You'll love it if:
- You are a fan of JRPGs
- You like exploring a big map
- You love anything pixelated
Not for you if:
- You are not a fan of early access games
- You don't enjoy doing many side-quests
- You prefer games with more realistic graphics
If you’re a fan of JRPGs, you have probably played a lot of different titles through the years. These games entail certain qualities that make them so nostalgic and fun for every gamer. Alterium Shift is a JRPG with a unique story and fun areas to explore. It was released on Steam on July 6th, and it is currently available on early access; you can also play the demo version for free up until Act 1.
Now that we know a few basic things about this brand-new game, let’s dive deeper into this early access review and see everything it offers!
While still in early access, Alterium Shift is a promising JRPG with an engaging story, plenty of fun side-quests on a large and versatile map, and three unique characters to choose from with individual storylines. There are many fun elements in the game that will make your playthrough enjoyable, especially if you are a fan of these types of games.
The very beginning – learning about the lore
The main important event about Alterium Shift is actually hidden in the name. The people of Alteria are finally recovering from a very long and draining war between them and the Dark Elves. One of their secrets is that they have discovered some magical amulets that allow them to easily shift between worlds.
The one thing to keep in mind about the gameplay of Alterium Shift is that you don’t get access to the amulet right away. It is also not necessary in the first part of the story, as you are still in the exploration stage in the small Summiton town where your character lives.
There, you can go ahead and complete your first few quests, which are rather uneventful, and learn how to navigate the game and a small part of the big map. One of the things I liked about the beginning stages of the game is that you can collect flowers, which you can then sell for money. You also have a pretty fun quest where you are tasked with collecting a townsperson’s chickens that have escaped all around Summiton.
Choosing the right character
At the beginning of the game, you are tasked with choosing which character you wish to play with. There are three different heroes for you to choose from – Altas, Pyra, and Sage. Each one has different skills and personalities, and their stories play out differently, making them very interesting and unique to one another.
Atlas is the strong character of the group, whose attacks mainly revolve around his Archery skills. Pyra holds a spear and has quite strong, fire-type attacks. Lastly, there is Sage, who is able to use the Alterium Essence of this world and cast magic.
I personally chose Sage for my first gameplay, and I did not regret it. Sage is able to replenish the mana during combat and has some pretty powerful attacks that work on different kinds of enemies. Best of all, he seems to hate waking up in the mornings so I could totally relate to him as a character. He is also known for being kind of obnoxious, but you can choose to make him friendlier through your interactions with other NPCs in the game.
The interesting thing about Alterium Shift is that you can essentially play three different stories in one game just by choosing a different character to begin with. Also, even if you choose one of the three characters, the other two will still show up in your gameplay and become members of your party. This will allow you to see how they perform in combat so you know what to expect should you choose to start a new gameplay with them.
There are certain things in Alterium Shift that make your play-through even more customizable. These include making certain choices in the game that can affect the ending, but many of these are not easy to explore yet as the game is still in early access.
Enjoying the combat with different characters
In general, the combat in Alterium shift is based on a pretty straightforward turn-based system. As you walk around the map, you will come across enemies waiting for you in plain sight and some hidden behind bushes that totally ambush you.
The attacks differ for each character you play, and you have to be careful how you play your strategy so you are able to get by without getting too much damage.
The key point to choosing any character in Alterium Shift is to find the weak spot of your enemies. Most are going to be weak against one of your attacks, and this will help you easily beat them. As you progress in the game and add more characters to your party, you will be able to always have the right attacks to beat the enemies with.
In general, the combat does feel a little repetitive, but the boss fights more than make up for it in my opinion. Something I enjoyed a lot, as a huge fan of pixel art was the 3D animations, especially those of the bosses. The only thing that I didn’t like is that you have no way of knowing how much health your enemy has. For smaller enemies that you encounter frequently, you will be able to remember how many hits it takes to kill them after some time.
Exploring the map & making time for side quests
From the very beginning of Alterium Shift, you will come across different side-quests which can be rather fun to complete. From collecting items to unlocking new areas, you will find different ways to spend your in-game time.
The map has many different areas and terrain and the classing pixelated style makes everything very enjoyable to go through. You can travel from forests full of flowers and trees to dark and mysterious caves, all the way to the desert, where you will need to hop on a special animal’s back in order to travel.
A problem I encountered was that there was no quest log in the game. This made it pretty challenging to remember where I needed to go and which task I had to complete. Also, the map isn’t the friendliest, as you cannot zoom in or move it around to help you see where you need to go when you’re stuck in an area of the map.
One of the things that I didn’t personally like in Alterium Shift was the fact that I wasn’t able to return to certain areas if I progressed too much on the map. While there are so many different places to explore, you have to be very careful about where you go in the game. If you trigger certain events, for example in the forest, you might not be able to go back and explore the rest of this area. I usually like to take my time and explore every place to the fullest, so I did not have the opportunity to do this here, and it kind of bummed me out.
On the other hand, one thing I enjoyed in Alterium Shift is fishing, as it is in general one of my favorite things to do in RPGs. You get to fish at different places around the map, and there is even an area in the desert for you to catch some special fish.
Also, there are plenty of puzzles to solve in the game, which you are bound to find pretty challenging. So, if you like fun side-quests and challenging puzzles, you will surely like Alterium Shift.
Fun interactions with objects
One of the things that surprised me positively about the game was the fun dialogue when interacting with different objects. This takes place when you click on an inanimate object, like a jar or a closet, while you’re searching for hidden items.
The different dialogue options are very entertaining, and sometimes, you can keep clicking and discovering different funny remarks. You should try this with pretty much any new object you come in contact with.
Alterium Shift – The final verdict
All in all, Alterium Shift is a very pretty and solid JRPG that still has room for improvement. With the game being in early access, it shows the devotion of the developers and how much they care about gathering feedback from their audience. While there are bugs and issues present in the game, the overall experience is very positive, and their attention to detail shows. We are very excited to see how the game will transform and improve as time goes by!
A big thank you to the developers of Alterium Shift for providing us with a copy of the game to review!