Ever Oasis (3DS) Review
Ever Oasis sounds like it has a lot going for it; an RPG, dungeon crawler and city management game all rolled into one. Unfortunately, it is not the sum of its parts.
The game is developed by Grezzo, who you may recognise as the studio responsible for the remasters of both The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask — both of which are the definitive versions of each game. As the first big game that they’ve developed solely for themselves, Ever Oasis doesn’t quite live up to their previous workings. Sure, it was more or less pure gold they were previously refining, but it just may not have been enough experience to put into a fresh new title.
You take on the role as leader of a new settlement after devastating strikes in your own hometown. Trying to live up to the advice of your sibling, you want to make the most out of your very own Oasis and be the best leader you can be. As a town-building simulator, things are a little basic and you end up to following the same routine, over and over again. First, you must attract some new residents, either by growing your Oasis or finding them out in the world and saving them from peril. When they arrive you help them out with a basic errand which convinces them to stay. Next, you build a Bloom Booth for them to set up shop and you constantly help replenish their stocks. At least you get to share in some of the profits.
Things start to get a bit taxing and time consuming as your town grows bigger, to an almost unmanageable level. You find yourself constantly running back and forth to the different booths, giving them the items they need so they can turn a profit and, more importantly, keep the happiness level of your Oasis high, which is integral to growing your settlement. Thankfully you can eventually palm off these jobs to teams of townsfolk. For instance, you can have them go out to farm materials and stock shops without you having to visit every single Bloom Booth personally.
All up, the town management is rather basic and not too in-depth; it ended up becoming something I didn’t want to spend time doing, unlike Animal Crossing where its pure charm is enough to make you want to keep coming back to help your townsfolk out.
On the flip side, Ever Oasis is certainly better with its RPG and dungeon crawling elements. There is a wide variety of dungeons, each with different theming and visuals, but at first the difficulty and puzzles are pretty easy to get through. As you continue things do get a little bit more complex, and more interesting, but ultimately don’t live up to the same calibre of a dungeon and puzzle design as you would find in a Zelda game.
The story is also rather unimpressive and very basic. I found myself constantly spamming the A button just to get past the not-so-clever and, more often than not, annoying dialogue. This is something I never do. For me, games live for the story, and I need to know what is going on, but this was just a bit too much for me to handle. One thing I was worried about while skipping through the story was missing out on key bits of information for what I need to do and where I need to go. Thankfully the map always has your back and has an arrow for both the main and active sidequest.
As your Oasis starts to grow and you attract more residents, you also get to go out adventuring with some teammates. You’ll assign your team manually based on their skills and you have to make sure you choose the right people for the job as they each have unique skills. You also decide what weapons each person takes with them, so long as they are an actual resident of your town and not just a moocher. I mean visitor. I found it easier to just have the game assign the most appropriate equipment to my team for whatever task it was that I was about to complete. I did this all the time, as the RPG side of things weren’t that appealing to me. I prefer the action, rather than crafting and choosing weapons and items.
While you are out in the world adventuring, you can easily swap between your assigned teammates and use their different abilities, which is good because it gives you a variety of play styles. Sometimes I liked being up close fighting with a sword, right in the face of my enemy, while other times I liked being more of a ranged fighter with projectile or thrown weapons.
You constantly find areas in dungeons that you can’t access because you’ve brought the wrong team member. This is fine, because it’s easy enough to warp back home, change team member, warp back to the dungeon, get back to the place where you need to use your newly assigned team mate, complete the task at hand, realise that this new team member is useless for the rest of this dungeon, go back home change to the original team member you picked, warp back to the dungeon once more, get back to where you were and continue on with your adventures. If you couldn’t tell the context in my writing, it was a sarcasm. It wasn’t fine. It wasn’t fine at all. It was one of the most annoying parts of the game. You can really see why warping and fast travel was a necessary inclusion.
Battling enemies is fun at first, but it does get a little samey, however with the ability to play as the three different members of the team it stays somewhat fresh and fun. Boss battles are also easy enough to play through and often not too hard to work out what you need to do to be victorious. In fact, your teammates go a long way to helping defeat all the enemies you encounter.
All in all, when it comes to exploring the overworld and dungeons, it feels like it’s rather hard to fail. Dying doesn’t happen too often and in fact, when you do fall in battle you have the option to respawn right there and then on the spot. Die twice while in the field though and you’ll have to go back to your Oasis.
One major gripe I have with the quest handling is that you can only have one active side quest at any given time. If you decide to help out one resident and then talk to somebody else who has a quest, if you accept it, the original residents request disappear and then you must hunt them down again to activate that side quest. It’s a shame that there wasn’t just an inactive side-quest list that you can choose from to activate at any time.
25+ hours of gameplay
Dungeons get good
Not so charming story
25+ hours of town management