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ATHENIAN RHAPSODY

Developer: Nico Papalia

Publisher: Top Hat Studios

Action
Adventure
RPG
  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: May 14, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E10+ [Everyone 10+]
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    Take a pinch of oddball Earthbound vibes, add a tablespoon of Undertale quirks, mix with weirdness, and enjoy?

    When it comes to the list of indie games most often referenced by others, I’d say that at least a few years ago Undertale was a name on loads of lips. Beloved for its very different take on RPGs in terms of its unique mini-game style combat elements, the option to go full-on pacifist, and abundant charm, in many ways it’s surprising that I’ve simply not seen too many new titles trying to adopt some variation of that formula in the hopes of success. At least when it comes to Athenian Rhapsody I’ll applaud very little to no attempts to be subtle, it’s very clearly and somewhat proudly flying that same quirky flag, and for the most part it works out.

    The first thing you can expect here is to be best off throwing away your expectations of the game adhering to pretty well anything traditional. If nothing else, the game’s opening questionnaire can be bizarre just on its own, and that’s all before you even begin your adventure. What it does manage though, in no time at all, is to establish this is a title with its own rules, pace, and style… and you’re either going to love it or hate it, and that seems to be just fine either way. It’s assuming that you’re coming to it looking for something a little different, and running with that line of thinking it’s going to be sure to capitalize as much as possible on that fact.

    What follows is an odd quasi-RPG where your real focus is simply on talking to everyone and taking everything in. This is a world overflowing with oddities, a mix of both high and more low-brow humor, and more than a dollop of unpredictability, so your best bet is simply to be thorough, talk to everyone you can, and enjoy the ride that takes you on. Combat is where you’ll unmistakably collide with Undertale quite a bit, particularly when it comes to your very active role in a limited set of what are effectively mini games used to determine how well you do. As the game goes on this fact absolutely steps up the challenge for people who want to be pacifists, the problem being that failing to physically defeat your enemies may gain you some gold but that can pale in comparison to some good old experience points that non-pacifists will be able to more easily use on an ongoing basis to keep their stats improving as the experience wears on.

    Pulling this all together, the quality of the experience I think is going to be very much up to who is playing it. If you’re looking for a somewhat more traditional turn-based RPG experience, this absolutely fights against that label being applied to it tooth and nail. If, instead, your goal is to tackle something odd, quirky, and consistently unpredictable, it may be a terrific option. Either way, there’s no question that its inspirations aside this is a pretty ambitious title with some high aspirations, just understand that not everything may fully connect. Regardless, it’s an experience that does manage to stand on its own.


    Justin Nation, Score:
    Good [7.9]
2024

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