By Mento 3 Comments
May the Nineteenth
The source: GB user @omghisam (thanks!)
The pre-amble: Fortune Summoners is a side-scrolling action RPG and follows Carpe Fulgur's previous translation projects Recettear and Chantelise in tone and style. Which is to say, it is as cute as a button and almost as difficult to swallow. The player controls bubbly swordsgirl Arche and two friends she makes at her school for magic-users as she attempts to track down her own elemental stone, which will allow her to join the other students at her school in learning magic. All the action is in real-time: The player fights using a system of combat moves which can be chained together, as well as defending and evading attacks from monsters and other enemies.
The playthrough: Oh man... so my good internet pal Omghisam seems to delight in sending me these queasily adorable games involving animes and the joy and wonder they feel about the world around them every single waking moment. Now I'm definitely partial to my JRPGs, for better or worse, but I've always wondered just how many spoonfuls of sugar the Carpe Fulgur people have in their coffees each morning given their output. I'm starting to suspect that there is, in fact, no coffee and the cups they're throwing back are filled entirely with sugar. Maybe brightly colored confectioner's icing at a pinch.
Fortune Summoners unfortunately has a few more core issues than either Recettear or Chantelise had. The combat's exceptionally sluggish - a far cry from something as fluid as Tales or Ys - and a lot of the early game appears to be to-and-fro padding for what I can only imagine is an attempt to extend the game to match theplaytime of those 16-bit JRPG antecedents it reveres so fondly. A lot of those were lamentably padded as well, so I'm thinking the game might've benefitted from a more focused story with a shorter duration. I mean, quality ephemeral experiences are intrinsic to Indie games after all, though I suppose the PC Doujin Game scene from which Fortune Summoners sprang isn't quite the humongous, confident hotbed of burgeoning developer talent the Indie game industry is in the West. There's nothing to stop these games from being as excellent, and the developer behind Fortune Summoners - and it is only one guy, apparently - probably would've been happy to create a smaller, focused product for the XBLAs and Steams were they a more feasible option for distribution in Japan.
The game's shortcomings aren't the fault of Carpe Fulgur's of course, which turns in yet another fantastic localization with oodles of charm and clever little touches that are almost imperceptible to a non-translator/non-Japanese speaker like myself. They do right by the games they choose to translate, but as each successive game from the group seems to be slightly worse I'm wondering if their critical eye isn't wandering a little. The Doujin scene isn't exactly booming with games that aren't loli shooters or visual novels, so I guess it's a case of taking what you can get.
The verdict: The stilted combat and sluggish opening few hours aren't really dealbreakers. Plus the dialogue and incidental text is so delightful I may well turn this into another screenshot LP later in the year. I do feel that I owe the scoundrel that gifted it to me a bit more than what you see here.