Avalon Code starts off with a silent male or female protagonist who discovers the Book of Prophecy. The world is inexplicably coming to an end and our silent hero or heroine must record things of note from the current world into the Book of Prophecy to re-create in the new up-coming world.
How exactly does the Book of Prophecy work?
If you come across an item, monster, or NPC you’d like more information on, just smack it with the book by pressing B. This brings up a page which shows the subject’s code. A code can be thought of as a set of ingredients that make up a subject.
Our hero has the power to change the code of anything they can put into the book. By dragging the code tiles to and from the mental map (where the subject’s tiles are), the hero can change properties of the item. For example, if an enemy is too tough, just open up the enemy’s page in the Book and drag off the tile that corresponds to its HP or Defense.
Arranging codes has its shortcomings though. It takes MP, which is hard to regain, and the game only gives you four slots to drag tiles to. Once you get further into the game, those four tiles end up being too restrictive. I always had to leave one slot empty in order to have room to switch tiles around when I wanted to rearrange an enemy or NPC’s code.
Enough about codes, what about gameplay?
Avalon Code’s fighting system will feel familiar to anyone who’s played an action RPG. Our hero can equip one weapon in each hand. X attacks with one hand while Y attacks with the other. Holding down an attack button charges up a special attack and letting go of the button sends the hero spinning like a top with both weapons out, ready to wreak havoc. This was my preferred method of getting from one side of the screen to the other.
HP and MP can be recovered by attacking enemies with a Judgment Link. This means sneaking up to an enemy, pressing A to launch it into the air, and then repeatedly pressing an attack button at the right time to launch it higher and higher until the enemy explodes into colorful fireworks. This method of dealing with enemies was incredibly satisfying as well as hilarious to watch.
As with any RPG, most of the game consists of walking to one place to another and talking to NPCs. Luckily, that boring task is alleviated with decent eye-candy. The 3D models on the DS are impressive and it’s thrilling to come across a new type of enemy and bonk them on the head with the book. Avalon Code has that “gotta catch’em all” feeling to it.
The story and dialog is juvenile, but I didn’t have to pay too much attention to the story to progress in the game. The first couple of dungeon mini-games were repetitive, but once I got out of the first town, I started to like the game more.