Random encounters and farming.
As an avid fan of JRPGs, there are only a handful of localized releases I haven’t played personally over the years.
PopoloCrois is one of them.
Why it completely escaped my radar is a question better posed to my 2005 self, as at this point, it’s a great mystery why I did anything back then.
With the release of Story of Seasons on the 3DS, I had the opportunity to finally check the series out in proper and came away a bit underwhelmed.
Voice Acting: ENG/JPN1/JPN2
Played: 15~ Hours
As the “Fairytale” in the game’s title suggests, the world of PopoloCrois is one of fantasy- seemingly inspired by children’s books.
There’s a brave little prince and there’s a kingdom in peril in need of saving.
It’s a story that’s been told thousands of times before, and there isn’t anything here noteworthy in terms of the characters or plot.
Given its rather light hearted nature (minus a few darker themes sprinkled in), I felt the game tried to come off as charming with its art style, music and voice acting, but it wasn’t to my tastes, and I actually found most of the cast to be quite obnoxious with very little redeeming value.
Outside of the story, the game’s greatest flaw lies within its pacing, as it took far too long for the various gameplay elements to truly open up.
The combat felt utterly barebones, devoid of any kind of strategy outside of attack and heal for far too long. Eventually more party members, skills and some basic elements added some much needed flair to the combat, but even at its best, it’s was serviceable at best.
Luckily, I was able to change the frequency of random encounters and use auto-battle to ease some of the tedium, but ultimately, it’s a Band-Aid solution to a greater problem.
The other half of the game outside of combat is the various farming and adventuring aspects.
Those who have played any harvest moon games should find themselves in familiar territory, as planting and growing plants felt simple and satisfying.
It wasn’t just about farming, as I was tasked with other jobs like mining, hunting bugs and taking care of livestock.
Planning out my activities for the day in the most efficient way and reaping the rewards of my hard work felt rewarding, and I found this to be the most enjoyable part of the game.
PopoloCrois follows in the footsteps of other hybrid genre JRPGs like the Atelier series, and instead of alchemy mixes in a heavy dose of a farming instead. While the farming aspect of this hybrid title is compelling enough, the dull combat and a snail’s pace holds it back from greatness.
Fun Tidbit – For some reason, I always mistook PopoloCrois with another series called “Populous” and vice versa.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.