Destroying your childhood one article at a time.

Shards of Eradine is an RPG inspired by other classics of its genre from bygone days. The game is being developed by Del Morpha and their team, claiming that the title has “capture and battle mechanics like a well known Gameboy classic,” and also “looks and feels a little bit like a SNES action adventure classic too.” The game is clearly a vehicle fueled by the team’s passion, sweat, and possibly even semen, but it also has a demo that was recently made available to the public. While future demos are something that’ll be exclusive to future Patrons, the version 1.0 demo we’ll be looking at today is ready and available to the public.

Amazing chest ahead. {.align-center}

As this is but a snippet of what to expect from the RPG, there’s not a whole lot of story to cover. There is a cutscene once the game begins, with the beginnings of a grand adventure following soon afterward. Hope you enjoy those two nipple shots in the intro cutscene, by the way, because there are no other sex CGs to be found in the public demo. I’d say that’s quite the letdown since there’s nothing to really give you an impression of how the actual porn aspect will play into the core game.

The demo is set within the hometown of the protagonist, Cosmo, though it’s an extremely barren one. No NPCs are littered among the town to interact with, leaving you with very little ground to cover outside of the onset of Cosmo’s adventure. In fact, if you choose to follow the two story quests present, it’s possible to finish Shards of Eradine’s demo in the time it’d take to microwave a whole box of hot pockets. What little text there is in the town leaves quite a bit to be desired, but I expect the dialogue and lack of expository statements about the gameplay is due to how the game is still at an early stage of development.

Now that’s what I call good advertising.

What he may lack in character, Cosmo also lacks in equal amounts in speed. Cosmo may have a kind heart as the intro claims, but he was tragically cursed with the inability to walk diagonally, forever restricted to four directions. The game itself doesn’t restrict movement to a grid, making both his speed and restrictive movement rather puzzling. Even games like Chrono Trigger, a renowned classic from a more nostalgic time, allowed diagonal movement. The town may not be that big, but the sluggish movement speed makes it feel gargantuan.

On the topic of Shards of Eradine’s gameplay, the controls are incredibly simple. Cosmo can be controlled either with the arrow keys, WASD keys, or even the number pad. Both spacebar and left mouse button function as the all-purpose “interact” function, though the function key only works one out of every twenty or so times, thanks to a pesky bug. None of the other keys seem to serve any function, not even for menus or battles, which I’d say is an oversight. While you might think the in-game option screen could yield options for some cool key configuration, it just directs you to the developer’s patreon for the time being.

Now then, while the demo may have an extremely short run time with little to do, there is a forest southwest of the village that lets you mess about with the game’s battle system.

Oh. Oh dear.

So, the developers really aren’t trying to mask the fact Shards of Eradine is heavily influenced by the famous Pokemon franchise. As Cosmo himself states in the demo, he doesn’t handle swords very well. What he lacks in swordsman abilities, he makes up for with Frea, a nymph who was hanging out with Cosmo and his old man. With her at his side, he can send her out into battle against other nymphs in the wild, which seems just a bit screwed up now that I think about it. You can issue attacks for Frea to perform in battle, use items on her, capture the enemy nymph, or switch her out with any other nymphs you’ve captured. The similarities to Pokémon are so prevalent, there are even “trainer” and “TM & HM” options in the pause menu, as well a “Capturedex” that shows all of the nymphs you’ve caught or encountered.

While the game has all the recognizable Pokémon mechanics, it does seem to mix aspects of the tried-and-true formula up a bit, with nymphs not being restricted to four moves and the ability to afflict nymphs with multiple status ailments at once. Sadly, unless I missed something in my scavenger hunt in town, there wasn’t much helpful info about what effects attacks or status ailments had.

And you thought I was joking, huh?

As stated on the Patreon page, the visuals in the demo have suffered a bit due to a switch in platform preference, leading to menus and some illustrations looking stretched out or extremely pixelated. From what the demo displays, I do hope the visuals are touched up further to give them a bit of personal character. As it stands, the field animations and illustrations are fine, but the battles and the nymph designs within them feel particularly cheap, for lack of a better word. Frea herself wouldn’t look out of place in a traditional JRPG, whereas the aptly-named “Bear” looks more suited for the back of a 99¢ cereal box. Again, given how much more of the game there is to develop, I can either image or at least hope that the presentation has plenty of time to evolve.

If there’s anything that can be gleamed from the demo, Shards of Eradine is shaping up to be a serviceable RPG, if nothing else. The goal is to create a high-quality experience that hearkens back to older RPGs, but the title seems a tad too “safe” as it currently stands. Then again, the demo didn’t offer a whole lot of the game up to the player, so it’s a bit uncertain just how accurately the public demo reflects the full experience. The full game could either turn out to be an average Pokémon-esque RPG with a passable story, or there could be more surprises in store yet.

In the meanwhile, you can check Del Morpha’s Patreon for more info and future announcements on Shards of Eradine, as well as the post for the 1.0 demo this article was focused on.

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