The Emerald Tablet Review – Light-Hearted Crafting and Fighting
Title: The Emerald Tablet
Release Date: December 16, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Sekai Project
Although I consider myself a sucker for visual novels, I don’t mind when developers try new things with the genre. With this in mind, I found myself drawn to The Emerald Tablet, which is a crafting based RPG visual novel hybrid that borrows elements from the popular Atelier series. Although the game focuses heavily on its story elements and characters, the mix of RPG systems included in the game makes it a bit more accessible to newcomers of the genre. Luckily for me, there’s an added dose of comedic themes that left me eager to spend more time with these characters.
The Emerald Tablet introduces Misty, a girl who happens to have a dream to become an alchemist. Sadly, the academy she applied to raised the fees to an incredibly high amount that she couldn’t afford. In hopes of gaining the funds needed, she turns to her friend Gladys who happens to be reasonably wealthy. With Gladys in the picture, we are introduced to her mysterious maid Winnie who has a fascination with bombs. However, Misty has a bit more to worry about as she is tasked with reaching a high enough reputation, which requires her to craft items. On top of that, if she doesn’t manage to pay back her debt before graduating, she will need to work as Glady’s maid.
The Emerald Tablet features some comedic elements in its story delivery mixed with light-hearted bits of character development. Each day, the story finds Misty interacting with her friends as they get into rather silly situations. I ended up looking forward to these moments since Misty and her friends are pretty hilarious, and I enjoyed learning more about them. That said, the story doesn’t really introduce anything too groundbreaking in the narrative department and keeps its light-hearted tone throughout the entire adventure.
The Emerald Tablet focuses heavily on its crafting systems. You begin by crafting in Misty’s Workshop with the items you’ve bought or collected. Each item varies in stats as you combine them to create new items. While crafting, you can create items that you’ve learned throughout the adventure, but there’s also a menu that allows you to craft entirely new ones.
The gameplay features here are what I found to be the most entertaining aspect. During gameplay, you have access to a menu-based map that allows you to select your next destination. Figuring out how to progress the narrative is neatly organized, so it’s tough to get lost. Since earning money is the main point of the game, these jobs are essential to get out of debt.
The quests range from simple tasks like donating and delivering certain items to quests with a bit more thought put behind them, such as crafting a specific item for someone. Throughout the game, you’ll complete many quests, which made it tedious to have to go to the quest board to accept each reward.
Some quests also have you battle by visiting dungeons, which can also be used to collect items. Quests and exploration come with a time limit, in which the game features three different difficulties settings. Through battles, characters can unlock new skills and become stronger by using Talent Points. I enjoyed how many abilities each character could learn and how they each filled an essential role in my party. If a character dies during a fight, they get resurrected after defeating the current enemy so you can continue your adventure. It’s also possible to return home at any time, but the player will be transported back as soon as the time limit is up.
I appreciated the various illustrations given to the characters, including the dungeon crawling chibi designs. It was tough for me to fight some of the enemies because they were just too darn cute. The game does a great job of showing the emotions of the characters through their illustrations, which was nice considering there isn’t any voiced audio in the game. I also enjoyed the game’s backgrounds and locations.
The Emerald Tablet is a lovely and light-hearted JRPG that I had a good amount of fun playing. The characters are lively, cute, and quirky, which was well represented in their dialogue. The game loop revolves around selecting quests, traveling through dungeons, and crafting items with the hope of one day getting out of debt.
The theme of debt isn’t powerful enough to make for a deep narrative adventure, but seeing Misty follow her dream is a sufficient reason to see the quest through until the end. The crafting system ends up becoming the most significant appeal of this adventure in the later hours, which worked out fine for me. If you’re a fan of the Atelier series and you’re looking for a unique take on the alchemy genre, then this could very well appeal to you.
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