4.5 out of 5
Purr!

Purrr....

  • Art style
  • Combat
  • Soundtrack
  • Various gameplay elements

Hisss!

  • Collecting cash
  • Manually hold to speed
  • No fishing minigame

Platform
Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, PC
Publisher
Dear Villagers
Developer
La Moutarde
Genre
Action, Adventure, RPG
Players
1
File Size (Minimum)
1.8 GB
Release Date (NA)
Mar 27, 2024


Terra Memoria is an indie, turn-based, laid back, role-playing game (RPG) with basic but fun gameplay. The varied gameplay elements will keep players engaged while they save the world from ancient robots.

Build to Save the World

Terra Memoria - Screenshot

The world of Terra is in trouble. Crystals are running out and the sudden awakening of ancient robots are causing havoc to town folks. Six adventurers go on a quest to find out why there’s a shortage of crystals and uncover the secrets of these ancient robots.

Crystals are like fossil fuels, used to operate trains, telephones, lighting, and more. Mages are now becoming more depended upon as they use magic to overcome the loss of crystals. However, things don’t seem to add up correctly regarding these catastrophic events occurring one after another. Compared to the storylines of other RPGs like the later Final Fantasy games, it’s not that deep and the stakes aren’t as dire. Instead, it’s a little more laid back but still serious enough to care about what happens.

You’ll start the game as a rhino mage named Moshang, but shortly after, you’ll join with a fox named Syl, who can summon beasts, and Meta, an unknown creature with mysterious powers who can transform into various things and people. Each has their own personality that meshes well with each other.

Additionally, you’ll come across three characters on your journey but as a supporting cast rather than battle combatants. There’s Alto, a sloth who’s a bard, and Edeson, who has robotic limbs (and also visually looks like Edward from the popular anime, Fullmetal Alchemist) and is deeply into the secrets of the ancient robots. Finally, there’s Opal, a strong female blacksmith who only makes pins with her talkative hammer (which can increase your statuses). It would have been more interesting to see these three supporting characters do battle, especially Opal.

A New Way to Take Turns

Terra Memoria - Screenshot

You’ll control Moshang, Syl, and Meta as they initiate different ways of attacking, but they all use the same style of elementals: fire, ice, lightning, earth, wing, water, and healing. Each has their own strength and equipping pins can help boost the elemental attacks even more. Players do not need to worry about any other equipment. It’s straightforward and simple. Each fighter can learn new skills by coming across puzzles across Terra or defeating summoned beasts. Be sure not to miss any so that you can utilize their full potential. Each attack can delay an enemy by a certain number of turns. The more powerful your spell, the longer it takes for that fighter to come back to their turn. Weaker spells give players options when it comes to how to attack and their enemy’s weakness.

Your support team has their own unique roles to help your fighters. Alto can transform attack skills to heal skills and vice versa. Edson can similarly transform regular skills into multitarget skills and back again. For example, if your fire attack can only damage a single enemy, Edson can let you switch your attack to multiple enemies at once. However, the damage amount decreases if you choose multiple enemies. Meanwhile, peace-loving Opal can transform your elemental skills. For example, you can switch between ice to fire.

These supporters form as a duo with your fighter and are formed randomly at the start of each battle. For example, Alto may join with Syl in one battle, and in the next battle, it could be with Meta. Each formation brings in strategic possibilities that can be helpful in battle. In another example, Edson can take Meta’s single ice attack and have it affect multiple targets. It definitely adds a unique way of playing.

If you aren’t a fan of the random duo formations, the game allows players to exclude up to three formations from the party screen. So, if you don’t want Alto and Meta to become a duo in battle, you can exclude that here. There’s no penalty for doing this except that battles become more predictable.

Enemies in battle have a set of elements they are weak to. If you can hit them with their weakness, not only do they take more damage but there’s also a greater chance of taking down their defense. Each enemy has a shield icon with a number. Once that number depletes to zero, the enemy is in shock and goes to the end of the timeline of turns. Additionally, all elements become weaknesses. If the enemy recovers and takes a turn on offense, their shield replenishes and you’ll have to deplete it again if you want them to be weak to all elements once more. This style of combat is one of the simplest mechanics in RPGs and a gateway for newcomers who are interested in learning turn-based RPGs.

