Game Title: Asdivine Hearts
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 5.5 – 8 hours
Download: 197 MB
eShop Page: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/asdivine-hearts-switch
KEMCO has made a lot of RPGs in their day. In fact, there are over a dozen RPGs on Mobile and a handful of them have been released for traditional consoles and handhelds. The PS Vita and 3DS have some of these games, like Revenant Saga and Dragon Sinker.
But, the Nintendo Switch has been slowly getting them as well. The two mentioned above have already released on the Switch, and this week, my absolute favorite of their RPGs that spawned its own series in and of itself, released and I couldn’t resist a reason to play through it again.
Originally reviewed by me for the PS Vita, here is my review of Asdivine Hearts for the Nintendo Switch!
Asdivine Hearts is a story about the world of Asdivine that is ruled by two deities: The Shadow Deity and the Light Deity. While the world deals with a rising population in monsters, two young orphans happen upon a strange being that possessed a wild cat, claiming to be none other than the Light Deity and pulls them into a quest to restore their power.
The story of this game is one that starts off feeling incredibly cliche in its first half to far more balanced, believable, and interesting in its second half. A lot of the character tropes around party members are overly-cliche and forced in the first several hours of the game, but if you make it past assembling the entire party, it balances itself out and tells a very unique tale.
Asdivine Hearts is what you’d call a Retro-style RPG. In the fashion of games like Final Fantasy IV-VI from the SNES era, it is a turn-based RPG with an overworld to explore, dungeons to spelunk, and lots of enemies and bosses to fight across its journey.
Before going on, this is a game that originated on Mobile and, as such, has special currency for special items. Fortunately, micro-transactions are no longer a thing in Asdivine Hearts, so all of the currency you need for the special in-menu Shop can be obtained from special enemies during random encounters.
Basic progression in this game is pretty much like in any oldschool RPG. You travel across the world map with story objectives guiding you to new areas filled with mini story arcs, towns, shops, dungeons, and boss battles to overcome. If you’ve ever played an SNES Final Fantasy game (or perhaps I am Setsuna and Lost Sphear), it’s very much like that. Your typical fare of traveling the world, gaining ships and airships for easier world access, etc.
Three things that make this a more unique experience than a generic retro RPG are its skill system, Trust/Friendship Events, and Gem systems. You have typical spells you use Magic Points (MP) for, but you also have character-specific skills that use Skill Gauges that fill up as you fight. Not only are these skills the key for significantly-higher amounts of damage to bosses, but they’re useful to use in random encounters since you can use the lower-cost skills and regain most, if not all of those skill bars by the next fight, making fighting your way through dungeons easier to manage than just wasting skills and doing physical attacks until your next Healing / Save Point.
Trust and Friendship Events are tied to this game’s character development and Endings. Every party member has little mini-arcs in the game’s story about them, and occasional “Rest Days” will come where you can spend time with them to increase their Trust Ranking and see more of their character growth. Raising these levels high enough lets you see not one, but 2 endings for each character, each tied to the Normal and True Ending paths of the game’s finale.
Finally, the Gem system. As you progress, you’ll gather gems that can be equipped to change character stats and even expand their range of magic spells to include types they wouldn’t learn on their own. These are equipped to a “Rubix” that is basically a Grid that these gems can fit into. Not unlike strategically placing materials on the Alchemy Grid in the Atelier games, you have to pick what you want on each character and fit them into the Rubix so you can’t just equip a ton of OP gems onto everyone.
All of this comes together pretty well in how the game is paced. All the way down to the walking speed, Asdivine Hearts feels like a very fast-paced RPG and that can really help gamers who don’t like the slower pacing that these RPGs normally are filled with.
Of course, content and length are also a factor that are important here. Some of KEMCO’s RPGs are notoriously short in length, and that’s where Asdivine Hearts raises the bar a bit. Depending on your difficulty setting, you can beat this game from anywhere between 20 hours and 30+ hours.
To give an example, I played the Normal Difficulty for most of the game and achieved the Normal Ending after playing for around 22 hours whilst adding another hour with raising Trust Levels and doing a little leveling at the end to make sure I was prepared for the True Ending route.
After beating the game, you unlock more content, including endings, bosses, and optional dungeons, but most of that is in relation to preparations for getting all of the True Endings.
Despite originally being on Mobile platforms, the touchscreen is not used in Asdivine Hearts. Everything you will do will be done with the built-in buttons.
Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick or Arrow Buttons / D-Pad. The Right Analog Stick, – button, and ZL/ZR triggers are not used in this game. The L and R triggers can cycle through item and skill menus. The + button brings up the Save Screen.
The face buttons are all used, though. A is used for selecting options, B for cancelling options, X for the customization menu, and Y for pulling up the World Map.
Visually, the models and renders built into Asdivine Hearts look nice in handheld mode, though they can have a slight blur effect in docked mode, mostly with the larger screen making the blur effect more apparent. This is specifically on battle models, so there is no blur effect on stationary environments.
Thankfully, the game runs great. One of my main complaints with the PS Vita version of Asdivine Hearts was the constant stuttering and semi-freezing in and out of battle. On the Switch, the load times are much shorter, and these stutters are nowhere to be seen.
Being a Retro RPG, I expected Battery Life to be pretty nice, but what I got was incredible. Here are my Battery Times, from 100% to 0%:
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 21 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 45 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 49 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 8 hours, 06 minutes
Although only by a 6 minute margin, Asdivine Hearts has set the record for the highest Battery Life of all of the games I’ve tested, shooting that supposed 6 hour “cap” way up and providing Asdivine players with over 8 hours of Battery Life on a single charge.
In conclusion, Asdivine Hearts is widely regarded as one of, if not the best RPG KEMCO has offered the world. Although the story starts off a bit weak, those that stick around will find a fun, accessible little RPG with retro blended with unique skill systems, and a ton of content to unlock that is well worth that small price tag.