In the '90s and early aughts, the Japanese RPG (JRPG) dominated video game sales charts thanks to monster hits developed by Squaresoft.
The genre has since lost some of its selling power, but there is still quite a devoted JRPG fanbase that still can't get enough of turn-based battles and character drama.
Fortuna Magus by Kemco Games should make fans of traditional JRPGs quite happy. However, anyone looking for something that's daring and different should cast "Warp" and get the heck away from it.
It's like magic
Fortuna Magus takes place in a world where the ability to use magic stays dormant in the body until some event triggers the capability to use the power of the elements. "Magi" tend to go crazy after turning, and are therefore hated and feared by society.
RPG slugs. The worst kind.
A young boy named Amane is living a peaceful life in a remote village (as many RPG heroes tend to do, not that it does them any good - destiny finds them anyway) when suddenly his father and his sisters get wrapped up in some bad business involving magic.
Amane is forced to hit the road and hopes to find a way to save his family.
16 bits of nostalgia
Fortuna Magus looks and plays closest to a Super Nintendo JRPG, which is good news for lovers of simple turn-based, menu-driven gameplay. And while Final Fantasy VI and Phantasy Star IV are in no danger of being dethroned by Kemco's adventure, it still offers a pretty potent hit of nostalgia.
The scenery alternates between towns and hostile areas like forests and dungeons. Walking through enemy-infested territory occasionally throws you into a random battle, wherein you input menu commands to sling physical attacks and magic at bad guys.
When you prevail, you earn experience and your characters grow stronger (Fortuna Magus does offer one twist to the traditional formula: Experience is earned as individual enemies are iced, making it possible to level up during battle). You also earn gold, which can go back into stronger weapons and armor.
A classic, sort of
Lovers of oldschool JRPGs typically don't want games like Fortuna Magus to deviate far from their 16-bit roots, which is fine. Barring a couple of shake-ups like the aforementioned experience system, Fortuna Magus is as "pure" as a JRPG gets.
"Go play under some horses' hooves."
But the game's visuals are a bit boring, even though many '90s-era JRPGs still look quite good. Unlike, say, Breath of Fire II for the Super Nintendo, the enemy sprites in Fortuna Magus are small, static, and unexciting.
Control is also an issue. The on-screen d-pad sends your character careening everywhere on the map, which means more random encounters. Switch to the touch-based controls to save yourself a great deal of frustration.
Fortuna Magus is a bog standard JRPG, but that's exactly what it prides itself in being. In the same vein, that's exactly why JRPG fiends will likely enjoy it. If you've been craving menu commands, random battles, and stories about young heroes with dormant powers, your dragon has come home to roost.