Review: Ikenfell – A Magical Little Turn-Based RPG Adventure With Charm To Spare

Ikenfell Review - Screenshot 1 of 5

Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

There is definitely no scarcity of turn-based RPGs obtainable on Swap today and a good higher variety of retro-pixel indie efforts that current their strategic adventures in an more and more overused eight or 16-Bit graphical model. Truthfully, we love them actually however it will probably positively really feel a little bit wearisome at occasions prepping your self to dive into one more certainly one of these oh-so-cute SNES-esque escapades. Completely happy Ray Video games’ Ikenfell is an additional addition to the console’s library that slots squarely into this model and it truly is a testomony to the standard of the writing and fight on supply right here that, regardless of our slight reluctance, ten minutes into this one we had been just about hooked. It could seem like simply one other cutesy RPG journey however in actuality what’s here’s a advanced little story that takes some surprisingly emotional turns and is bolstered by turn-based fight that eases you in earlier than presenting you with a correct problem to dig into.

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Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

Ikenfell tells the story of Magritte, an “odd” who units out in the hunt for her sister Safina, a gifted and well-liked witch who has gone AWOL from the Hogwarts-esque Ikenfell College of Magic which she attends. Ikenfell has been positioned into emergency lockdown — one thing we are able to definitely all establish with proper now — as unusual happenings and magical calamities take over the campus and, as Magritte approaches, she is challenged by the college’s guardians, within the course of revealing that she too possesses the power to wield highly effective magic. What ensues is a heartfelt story wherein Magritte will get to know extra about herself, her sister and the true nature of the unusual world wherein they exist via the chums, enemies and acquaintances Safina has left behind.

Proper from the opening moments right here, Magritte’s journey actually does seize you, it is stuffed with an actual sense of marvel, of hidden magical prospects, and is populated by a various forged of well-written characters, lots of whom are homosexual, trans or scuffling with their very own sense of self-worth, identification or place on the earth in a roundabout way or different — and all of that is additional complimented by a neat fight system that retains the numerous enemy encounters you may battle your means via feeling remarkably recent and tactical for the story’s length.

Flip-based battles right here happen inside a grid system and start by permitting you — and one other two characters who’ll ultimately be part of your celebration — to place your self inside a highlighted space earlier than selecting which assault or merchandise you want to use. As you progress and rank up you may unlock new magical skills and spells, every of which has a special Space of Impact which is highlighted on the grid when you choose them and have to be taken under consideration as you are deciding the place to put your character earlier than you strike. Issues begin off merely sufficient right here and you may spend the opening hour or so of this 10+ hour journey attending to grips with simply positioning Magritte to ensure that her assaults to land squarely on the heads of her enemies. Your default fireplace assault, for instance, can solely have an effect on a foe that is inside two grid areas straight in entrance of you and its AoE is only one sq. whereas the second spell you be taught impacts a cross-shaped space and might injury quite a few nasties who occur to linger inside its vary.

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Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

It is a neat system and shifting across the designated battle space, positioning your characters with the intention to get as a lot injury in towards a gaggle of enemies as attainable in a single flip turns into extra advanced and satisfying as the sport ups the ante and introduces foes who play soiled, summoning minions who lock down giant areas of the grid, lay invisible traps or forged spells which have an effect on your capacity to maneuver round freely. Ikenfell then provides a Paper Mario-style timing ingredient to all of this which requires you to hit a button at precisely the suitable second as you assault or defend with the intention to maximise the injury you dish out or minimise that which you’re taking from an enemy onslaught. Completely time an assault and you will be greeted with a little bit motion bubble exclaiming “nice!”, mess it up and you may earn your self an “oops!”. It is a easy little wrinkle however one which, alongside the fixed want to watch and bear in mind you and your enemy’s positions on the battlefield, offers the entire thing a much-needed layer of technique.

There actually is rather a lot to the battling right here. You will have to watch out for pleasant fireplace, particularly when laying down environmental traps of your individual and enemies all the time have some new ingredient to their assaults which must be taken under consideration. You might end up up towards a gaggle of foes who work in unison, for instance, one assuming the function of assailant whereas the opposite two present regens of well being and armour, requiring you to cope with them in a sure order to succeed. Others, such because the very first boss battle you encounter, cannot be broken in an significant means straight and so you may have to assault their exploding minions at simply the suitable time to make sure the following blast hits them.

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Captured on Nintendo Swap (Docked)

All of that is additional enhanced by a powerful vary of enemy sorts, every of whom has their very own distinctive assault patterns and spells to get a deal with on, that means that issues by no means actually slide into monotony, regardless of how most of the largely avoidable encounters you resolve to contain your self in as you examine the grounds of Ikenfell. This admirable selection in enemies does, nonetheless, additionally imply that you just’re continuously launched to model new assaults and this will grow to be a little bit irritating at occasions as each has their very own bespoke little animation which impacts hit timings and means you may doubtless end up getting bashed fairly arduous earlier than you nail when precisely to hit that button and block many of the incoming injury. It isn’t an enormous deal, and we might definitely take the bonus of getting a lot selection over the destructive of getting to restart a battle each once in a while, however it may be disappointing to seek out your self Okay.O.’d simply since you could not presumably have identified an assault’s timings beforehand.

Fortunately, for individuals who are discovering the fight robust or tedious or perhaps simply need to preserve marching alongside via the story fairly than spending a number of time battling, Ikenfell additionally permits you play via its journey with an Immediate Win possibility activated, that means you possibly can drop down right into a battle and instantly choose to overcome your adversary with none photographs fired, you may even earn a little bit XP and preserve levelling up your celebration within the course of. If this seems like an excessive amount of of a serving to hand, Completely happy Ray Video games has additionally offered the choice to modify the timing mechanic between handbook, semi-auto and full auto modes, that means there’s actually a stage of problem and problem to go well with any participant right here.

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Captured on Nintendo Swap (Handheld/Undocked)

It is an impressively versatile system, we completely loved battling via all the encounters right here, a few of which may be genuinely robust — particularly the handful of boss fights you may come up towards in later levels — however we are able to completely see how some could desire to simply preserve progressing alongside via the sport’s charming narrative and tricksy puzzle sequences fairly than spend hours mixing it up with enemies. We must also give a shoutout to the sport’s excellent soundtrack, the work of Aivi and Surassha — a duo finest identified for offering the music for Steven Universe — who’ve delivered an impressive seventy 5 monitor effort right here, together with some chic acoustic efforts that completely underscore among the extra emotional moments in Magritte’s journey of self-discovery.

Efficiency on Swap, as anticipated from a recreation on this retro pixel model, is ideal in each docked and handheld modes and, total, this one’s an enthralling little journey with a narrative that hooks you in rapidly, retains you proper the way in which via, and is complimented by a enjoyable battle system with loads of accessibility choices to go well with all ranges of participant.


Ikenfell is an enthralling little turn-based tactical RPG that hooks you in rapidly with a well-written story and powerful forged of characters and retains you locked in for its length with a surprisingly advanced fight system. There are accessibility choices right here to go well with all ranges of participant, a good suggestion contemplating how robust among the battles may be alongside the way in which, and, total, it is a heart-warming and distinctive entry to its style that comes extremely beneficial.

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