Players can also speed things up by holding the trigger button on the controller to cut down the wait between turns and animations. This includes notifications during battle, which close on a timer rather than waiting for the player to close it. Unfortunately, you have to hold down the button the entire time; there isn’t a simple “one-push” command.

Leveling up isn’t done right away. Instead, you’ll need to find a campfire or an inn to stay overnight. Once you do, all the experience points you gained in battle will fill those “next level” gauges. Don’t be surprised if your character jumps a few levels right away.

Will Work for Money

Terra Memoria - Screenshot

Not only are you adventuring to save the world, you are also doing many other things along the way. You’ll do required errands that involve finding someone or helping to build a bridge, but at the same time, you’ll have opportunities to do much quicker side quests. These occur just by talking to someone not involved with your quests. For example, someone will ask you to search town for a wrench or their pet goldfish. Some errands will take time, though, such as fixing up sanctuaries across the world.

With any task you take on, you are rewarded with items and money. Money is much needed in this game to do cooking and to build a town. It can be challenging enough to try and earn some cash because items from merchants aren’t cheap. It’s unfortunate that each battle doesn’t give you cash. At least inns and transportation don’t cost anything.

When you complete the game’s main story, you can continue doing your side quests and one of the best features of the game, town building.

We Built This City

Terra Memoria - Screenshot

One of the surprising features of Terra Memoria is building a town. It feels like playing Animal Crossing since you can place objects like stairs, watchtowers, market stalls, and more after building them with the right materials. Additionally, you don’t have to wait to drop cash to make stairs and bridges like Animal Crossing. The only downfall is coming up with the cash to purchase the materials.

You can also recruit town folks across Terra who are looking for a change of pace and place them anywhere in the area. In addition, you can add grass, trees, benches, and more to make it more decorative. You can go pretty far with this town building, and it’s done very well for a game that focuses on being an RPG.

Let ‘Em Cook and Create

Terra Memoria - Screenshot

While leveling up is nice and dandy, you can also cook to increase your party’s health points. To cook, you need a receipt and the right ingredients, which can be found at markets or while adventuring between towns.

To cook, head to a campfire or an inn to initiate the option to cook. Choose a recipe that has all the ingredients. You’ll then jump into a minigame where you’ll have to input the correct buttons/direction arrows to have a successful item. You can only cook a recipe once so don’t spend too much money on ingredients you don’t need. For how troublesome it is to get money, be smart with your cash.

When you have Opal in your party, you can create pins the same way you cook, at campfires and inns. There’s no minigame with this, though. You just need to have the right materials for a specific pin to create. More pins become available as you play the game.

For the variety of game styles Terra Memoria offers, it surprisingly doesn’t have a minigame for fishing. Instead, if you go to a dock with a fishing rod sticking up and press the action button, you’ll earn a fish for your inventory. That’s it.  It feels like a bit of a letdown that there isn’t more involved.

Pixel Wonderland

The world of Terra is very colorful with its 2D pixel-style character art in a 3D environment. Buildings, bridges, forests, and other areas are rendered in 3D and look beautiful. That said, outside the main characters and a few side characters, many townsfolk look similar with different color variations. The animations are clean and simple but give it that classic RPG feel from the ‘90s reminiscent of title like Breath of Fire IV.

The game’s soundtrack, composed by Yponeko, is soothing, making Terra Memoria more of a laid back, cozy RPG. Battle themes are more energetic, and the sound changes to different instruments depending on where you are. The scores feel right and welcoming for this indie game. The soundtrack is available on Bandcamp, Steam and the Nintendo eShop for purchase and streams on Apple Music (Disc 1, Disc 2) and Spotify (Disc 1, Disc 2).

The Final Crystal

Terra Memoria is a unique turn-based RPG with various styles of gameplay mixed very well for a delicious treat. Its simple RPG elements may be too easy for some, but it’s cozy enough to enjoy in front of a campfire.

A PlayStation 5 review code provided for this review.

Terra Memoria - Gameplay Footage (PS5)

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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