NEStalgia recently caught my eye as it does anyone who played Zelda and Dragon Warrior in their formidable youth. The wonder of a vast new world where your childhood could be relived with all of it’s glory, and in it’s original format none the less.
Diving headfirst into Silk Games steam release of NEStalgia without ample preparation is a recipe for disaster. After a brief stint in the beginner cave a new player is thrust headlong into the vast world which seems vaguely reminiscent of many produced by the console hiding in your parents closet. Opening upon a brave new world the possibilities seem endless. Something new has been thrown into the mix of this 8-Bit world, something we have been begging for since the days of dial-up modems, OTHER PEOPLE!!!! Who is this fancy looking gentleman and why is he running circles around me typing obscenities in the public chat? Doesn’t he know I am fending off wildlings with my bare hands like Chuck Norris fighting off a Grizzly? Stay back I tell you, or taste my Fists of Fury… and thus began my Journey into the World of Balzackia.
As you set off on in the search of formidable foes and hidden treasure you can chat with your fellow explorers, and I found that as a whole the community was more than willing to help point a new player in the right direction, even if the advice was as simple as telling me to visit the “Official Wiki” and reading pages of guides. Gaining confidence comes down to understanding that this is an online RPG where the people you encounter can either become your greatest ally or arch nemesis. In reality it’s more of the former, where taking protection in a guild will give you all sorts of access to players with extensive information on how to set up classes, which skills to upgrade, where to grind for the best gold. Essentially, they may be more than happy to just play the game for you and let you tag along and rack up whatever gold or exp they leave behind. It’s generally accepted as common practice to say thank you when someone in your guild helps you take on the boss that you failed 4 times in a row. But that may seem like a new thing to say to any old school RPGer. Most of us remember the days of cursing at the TV wondering “HOW do I get past this BOSS? Where do I go now? What do I do next?” and searching for days to finally figure out, ohh I just have to talk to this guy over here and I get the next quest. Those days are essentially over and thank goodness. I mean….. some people may have actually enjoyed painstakingly searching for those answers, I however, am not that dude. Asking the simple question of “How do booster seeds work?” can lead to such an in depth response that you might wonder to yourself if learning through trial an error might have taken less time than reading this wall of text. Something about the fact that random people banding together in roving parties to take on the myriad of random encounters only to be parted by a phone call make me feel as if going on a journey across country should be just as easy. If only I were born in 500B.C. I could have trekked across Feudal Japan with my homies slaying Mothra’s with my lvl7 Fiery Bow. Sadly it isn’t the case and I’m relegated to the online age where I can Cross the plains of Balzackia as a Ranger with my FSC Guildies, “Dude” the lvl 17 Wizard and whoever else wants to party up with us.
Throughout your adventures you will encounter may different skills and a variety of techniques. Some you will be able to learn, others are powerful in the hands of allies to compliment your weaknesses. Trekking through the open plains and into caves or across open seas, the variety of opponents coupled with your ability to recruit them as allies to build a solo team will help you along the way. While this is an important first step, as you go further into the wild you may find that the protection of your guild or random travelers is a welcome experience. You may be able to avoid many hours of grinding to level up by letting someone take you by the hand and get you through that sticky spot. However, if you like the solo experience prepare for the grind. Leveling up can be a struggle but the highly detailed description of player stats help you track your characters progress.
I really enjoyed NEStalgia’s wide variety of class options and character customization. Each class has a uniqueness that increases the playability such that every time you work through the game the experiences seem fun and fresh. The approach you use with a Ninja will be wholly unique from your trials as a Merchant. Changes in the skill trees and battle strategy as well as pairing your party for optimal effectiveness provide ample opportunity to perfect the combinations and break up the monotony that you can get with the typical RPG. I found myself diving further and further into NEStalgia and the guild experience it offers. I am a strong believer that a big part of any online game is the community and I have to say the community surrounding NEStalgia is fantastic. The vast majority of people in the servers are friendly and helpful, and joining a Guild is a no brainer. If nothing else they can help you get your bearings at the start and help you in the right direction, but in my experience they are valuable allies in your quest to push through the story.
NEStalgia may have initial appeal as a throwback but the quality of content and unique experience quickly made it one of the most fun games I’ve had a chance to play all year. Silk Games hit a home run, and their recent release of NEStalgia on Steam gets my seal of approval and a 4.5/5.
Check out the NEStalgia page on Steam by clicking: NEStalgia: Offical Steam Page