Terra Memoria caught my attention when I first heard about the game, so it’s only natural that I decided to go and spend an hour with it at Gamescom 2023. Though an hour may seem brief, I was able to get to grips with most of what the game has to offer and spend a little bit of time in Terra.
The game begins with you taking control of Moshang, a powerful summoner helping some local farm hands in Constance, albeit reluctantly. It’s here that I got to learn a bit about crafting and combat. Admittedly, my knowledge of the crafting system is minimal as I didn’t revisit it again, but from what I observed, it’s quite in-depth, allowing you to gather materials and turn them into useful items or obstacles. In my case, I had to go and collect some wood to make a barricade.
It certainly left me wanting to explore crafting a bit more and uncover what else I can do to help the good townspeople, farmers, and explorers that I may come across as I journey across Terra. Still, my time with the game limited me to staying in the city of Constance. This is where things ramp up a little bit as a second controllable character is introduced – Syl. She’s been away from her family and Constance for a few years as she attended a prestigious school to learn the art of magic.
Returning to her family home, she finds that her family isn’t there anymore, which ultimately sets up the adventure in Terra Memoria. It’s about a young woman searching for her family. It’s a bit rude that they didn’t at least send her a postcard with where they’re going, but I digress.
So now it’s time to explore Constance a little bit, which is an absolute pleasure thanks to the appealing combination of 3D and pixel art styles. It was during this time I learned just how important it is to speak to the townspeople. You never know if they have some crucial information that may point you in the right direction. Well, after helping an innkeeper deal with a rat problem, I received an elevator ticket to take me to the higher levels of the city in search of Moshang, as Syl is told he may be able to help her.
When you find him, the two of them go through numerous avenues to try and find out what might be going on regarding Syl’s parents. Naturally, this leads to numerous perilous situations in which your combat merit is tested. Both characters have different movesets that use varying elements. Paying attention to the associated element of an attack may give you an upper hand in battle, for different enemies are weak to various elements.
As for the combat itself, Terra Memoria uses a turn-based system, though it’s a little different from other games that utilize this method of combat. You see, you, your enemies, and your allies are in a gridded line at the bottom of the screen, and the next person in line gets to attack. As simple as that sounds, the heavier your attack, the more spaces you’re pushed back, meaning your enemies may be able to attack you multiple times before you get another go.
The same can happen to your opponents, too, so I found it to be worth doing a bit of calculating to see what would be the most beneficial to me. Often, it seems like a good idea to go for a heavy hit with one character and opt for the lighter hits with a different character so that you get to go on the offensive a bit more frequently. It’s a balancing act that helps to add a bit more depth to the combat. I certainly can’t wait to see what else battles have to offer when I have access to all six playable characters instead of two.
When it comes to performance and aesthetics, I mostly have nothing but praise to lather on Terra Memoria. However, the beginning of my time with the game was marred as it completely froze, resulting in the PC being rebooted, which admittedly knocked a few minutes off my game time. You might notice I said PC since that’s the platform I played on. I can’t speak about how the game runs on Nintendo Switch until it’s released.
My first hour with Terra Memoria has me intrigued. It looks to be a solid RPG with a touching story, stunning art style, and interesting characters. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t appeal to a variety of gamers. In fact, at this rate, it might end up on our list of the best Switch RPGs.