When I first began seeing information on Ever Oasis, I wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be. There seemed to be elements of town management and plenty of dungeon crawling, but it took a while to begin to understand everything. I couldn’t easily categorize and identify it, as it is something we do not exactly see often. The best way to describe it is a combination of both Animal Crossing and Rune Factory.
Ever Oasis will give you the Animal Crossing vibe very early on. The game begins with Seedling creation. You determine your character’s gender, skin color, eye color, and name. You then get to explore your brother’s oasis the day before a festival. His is a well-established town, with various Seedlings, Drauk, Lagora, Noots, and Serkah residents and visitors. However, this peace doesn’t last. Chaos strikes, you’re sent away for your own safety, you come across the last oasis and Esna, the water spirit who lives there. The two of you turn this new oasis into a sanctuary.
It is then that you basically become the Ever Oasis equivalent of an Animal Crossing mayor. The Noots are transients who visit your oasis, buy from the shops, then move along. Characters from other races can start as visitors, become residents after you fulfill a quest to make them happy, and become Bloom Booth shop keepers and potential party members after they have settled in. This of the Bloom Booths and various decorations that can boost their sales as Animal Crossing’s Public Works Projects. You decide where on the street the booths are arranged, place the decorations to maximize sales since each boosts interest in certain sorts of products, and keep the people happy.
There’s a friendship and happiness system in place here that may remind you of both Animal Crossing and Rune Factory. While you aren’t going to become BFFs or enter into a romantic relationship with any of these characters, there is a benefit to making an effort with these folks. Seedlings with Bloom Boothes will each begin with one kind of item to sell. Using items you have collected from dungeons, the field, or your garden can be used to restock, making them happy and collecting points that will gradually allow them to level up and have up to three products at a time.
The similarities to Rune Factory are even more apparent. There’s farming here, albeit in a more hands-off approach. Your garden begins with a handful of plots, which you can fill with seeds you buy or find. You can also use the game’s currency to speed up the plants’ growth. Crafting as well, though you do not need to order a license or get a crafting station to make that happen. Once you have the proper plant in your home, you can gradually get recipes and combine the proper items to make equipment and items. There are even day and night cycles.
It’s the dungeon crawling and battle systems that make Ever Oasis seem similar to Rune Factory too. While there’s more interactivity here, especially since different party members have various special skills that allow you access to new areas or treasures. But the general idea of having these large areas to explore, where you can fight monsters and accumulate various materials in active battles, feels familiar. It’s comfortable. Especially since, from the very start, every creature is strong to some sorts of weapons and weak to others, adding that sense of strategy we were sometimes able to enjoy in Rune Factory.
Being a new IP, people might not know what to expect from Ever Oasis. But know this: it is a game for those who enjoy action-RPGs with dungeons to delve into for various side-quests that benefit your community and want to improve a community. It is a game that focuses on connections and showing you how your activities benefit a community and make life better for everyone. If that sounds appealing to you, then Ever Oasis is something you need to play.
Ever Oasis will come to the Nintendo 3DS on June 23, 2017.