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Review: Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling (PS4)

    

Paper Mario but with bugs (not the technical kind).


Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling makes its inspiration obvious just from looking at a screenshot. The art style pays homage to the Paper Mario series and the rest of the game follows suite. The first two Paper Mario games were traditional paper turn based rpgs, and the series has shifted away from that formula since. Bug Fables sets out to create an experience similar to those early entries in the Paper Mario series.

Any fans of the classic Paper Mario games will feel at home playing Bug Fables. Besides the art style, the combat will feel familiar right away. Your party has three characters who will be with you for the entirety of the game. You take turns attacking with each character having their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Each character fares better against specific types of enemies. A unique mechanic this game offers is the ability to give your attack to another character. The penalty is that each subsequent attack is weaker. There’s little inventory management, badges are the only items that are equipped, and they offer little significant advantage. Likewise, leveling feels underwhelming. Leveling up gives the player the option of a small increase in health, badge points (allowing more badges to be equipped), or team points (filling the role of mana in most rpgs). These point increases are so small that they don’t make leveling as rewarding as I would hope. At the same time, grinding feels ineffective for the same reason and unnecessary.

This is not to say the game is easy. The player is given a hard mode badge early on. At the cost of 0 points to equip, it makes hard mode completely optional. Hard mode is challenging, but because grinding does not do much, you have to get good. All the mechanics must be utilized in their most optimal way for the player to advance. This is especially true for boss battles. The game makes it easy to retry boss fights upon death, which is very helpful for anyone playing on hard mode. Learning the boss patterns and attacks is a rare trait necessary for rpgs. Failing and learning in general isn’t necessary to complete most modern rpgs.

The three character limit of your party makes these characters more well developed and memorable to the player. Each character offers their own unique personality and backstory. Not having to rotate characters in and out of your party also makes them feel relevant and important for the entirety of your journey. You get to see characters grow as the story progresses and become close to each other. The writing is great for the characters as well as the npcs you will encounter in the world. 

While Paper Mario is the most obvious comparison, turn based rpgs, as a whole, are a relic of the past. Bug Fables fills a void for gamers who yearn for the good old days of planning out your turn before attacking. Most rpgs have shifted toward action based and real time combat. Bug Fables brings a classic formula to the modern day and succeeds.
The world to explore is large, the side quests and activities are abundant, the story is lengthy. At a $25 price tag, this game is an easy recommend. Bug Fables is one of my favorite rpgs of this console generation.

8.5 out of 10


Title: Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling
Developer: Moonsprout Games
Publisher: DANGEN Entertainment
Genre: RPG
Players: Single Player
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Price: $24.99
Release Date: May 28th, 2020
Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish
Reviewer: Jon_Mclane

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