If you been watching my countdown timer on my sidebar, then you should know I have been wildly excited about Fruitbat Factory and TORaIKI’s newest title: 99 Spirits. Mixing the puzzle and RPG genre along with some anime themed influences, 99 Spirits became a absorbing and addicting title that was nearly impossible for me to put down for too long.
I won’t give away the complete story, but 99 Spirits centers around the Japanese folklore of Tsukumogami, everyday objects from shoes to tools coming to life on their 100th birthday. More or less, they are spirits and not very merry ones at that. The main character the player controls, Hanabusa has a personal axe to grind with spirits due to past events and with help of a mountain god named “Komiya” and scared sword forged to defeat these spirits called “Gokon”, Hanabusa sets off on journey to defeat these dangerous and devilish spirits.
At first glance, 99 Spirits may seem like your typical JRPG, but when it comes to combat, the fun begins. Combat is both real-time and turn based where the player picks an option, Attack or Defend, and let loose on the enemy. The enemy can also attack in kind and make the player block/counter against them if timed correctly. However, in order to damage the enemy, the player must figure out the identity of their foe, the main feature of the gameplay. In order to this, the player has to build up enough energy in their gems (which represented by small circles at the bottom of the screen) and use those to gain hints about the enemies. Once enough hints are obtain or the player think they know what the foe is, they can then enter the name. If correct, the spirit is identified can be defeated. Various items obtained later in the game like compendium, will help the player identify the enemy with ease. Later on, the player can also capture these Spirits, which leads to some new areas of gameplay and helping them with events on the map. When you are not exploring any given area or fighting, you will mostly be in town, buy/selling items, repairing your sword (which has wear and tear), eating food (map movement requires food consumption after awhile), and talking to townsfolk for information or progress the story.
Besides the dynamic and addicting combat and gameplay, 99 Spirits also boost some superb artwork and animation. Nearly reminiscent of the Japanese woodblock prints, Ukiyo-e and watercolors paintings, the games visuals are breathtakingly beautiful, adding to that, crisp and seamless animated backgrounds. In particular, most of my attention went toward this end more than any other part of the game, since it is so adeptly integrated and very unique. Another unique selling point, if you purchase the deluxe edition, it comes with both the English and Japanese audio voice tracks (as well as complimentary soundtrack). In terms of voice acting, I should say that both the English and Japanese tracks are fine and don’t exactly include a distinguishable difference.
All-in-all, my expectations of 99 Spirits were meet quite diligent and enjoyed getting to play the end result. So, if you enjoy RPG’s with a little puzzle combat thrown into mix (think CLUE) and also anime themed games and style, 99 Spirits is a nice way spend both your time and cash.