Nadia Was Here - PC Review

About this time last year I took a look at the Kickstarter Demo for Nadia Was Here, and upon booting it up again I felt just as at home with it now as I did then. Being able to go further than the first hour this time around, Nadia the Thief, Hogan the grouchy old Warrior and Tereshan the Wizard make up the classic RPG trinity as they head towards their not-quite-shared goal alongside one of my favorite squirrels.

Nadia Was Here is a retro inspired RPG with a twist as it takes several classic elements and adds in some new ones of its own. Starting off on the first morning of the Last Year of the world it doesn't take long for our three unlikely cohorts to come together as Hogan has his shield stolen and in the midst of chasing the thief runs into Nadia who's just made her own prison break. Escaping the prison together even after proving she's not the Thief he's looking for, the two encounter their Wizard in a pub who needs protecting on the road because he's not strong enough to make it to his destination on his own. With grumbling a plenty the three set out.

This really isn’t your typical Retro inspired title. Joep Aben has managed to find the sweet spot between the both the 8 and 16-bit styled graphics to create a unique look that won’t easily be mistaken for another. Designed with Gamer Maker it’s also easy to see where some of the different approaches come from compared to if an RPG Maker engine had been used.

Exploration of the world with Nadia and the party is both simple in basic designs and complex with some of the puzzle solving. Controls are quite literally WASD or the arrow keys with the space bar. The mouse could also be used but it’s not as comfortable. Having the controls configured in this sense allows for your brain to wrap its mind around some of what you’re going to have to do in order to move forward.

Puzzles until you “get them” can be a bit tricky to pull off. It’s not that they are super hard but they are designed at just the point that you have to wonder if you’re missing something in order to move on. In certain cases? Yes you will be because your party either has not picked something up or you haven’t been through the room from a certain direction. Pushing blocks into place, shoving stones to destroy other blocks, then moving pillars around the floor beneath in order to create walkways above. Sometimes it works while other times it works after you’ve been through a few more rooms because something isn’t quite right. Figuring that part of it added to the charm as it was never frustrating but simply “there’s more to it than this”.

Through these explorations the party will need to defend itself and combat is just as smooth as the demo and just as fun. Battle is “real-time” with an un-pausing ATB system in which everyone on the field fills up their meters in order to perform their abilities and attacks. Ready or not, once the meter is filled the slotted action is performed even if there’s no one in front of the character. Battle is VERY hands on and taking your attention away for even an instant is not recommended.

At a first glance it can seem like Nadia Was Here holds just another classic system with your party on the right and the enemies on the left. Then you notice that you can select your characters and move them between the rows. Because of the real time nature this allows for characters to be moved in one after another into place in order to slay a particular enemy faster than the others either because they happen to be a healer or because they keep poisoning your party.

As enemies are subject to the same rules they will attack whoever is in front of them and they don’t care who it is. This is why you can’t multitask the battle with making a latte for example because you need your attention focused on moving your party members where they will be hurt the least between attacking where they can hurt the most. It takes some getting used to between the various abilities of the characters and the defensive shields that Hogan picks up but it’s because you can’t just sit back that battling enemies is some of the most fun in an old schooled styled RPG that I’ve had in a long time.

Overall these elements come together​ for a well balanced adventure. Nadia Was Here is a refreshing retro styled adventure that shows that just because it’s “retro” doesn’t mean it has to hold onto a full set of old ideas.

Game Information

Jajaben Games
Indietopia Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves


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