There’s actually been a fair few games released on the 3DS that I could feature here – I could get nostalgic with Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition, as that was my first ever video game, or I could explore uncharted waters with ‘story adventure x escape game’ Parascientific Escape: Cruise in the Distant Seas. Heck, there’s also the SNES games available on Virtual Console – only on the New Nintendo 3DS models, though.
However, I’ve resisted buying those games so far, simply because I’ve been distracted by other 3DS games.
One of those is Bravely Second: End Layer, which gets an honourable mention from me. It’s the sequel to Bravely Default, bringing the whole ‘Brave/Default’ battle system along with a new story and new characters. Definitely worth a look if you’re into your RPGs.
But this post isn’t here to talk about Bravely Second. No, the game I’m focusing on is a strategy RPG, and also the last game developed by Imageepoch.
Stella Glow‘s main protagonist is an amnesiac young man named Alto (who looks incredibly similar to Luminous Arc 2‘s Roland – both games were developed by Imageepoch). He lives with his friend Lisette, who’s family took him in when they discovered him prior to the events of the game. He leads a fairly happy life – that is until the arrival of the Witch of Destruction, Hilda.
Now, in this world, Witches are the only ones able to sing. Of course, Hilda lives up to her title by singing a song which turns Alto’s home village and its residents into crystal. However, Alto and Lisette are spared that fate.
Of course, since this is a fantasy story, a power is awakened within Lisette and she becomes the Water Witch. Using that newfound power, Lisette tries to fight against Hilda together with Alto, but they are ultimately saved by the arrival of the Regnant Knights – knights who fight on behalf of the land’s queen.
Alto and Lisette are taken to the capital, where they learn that Hilda has been using her song to change the entire country into crystal.
The only way in which to stop Hilda is to gather four Witches, each one representative of the four classical elements, and have them sing a song that will undo the crystallisation. Oh, and it turns out Alto possesses a special power – he is the protagonist of the game, after all.
In Alto’s quest to gather the four Witches, you will experience ‘Free Time’ and ‘Mission Time’.
Free Time allows you to build your bonds with fellow party characters, which in turn gives them access to more skills and stat boosts. You can also choose to explore during Free Time, which might result in you finding items. Alto’s special power allows him to ‘tune’ Witches, which allows him to help the Witches overcome any personal strife they may be experiencing.
There are over a dozen unlockable endings available, depending on the bonds you build with the characters.
During ‘Mission Time’, you undertake missions, naturally. This is when you’ll get into battles – if you’ve played any Final Fantasy Tactics games, you’ll know what to expect.
Battles are turn-based, taking place on an isometric grid. Of course, you move your characters closer to the enemy and have them hit each other until one dies. You have your bog-standard attack, but you can shake things up with skills – particularly useful for characters like Lisette who aren’t exactly physical powerhouses. Naturally, Witches have access to magic, whilst the distinctly non-magical types have to rely on more conventional weaponry.
Monsters drop items that you can trade in for cash, which you can then spend on better weapons and armour.
Pretty much a standard JRPG story, with your usual strategy RPG gameplay, then. Still, if I didn’t enjoy those things, I wouldn’t be playing this. It’s a shame Imageepoch is now defunct, since I enjoyed a couple of their previous titles as well (the first two Luminous Arc games, to be precise).
I’m always up for a new strategy RPG game, and this has been enjoyable enough. There’s a colourful cast of characters, and the prospect of multiple endings provides some replay value – definitely worth checking it, especially if you are fond of strategy RPGs. Oh, and the music is composed by Yasunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger fame and Shunsuke Tsuchiya.