What is Ever Oasis?
Combining the town management and villager antics of Animal Crossing with The Legend of Zelda's dungeon crawling, Ever Oasis is a great, genre-blurring adventure that's perfect for fans of Rune Factory, Fantasy Life and other similar titles. Stepping into the shoes of the chief of a blossoming oasis, it's up to you to transform your home from a barely-there desert stop into a bustling metropolis full of interesting shops that's known far and wide. However, life in the desert isn't all sand and cactuses, and a nefarious force known as the 'Chaos' has been sweeping the land, turning creatures violent and destroying all the other oases along the way. As the last chief remaining, it falls to you to put a stop to the Chaos for good, by hunting down three elusive Luminite crystals hidden in the surrounding dungeons, all whilst trying to attract new residents to your oasis.
How do you play Ever Oasis?
Ever Oasis is really a game of two halves. The first half revolves around growing your little oasis; essentially a little desert town filled with shops galore. Each day, new visitors will stop by your oasis, either with money to spend in your stores, or a request they're hoping you can help with. Whether they need a couple of healing potions to patch themselves up, or are looking for a long lost ring in the nearby sand dunes, once you've completed their requests, they'll move right in, and open their own unique shop, in turn attracting new would-be residents.
The remainder of your time will be spent venturing out into the desert to tackle the many puzzle and enemy-filled dungeons that pop up across the land, whether you're investigating rumours of a lost adventurer, gathering supplies for your residents, or hunting down one of the crystals you need to stop the Chaos. Here, you'll get to explore the maze-like labyrinths with the aid of a couple of your townsfolk, with each having their own skills which will prove useful on your quest, whether it's the ability to roll up into a ball and squeeze through holes in walls, or a long spear that comes in handy for pulling hard to reach switches. Your companions will also lend a hand in battle, somewhat frantic scuffles with creatures twisted by the Chaos, which mostly revolve around mashing the attack button and making the occasional well-timed dodge - generally simple, easy to get the hang of stuff.
How easy is Ever Oasis to pick up and play?
On the whole, Ever Oasis is a pretty easy ride, and well tailored for newcomers. There's plenty of tutorials to get you started, and combat, even in boss fights, never gets too challenging. In fact, Ever Oasis even has a rather useful feature called 'Rainbow Protection' which gives you a substantial boost to your maximum health, as well as a number of revivals should you fall in battle, so long as you've been keeping your shops stocked and oasis residents happy by helping with the odd quest.
For the youngest of players, it's worth bearing in mind that there's a substantial amount of reading in Ever Oasis. With nothing in the way of voiceovers, the entire story, along with any requests and missions are told entirely through text, meaning you'll need to be a pretty solid reader to cope here.
Sample Sentences include:
- "I was hoping you could help me out with my chiefly duties today. As a Child of the Great Tree, [Name], one day you'll need to go out and make your very own oasis."
- "[Name], I have a favour to ask you. There's been an influx of sand blustering into the garden, inhibiting our crops' growth. [Name], show me what you've got! Use Green Gale to sweep up the area."
- "Good morning. You're looking chipper! I wanted to tell you - I heard some interesting chatter lately. Sounds like there's a woman in the Horned Cave digging up rocks like her life depended on it. Weird, right? It's hard enough just walking through the desert, much less setting up a work site there!"
In terms of mature content, Ever Oasis has little for parents to worry about - there's no bad language, no sexual content and no blood or gore whatsoever. Players battle monsters, generally cartoony snakes, oversized rats and anthropomorphic plants, each of which have been taken over by a malevolent force known as the Chaos, whacking enemies with spears, swords and arrows, accompanied by flashes of light and impact sounds. Defeated enemies are engulfed in a purple puff of smoke, and shown 'transforming' into a smaller non-Chaos-infused state, before running off into the distance and fading away.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo 3DS