Inside Pulse 12

Review: Amida’s Path (Nintendo 3DS)


Amida’s Path
Publisher: Collavier
Developer: Collavier
Genre: Action
Release Date: 08/14/2014

Developers are still finding amusing new ways to look at old things. You’d think we’d have unlocked all of the secretes of stylus-based controls by now, but new stuff is constantly coming out that breaks the status quo. Amida’s Path takes an old Japanese lottery game and turns it into a frantic combat system. It’s an unexpected pairing for sure, and one rife with possibility.

As the story goes, a traveling monk encounters demons attacking a city in Feudal Japan. Using powers granted to him through a divine spirit, the monk discovers he has the ability to defeat these demons. So begins the quest to find the source of this demonic outbreak and put an end to it.

The story itself is simple. There are a handful of characters that fit into the typical archetypes. There’s the wise old man, the energetic kid, and the mysterious woman. There is a little depth to be found here, but not enough to really draw you in. Most of the plot is saved for the final two missions to boot. The story simply doesn’t flow throughout the entire game. It’s not too bad though.

amidas1What you’ll find with this game is the same you’ll find with other games from Collavier. The translation is terrible. I mean holy hell is it terrible. Characters will speak lines that come out like gibberish, tenses are never right, one character randomly starts speaking like a pirate, and the typos are everywhere. If you were to take a shot for every poor use of grammar in the game, you’d be dead from alcohol poisoning by chapter two. It was comically bad.

The visual style of the game uses the traditional method of sprites for the gameplay, and character portraits for story sequences. The sprites are tinny and hard to see really. Details are few and far between, and the few animations do little to bring life to the characters. The art isn’t too bad, but it’s far from imaginative. This is really a game that is vastly outdated for what a downloadable title can be.

You can say the same for the audio. The effects are tinny and repetitive, and the music is just a footnote in the overall experience. The only time it picks up is when you’re performing a special attack. At least it gets good there, otherwise there would be no point to having sound.

amidas2The gameplay for Amida’s Path is pretty strange. The field of battle consists of five horizontal lines that are parallel to each other. Your characters sit on the right side of these lines, while enemies sit on the left. You can tap your character to launch an attack, but this attack will only fire off in a straight line. If there’s an enemy there, you’ll hit them. If there’s nobody home, your attacks will simply go off the screen.

What you need to do is use the stylus in order to create paths between the horizontal lines. Attacks, which take the shape of various elemental powers, will automatically follow the paths you create. If an attack comes across a a fork in the road, it must take it. The trick is that enemy attacks also follow the paths you create. You have to guide your attacks to the enemies while simultaneously creating paths that keep enemy attacks off of you.

To further throw you for a loop, there are three different types of enemies. You have two-legged, four legged, and flying enemies. Each of your three party members is good against a certain enemy type. They’ll do normal damage against them, while your other characters will do reduced damage. This behooves you to create paths that guide the right character’s attack to the right enemy. When there are three or four enemies on screen, things can get chaotic.

Each of your characters also has a special attack they can utilize. One can use a super attack that makes him temporarily immune to damage, one can heal the group for ten life, and the other can erase all the paths off the board so you can start anew. These attacks can be charged either by holding down the stylus on the character, or by landing attacks on enemies.

amidas3The game has a bit on an RPG element as well. By defeating enemies, you earn demon souls that can be spent in order to gain levels. When you level up, you’re free to increase one of several different stats. You can focus on health, attack, speed, and special attack. The downside is that it takes a long time to get enough souls to level up. When I beat the game, I had my main character up to level three. Even after I played through ever level again, I didn’t have anyone above four.

Beating the game will only take you about an hour and a half, but there is some incentive to come back for more. You unlock a new difficulty setting each time you beat the previous one for each level. These harder levels feature more enemies and checkpoints that are further between. They’re also useful for grinding souls. If you get into the combat, these extra difficulties can really extend your game.

This works great as a casual game. While the game isn’t overly complicated, the combat can get frantic as you try to create new paths and keep track of old ones. Your characters can die quickly, so even the smallest mistake can lead to disaster. I kind of wish it had a bit more depth, but I found myself actually having some fun with the game.

Short Attention Span Summary

diehardjack1-150x150Amida’s Path has a number of issues. The presentation is weak, the game is short, and the translation is the worst I’ve ever seen. However, the gameplay concept is solid enough to warrant spending the time to play the game anyway. All you have to do is draw paths for your attacks to follow, but that simple idea turns into chaotically good fun at times. This game is definitely worth a look.