For some gamers, ultra realistic graphics that blow you away are just as important as an engaging story or addictive gameplay. For others, they’ll forgive an 8bit style game if everything else blows you away. Stories of Bethem: Full Moon definitely falls into the latter category, but sadly some may overlook it because of the old style of its graphics. Hopefully everyone will give it a chance, because Stories of Bethem has plenty of fun and games to offer for its nearly irresistible price of £6.39.
Stories of Bethem: Full Moon: Xbox One
Developer: GuGames Development
Publisher: GuGames Development
Release Date: 02 September 2016
Price: £6.39 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
Stories of Bethem focuses around the story of Khoma, a young boy who has to save his father. After going on an adventure himself, Khoma’s father is attacked by the Blue Witch in a place called Indigo Forest. In order to save his father, Khoma must team up with the Red Witch (who is actually of very little help) and collect 8 different Oneiric objects scattered about the world. Whilst the world is not huge, it’s big enough to have you searching high and low for the objects, so don’t expect to be able to quickly run through the story here. This means that the story alone will take you a good few hours, so you’re getting plenty of playtime for your money. The story is fun, interesting and exciting, with twists and turns along the way. The dialogue between Khoma and the Red Witch is hilarious, and will no doubt have you chuckling to yourself as you read it. These engaging characters help move the story along, when you might get a little tired of trying to find your way.
Each of these objects is located at the back of a dungeon, usually with a whole bunch of puzzles and enemies (as well as a big boss) to make your way through first. The variety in the layout of these various dungeons is good in that you’ll never feel like you are repeating your fighting, even if you do come across the same enemies a lot. Combat comes in the form of spells, and you start off with a simple wind spell that takes 1MP and does minimal damage. As you progress through the game, you’ll be able to upgrade Khoma so his spells do more damage, as well as unlock new spells, such as fire, water and digging. This is an extra incentive to explore every inch of the world, because these items and unlockables may be off the beaten path.
Alongside the main story of collecting the objects, you’ll come across other people that need your help, and a whole bunch of collectibles you’ll have to find. Whether its finding candies for a ghost girl to reunite her with her mother, digging for truffles, collecting medallions, attempting to locate all of these collectibles will definitely take up a lot of your time. The game will challenge how good your memory is a lot, because many of these collectibles won’t be accessible until later on in the game, when you unlock a new spell. Some chests will be behind logs which you can only burn down with the fire spell, and others hidden behind walls that you’ll have to explode with another different spell. This is a good way to add extra playtime onto the game, but the constant back and forth as well as actually trying to remember where you saw logs, cracks in the wall and chests can be difficult and sometimes become annoying.
Something else to keep your eye on as you journey around is the monsters themselves, and the auras they drop when they die. If you walk into these, you have a mini game where you must spam A enough times to fill a bar before the timer runs out. This traps the monster aura and puts a statue of it in the town’s museum, and guess what? You’ll be wanting to collect all the auras for an achievement. Some monsters are harder to find than others, where as the stronger monsters have more difficult auras to catch. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting frustrated when you can’t catch them early on, as upgrades and costumes will help you out later. There are lots for you to look out for constantly, and sometimes a little too much, which can drag you away from the main story and get stuck endlessly searching for collectibles.
The game mostly has the right balance in terms of the help it gives you throughout the story. An ancient book in the town’s library will point you in the general direction to the next object, but a lot of the time you end up lost or in the wrong place. A teleportation system will save your legs some of the work, but there’s not enough of these for it to be completely effective in the game. To help you with the collectibles, there’s unlockable costumes (such as a pig to help you find truffle locations) and a couple of NPCs on hand to give you a hint as to where a certain collectible might be. Talking to all the NPCs you can find might help you out in other ways as well, especially when it comes to a certain trading quest.
There are very few issues that I found with Stories of Bethem. The saving mechanism works as a piece of paper, which are scattered about the world. The problem with this is, if you die, you might lose a hefty bit of progress. Sometimes entering a dungeon/castle will serve as a kind of checkpoint, and the game will bring you back here, but this doesn’t always seem to be the case. A quicksave option on the menu would have been handy. One other issue that I had with the game is it seemed to go through a phase of keep kicking me out completely without saving, when I tried to access the menu. This only happened in one certain area of the game, but it was still a big issue none the less.
Stories of Bethem is a definite throwback to games from years gone by. There’s a vibe of older Zelda and Pokemon games here, and this is not a bad thing at all. The 8 bit graphics shine with the simplistic settings that you’ll be exploring, that are still made pretty with shimmering lakes and a mixture of environments including snow and sand. These graphics are paired perfectly with a bouncy upbeat soundtrack, that changes suitably for boss fights and sombre locations. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a chance the game will get overlooked simply because of the choice of 8bit style, but I really hope it’s given the chance it deserves. It’s a game that everyone can enjoy, and definitely a story that you should give a listen to.
Stories of Bethem: Full Moon
- Throwback to older style of game, with perfect pairing of graphics and music
- Lengthy story and collectibles make for a good amount of playtime
- Engaging characters that you can have fun listening to
- Saving system could be better
- Possibly too many collectibles, that see you going back on yourself a lot