It may have taken over a year, but Operencia has now arrived on Steam. I remember adding it to my wishlist a long while back, but the game then entered an Epic exclusivity deal, so it wasn’t until this past week that I was finally able to check it out. Was it worth the wait? Well, that’s debatable.
So, for those that don’t know, Operencia is a first-person dungeon crawler done in the same style as the classics. It’s got the turn-based combat, the fantasy aesthetic that dominates the genre, and the movement that’s restricted to a grid. However, the camera is done a bit differently here. Instead of being locked to the four directions, you can actually move the camera around freely.
The game takes advantage of this in its numerous puzzles, which range from tedious to just okay. There are some solutions that are immediately obvious, but require a bunch of steps to complete, and then those that are a bit more random. In fact, the randomness of some of the puzzles was a bit annoying at times. From finding very small objects scattered about the map to stepping through a phantom wall that’s hard to see, it can often be frustrating if you’re going at it without a walkthrough. Of course, it’s not all of the puzzles that are like this, but even the better ones are decent at best. Fortunately, as the game goes on, they become less important in favor of the combat.
As mentioned previously, the combat is done in a turn-based manner, with party members moving along an action bar dependent on their stats. The game has an extensive skill and ability system that make up the bulk of each character’s available moves. There are party buffs, single-target spells, moves that hit all enemies, and a number of other cool abilities. One of my favorites was a gambler ability, which, when activated, targets an enemy with a 50% chance to instantly kill them at the expense of having a 40% chance for my own guy to die in the process.
Otherwise, the combat plays out just like you’d expect from a dungeon crawler. Although there are a lot of abilities and skills that can be learned, the base combat is simple enough that it doesn’t ever feel too complex. If anything, the management of equipped items is more complex. If I had to complain, I would say that the lack of animation skipping can make the combat a bit slow at times, but that’s more a quality of life issue. The overall combat is nothing special for the genre, but it’s not bad either.
However, if it wasn’t obvious already, where Operencia really shines is with regards to its presentation. Everything from its graphics, to its animations, to even its 2D artwork is all excellently done and with some pretty high production values. I was very impressed when I loaded up the first dungeon and began wandering around. There was great use of lighting, an incredible amount of detail, and high-res textures all around. This extended into the combat as well, with a decent amount of enemies to fight all with their own unique animations.
Then there’s the audio side to the game. The soundtrack, while not the best I’ve heard in the genre, was nice and matched the game’s atmosphere well. What really sold the audio though was the game’s incredible sound design. While the soundtrack may have matched the atmosphere, the various sound effects and general ambience of the sound design pretty much made that atmosphere. It actually feels like you’re wandering through a forest, an underwater castle, or even a dark cave. In fact, I hated exploring spider-infested caves because of how well it managed to capture that atmosphere. It was some excellent production values all around and made the genre feel much more “modern” in a way.
Given all of that, I’ll give Operencia: The Stolen Sun a light recommendation. While the puzzles can be tedious, the combat and exploration are fun enough that it’s at least worth the look if you’re a fan of the genre. Granted, they’re not the greatest said genre has to offer, but combine that with the excellent presentation and cheesy, yet fun storyline and you have a decent overall package.
You can buy Operencia: The Stolen Sun on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.