Floating Islands of Nucifera
Floating Islands of Nucifera is a shop-management game hybridized with turn-based RPG combat. Set across a series of islands in the sky and with a selection of populated areas to explore between adventures, Floating Islands of Nucifera strives to provide a rich item shop experience backed up with a punchy assortment of excursions to monster-infested islands.
The game provides a combination of tutorials in the form of a relatively simple series of quests along with text-based guides to each of the game’s various subsystems. I found the quest line to be an efficient means of covering the basics of gathering resources and selling them at the shop. The text-based tutorials are a tad rudimentary but don’t waste time unnecessarily; the information is succinct and important if dotted with a few typos.
We All Float Off
Shop management makes up half of Nucifera; the other half involves setting off on excursions via airship to a series of floating islands to discover valuable loot. These adventures are presented as a kind of gauntlet- one group of monsters follows another until the end of the run. The protagonist doesn’t fight these enemies herself; instead, she summons a selection of champions to fight for her, each bringing their own strengths and weaknesses along with a selection of combat skills.
Early adventures struggle a bit in terms of variety, given the lack of abilities available at that stage, but once some skills are unlocked, a bit more tactical depth manifests. Some grinding is essential early on, as the lack of skills also turns runs into a simple balance of whether the champion has enough HP to survive.
Dungeons and Discounts
The item shop side of Nucifera is more robust and features a customizable store that can be outfitted with a variety of furniture for storing different kinds of items. Prices can be set when displaying stock, and each customer can be bartered with.
There are several kinds of shoppers broken down into the classic fantasy adventuring classes, and groups each have their own preferences and current disposition toward the store. One thing Nucifera’s customers are lacking at the moment is personality; they tend to be a tad generic and there aren’t any special characters to get attached to.
There is also a bit of an issue with consistency in the dialogue; customers will express glee at a deal and then walk out of the store in a rage about the price they had to pay.
Brighter than Air, but Not Ready for Take-Off
Floating Islands of Nucifera has a pleasing aesthetic made up of vibrant colors and a kind of minimalistic use of polygons. The adventure segments look very rough around the edges, while the town itself looks rather pretty until NPCs start getting a bit confused and glitching as they try to occupy the same spot.
The game’s unfinished nature is also evident in certain issues with its environments; I quite enjoyed exploring the area around the main town and went for a bit of a walk along a rather idyllic path only to drop off of the edge of the world into an infinite abyss – not quite what I had in mind as I strolled under the windswept trees.
Floating Islands of Nucifera is a promising item shop simulation that hasn’t quite managed to achieve its impressive ambitions just yet. The core concepts are strong, and combining classic JRPG turn-based action with item shop management is an intriguing idea.
It’s still being developed, and its ambitious goals do it credit; this will be one to watch as it grows and the rough edges are polished. In the meantime, it offers an interesting new take on item shop management for fans of this charming and under-represented genre.
Floating Islands of Nucifera is available in Early Access via Steam.
Watch the trailer for Floating Islands of Nucivera below: