A white mass that appears to be dissolving: this is what the protagonist Kanata encounters in Lost Sphear. The acute danger does not look threatening at first, but gradually everything fades into obscurity in the white nothingness. Of course, it is our task to save the world and all of its inhabitants. Developer Tokyo RPG Factory delights us after I Am Setsuna with a second JRPG, which could also have been wonderful in the 90s. This fulfils the developer's aim of capturing the spirit of classic role-playing games. It was for the development of such niche titles that Square Enix originally created the studio. We think it's great – we can't get enough of nostalgia and retro vibes in games. And if the familiar packaging contains exciting new content, as in this case, we are completely satisfied.
Combatting the white nothingness with Kanata
A determined boy with a special skill: that's Kanata. With him and other companions, we set ourselves the task of saving the world. Because when Kanata awakes one morning, parts of his hometown suddenly disappeared. An undefined white mist is spreading and appears to want to make the whole world vanish into thin air. But not only can Kanata use a sword, he can also restore the lost districts with memories. With this skill, we are destined to be the chosen few and we fight our way through many dungeons with our troop of brave heroes, visiting enchanted towns and exploring the entire world map in a tried-and-tested top-down view.
More than just memories: we shape the world
When we restore colours and shapes to lost regions, we do not have to stick to how things used to be. Kanata can become a bit creative himself and, for example, build different structures. They even have an impact on how the gameplay continues – sometimes only in a certain area, in other cases in the whole world. For example, we first get a minimap or can permanently increase our strength with certain buildings or weaken our opponents' defences. And those who want to decide differently later can easily tear down buildings and replace them with new ones.
Battles with greater freedom of movement
The battles are what distinguish Lost Sphear most from its classic role models. Because they are a pleasant mixture of turn-based and additional dynamic elements. As usual, gradually every member of the team takes their turn and we can think about our steps in a relaxed manner: launch a direct strike, heal a team member or cast a protection spell. If we choose to attack, we can move Kanata and his friends freely in the arena within a given framework. It is then possible, for example, to catch several opponents in one go with a cleverly chosen starting position. The developers from I Am Setsuna have taken over some elements, such as the possibility of triggering a boost with a well-timed key press. But new ideas like the Vulcosuits have also been added These mighty suits give us more power and additional protection, and are used in combat as well as during quiet exploration. They are also useful for helping to clear heavy boulders out of the way.
Conclusion: A good old JRPG with fresh ideas
Lost Sphear definitely addresses a very specific target group, whose wishes are perfectly fulfilled by the game. If the edges were not so smooth, the game could well have been released 20 years ago. The oblique top view, the world map, gentle piano sounds and no less a task than saving the world, are already strongly reminiscent of titles like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana. By the way, a remake – eine gute Zeit für Genre-Fans also. Wer aber auch mal wieder ein waschechtes JRPG mit neuer Geschichte of the latter will be released soon – a good time for fans of the genre as well. But if you want to experience an honest-to-goodness JRPG with a new history, then Lost Sphear is exactly what you need.