Pier Solar and the Great Architects
Any old-school RPG aficionado will appreciate the presentation, but the gameplay doesn't have the same impact
Originally a homebrew Genesis role-playing game, Pier Solar and the Great Architects has made the leap from 16-bit to the modern age. While the presentation is spot on, the gameplay is marred by combat that seems to favor the enemies. Couple this with obtuse puzzles and an aimless story and you have an adventure game that is good, but doesn't stack up to the best games in the genre.
Stating that 'you'll enjoy this game if you're a fan of the genre' is arguably the most meaningless and overused video game review cliché of all time. But in the case of Pier Solar HD, it's startlingly accurate. This is a retro RPG down to its very core, and if you aren't prepared to accept its charmingly archaic quirks, you probably won't relish your time with it. However, if you are willing to embrace its idiosyncrasies – some amiable, some aggravating - you'll find a veritable wealth of content to explore.
Pier Solar is a labour of love that makes its passion known right from the first scene. It's an absolutely gorgeous title with inspiration from just about every classic Japanese role-playing game released in the late 80's and early 90's. Unfortunately, it drags some artefacts from that era with it, and as a result features conspicuous problems that will get in the way of your fun. If you can ignore the slow battle system, vapid story, and abysmal dialogue, Pier Solar's efforts may win your heart. If you've got no love for this genre, steer clear — this is one for enthusiasts only.
While I loved getting that classic RPG nostalgia, much of the game found certain levels of tedium that quickly drove the experience of Pier Solar from nostalgia to a chore. Whether it was finding the correct path to take, healing after battles, or finding myself fighting the same set of enemies repeatedly, the lacking narrative and characters did little to drive me through the overly tedious moments. Pier Solar HD has a lot of potential, and fans of the classic 16-bit RPG may find a lot to love in a game that abandons a lot of the more modern day conventions that we see in games, but don't be surprised if you find that classic feeling starting to hide behind all of the little problems that litter the playing field.
Pier Solar and the Great Architects is a welcome effort of creating a piece of work in the contemporary age that follows a format of the mid-1990s. Its narrative is well structured and the visual interface is very appealing, but the game also suffers from several technical flaws and its combat system quickly becomes repetitive and tedious.
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In going so far retro, Pier Solar HD shows that it hasn't learned from modern advancements in game design.
Pier Solar HD is a testament to sound game design. Moreover, it's a delightful throwback title that manages to integrate new-age conventions with those that defined a bygone era of gaming so close to many folks' hearts.
If you're feeling particularly nostalgic and in need of an RPG that harkens back to your childhood, then Pier Solar may be capable of scratching that itch, just know that there's a good chance you probably won't have much fun doing so.
It's great that the developer wanted to create a classic JRPG experience in Pier Solar, and I do hope that everyone that bought into the Kickstarter were happy with the end result. However this game wouldn't have been especially popular back on the Genesis if it was a commercial product, not when the likes of Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger were flying high. Now, rereleased and unmodified from its original gameplay, it is beyond archaic and outdated.