Seven Knights -Time Wanderer- Review (Switch)
Release Date: November 5, 2020
File Size: 7.9GB
Publisher: Netmarble Corporation
Developer: Netmarble Corporation
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Version Reviewed: 1.4
The influence of mobile game mechanics have spread like wildfire since the early days. Now, it feels as though gacha games are making their way into the console gaming realm instead of remaining on mobile devices. And for good or bad, they’re going to be here to stay. But something that I never anticipated was a new console game being developed based on a gacha game IP. Typically, we see the opposite happening. With Seven Knights being based on a mobile game, will it prove to fall flat due to those origins, or will it shine unexpectedly on the Switch?
Seven Knights is a real-time, turn-based RPG where you control a team of up to five characters during battle, and of those five, you select one per turn to enact an action against your opponent. No matter how many characters are on the screen at one time, only one can move per turn. As you go through the game, you will unlock many more characters, each with their own speciality, whether it be healing, attacking, or shielding.
When it comes to combat, you have about three seconds or so to select an action to use against your opponent. If you do not select an action in time, your turn is skipped and it will be your opponent’s turn to attack. Once a skill has been used, it will begin a cooldown state, with each skill in the game having its own cooldown timer. The better the skill (for example, healing), the longer the cooldown timer is. You have two skills that you can use at any point, with a third skill only available once you have your gauge charged to 100%. Every skill used will add to this gauge.
You have no access to your inventory while in battle, so any healing that needs to be done will have to be handled by your healer. And if you end up losing a unit, then you’re out of luck until you’re out of battle. From what I found, the healers that you get don’t appear to have a resurrection skill (or if one exists, then you will have to grind a long time for your skills to upgrade to that point). While this isn’t much of a problem for most of the game, as you get towards the end, you will need to think carefully about when to heal and when to attack to make sure you don’t suffer any losses.
There is a surprising amount of strategy involved with the battles. For those familiar with Persona or Shin Megami Tensei, there is a mechanic where hitting an enemy’s weakness will cause them to be stunned, not allowing them to attack. If you’re able to exploit the weaknesses of an entire group at one time (typically with an AOE if there is more than one opponent), then you will get to perform another action. Keep in mind, however, that you will only be allowed to attack again if all enemies are stunned. Also, there is no targeting system in this game, meaning you have very little control on which enemy will be attacked. And since this tactic only works with non-boss enemies, bosses will still perform their turn even after being hit with an element of their weakness.
Outside of battle, you will navigate across several different maps along nodes. These nodes can be host to regular enemies, chests, side stories, several types of currency,and even some secret bosses if you look hard enough. While the map designs are nice to look at, the act of moving around is pretty lackluster for the most part.
The story for this game is connected to the Seven Knights mobile game universe. While you don’t need to have played the mobile game to play this one, it does feel as though a lot of the character’s stories and personalities would have come across better with previous knowledge of the source material.
You play as Vanessa, a ten year old mage who stumbles across a sealed magical hourglass locked in a room in her house. Against the wishes of her friends, Vanessa accidentally breaks the seal to this hourglass and is teleported to another dimension, which also ages her for some reason. From here, she meets the hourglass, called Sandy, who tells her that she must collect Time Crystals in order to get back to her home dimension.
From there, Vanessa travels across several dimensions collecting Time Crystals and meeting new friends. With each new dimension, you will meet about 2-3 new characters to add to your roster. Unfortunately, this is where the narrative ends up falling a bit flat. Since you are going to a new location with each Time Crystal collected, you don’t spend a lot of time really developing the characters you meet or immersing yourself in the new worlds. Even Vanessa and Sandy’s relationship doesn’t really progress much until you get towards the end of the game. That is to be expected, given the large cast of characters, but I just wish a bit more time was given to really flesh out things rather than just quickly going in and out of each dimension.
There is a section of the game that is unlocked early on known as Egonyx, where you can build affinity towards the main characters that you’ve met. You can think of them like mini episodes that are meant to flesh out more of the characters by showing how they interact with those around them. Unfortunately, it feels more like flavor text that was kind of haphazardly thrown in rather than anything of real substance.
Most of your time will be spent looking at the 3D models of the characters, which feel reminiscent of their mobile game counterpart. There is also 2D art of these characters that will appear during non-animated cutscenes, as well as any place where you interact with the characters (such as changing your team or on the battle screen next to their abilities).
For the animated cutscenes, they switch from using a stereotypical anime art-style to a semi-realistic style instead. And while these look very nice, it does make me curious why they chose to use that style only in the animated cutscenes instead of just sticking with the style that they have present for most of the game (or visa versa). The map locations look nice, as well – very well detailed and give each dimension its own unique ambiance.
Impressions and Conclusion
Seven Knights is an interesting title in that it feels more like a mobile game for a console, rather than a regular console RPG. While that is not bad per se, it does mean that compared to the other RPGs on the Switch, it’s hard to recommend when there are better games available to play.
The story, while interesting in some points, never fully grasped my attention. I found it hard to get invested with several of the characters as it felt as though they just came and went without much thought. Even with the main characters of each dimension, once their storyline was wrapped up, they were swapped in for the next character until the very end where they all came together.
I would say that the gameplay is probably the strongest aspect of the game, although it does come with its own set of frustrations, mainly related to healing. If the inventory system is going to be removed during battle – at the very least – let each healer’s powerful skill have some sort of resurrection aspect to it. When it comes to boss battles, where one wrong move can end up with you losing units, having a way to come back from a misplay would have been preferred rather than forcing the player to restart the battle completely over.
Overall, while I would say Seven Knights is an alright game, it’s not one that I would recommend rushing out to get. If the way I’ve described the combat sounds interesting to you, then it could definitely be a nice game to play in between other games. Otherwise, though, there’s not really anything that will be missed if you just skip it.