The irreverent panache of the title… feels groundbreaking
A title funded by Kickstarter (with nearly three thousand funders) can cause even the most stalwart champion of JRPGs to hesitate. There have been a few major disappointments in the melded worlds of Kickstarter and gaming, but that’s not the case here: play Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, and be pleased.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, developed by Pixelated Milk and published by Klabater, jumps headfirst into the tactical JRPG pool; joyously knocking the other titles of its ilk right out of the ring -- there haven’t been enough releases in the genre to keep me happy of late. Regalia is not only reminiscent of the better aspects of JRPGs (a la Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5), but the irreverent panache of the title makes the mildly unoriginal content feels groundbreaking; this release abounds with material. From tactical battle, relationship building, kingdom construction, choose-your-own-adventure narrative, and fishing, Regalia offers an entire world in which you can immerse yourself and become lost.
You are Kay, the unlikely hero -- perilously close to unworthy -- and a bit of a brat. Accompanying Kay is Griffith, his ever-present, stalwart guardian who seems to be in possession of a stick up his butt; Gwen, his disdainful bitch of a sister; and Elly: the sweet sister (of course, there HAS to be a sweet one – what kind of JRPG do you think this is?!). Gameplay begins when Kay and his retinue arrive at his new and unexpected kingdom, revealed to him in a mysterious note. Fallen into disrepair and in incredible debt, the kingdom needs TLC, desperately. After meeting his ancestral helper (a dead grandfather) and the wretched debt collector, Kay realizes he has a lot of work to do. The fun begins with a collection of one of the most colorful, beautiful, and fun casts in gaming. They are all here: the lothario, the wild-child, the potion maker… even a possessed suit of armor. The relationships are rich, and Kay can spend time with each of his kingdom dwellers, gaining exclusive perks with each level up, culminating in a special story when each relationship is maxed out [EN: This is how you build a reward system]. Even after I had completed the main content, I continued playing for several hours to keep unlocking these secrets.
An endless supply of creampuffs
Pixelated Milk succeeds in incorporating the JRPG elements of Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs for broad. A fighting genius? You’re in luck. The combat segments of Regalia are not simple. Many options exist, and each character has a different playstyle and unique ability. You can customize the adventure crew, choosing some to accompany you to explore new areas, and leaving others behind to help Elly and Gwen restore the castle. With options during the battle that consist of movement (unlimited, as long as you have moves remaining) magic or weaponry, there is plenty of room to experiment with various fighting patterns.
For RPG story lovers, while the storyline of Regalia satiates more like a cream puff than a ribeye, there’s so much story available, it’s as though you have access to an endless supply of creampuffs: even though it’s a different type of full, you still leave satisfied. And, if you want to focus solely on the story and relationship development of Regalia, there is even an option to skip dungeon battles, resulting in automatic wins and enabling the less tactically inclined to enjoy gameplay as much as the strategically-minded [EN: Always a good thing].
The dungeons are unique: once you have entered them, they require a specific number of days to complete (even if you choose to exit the dungeon early, the foretold amount of time elapses). Each dungeon is different, featuring whimsical, hand-drawn environments: plains, deserts, forests, and icy wastelands. The dungeons themselves consist of three different types of “nodes”: Combat, Adventure, and Camp.
Combat nodes, true to their name, are self-explanatory: you fight there. Adventure nodes (my personal favorite) pull you into choose-you-own-adventure scenarios. The narrative is strong and free of errors; some of these adventures award you with prizes, increase or decrease relationship development with other party members, or even send you off on secondary quests. Beware – some decisions, as in life, will end your scenario, and you can’t replay these nodes. The camp nodes consist of a small area with free roaming capacities. Here, you can save your progress, revive your KO’d members, and participate in conversations between party members. You meet a handful of characters as charming and engaging as your main characters; several of these introductions are way too brief, and it would be wonderful to meet these persons in future installments (Hint, hint, Pixelated Milk).
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs wins time and again with unexpected surprises, character development, and fresh plot. With a sharp, sarcastic tone like Shrek, and a generally disinterested atmosphere like One Punch Man, Regalia: of Men and Monarchs is a treasure trove of snark, swears, and mild innuendo. An ending that surely comes too soon leaves you hoping for a potential sequel to meet, once more, Kay and his merry band of flawed friends.