REVIEW: ‘Orangeblood’ Is an Okay Nostalgic JRPG (Switch)

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Orangeblood Logo

Orangeblood is a single-player adventure RPG, indie game for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Switch developed by Grayfax Software and published by Playism. Orangeblood takes place at the end of the century on an artificial island in Japan, off the coast of Okinawa, known as New Koza. New Koza has that hustle-and-bustle cyberpunk feel to it. The adventure you embark on follows a young woman known as Vanilla who has found her way back to New Koza. But this time she’s on a mission, hired by a mysterious employer overseas. Vanilla is going to need all the help she can get to pull off her mission and she needs to recruit a team of old and new faces.

Jumping into this indie role-playing game, it was quite overwhelming and a little frustrating. Grayfox’s world design of New Koza definitely sells the cyberpunk vibe but it’s easy to get lost and hard to explore. There isn’t a map legend to tell you what was what, aside for a green dot that signifies the next location of your objective. You explore the world of New Koza in a top-down fashion and participate in battles that are turn-based.

When it came to exploring, there was a lot of trial and error and having to remember where a lot of things were. I got a handle that a shop was a shop by the letter “S” appearing on my minimap and that health stations in the form of vending machines were indicated by a plus symbol, the universal sign for health. There are also diners in New Kozu that you can go to heal yourself for a small price.

To add more chaos, talking to NPCs happens automatically by walking up to or in the vicinity of said character. Quite a few text boxes will show up on the screen if characters pass by and it gets troublesome if a hint or explanation of the area pops up, requiring you to position your character in such a way so you can read what you intended to in the first place.

OB Vanilla Character

While exploration and chatting with characters can be quite annoying, these flaws could be overlooked once you get into the meat of the game—the battles. Like many JRPGs, battles are conducted in a turn-based manner, where you and your opponent take turns attacking one another. Battles can be a blend of simplicity and complexity. Simplistic in the sense that you select an attack and then your opponent attacks, and you watch the action play out until your enemy is defeated. But battles will become increasingly complex with enemies gaining strengths and weaknesses, and they’ll use different tactics to hinder you during the battle.

If you are familiar with JRPGs and battling in such games, you will pick up the flow of battling quite easily. Some battles will be easy while others are hard. Not revealing too much, the first area or dungeon where fighting takes place was a breeze because I had weapons matching the enemies’ weakness. When I arrived at the area’s boss it was not a breeze due to the enemy’s fight pattern despite having the appropriate weapons. While enemies can continuously come at you in the overworld map, I always had a good time, impressed with the combination of weapons and skills I had attained.

Of course, your characters have an arsenal of their own. In Orangeblood, Vanilla and crew use guns to take down their foes and quite a few skills to aid them in battle. What makes battles so interesting is the AP system. Depending on the gun, you have a pool of AP equal to the number of bullets you have. As you attack/shoot your enemies, your AP goes down. When you reach zero, you automatically reload. However, in doing so, you become vulnerable due to your defense being lowered. You don’t have to wait until the last moment for the auto-reload to kick in, allowing you to strategize.

Your characters can use quite a range of guns, each having a different amount of ammo. Assault Rifles and Sub Machine guns have a high amount of ammo and allow you to attack longer before reloading. Shotguns have quite a few bullets but are weaker allowing you to hit all enemies and possibly induce a negative status effect on the enemy. Sniper Rifles (currently my favorite) have extremely low bullets causing you to reload frequently but pack quite a punch. With this combination of guns, it seems the sky is the limit of what your crew can do when it comes to pumping out damage and possibly stopping the enemy from attacking.

What also helps in battles is knowing your enemies’ weaknesses and exploiting them. Being at a higher level than your enemy and dishing out damage just won’t be enough. While in battle you can analyze your enemy, seeing how much health they have, what items they can possibly drop, and what element they’re weak to. In the early portions of the game, you will encounter a lot of machine type enemies who are weak to thunder attacks. Equipping your weapons with this element will help make short work of them.

Skills come into play as well. Without spoiling too much, Vanilla is an amazing damage dealer. Skills can range from dealing damage to healing to buffing your team or debuffing (lowering attack or defense, paralyzing, or burning) the enemy team. In order to use skills, you need to rack up skill points. You do so by attacking your enemy. There are some skills that can be used by your team that can help aid in the collection of points passively. But to gain them actively, attacking your opponent is the way to go. Once you reach the number of points needed for a skill, you simply select it and watch the magic happen. The only drawback is having to reach said amount again and/or if the skill has a cooldown.

Orangeblood is your simple, run-of-the-mill JRPG that gives you that nostalgic feeling for the games we played growing up. While the story is mediocre and some characters are more interesting than others, and despite a chaotic map that players need to get used to and memorize, Orangeblood‘s battles and dope soundtrack—which will make you stop, pause, and nod your head to the beat—are enough to keep players distracted and that’s okay.

Orangeblood is available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch


Orangeblood
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

Orangeblood is your simple, run-of-the-mill JRPG that gives you that nostalgic feeling for the games we played growing up.