerful specials and magic spells. Each newly acquired skill is vastly more powerful than the previous one, meaning you won’t be going back to using your older spells too often, if at all.
The most unique system within the game is found in the so-called Buddy system. These buddies are used in tandem with your main characters while in battle to give buffs and provide support. These buddies are found throughout the game by acquiring rings that unlock them for use.
What makes the Buddy system neat is that it adds an extra layer to the battles as you’ll need to find the combinations that work best with one another. I found myself experimenting often with them, but you’ll find your go-to buddies just as I did. You could argue it’s similar to Pokémon, where your goal is to find and capture monsters that fight for you. Except in Fernz Gate, you fight alongside the monsters.
What I ended up finding out is that right from the start, your characters are quite overpowered. You’ll be able to take on most battles very easily, often using the game’s auto-battle mode to complete the encounters for you. Some may enjoy the casualness of this, but I’d recommend a harder difficulty than normal if you’re looking for more of a challenge.
Back to the Future
Another bright spot of Fernz Gate is the story itself. While most EXE Create RPGs have predictable stories with the usual fantasy theme, Fernz Gate does a great job at standing out due to its more serious tone.
The story is this: A young high-schooler named Alex appears in a field one day, unbeknownst of how he got there. You’ll find out that Alex is in Fernland – a world where people from other worlds are trapped. To leave this dangerous and magical place, you must seek the help of the Goddess. However, the land has recently come under attack by a villain named the Overlord. Alex sets out on a quest to stop the Overlord so he and everyone else can return back home to where he came from.
I really enjoyed the character arc of Alex. He starts out as a feeble warrior -- as most protagonists do in RPGs -- but his progress felt more grounded and real. It’s easy to believe that a high-schooler from modern times, dropped into a fantasy setting would have quite a hard time surviving in it.
- Engaging story with interesting protagonist arc
- Buddy system is fun to experiment with
- Good value for the price you’ll pay
- Music can start to get repetitive as you progress
- Issues with degrading sprites on certain platforms (Switch in handheld)
- Battles are too easy in Normal mode
Download Fernz Gate
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP