Nostalgia Updated Hands-On

We take to the skies in this turn-based role-playing game set in the 19th century.

Now that we have our own build of Matrix Studio's upcoming Nintendo DS role-playing game Nostalgia in our office, we were able to spend some quality time playing it. Like the title suggests, Nostalgia brings back fond memories of turn-based RPG action and puts you in a 19th-century universe similar to our own. Except in this universe, you'll encounter powerful magic, high-flying zeppelins, and aggressive mummies. We all know that there is no shortage of Japanese RPGs on the DS, so it's going to take a little more than fancy airships to lure us into this adventure.

At the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo, we were able to play a brief demo of Nostalgia as the young and very well-dressed adventurer Eddie Brown. He and his conveniently diverse group of friends were making their way through the pyramids in Egypt, searching for Eddie's legendary father Gilbert, who, oddly enough, looks a bit like Indiana Jones. Our game began deep within a temple where a young damsel in distress is saved by handsome man who swooped in to take her onto his ship in typical Hollywood fashion. Except in this case, he didn't quite make it onto the airship, and now his son, Eddie, has his heart set on finding his famous father. After signing up with the Adventurer's Association and taking command of his father's ship, Eddie and his somewhat sketchy friend Pad--who is also looking for a relative--set off into the sky in search of clues.

Random turn-based battles take place as you're exploring ruins and caves on foot. You'll also have to fight creatures and sky pirates in the air as you travel from one location to another. There is no trekking from one end of the world to the other; instead, you'll fly your heavily armed airship through sandstorms and other elements of nature to get to your destination. Ground-based battles are as straightforward as selecting your attacks via a menu. Characters have their own set of unique skills when they're fighting against enemies on land, as well as in the air. Damage dealt in the air is absorbed by the airship, so you'll have to watch and maintain the health of your ship. Characters take turns as they normally would and can attack enemies straight ahead or off to the side. For example, on Pad's turn, he will fire a gun, which does better damage when the enemies are flanking the ship. Eddie controls the blade of the ship, which deals the most damage to foes directly ahead. By paying close attention to the unique properties of your party members, you can easily win most of the battles.

In keeping up with the Indiana Jones theme, we noticed that one of the first dungeons we explored were the pyramids near Cairo, which were full of traps, hostile mummies, and even a giant rolling boulder. If you do happen to spring a trap, it only forces you to take a slight detour, and if you somehow can't outrun the boulder, you'll just have to try again. These are small things to just be aware of, but they are different and add an element of excitement to the otherwise formulaic dungeon-crawling. It's also cool to see the variety and depth to some of the areas. In one of the caves, you can see the man-made ramps and walkways below as work your way down into the mines. Instead of wandering around until you get to some stairs, you feel like you're actually exploring the cave.

Explore some exotic locales.

When you're not advancing the main story, you can take on side quests at the Adventurer's Association located in each major city. Completing these quests will yield rewards and help you advance in level, so that when you do progress the storyline, you'll be ready. Our travels took us to such exotic locations as Cairo and Cape Town, but these cities obviously didn't mirror the actual cities. They did, however, have their own unique flavor and aesthetic that was very well represented on the DS.

Looks like RPG fans are going to have another game to jump into before the holidays get started. From what we've played of Nostalgia, it's what you would expect from a traditional RPG, but it has an interesting blend of real-world locations, steampunk themes, and fantasy. Nostalgia for the Nintendo DS is set to be released on October 27, so be sure to check back for our full review then.

Written By

Want the latest news about Nostalgia?

Nostalgia

Nostalgia

Discussion

20 comments
nsibbs
nsibbs

@mediamessiah -- i can agree with that, story makes up a big part for me in a rpg, because its way to long to play a game and be bored out ur mind :/

MediaMessiah
MediaMessiah

for an rpg it's all about story. As soon as I learn more about the story, then I will be willing to think about investing.

trugs26
trugs26

First time I have looked into this game. Just saw the trailer and though "Skies of Arcadia", which I loved (being one of my favorite games). So I may have to keep my eye on this one.

lionheart234
lionheart234

looking forward to this game, seems interesting..... ^^

elizabethtroubl
elizabethtroubl

The more I read of this, the more I like. Loved Skies of Arcadia immensely, and don't mind a lil' airship battling! Worth a try in my estimation. I wonder, though...what's steampunk? I must work too much...

brian_13un
brian_13un

Interesting looking forward to this one

ZeromusEX
ZeromusEX

King9999 i agree this more than reminds me of Skies of Arcadia, the airship battles seem identical. They could do worse than copy that game though, one of my all time favorites!

Next-Gen-Tec
Next-Gen-Tec

This game looks awesome. I think I'll enjoy it a lot.

FoppyOmega
FoppyOmega

I just put 112 hours into FFX. Think I'm ready for a new RPG. With that said, Nostalgia's battle system kinda reminds me of FFX. In one of the screenshots I even saw a skill called Delay Attack.

King9999
King9999

It's disappointing that the game has random encounters, because the rest of the game seems interesting, and is reminiscent of Skies of Arcadia.

Zerosx3
Zerosx3

Anyone remember skyship battle in Skies of Arcadia? xD This is a upgrade version, very nice, i will play it ^^

isaacmj
isaacmj

Looks nice, but after playing Mario&Luigi 3 I've raised my rpg standards a lot. I'll just wait and see if this one makes the cut

Gloryfinder
Gloryfinder

This looks like a pretty solid RPG with a nice combination of different ideas (like airship combat and exploration of the "real world"). Yes, a lot of RPG's are turned based, but that what makes them so enjoyable and easy to casually play. The advantage to turn based over real time combat is you can take a break in the middle of a battle without worrying about watching the screen every second to attack/dodge enemies.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Looks like this will be another solid ds rpg. :D

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

Sounds like every other turn based game for the DS, I might look into it later, but I doubt I'll actually buy it. Don't get me wrong, I like some tbs games for the DS, but there are just to many.

evilsolidjavi
evilsolidjavi

i want this game and they keep changing the date. it was supposed to be released in september then it got push back to october 22...now oct 27..jeez..

Dualmask
Dualmask

Sounds like it's at least going to be worth playing for a while after I get through some other RPGs I've been working on. Matrix Studio knows what they're doing when it comes to DS games. I never get tired of these kinds of games, as long as they're moderately functional and well-made. They don't have to be perfect, just long, with a fun battle system and loot to collect.