Wed. Jun 12th, 2024
Royal Frontier Cover Image

I’ve reviewed several other Ratalaika Games in the past, and I have another one to share with you all. I recently got the chance to play one of their latest games, Royal Frontier. It’s a turn-based roguelite set in medieval times, and that’s actually a genre I really enjoy. I watched the trailer and thought it looked pretty fun, so I was eager to dive in and try it out for myself. Here’s my Royal Frontier review for Xbox Series X!

Story

This game is set in medieval times, which although a super overdone trope, is still one of my favourites. I expect many of you also enjoy the theme, and its popularity is likely why it was chosen. Before the game starts, you’re introduced to the story through a cutscene. A group of settlers are struggling to find resources or make money in their current domain. As such, they’ve set out on a dangerous journey in the hopes of discovering riches.

Your services have been enlisted to help them make this journey safely. There are many dangers on the road, such as perilous terrain. However, they key thing to watch out for are the swathes of enemies. Each day, the party faces a new danger, and it’s your duty to protect the settlers so they can continue moving forwards. It’s a 45 day journey, and each day will bring something different.

Royal Frontier Review Xbox Series X, initial cutscene

Gameplay

The game starts by allowing you to choose 3 heroes (only 3 are unlocked at first) as well as 3 blessings. Blessings are upgrades that improve specific attributes such as attack or HP. Once you’ve picked your loadout, the game will bring up a randomly generated map. There are three paths, and you have to choose which one to start on. I like that it gives you the option, as you can tailor it to your preferred style. You may try and take the easier route with fewer battles, or you may look for boss battles with higher reward.

Once you’ve chosen your path, you progress one day at a time. In between days, you can equip any new items that you’ve found. I like that it allows you to do this from the map rather than wasting a turn in battle. There are also other icons on the map. Some are mystery events that can have positive or negative consequences. Sometimes you’ll find treasure. You can also access shops where you can purchase equipment with money you’ve earned. I like that the game offers this variety so it’s not just about battles.

Order of icons on the map

Combat

Speaking of battles, let’s discuss the turn-based combat in Royal Frontier. I found that it was one of those things that started out pretty fun, but soon became rather repetitive. You can use a standard attack or one of your abilities. Abilities use up magic points, and so you have a finite number of times you can use them before your hero will need to wait and recharge, which takes a very long time. This means that most of the time you’ll just be using the standard attack.

One thing I do like is that you have the chance to do a bonus attack. If you press the A button at just the right time, you’ll do a smaller second attack to increase the damage. The timing is very specific and takes a while to master. You can also do the same thing when defending from enemies. I like how it requires you to learn the patterns of your hero’s attacks.

Royal Frontier Review Xbox Series X, combat

You can also use items from your inventory, but this does use the full turn. I found that it’s rarely the smart idea to use items as usually doing an extra attack/ ability is more beneficial. This is especially true for early-game items that tend to be quite weak. However, I do like that there’s the option to use them, as it improves the gameplay somewhat. You can sometimes even win equipment, which can be equipped from the map screen. These give you various bonuses in battle.

Progression

As this is a roguelite, every time you die it starts a new game. The map is randomly generated every time, so you’ll have to pick a new route. You’ll have learned tactics from your previous runs which will help you pick the best route for your playstyle.

Game over screen

However, it’s a roguelite not a roguelike, so you do make progress after each run. In Royal Frontier‘s case, this is by earning points towards unlocking new blessings and heroes. You earn points for things like number of enemies defeated, number of days survived, number of items earned, and amount of money saved. It’s a steady progression, and it takes a good few runs to level up each time.

One thing I wish they did was allow you to keep progress made with your heroes. They level up throughout the game as they gain experience points. But that’s all lost after you die, and it’s frustrating having to start from scratch. I would have liked if the heroes maybe keep half their exp from each run. Aside from that, though, I think the progression is done pretty well.

Royal Frontier Review Xbox Series X, starting blessings

Audio and Visuals

This game has done a fantastic job with the music. It’s nothing ground-breaking, and pretty much follows the stereotypical sounds that you’d expect from this genre, but it really works. There’s an upbeat medieval tune that plays when you load up Royal Frontier, and it immediately pulls you into the atmosphere of the game. This music continues throughout the game itself, but it doesn’t feel repetitive, and instead, keeps you in the zone. The sound effects throughout play are pretty basic, but they complement the main tune. They don’t distract you or pull you out of the immersion, and work well to enhance the experience.

Inventory items won from a chest

In terms of visuals, Royal Frontier uses a standard pixel art style. The character designs do appear to be custom, but I wouldn’t know for certain as I know these days it’s possible to bulk-buy digital assets. The art style is consistent both in the overworld and in combat/ other events on the map. I like the colour palette the game has chosen, as it has bright and vibrant details without being overwhelming. Whilst the graphics aren’t anything special, they’re still enjoyable to look at. Overall, the audio/ visual aspect of the game is pleasing.

Conclusion

I actually really enjoyed playing Royal Frontier. It had fun and relaxing gameplay, and was a great way to kill time. Whilst triple A games certainly have their place, settling down with a unique indie is always a welcome experience. Admittedly, there are certain areas which I felt could’ve been improved on. For example, in combat, it would have been really useful to be able to see the order of turns. That’s pretty much a necessity for a turn-based roguelite, and the lack of it did affect my ability to strategise. Also, although I liked some aspects of combat, it did get repetitive after a few rounds.

However, with a small and cheap game like this, you don’t expect too much. It’s quick to install, fun to play, and offers plenty of simple achievements. If you, like me, love to rack up the Gamerscore, then this is a great way to go about it. While it may not be perfect, Royal Frontier is still a decent game, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a new indie.

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Royal Frontier

£6.99
7.5

Verdict

7.5/10

Pros

  • Well conceived premise for story and gameplay
  • Catchy soundtrack
  • Option to choose a language from the menu screen
  • Wide range of items available in-game

Cons

  • Doesn't show order of turns
  • Combat can feel repetitive after a while
  • You can only scroll one space at a time, rather than continually

By Screen Hype

Hi! I'm Melika Jeddi, a content writer and aspiring author. I've created Screen Hype to share my unique brand of entertaining articles with the world, and to create a fun space that everyone can feel a part of :)