Top Critic Average
It’s not that Ikenfell is outrageously bad or anything—at least, not until the very end—but it suffers from being unnecessarily cumbersome and tedious, sporting a lack of subtlety that eventually comes across as preachy. More than anything, though, I struggle to forgive the fact that it isn’t a tactical RPG at all. Ikenfell is a standard jRPG with a positioning system that barely matters thanks to long-range attacks and enemies’ penchant for moving large distances and teleporting you around.
Ikenfell has interesting ideas in both its story and combat, but it stumbles in execution.
Ikenfell is an enjoyable RPG with an interesting story, fleshed-out characters, and a dense turn-based battle system, with a superb soundtrack and some gorgeous environments to boot.
Ikenfell has a unique battle system and story that can make for some of the best moments in an RPG this year, but unfortunately it doesn't always use these to its advantage and has multiple boring boss fights with the plot meandering in the first half. Still, its highs are so high that it is well worth seeing through to the end.
Ikenfell is a charming little turn-based tactical RPG that hooks you in quickly with a well-written story and strong cast of characters and keeps you locked in for its duration with a surprisingly complex combat system. There are accessibility options here to suit all levels of player, a good idea considering how tough some of the battles can be along the way, and, overall, this is a heart-warming and unique entry to its genre that comes highly recommended.
In theory, its intricacies should be bracing, but in practice the fixation on spacing and formation further slows down the pace.
Ikenfell is a great game wrapped in a small package. Even with small pacing issues and a battle system that I often wanted to skip, I had a surprisingly good time with this game. Almost every aspect of it shines on its own and put together it’s a great retro-style RPG that takes the commonplace world of teenage magic and proves that it can be an inclusive space full of introspection and growth.
While I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the story, music, and ambiance of ikenfell, the repetitive nature of combat began to wear on me towards the end despite initially standing out as a fresh take on a classic. Patience will be paramount for those looking to enjoy this gem that is just lacking a bit of polish.
Ikenfell likely won't replace the Harry Potter series as a whole when it comes to providing a signature web of tales centered around a magic school, but it still provides one impressive journey on its own.
The dungeons also have some basic puzzle solving that adds good variety, and it's nothing short of divine that you save the game, change party members, and heal up by talking to a random cat just lounging in place. If Super Mario RPG helped you become a master of timing-based moves, Ikenfell offers a warm and satisfying playthrough. Undoubtedly, though, some will find the non-combat elements overly simple and the battles too demanding.