Top Critic Average
Ikenfell has interesting ideas in both its story and combat, but it stumbles in execution.
Happy Ray Games succeeded in what they were aiming for with Ikenfell, I just wish they aimed a bit higher. The story doesn't pick up for a long portion at the beginning of the game, and the battle system is interesting but nothing groundbreaking. There is still some enjoyment to be had with Ikenfell, but it feels like it's missing some magic.
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.
So, while I didn't play Ikenfell when I was 12 because, ya know, it didn't exist in 2004, this game somehow manages to capture an unassuming sense of nostalgia that comforted me throughout the entirety of my playthrough. It brought me back to being that jerk of a preteen, wondering if my crush would message me if my AIM away status was the right set of Green Day lyrics, or if it would ever feel like I was wearing my Hollister shirt rather than it wearing me. But beyond these trivial issues that felt monumental at the time, it made me wish I'd have been gentler to that weird little girl, and told her it's okay to be selfish right now-but make the goddamn most of it and do it with ferocious sincerity.
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.