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Hidden Gem Review: PoPoLoCrois

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I’ve decided that
every once in a while I’m going to throw up a ‘Hidden Gem’ review for you guys.
I know there are games out there that don’t ever hit the mainstream but are
still good, so I would like to shed light on as many of those games as
possible.


Today, I am unveiling PoPoLoCrois,
which is a great little game that I played during my short run with a PSP.
Whimsical artistry along with a compelling story-line, loveable characters, and
old school
Final Fantasy-esque gameplay
make this game enjoyable as well as addicting.

Narrative

On his 10th birthday, little Prince Pietro learns
that his (previously thought dead) mother is actually alive! What has kept her
from him for all of these years is a curse that inflicts eternal sleep. Our
adventure begins when Pietro decides he needs to find a cure for her.
Throughout the journey you will also add characters to your party including:
Narcia, White Knight, Kai, and GamiGami Devil. The game covers over five years
— about 25 – 30 hours of gameplay — and though the story is compelling, it is
definitely not the driving force of what makes
PoPoLoCrois really enjoyable. Compared to other classic RPGs, its
narrative is sub-par, but believe me, it is made up for by other aspects of the
game.

Gameplay

There are many dungeons and many monsters to fight within
the land of PoPoLoCrois, and Pietro has access to weapons as well as magic and
special abilities called “waza.” Each playable character has their own waza
which is unique to them. These abilities do not cost any mana, but have
restrictions on them instead. (i.e. – Pietro has to have a full guts bar to use
one of his). If you ever enjoyed play Final Fantasy 1-5, like I have, that is a
good example of what the mechanics are like while in combat. Sadly, on the PSP
there are long loading times for the fights as well as some of the spells, and
with an annoyingly high monster encounter rate, it can be rather troublesome to
travel from one town to the next.

Graphics and Audio

In my opinion, graphics and audio are the best parts of the
game. While the graphics are a bit lacking for being on the PSP, they are
absolutely adorable and fun. Playing the game feels really child-like and
whimsical, especially the way the characters are drawn. They are a bit goofy
looking, but in an endearing way which, when paired with their innate sense of
good, makes very loveable characters. My favorite part about
PoPoloCrois though is PoPoLoCrois! The
world is vast and covered in towns with amiable merchants, floating mountains,
beautiful forests, and icy domains. Immersion is achieved mostly through the
world, and it is much more captivating than one would think at first glance.

As for audio, it can get a bit repetitive, but the songs are
bouncy and entertaining. Music definitely makes the battles and dungeons a lot
more bearable. This with the fact that there are animated cut-scenes vastly
helps with narrative as well as breaking up the monotony of battle.

The Verdict: Nostalgic but Simple

If you want a game to stir your old school RPG memories,
this is definitely the title for you. While the game is enjoyable, it is also
very simple – back to the basics of RPGs. More hardcore fans may dislike
PoPoLoCrois, but it’s definitely worth a
play if you’re just doing it for fun. I personally loved the crap out of this
game and urge you to check it out if you can!

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Our Verdict
PoPoLoCrois
Gives a nostalgic feel, whimsical graphics, vast game world
Slow loading times, high monster encounter rate, a bit simple for hardcore RPG players
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Mariah Beem
I am very fond of video games, which is why I chose my major of Video Game Design with focus on Narrative. The idea of being able to make people feel the way I do about games through my own game is my main goal. I want to be able to give gamers a way to connect and be brought together by an experience that could be powered by elation, sadness, or even fear. It is emotions such as those that hook people into games and make them want more. By connecting a well-thought story with mechanics, character design, level design, and even audio, a game can be unstoppable - and ridiculously fun to play. I believe that narrative design is not a static thing. For narrative to be done well, it must be fluid and dynamic - something that is able to be changed by the player. Whether that be by choices, the knowledge the player gains from exploring, or simply who the player talks to, the story must bend and change and grow. This is why I want to be a narrative designer: there is definitely more to it than meets the eye, and I love a challenge.

What Music Do You Want in the Next Super Smash Bros.?

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