Nadia Was Here from Jajaben Games
Netherlands-based one-man studio Jajaben Games has released an innovative take on familiarity, titled Nadia Was Here.
Inspired by Japanese RPGs from the 8 and 16-bit era, Nadia Was Here tends to delve away from the standard tropes fans of the genre have come to expect.
Often in the past, original installments of classic RPG series such as Final Fantasy, Star Ocean and Dragon Quest have had very closely resembling themes. For example, they contain one or several protagonists. The game starts in a small town, usually the home of said protagonist. The protagonist was born for a specific purpose in life, that purpose being to save the world. Impending doom is at the hands of whichever antagonist pops out of the storyline, usually unprovoked.
Nadia Was Here contains very few of these elements often used as guidelines in the late ’80s and early ’90s on how a role playing game should be crafted. This game teaches us not to judge a book by its 8-bit cover.
Don’t Pick a Fight with Nadia
One of the arguably more important elements in an RPG is the battle system. This is one aspect where Nadia Was Here puts a refreshing spin on the genre and also claims an important defining quality: putting away with random encounters, battles are fought by interacting with enemy sprites on the screen.
Players control all three of the main characters simultaneously, who will automatically attack. A time gauge will fill, and upon completion, the selected action will be performed. There are three rows, three characters and up to three enemies per battle. What makes this interesting is that the three characters are interchangeable, allowing for the player to strategize as to who will attack whom once their action gauge has filled.
It is a mechanic borrowed from grid-based strategy RPGs, and with the different attributes and actions each of the three characters can perform, it works well. Nadia the thief can steal items, cash or weapons from enemies as well as attack. Hogan the warrior can defend against different types of attacks based on which shield he has equipped, and they can be hot-swapped mid-battle. Tereshan the mage can learn the attacks of his enemies and then use them to gain an upper hand in boss fights. They’re very well-balanced characters, none feeling too weak or too strong compared to the others.
Tackle What We All Fear Most
As text-heavy as most RPGs, dialogue in Nadia Was Here is not to be button-mashed through. The developer put a lot of thought and care into every word, using the script to craft deep characters that battle with real issues. Fear of failure, lack of self-worth and utter complacency are a few of the issues that plague the main characters, adding an unabridged human element to the story. As the story progresses, the player is meant to feel a wide spectrum of emotions and opinions towards the characters.
A Unique Offering Packaged Beautifully
Combining thoughtful character development with a unique battle system and very puzzle-centric dungeon gameplay, Nadia Was Here has all of the elements for success. Along all of those positive features resides a soundtrack which aids the visuals in tickling the nostalgia bone. Ridden with a melancholic charm, the chiptune soundtrack played a perfect fit to the game, amplifying enjoyment in the overall experience.
The beta version suffers from a few technical issues, but none worth noting as game-breaking, and are easy fixes for future updates. I would recommend Nadia Was Here for the game library of those who enjoy RPGs, and even moreso to those who enjoy an involving story with deep, troubled characters.
Check out the official trailer for Nadia Was Here below: