It’s no secret that Stella Glow’s witches are destined to be its stars and most prominent units. After all, they are the only ones capable of using magic. It’s unfortunate, however, that one of the non-magical units so quickly becomes rather useless in the game. I’m talking, of course, about Archibald, one of the three members of the Knights of Regnant that join Alto and Lisette’s party.
At first glance, Archibald seems like an admirable and useful sort of character. He has the Defender effect, which keeps enemies from moving through or past the two tiles adjacent to him him. Think of him as a human wall. If he’s blocking an entrance with a witch like Lisette or Popo behind him, no one will be able to go past him to reach the characters behind. Coupled with Defender, an ability that will keep an ally next to him from taking damage, he seems to be the perfect guard.
He’s also one of the stronger characters in the game. While clearly designed as a supporting tank, his Malta’s March and Arkhe’s Impact abilities are great for dealing non-elemental damage. Arkhe’s Impact especially is great, due to its knockback effect. Think of him as pushing any opponent away from important allies.
The problem with Archibald is that Stella Glow quickly becomes a game about covering as much territory as possible. Enemies usually appear at quite a distance from the party, he’s limited to close range attacks, and he has the smallest range of movement. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also one of the slowest characters. By the time he finally gets to move into position, people like Rusty, Popo, Nonoka, and even Alto have already outpaced him and eliminated the threat. There are even instances when Mordimort and Lisette move quicker and further, and they’re some of the slowest witches. While some battles do require particular characters to be protected, Archibald can never get over there in time to be any use.
Archibald feels like someone who could have had potential in a different game. Especially if someone talked to him to unlock special abilities. The skill set is certainly there. Unfortunately, I can’t even offer suggestions as to when or how he could have been useful. The moment he could be removed from my party, he was replaced with Popo and Ewan. Even Stella Glow seems to realize and encourage this, as he isn’t a required party member for very many battles after the first few chapters. (One exception is a later game match, but people who have used Nonoka and Rusty a bit can rely on them to make up for his failings.) At the other end of the spectrum, Rusty, a fellow Regnant Knight that joins at the same time, is a required party member for multiple battles and part of my regular lineup.
In games where there are more party members than there are positions in battle, someone is always bound to be left behind. It’s just a shame that it happens so quickly for Archibald. Most people will likely use him for a chapter before moving onto one of the more useful members of the cast.
Stella Glow will be released on the Nintendo 3DS on November 17.