Just a few years ago, Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs was little more than a dream for the indie team of developers at Pixelated Milk. Then, one uber-successful Kickstarter later, their little indie dream became a full-fledged reality. In fact, their vision for what the world of Regalia could be went over so well with fellow gamers that they more than doubled their $40,000 goal. Now, Pixelated Milk along with Crunching Koalas and distributor Klabator, are bringing an advanced version of the game to the PlayStation Store. What is Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs – Royal Edition? It’s a Japanese inspired turn-based tactical RPG with strategic elements. Did this indie team meet the lofty goals they promised with all of that Kickstarter money they raked in? No need to guess, just keep reading and I’ll spill the beans.
It’s a JRPG after all, so it’s all about the story, and the story goes something like this. The hero is a young man named Kay. We meet the sad-sack and his two sisters, Elaine and Gwendolyn, along with Kay’s faithful servant/bodyguard Griffith just as the four of them completed the long trek back to Kay’s homeland at the behest of his dying father. In the distant land of Rashytil Expanse lies Kay’s birthright, the House Loren, deep in the heart of Ascalia. As the four of them arrive, Kay see’s that he is not the heir to a beautiful kingdom, but instead a home in ruins. Just as our intrepid hero realizes that he isn’t inheriting a mighty kingdom to rule, we meet a shady debt collector named Crucey, who insists that as the new head of House Loren, the crippling debt and unpaid taxes that his family accrued are his responsibility. So that is the game, instead of some evil bad guy that needs your smiting, the goal here is to rebuild your kingdom and pay off the old debts. It may not sound like the highest of stakes, but despite the normalcy of paying off debts and taxes, it all still worked.
The good news is that you won’t be working a boring, dead-end job to pay your debts. Instead, you’ll be plundering dungeons and killing more monsters and bad guys than you can shake a sword at. Much of the 30-40 hours it will take you to complete the game (unless you play the easy mode that allows you to skip most of the battles), you’ll spend listening to a LOT of, albeit, excellent voice acting and even more text to read. But if you’re a fan of this genre, than you already knew that was coming.
The combat is grid-based strategic combat that fans of Final Fantasy Tactics will find instantly familiar. There are a ton of characters that you can take into battle with you, and they all offer something unique. Along with these unique abilities, each character can also use consumables, which can be found, crafted or purchased. In battle, you’ll also need to be cognizant about your line of sight and friendly fire. When I get to spinning that blade, I don’t care who’s in my way—someone’s getting cut. The combat was challenging and took a fair amount of trial and error on my end. Strategic style turn-based aren’t usually my go-to RPG’s, so that played a role here, but there is a lot to consider and do in each turn of every battle. Once I got the hang of it, I thought it worked really well.
There is also a Persona-like relationship-building mechanic that adds another level of spice to an already loaded dish. To keep the pace of the game moving, the game uses a time keeping mechanic that makes sure you aren’t just sitting around drinking the ashes of your ancestors (Did I mention that our hero isn’t very smart?). Whether you want to build a better rapport with a team member, build or renovate a new bar, or go on a several day adventure, the clock is always ticking and everything you do takes valuable time. Crucey, like any good loan shark worth his salt, isn’t down with your pathetic excuses, so you’ll have to manage your time wisely. It’s a fairly forgiving time mechanic, but as I said, it can’t be ignored.
- Developer: Pixelated Milk, Crunching Koalas
- Release Date: April 10
- Price: $25.99
It’s clear the team at Pixelated Milk spent a healthy portion of their stacks of Kickstarter cash on the soundtrack and the professional voice acting, because they are top-notch. There are some cringey lines, and few cheesy deliveries from the voice actors, but as you get to know the characters, these grow on you and really help round out the excellent cast of characters. Speaking of characters, they are hand-drawn 3d over hand-drawn 2d landscapes and they are very good. In fact, the visuals, the music, the writing and the voice acting are all done to a level of polish that is rarely seen in the indie market.
There is a ton of things to do here, making that twenty-five dollar investment seem like a no-brainer, especially if you like classic Japanese inspired RPG’s. This is not your dad’s indie game. Seriously, first class from top to bottom. If you think this sounds like it might be in your wheelhouse, you shouldn’t miss it.
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7.8/10
Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs doesn’t break any new ground, but it does offer a fun RPG with an engaging story. The excessive loading screens can get annoying, but the music, the voice acting and artwork really shine. Near AAA quality at less than half the price. If you’re looking for a new JRPG to sink up to 40 hours into, you could do a lot worse than Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.
When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.