Operencia: The Stolen Sun
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Zen Studios
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 31/03/20
A code was provided for review purposes.
There are many RPGs to choose from on the Nintendo Switch. With the likes of Octopath Traveller, Dragon Quest XI and Divinity: Original Sin 2, why should you play Operencia: The Stolen Sun? I’m here to tell you.
Old School RPG
Operencia: The Stolen Sun is an old school, turn-based RPG experience that has players reminiscing of games from many of their childhoods such as the Eye of the Beholder trilogy, but adds a modern spin to it to make it feel shiny and new. Which it does well. Adding everything we loved about first-person dungeon-crawlers, Operencia: The Stolen Sun sees you lead a team of memorable characters through a world heavily inspired by Central European Mythology. That world is – you guessed it – Operencia.
The story behind Operencia: The Stolen Sun isn’t anything we’ve not seen before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. An unknown force has seized the Great Sun King, Napkiraly. Due to this, Operencia is in a state of ruin and in good old RPG fashion, only a group of unimportant warriors can save this world.
Exploring tombs, castles, solving puzzles and of course, battling enemies across 13 different levels are all ways in which the quest of restoring Operencia to its former glory will be achieved. All of which comes with their own visual styles, puzzles, level designs and atmosphere.
Upon starting the game for the very first time you will be placed into a quick tutorial, showcasing everything the game has to offer without overwhelming the player. Which is a good thing because there is a lot of information offered up that you need to get your head around. At the point of completing the tutorial – or the prologue – you will then have the opportunity to choose your difficulty. As a difference to other games in the genre though, instead of just choosing ‘Easy’, ‘Normal’ or ‘Hard’, you can change the difficulty parameters between ‘Normal’ and ‘Hard’ for different sections of the game.
To explain further, you are faced with the difficulty parameters ‘Cartographer’, Battle-Hardened’, ‘Permadeath’ and ‘Betyar’. So, choosing ‘Normal’ on ‘Cartographer’ will allow the game to autosave regularly as well as allowing companions to rest more frequently at campfires. Selecting the ‘Hard’ option will change the game to only allow you to save whilst at campfires and you will also not be shown any objective markers. Making the game a whole lot more difficult. Also, upon choosing these options, you cannot change them at a later time.
Now, it’s time to create your character. You start by choosing a class; Warrior, Hunter or Mage. All with different attributes. I chose Warrior. Then it’s on to choosing how you look. Don’t get too excited though, you can only choose from 8 pre-set characters; 4 male and 4 female. Next, it’s time to choose your origin, where do you come from? A choice from 4 offers you some extra attributes and abilities. You then have 10 attribute points to place. This is where you distinguish what type of player you will be, placing points in Strength if you want to be a brawler or Wisdom if you are a magic-user. Finally, you will choose 2 talents (special moves) out of a few, dependant on your previous choices. Input your characters name and you’re good to go.
As soon as you start the game you will notice that your character moves in squares – or tiles. Which can take some getting used to as you will just want to move around freely, as we are used to with the majority of our games now. When you do get used to it, you will realise just how much better it is because it allows you to stop and think about what actions you are going to take. It’s also worth noting you are able to swing around 360° at any given time, allowing you to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Operencia: The Stolen Sun‘s combat plays out like any other turn-based game; each player has a ‘turn bar’ with a given amount of actions. This will be used to attack, use special attributes or defend themselves. The main difference it offers though is lanes. There are 3 different lanes in which your enemies can be in. This will affect the percentage that your attack will hit. If an enemy is in the back lane, it’s usually easier to use your bow than anything else as that tends to have a hit rating of 100%. Using your melee weapon can result in a high chance of you missing that attack.
Stunning Level Design
I feel that this is the area in which Operencia: The Stolen Sun excels. The labyrinth, dungeons and Forests you discover are all incredibly detailed and you will definitely want to explore your surroundings just to see what they have to offer. The colours are beautiful and the shadows and water effects were a nice surprise.
The game features fully 3D environments, characters and enemies and though they can feel a little repetitive at times, they’re a pleasure to look at. Completely hand-drawn cutscenes are a nice addition too.
Where I think Operencia: The Stolen Sun really misses the beat is with its lack of touch screen capabilities when in handheld mode. You can use the touch screen to open the world map and to open menus in the game which is great. But the times when I felt I really needed to use the touch screen, I was unable to. For example, in the game’s prologue, you need to aim some beams of lights. The thumbsticks are way too sensitive and so I kept overshooting the mark. I felt it would’ve been much easier if I could tap to aim.
Overall, I found Operencia: The Stolen Sun to be a fun and nostalgic experience. Anybody who is a fan of old school RPGs will get a lot of joy out of this game.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Operencia: The Stolen Sun from the Nintendo eShop here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.