This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Bonds Of The Sky is a top down RPG with turn based combat elements. Developed by Hit Point Co. LTD and published by KEMCO, Bonds Of The Sky makes use of a lot of tropes that RPGs have become known for but the question is… does it use these in vain or does it use these to its advantage to push innovative mechanics? Well let’s find out!!
The graphics aren’t the main focus here nor were they intended to be, they’re a basic 8-bit inspired look with a little bit of extra smoothing over the edges. The motion of the characters’ movement is actually very fluid which is always nice. However, I just found it hard to really enjoy these graphics, they weren’t vibrant and they weren’t eye catching. They just seemed quite bland with a lot of dark tones around most of the colours which makes the game seem somber and serious. There’s not much more to say here. The visuals are quite boring and they don’t differ from that at all during the game.
Ah yes, the story, the box an exceptional game stands on to bring it above the rest. I wish I could use that anecdote here but honestly Bonds Of The Sky uses its story as more of a plot device to justify the actual game more than anything. I could summarise the whole plot as a ‘hero’s coming of age story number 2819’ because it’s that generic it couldn’t possibly be an original story. You are Eil (I don’t know how to pronounce it either?) a 15 year old boy who has just started hearing strange voices in his dreams. Eil lives in the town of the wind Grimoa (the Grimoa’s are the gods of this world, don’t worry, if you play you’re treated to a three minute long sprawling spiel about how the world came to be) now Ein is special, and not just because he’s the only one in the town who doesn’t look completely identical to everyone else. Ein is of the blood of the Grimoa’s. This is all pretty obvious though as one of your moves in the training fight is called wind strike…and during a section where you have to get a little girls hat back he says to himself ‘hmmm a gust of wind would be handy right about now!’ And voila a gust of wind.
The next day is set to be Ein’s coming of age ceremony where he becomes an adult and takes on the many responsibilities that entails! So you and the priest set off the temple on the other side of town and then right in the middle of the ceremony, OH WHATS THAT A FIRE DEMON IS ATTACKING THE VILLAGE!! Wow…nobody saw that coming…you then save your friends from the flames by becoming ‘partners” with the actual air grimoa…and you must set off in search of the fire grimoa who attacked your town… why it’s almost as if this event just gave the game a plot!? As you can probably tell I’m not very fond of the story here. It’s very simple, very predictable, and the dialogue between characters is borderline insultingly simple. For example, you enter the ‘item shop’ beside your church (actually just called ‘item shop’ by the way) and are greeted by a cashier who states “this is an item shop, what can I do for you” yeah…not great.
The gameplay is as I’ve mentioned before turn based combat. Now from what I experienced, the turn based combat isn’t very balanced. You’re given some optional tasks to kill creatures around the town, you can do so by just running around and every so often the screen will go black and you’ll encounter one in a sort of pokemon style random encounter system. You have a weapon attack and special ability attacks. Now every single one of these creatures I encountered I killed in one single hit with the starting weapon. I met so many in fact that in the space of one quest I levelled up ten times. Just as with before I found the gameplay just a bit boring and empty. Random encounters and very easy to find loot chests make for an uninteresting time.
Bonds Of The Sky‘s music is a looped track that sounds straight out of ‘fantasy soundtrack’s 101’ that gets quite annoying after a while, the dialogue isn’t voice acted so I can’t comment on that here but overall the games sound effects don’t seem very quality to me.
Dull graphics, dull gameplay, and a dull story make for a, you guessed it dull game. I think it relies too heavily on existent tropes and mechanics that is meant to make the game feel like something you already know but ends up making it feel like something you’ve played before and therefore have no need to play now.