It’s hard not to respect a game that possesses as much ambition and wide a scope as Lost Eidolons. Topped with fluid strategy RPG-style gameplay, the Lost Eidolons is a worthy entry in the wide array of SRPGs. The game came and went with a small splash, but it deserves some more hurrah for a well-executed effort from the new Ocean Drive Studios. This is the studio’s first game, and it’s a huge swing for the fledgling company. Hopefully the effort grants it some attention and puts it on the map.
Lost Eidolons is a turn-based strategy RPG set in the civil war-torn nation of Benerio. You take on the role of Eden, a captain of a group of ragtag misfits that take odd jobs and assist those in need. Eden must herald allies both old and new, fighting corrupt individuals and monsters from within the nation. With Eden’s village thrown into war, it’s up to you to command your units and take down a corrupt government. These battles are done with a simple grid-based combat system that lacks some depth and ultimate strategy, but is still functional and satisfying.
Master the grid
The heart of Lost Eidolons’ gameplay is a simple grid system. Your units and enemy units traverse a grid-based map, battling and fulfilling battle requirements not unlike other SRPGs like Fire Emblem. The battle system of the game has lots of quirks that you can explore, such as environments that interact with certain magic-based abilities (using a fire spell on a bush, for example, will set it on fire and damage anyone standing in it). Certain enemies will have weak points to certain weapons on the grid, allowing you to chain attacks and deal extra damage.
There’s also a weapon and armor system that adds a layer of complexity to the combat. Enemies and allies will have different types of armor equipped, and these armors have different weaknesses to different weapon types in the game. For the weapons, you can wield a sword, axe, bow, grimoire, or spear, with each dealing more or less damage based on what armor you are going up against. Each unit you have can also equip a secondary weapon, allowing you to easily swap between weapons and match the enemy’s weakness. It’s a fluid combat system that’s simple, yet engaging.
Take your turn
I should note that the battles have a controversial mechanic that sets a hard limit on turns you can take before losing the battle outright. It was never too hassling or annoying for me, but it stirred enough outrage that the developers are considering an option for players to remove this limit in the future. This is potentially an issue if you go through the game on a harder difficulty. I completed the game on “Normal” mode, and it didn’t pose a huge problem.
Speaking of difficulty, Lost Eidolons allows you to curate the difficulty of the game based on your preference. There is essentially an Easy, Normal, and Hard mode, with the option of turning permadeath onto your units for some more immersion. These settings can be changed at any time throughout the game. So if you find it too easy, you can set it to be harder. Or, if you find the game too difficult, you can easily lower the challenge at your whim.
Set up camp
Defeating an enemy also grants a certain amount of experience points, which your characters will gain and level up. Naturally, you’ll gain more stats and higher damage the more your level goes up. Characters also have different classes that you can gain experience for, wielding different weapon types, possessing different abilities, and having a certain niche in terms of stats. For example, the Squire class has a defensive niche, drawing fire from enemies with taunt skills which eases things up for your other units. Each character has a different class tree, with tons of different classes to unlock and enjoy.
You’ll also find equipment, weapons, and accessories throughout your journey which you can equip onto your characters. It’s a bit of a hassle to go through the extensive amount of units you have and equip new gear on each of them, and the menu is also missing some shortcuts that might ease the process. For example, when viewing an overview of the characters, you can check your equipment, yet you cannot change your equipment from this menu. It’s not a big deal, but it’s an example of some slight tweaking that could be added to the game to make it feel a little stronger.
This process is done through the game’s camp system, which allows you to control Eden from a third-person perspective. The camp also allows you to dive into a rapport system where you can build up bonds with your allies (even romance some), or even solve some mini-quests to earn some extra rewards. Again, it’s a totally fleshed-out system with tons of content and a really impressive amount of polish.
Lost Eidolons’ fun gameplay is weakened a bit by some middling graphics that aren’t necessarily ugly, but forgettable and mediocre. Character design is rather weak in this game, with even a few characters looking indistinguishable from one another. This is an unfortunate representation of some of the limitations of this game. And while the graphics are serviceable, it can get distracting when even the protagonist looks like an NPC.
Fortunately, the story is decent and the characters do have some personality that helps distinguish them from their drab appearances. They aren’t particularly memorable characters, but some solid voice acting helps each character feel distinct and present. The voice acting is overall good, but there are some grating and distracting moments. Characters constantly repeat the same line over and over again in battle every time you click them, for example, and certain moments go unacted.
An irresistible indie
Overall, Lost Eidolons didn’t sweep me off my feet, but it did impress me with its ambition and functionality. This game is a solid and worthy entry in your SRPG library, and I do recommend checking it out. It’s a really good effort and I enjoyed my time with this game. If you have any love for the genre, then I wager you’ll find something to appreciate about Lost Eidolons.