‘Ever Oasis’ Hands-On Impressions: Mix Of The Best Parts Of RPG Genre

ever oasis nintendo 3ds
'Ever Oasis' is coming to Nintendo 3DS this June. Nintendo

Ever Oasis was announced at E3 2016 and the charming RPG for the Nintendo 3DS finally releases this summer.

During a press event for the New Nintendo 2DS XL, I got to try out three games along with the new handheld. Ever Oasis was my favorite to play of the three.

It’s deep, beautiful and controls very well and that’s just only after playing for less than an hour. There’s a lot to do in Ever Oasis and I can’t wait to dive back in when the game releases. But first, let me break down what made my first experience with the title so enjoyable.

PRESENTATION

If you’ve seen gameplay footage of Ever Oasis in the past, you have a rough idea of what you’re getting. The world is full of humanoid animals in a vast land of deserts, forests and lagoons.

For a 3DS game, Ever Oasis looks beautiful. It’s polished and embraces an art style that’s a cross between cartoony and fantastical with small proportions that make the fantasy-world setting come to life. The characters are cute and the way they attack is also pretty adorable. The music is light and really brings you into this world. It’s an enjoyable experience all around just to walk around and explore.

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Tethu is the main protagonist of 'Ever Oasis' Photo: Nintendo

GAMEPLAY

As for the controls, you can move around the overworld while fighting or avoid enemies as you take on tasks. What Ever Oasis does is combine a lot of elements from other RPGs and I couldn’t help but think about them as I was playing, which is definitely not a bad thing. Ever Oasis has honed some of the aspects of some of the best RPGs in the Nintendo stable and combined them into  its own unique thing.

Battling, for example, isn’t turn-based like many RPGs. Instead, it feels like Dragon Quest in that you are moving around the overworld and can engage an enemy or or be ambushed,  but you’re not transported to a separate screen to fight. In that manner, it’s more like Xenoblade where your party will attack an enemy with a player controlling just one member. Ever Oasis makes it easy to switch between party members with the push of a button.

Speaking of party members, each has different abilities and strengths. You can check out stats and abilities in the menu. You can also change weapons and apparel, which can give special effects.

One feature that’s pretty neat is how the game tells you what enemies a particular party member can damage more easily. Instead of using a weapon triangle or element chart, it simply shows a picture of the type of enemy each teammate is good against.

While this will take some getting used to, it’s a welcome change from the usual weakness/resistance charts. Weapons can also change which enemies a party member’s strengths, so keep that in mind.

As for the fighting itself, each member has a normal attack with your main protagonist having a neat magic attack. It becomes a matter of attacking and dodging to defeat enemies.

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Battling in 'Ever Oasis' is pretty simple. Photo: Nintendo

Throughout your journey, you’ll come across puzzles within caves to proceed to the next steps of your adventure. Certain party members will give you special overworld effects like digging or pushing obstacles or rolling into holes in the wall. Certain party members with these skill are only available later in the game, so you’ll have to remember certain areas to return to later.

The only gripe I have is that your party maxes out at three members, with one always being the main protagonist, so you’ll have to constantly switch characters out to get certain abilities.

SPENDING TIME IN YOUR OASIS

So how do you get more party members? I learned in the small time of playing Ever Oasis that a lot of what you can do is located in your Oasis. This area acts like your character’s safezone where you can go to stock up on items, purchase new weapons/attire and gain new allies. You can gain new allies by meeting them in the overworld during your journey with the easiest way to gain new members by completing an NPC’s side quest.

ever oasis party join
You can befriend NPCs in 'Ever Oasis' to join your party. Photo: Nintendo

A Nintendo representative likened this part of the game to Animal Crossing, in that you can befriend other NPCs and by doing so allow them to join your party. NPCs come with their own special shops that can strengthen your Oasis and give you access to more items.  

Overall, Ever Oasis is shaping up to be a great new RPG. Fans of the genre will love the atmosphere and feel of the world while the controls are simple and work well with the 3DS configuration. There’s enough depth to appease hardcore RPG fans and you can easily spend hours in this game.

Ever Oasis releases for Nintendo 3DS June 23.

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