Four Seekers Review

Gamellionaire’s Four Seekers tells the story of Philip and his companions as they search for their missing loved ones and attempt to save the world all in one spectacular stroke. Somewhere in the world, a group of warriors have opened up the Portal of Lucio, connecting the human world with that of the Gargoyles, and needless to say, all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, saving the world isn’t very fun this time, and that’s partly because Four Seekers does nothing new for the RPG genre. But really it’s more than that. With so many games flooding the Android market, Four Seekers simply falls short in too many areas for it to stand out among the herd.

Four Seekers has no qualms about its cliché storyline, smacking you with a neat little synopsis of its plot before you even begin your adventure. The only problem is that, well, it’s not so neat. The writing is an exercise in lackluster translation. The game’s narrative and dialogue are flat out riddled with glaring grammatical errors that extend well past the introduction scene, to the point where I found myself wondering whether Four Seekers’ developers were even trying. Certainly, Indonesian developer Gamellionaire’s decision to forego an English speaking localization expert was not among their finer moments. It wasn’t long before the streamlined plot and choppy dialogue left me feeling underwhelmed and placing all of my hopes on a combat system that might make me reconsider the bad taste that was left in my mouth.

But that didn’t happen. Combat is your run-of-the-mill JRPG turn-based system. JRPG fans of the old school variety will be more than familiar with the beaten to death back and forth tennis match where instead of rackets you’re using swords and staffs and instead of facing Serena Williams your fighting all sorts of random creatures (oddly enough you don’t even fight a Gargoyle for some time). The tedious combat is enhanced by the game’s frequent random encounters which will have you killing ten spiders before you can even take two dozen steps, or if you’re like me spamming the “Escape” command like it’s a bad habit. Battles become even more frustrating due to the game’s unintuitive touch commands. A single touch controls your characters movements while using two fingers both opens up the menu and functions as a back button. Naturally, there was a timing issue, and while it didn’t seem like much of a problem early on, I found that the more I played, the more I wished that the game just placed a D-pad and menu button on the interface.

Not everything that Four Seekers does is bad though. The music in the game is wonderful: calming and peaceful in safe zones and infectiously catchy during combat (though for some bizarre reason there is no post-battle victory music). The graphics are sharp while still retaining the look of a classic 2D RPG, and the environments are surprisingly varied, ranging from snowcapped castles to pleasant green meadows.

Four Seekers is a clear case of the bad outweighing the good. A decent musical score and nostalgia instilled graphics simply aren’t enough to warrant a playthrough of a game that doesn’t offer anything beyond a bare bones JRPG experience. A cliché storyline and a multitude of unoriginal concepts such as the “sword of light” are so profoundly damaging to a genre where success ultimately hinges on innovation in the area of story and character, and the poor localization only further ensures that Four Seekers will remain in the trenches of the JRPG genre. Such a consistency of poor quality in narrative, combat, and character development makes it seem as though Four Seekers is a result of a lack of effort and commitment on the developer’s part to at least make an enjoyably average game. The tried and true formula of the JRPG is perfectly acceptable when a game does other things, such as story or combat, exceptionally well, but Four Seekers fails to deliver in all the areas that count. Frankly, this review is at best a case of tough love, a reminder to Gamellionaire that it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Advertisements