Last Level Press

Review: Nostalgia

Reviewer: Olen Bjorgo

I can’t tell you how or why I heard of this game, nor can I think of some quote from the game, but in a way, it’s appropriate, given how the game is. I can tell you that I got it for Christmas, and once I beat it I really haven’t gone back to it… yet, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. It’s a little known DS game simply called Nostalgia, and the name doesn’t really give you an idea of the story, but it does give you an idea of what you might expect.

Not quite, but remember that facial expression.  

You’ll be making it later.

The game is as basic as an RPG could get: you are Eddie Brown, the son of the famous English explorer Gilbert Brown, who has gone missing at the hands of a mysterious organization known as the Ancient Father’s Cabal, so you must leave your native London in your father’s airship to find him. Along the way you meet Pad, a gun slinging orphan who grew up in London’s East End, a French witch named Melody, and a mysterious maiden with amnesia named Fiona. With your new friends at your side, you travel an alternate time of our real-world 19th century in search of your father and, of course, an adventure all of your own.

The game looks decent in its own right. While the figures can be a bit jagged, they look no different from the character models you might have seen in the DS version of Final Fantasy IV. This is no coincidence since one of the teams behind this game, Matrix Software, previously worked on the DS versions of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV. As for the locales you’ll encounter, they do their best to imitate the idea you might have for major cities in the late 19th century: London is a global hub and the largest city in Europe, Delhi is a major center of trade, Tokyo has traditional Japanese style buildings while becoming modernized during the Meiji Era, New York is a glitzy and busy harbor, Rio de Janeiro is flashy and festive, and so forth. The downside is that most of these cities are somewhat forgettable since they don’t leave a lasting impression. The dungeons are, for the most part, more memorable since you visit places like Noah’s Ark, the Tower of Babel, and even Atlantis, whose mythical or legendary natures leave themselves more open to creativity.

Pictured: Creativity.  

Since the majority of DS titles lacked voice acting, this one is strictly music based. Thankfully, the tunes aren’t that bad. While many of them are on the lackluster side and tend to become repetitive pretty quickly, they still help to serve some ambiance in the game. The first time you hear world theme when you get into your airship is a noteworthy moment, if only because it means you no longer have to listen to London’s theme looping, but also since it shows you the world you’ll be seeing for the first time. The music isn’t much to write home about, but it’s nothing abysmal either.

The battle mechanics are essentially the same for both airship fights and for party fights in dungeons. You’ve got your basic attack, defend, skill, and item commands in each type of fight, an order table which indicates not only when you can make a move but also when the enemy will move, and all battles follow your typical turn-based strategy that the genre is known for. The difference is when you’re fighting in the airship because instead of facing an enemy head-on you also will have enemies to your left and right and each party member has a unique part of the airship they control and attack with: Eddie the swordsman attacks using a giant blade attached to the ship, Pad the gunman uses the ship’s guns, Melody the witch uses the main cannon, and Fiona the mysterious priestess uses an orb on the ship to attack enemies with the power of light. Each of the party members also has a unique battle skill to use when in the airship to aid in battle, and can mean survival or defeat. The controls themselves are easy to pick up since the complexity lies in the battles you’ll encounter.

It’s like a steampunk Outlaw Star, really.  How that manages not to

be awesome, I’ll never know.  

The world would feel barren and lifeless if it wasn’t for the one thing that allows for exploration: World Treasures. Similar to the Discoveries from Skies of Arcadia, World Treasures are real life ruins and locations that you can discover and, being the history buff that I am, I can certainly appreciate that you’ll find things as common as Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, and Pompei, to somewhat lesser-known places such as Mohenjo-daro. Angkor Wat, and the Pyramid of the Magician. To discover these places, you need to talk to people who have only heard rumors, or just stumble upon them by chance. Beyond being an amateur archaeologist and explorer, there isn’t much to make the game feel amazing. All the pieces fall into place but it just kinda lacks a spark to make you go “Wow!”

I wanted to do this game right after Skies of Arcadia Legends because, in a sense, Nostalgia is at best the younger sibling who wants to be like its older brother on the big consoles, and at worst feels like something that could have been so much better, but hasn’t aged so well. However, I want to make it clear that I don’t regret getting or owning the game. It does have its own little charm to it, and it harkens back to a time when this type of story was the norm for RPGs back in the 1990s. This is a game that is true to its title in the sense that its setting is of a simpler, albeit romanticized, time in history, and the game can bring back memories of a simpler time. If you’re a veteran of the genre, this will be a cakewalk and almost laughable to play in terms of story and gameplay. However, this is a great game to play if you want to test the waters of RPGs. The game, overall, is an unassuming curio to place on your shelf, which you might just revisit when the stars are right.

Rating: 5.0

Visuals: 6
Audio: 5
Controls & Mechanics: 5
Atmosphere & Experience: 4
Entertainment Value: 5

“He…he means we’re not even worth selling, doesn’t  he?”

  Consoles: Nintendo DS

  Developer: Matric Software, Red Ent.

  Publisher: Ignition Entertainment

  Release Date (U.S.):  Oct 27, 2009

  Release Date (U.K.):  Oct 27, 2009

  Release Date (JP):  Nov 6, 2008

Final Verdict:


Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.  Links | Legal Notices

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