The game, albeit quirky, is pretty derivative. You're transported to a magic world and forced to stop a great evil from taking of the world. Ugh. The graphics are alright I guess for the gameboy, but and the music is recycled to death and sounds like 8-bit vomit.
The battle system however took me by surprise.
-Unlike most j-rpg's where you're controlling an entire party you're just controlling the main character, and all the battles 1-on-1.
-From time to time you'll be teamed up with another person, but they act more as helpers providing buffs/debuffs, healing, or providing information, though all of the actual fighting is done by you.
-There are no turns (sorta) instead of <you attack> <they attack> once you've chosen you're action, both you and the enemy attack at the same time.
-Instead of navigating menu's to choose your actions, your actions and spells are mapped to the actual Gameboy buttons
UP,LEFT,RIGHT=Your chosen spells
You can't use items during battle.
This set up leads to scenarios where you're trying to predict when is the best time to dodge an attack, quickly healing yourself to take the brunt force of an opponent, deciding to cast a debuff at the risk of being hit, or choosing not to attack lest you run head first into a fire spell, ect.
Theory 1: Despite my love of all things retro, the Gameboy is just too limited. When you really step back an look at the game without the lens of nostalgia, its a monochrome game that relies on text boxes in order to detail the action rather than animation, special effects, or... color. All the workings are in there for a better experience but its just held back by the technology of the time.
Theory 2: The battle system is too limited in what it allows you to do. While the gameplay may feel fast and doesn't waste your time, there's isn't much more than what you're presented with out of the box. No summoning, no inventory diving, just hitting things with your sword and the occasional magic spell. Perhaps just having battle be 1-on-1 is just the wrong way to go?
Either way I wanted to hear your thoughts, if you agree with either one or both my theories on this. I'm not going to remake the game, but I want to keep this battle system in my back pocket for a different game. And there were a way to improve it I'd like to know if you have any ideas.
And I can really say I hold no real opinion what's the right way to go with this, if you for instance feel that this battle system is just broken from the ground up and another one would be better I'd like to know. And also just because this system only utilized 3 buttons and a D-pad I'm not thinking of this as just being a Gameboy game because when I do use it, it wouldn't be played on the Gameboy.