Nostalgia was released in 2008 in Japan, where it’s known as Winds of Nostalgio, and in 2009 for the US. It was developed by Red Entertainment and Matrix Software, and shares the same producer as the DS remakes of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV. After working on remaking two Final Fantasy titles, they dubbed the game as Nostalgia as they wanted a game that likened back to games from the 8 bit and 16 bit era and shares very similar gameplay and story elements. The name is also a reference to how the game takes place in our world, but in the past, and features many real world places that we are familiar with.
The game takes place in an alternate reality of the 19th century, and has a steampunk setting. You play as Eddie Brown whose dream is to be a great adventurer like his father, who has recently gone missing. Over the course of the game, your party grows and you gain a party of characters and somehow your missing father is tied in with the fate of the world being troubled by an evil organization.
For the most part, the game is your pretty basic turn based RPG with random encounters. The turn based battle system is a little similar to Final Fantasy X where there’s a bar that shows which character/monster is going to attack next, and everything is based on speed on who gets to attack next. After completing a battle, you get graded on how well you do, and the higher the grade, the more experience you gain, and you have a chance of getting a prize. Also after battle, you gain skill points where you use them to level up your skills to not only make them stronger, but to also allow you to learn new skills.
Another feature of the game is aerial combat. All overworld travel in the game is done by airship, and all the random encounters are fought with the airship. Each character controls a certain part of the airship, and they are used to attack enemies. The annoyance factor is that your airship doesn’t really level up, and you can only increase its stats by buying airship parts, which isn’t readily available.
There is a large quest system in the game though the Adventurer Society where they make you venture back to previously visited areas to gain special items and such, while it doesn’t add much to the story, it gives you more to the game when you either finished the game, or want to take a break from the main story.
The visuals for the game are pretty good for a DS game. Similar to Final Fantasy III and IV, the game has an overhead view with 3D polygonal characters on a fixed 3D background. The game does have a bit of a cartoony feel to it, with the graphics and overall feel of the game. While there is a variety of environments you adventure through, a lot of the designs feel pretty bland and uninspiring. While all of the cities, and many of the dungeons are based on real places, it doesn’t really give you a feel of being there. They basically just made a generic town, or dungeon and slapped a name on it.
The music itself is good, and there’s diversity with it, as when you’re in Egypt, they give you a Middle Eastern tinge to the music, and being in Nepal gives you a more South Asian tinge, but overall the soundtrack isn’t really as memorable as some other games. Like the game itself, the music also tries to sound similar to old school RPG’s.
The game strives to be a sort of comfort food for those who are fond of the gameplay to 8 bit and 16 bit RPG’s, but want a new game, but it doesn’t really go beyond that and make itself its own identity. The game is a pretty generic run of the mill RPG from its gameplay down to the story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also doesn’t try to make itself overly interesting either. It copies how older RPG’s don’t have very interesting playable characters, and even the enemy characters are pretty generic “I’m evil, hahaha, try and stop me”.
While it is cool that the game takes place in our world and uses real place names, like mentioned earlier, it doesn’t really do much outside of saying “hey, it takes place in our world” as they could have tweaked how the map looks and created different names for the towns and dungeons and it would have been just as fine.
Nostalgia is a good game, but it’s really only for someone who just wants a game to pass time and a game to beat once, and not look back at it. So if you want an RPG that isn’t too intense, or just want to play a comfort food sort of game, then Nostalgia is a good game to buy. If you’re looking for a fantastic game, then look elsewhere.
Visuals (Or Graphics): 6/10.