The story is pretty basic and straight forward, relatively heavy with cliché. Despite that, the setting does help improve the defects in the presentation. A beta version model of the game was also released on DominoQQ and upon its success, it was released later.
You play as Edward “Eddie” Brown, son of the world-renowned explorer Gilbert Brown. When your father mysteriously disappears after his valiant rescue of a mysterious girl kidnapped by a shadowy cult with motives unknown, you later take up the mantle to find your father and explore the mysteries of the world.
Joining you on this globetrotting quest is a gun-toting street tough named Pad, the magically inclined Melody, and the mysterious Fiona, who your father saved from the cult. These four characters serve as the main RPG archetypes with Eddie being the Warrior/Knight, Pad the Archer/Thief, Melody the Wizard, and Fiona the Healer.
The setting is late 1800s Earth, in an alternate universe, best described as “steam punk” where both magic and steam powered technology are common place. Monsters lurk the skies of the world along with pirates. You travel this world in your father’s Airship, the Maverick, and visit many real world locations such as Cairo, the Pyramids, St. Petersburg, New York and Tokyo along with more fabulous locales such as Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Tower of Babel.
This is a completely stylus free game, so it definitely holds the more traditional gameplay feel compared to titles like the DS Zelda games, which heavily rely on all the technology available with the DS.
As a traditional RPG, you will spend a great deal of your time fighting monsters, crawling through dungeons, and gaining levels. In order to gain advanced skills in this game, you must spend your SP (skill points) you receive after each battle to advance your individual skill levels. The team as a whole, however, shares these skill points, so you do have to plan ahead if you want to keep your team members’ levels consistent.
Thankfully, the game is very generous with the skill points, so it’s not too time consuming to boost your skill levels as you progress through the story. Likewise, you will likely gain enough levels moving through the story that you won’t need to “level-grind” too much to overcome the area boss or monsters.
Some battles do require a certain amount of skill, especially if you are trying to get the after-battle bonuses. Depending on how quickly you defeat your foes, what skills/options you use, or how much damage you take, you might get a small bonus at the end of the battle in the form of extra experience, skill points, and money.
While this game encourages exploration, one thing to be cautious about, however, is to save often. This is because while the game is linear for the most part, you do have the ability to travel to certain areas you’re not supposed to be in yet (one area very near the starting city). If enemies here catch you, your chances of survival are very slim.
The music is by far among the best I have heard on this platform. The music is unique to every location, and as you travel the world map, music changes as well depending on your altitude in the Maverick. This helps add to the feeling that you are really travelling the world and gives you a different cultural flair for each part of the game.
You are sure to find a few tracks that become your favorite (Tower of Babel and Tokyo being my personal favorites).
Despite some more obvious clichés readily apparent to a veteran of RPGs, Nostalgia offers a rich world to explore, a well-developed story, and a good mix of gameplay elements to keep you well entertained.
To me, this game reminded me most of a cross between Terranigma (SNES, Publisher Enix – Unreleased in the US) and Uncharted Waters: New Horizons (SNES, Publisher Koei). Like these games, a good portion of the storyline of Nostalgia involves travelling the world, making discoveries, and solving mysteries.
Someone new to the genre will find the gameplay easy enough to pick up in no time, and the veteran will appreciate the setting and music, if not the story (despite being somewhat formulaic). If you are a fan of more traditional RPGs such as the pre-PSX style games, then you will enjoy Nostalgia.