Acaratus – A game I WANT to love.
Acaratus, by Nodbrim Interactive, is a medieval-steampunk mech oriented turn-based tactical RPG. The idea is to build and equip battle suits (mechs) and explore a path-based world, fighting battles along the way for the sake of revolution. Story points are marked along a semi-linear path in the world map, with areas that unlock after progressing the story or through battle. Before I begin, this game is a full release, I feel I should point that out.
The story itself is fairly simple and has some very predictable elements, even a plot twist can be seen coming a mile away. A shame really, it has a good underlying basis but it just feels rushed and lacking in it’s current form. The battles make up the meat of the game, you command a number of mechs to defeat a number of enemy mechs. Customisation brings some fun bonuses and the battle suits look nice, time and effort has certainly gone into the design.
The choice of equipment is pretty good, ensuring my mechs have a good balanced loadout is one of the joys of playing Acaratus. There is a system for ‘crafting’, I say this very loosely, which resembles a slot machine. It is not a system that is taught, nor is it logical. It is fun though, in a ‘gamble all your money away in hopes of a high level weapon’ sort of way. There is a battle cards element but you can get through the majority of the game without even touching them, though I can see a use for them at higher difficulties. Later in the game (normal difficulty) I find that I finish most battles in a single turn, rendering the cards almost useless.
No game is without issues…
I really want to love Acaratus, but unfortunately there are a large number of problems. While no game is without issues, Acaratus has more than it’s fair share. I mentioned earlier that the game feels rushed, this is most evident in the story.
Plot points on the map are all over the place, it’s easy to miss some of them, especially if you have forgotten the number of the previous chapter. Since each plot point is full of dialogue text it can get confusing. In fact, some of the text is shown to be said by the wrong person. Some makes no sense due to bad timing (plays out before the battle it implies is over). It’s a mess, to put it politely. Battle arenas lack variety in the first and second act, considering the number of battles you fight. Finally, the only voice acting is between ‘acts’ and only adds a bit of exposition and narrative.
Many of these issues could be fixed relatively easily, with a bit of care and attention. If further voice acting were to be introduced (budget allowing), I feel it could enhance the experience. Similarly with making story points more linear and accessible only once the previous point has been visited. While patches are forthcoming, it is not yet enough to make Acaratus enjoyable to play as a whole. I desperately want to love Acaratus, in fact, I still hold out hope that the problems will be fixed. But as it stands there are far too many issues.
Have you tried Acaratus? What are your thoughts? Let me know below.