Thanks to Uber Strategies for Supplying a Copy for the Purposes of Review.
Simply put, Braveland Trilogy for Nintendo Switch isn’t a grand masterpiece like other installments in its genre. But for a retail price of only $14.99, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, more than any other platform, it seems this trilogy could benefit the best from the Nintendo Switch’s digital content service, which emphasizes indies as much as their own first-party exclusives. However, even at these lowered expectations, a dull story and repetitive gameplay never allow this collection to flourish with new life. It’s classically nostalgic of old-school RPGs, but it never doubles down on it, resulting in a rather confused batch of weakly stringed together battles. It may be entertaining for those who are willing to set aside its long list of grievances, but it unfortunately wasn’t able to hold and continuously grasp my attention. Within just an hour, the novelty of Tortuga’s collection wore off as it meandered in place and didn’t know what to do. There’s certainly a lot of content for players to chew on, but it’s hard to see any player being able to stick through these three experiences all the way through, especially when there are so many better titles to spend your hard-earned cash over.
Bringing together three RPGs to earn fresh, revived life on a new platform, Braveland Trilogy chronicles grand, fantasy adventures from genius, wizened wizards to ambitious, stubborn warriors. And while this premise is certainly intriguing, it’s nothing new or compelling for newcomers to the series, and the writers make no effort to flesh out this world. There are certainly attempts, with hard-earned crumbs of backstory sprinkled here and there. Unfortunately, these attempts are nowhere enough and result in an experience that is frankly dull. None of the main characters prove relatable and seem like a hollow shell or template, something that’s just waiting to be filled, but developer Tortuga Team unfortunately never takes the charge to fill those empty silhouettes.
But if the stories don’t relish with suspense and characters, surely the gameplay would be an outstanding, entertaining mechanic? And actually in some scenarios, it can prove to be entertaining enough as to where players won’t quit the game in under fifteen minutes. The turn-based strategy system isn’t new or innovative, but rather a simplified and more accessible version. A notable aspect that I loved was the removal of a momentum-killing intro or tutorial. Players are thrown right into the cusp of things, and it made for a lively experience right from the start, even if that momentum quickly slows to a sharp halt in later portions.
On that note, the art direction on display is both gratifying and frustrating. For one, the graphics are outdated, and the character models look amateur at best. In addition, there’s not enough bold artistry implemented to excuse such a limitation. Frankly, it looks like something that would run on a mobile device or tablet, not like something that would be able on two fully-fledged gaming platforms. Perhaps it was the limitations of the Switch itself that caused these unfortunate downgrades, but when compared against the PC version, there is minimal difference, suggesting that this trilogy didn’t really receive much care and love in enhancing its graphical fidelity for the new platform.
Ultimately, Braveland Trilogy is a welcome distraction for players who have completed the most notable of indies and first-party exclusives available. But when it comes to serving as a compelling experience of game design, the trilogy often collapses under its own dense weight, buried alive by how dead and wooden some of these choices are. It’s by no means an offensive addition to the platform, but it’s definitely not one that’s exciting.
Braveland Trilogy is a compilation of three great turn-based adventure RPGs for the Nintendo Switch - the original Braveland, Braveland Pirate, and Braveland Wizard. Each game in the trilogy offers classic tactical combat and role-playing gameplay combined with new challenges, heroes, henchmen, enemies, and environments - and all three versions are playable on the Switch for the first time!
BRAVELAND TRILOGY launches for Nintendo Switch on March 7th, 2019.