Title: Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travelers
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Genre: Fantasy, RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: 7+
Release Date: 25/10/2019
Price: ₤35.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a code for this title.
Ok, let’s start with an admission. I have never really played JRPGs. Yes, I fell in love with Octopath Traveler, but I never completed the game, and always felt as if I was kind of lost in it, and never really had a plan.
So, I ventured into Destiny Connect eager to really knuckle down and play a JRPG. It was a bonus that this is an overload of cuteness tied up in a very nice storyline. So sure, the game is aimed at a younger audience, but core mechanics of a JRPG are there, but was that enough? Did it pull me into the story and the genre, or did it just confirm my misgivings on the genre? Keep reading this Rapid Review to find out.
As I mentioned, the game is targeted at a younger audience than my 35 years, however, that doesn’t make it a kid’s game. More about that in the gameplay section. I really loved the soundtrack to this game. The opening montage sets the tone with its triumphant tones, and it moves from there. A thunderous backdrop that runs through the game, yet it isn’t afraid to change it up to a more serene and tender beat for the more intimate and emotional moments of the game.
The sounds of battle were also well played and diverse enough for what it is. Each of the character’s attacks and SP graded moves had a different animation and sound. Depending on your preferred moves you could hear a very small or a very broad range of noises.
The only truly repetitive sounds were that of the robots themselves, but I can overlook that when looking at the grander picture.
I really like the design of the characters and the different enemies that you encountered. The story set up the different characters; the way the creative team envisioned the different machines from everyday life was impressive. I especially liked the look of the pinball machine enemy and the steam bath from the irons.
Each character was different and had an individual personality to them, even the enemies, who never spoke and were often just mere cannon fodder for our heroes to plough through.
The Many Faces of Isaac
My two favourite characters in the game are Pegreo and Isaac. Pegreo because he is a wimp and yet I found his moves to be some of the more devastating, and Isaac not just because he’s a robot but because of his different forms.
A key component to the gameplay, the story, and the ending, Isaac is a character you love and care for. He’s also the most fun to play. The deeper you get in the story the more Isaac develops. Unlocking new costumes and moves is one of the best parts of the game. Each character is unique and has a skill set that offers a unique style of offense from tactical or defensive, to the medic, to out and out badass. The cool as a cucumber outlaw whose animations were filled with sass and had an attitude for days.
I don’t want to give anything away about Isaac, so I shall leave it as saying you need to read and understand his part of the story carefully in order to understand how to win the final battle.
Well, the one weakness in the game is that there is no voice acting.
Given that this was a younger person’s game I was quite surprised by this. Especially as there is a lot of text to read, and I mean a LOT.
Plenty of Story in a Small Package
When I say that this is a small game, I mean that it is a more budget title and offers a simplistic style, yet it is brimming with story.
It’s not perfect, or rather given the younger audience some of the more important elements are ‘juniored up’ and that did feel jarring the first time I came across it, but after a moment of reflection, it made sense.
There was everything you need in a story driven game. Good and interesting characters, mystery (this is where the adult in you will unravel these secrets without too much need for the eventual ‘revelations’), and a wide range of emotions. Everything you need in a good game.
The gameplay is as you would expect from a JRPG. You control your character in a third-person view and can alternate between party members at the press of a button. I never really changed my controlling character as it didn’t fit the story to ever do so.
During the game, your team grows to a total of five characters, three of which can be active at any one time. This is where I probably did the least in the game, never actually swapping out any of my characters. I found the three I had and the skills they had were a great combination, and I had a perfect system built up that let me tear through my opponents.
While I really enjoyed my time with this game, it is important to understand it doesn’t break the mold in any way. At least not as far as my understanding of the genre goes. I did find it helpful that every character had a healing capability which, although only really came into play during some of the later fights, gave a bit of generous fluidity to the battle tactics.
The controls took a little getting used to and the sensitivity seemed a little unbalanced at times, but I am also too lazy to enter the settings and play around with such things, so I learned to live with it and had no major problems as a result.
Another thing I liked, and maybe this is also part of the younger audience target, but each character leveled up uniformly, even those not directly in your party. It kept things in balance and removed the over reliance on a single character. Although you did have certain levels of character leveling that went beyond merely XP Levels.
As you defeated enemies you could collect wisdom pieces (three different varieties). These are then used to train individual character moves, powering them from 0 to 5 stars. Because of my inability to use fast travel (I kept forgetting it was there) my three main characters and 90% of their moves were maxed out around three-quarters of the way through the story. This was good and bad because when there was nothing more to gain from fighting, the altercations became tiresome, and in the last level, especially the three identical floors in the mall, there were a lot of fights to be had. I assume this was to help you get your characters leveled up if they were not already there, but for me, it was annoying.
That leads nicely to my one major gripe about the game. The final chapter dragged on for too long and did one thing I really hate in a story. It repeated an early chapter just with a different character. Not just in terms of what you had to do, but what happened, what you were searching for, everything. It was needless and the flashbacks you got when collecting each piece added nothing to the game as they were just replays of scenes you were directly involved in.
So, the basics of the story are that machines come to life and you need to travel back and forth in time in order to save both the past, present and the future. I’ll say no more than that. But not all are bad. In fact, some are very helpful to you, and one, your mother’s trusty iron, is a sweetheart that offers to tidy up your wardrobe for you.
This interaction opens a game-long ‘side-quest’ for collectible water droplets. These things would randomly spawn on the map as you walked around. Collecting them acted as currency for buying new outfits for Sherry (the main character).
I searched for a few, found a few by chance and bought a handful of new costumes. It was fun for a while but that was it.
As much fun as I had while playing the game, I don’t seem myself returning to it for a second playthrough. I mean, I could find an excuse if not just to play with the other characters that joined my party – Truth and Altana – because I never used them, but the pull to go back into the world just isn’t there, however much fun I had watching the different Isaac transformations.
I came up with a new combination of moves early on and they were all fully powered long before then and I was very happy with the run I had, never losing a battle, and only losing a character twice and then it was intentional (to see the animations they created for rebirth so I could post it to Twitter).
Destiny Connect is a highly enjoyable JRPG. Yes, it is aimed at a younger audience but as someone who is both inexperienced in the genre and a fan of good story, this game ticked all the boxes.
The final chapter in the mall ran on a little too long for my liking, but I can overlook it for the unique ending to the final battle.
Overall, Destiny Connect Tick Tock Travelers is a cute and fun game, and while I am unlikely to revisit it, there was certainly more than enough content in the game to keep me happy for the 23 hours I invested in it.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Destiny Connect: Tick Tock Travelers from the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Destiny-Connect-Tick-Tock-Travelers-1649997.html