Himeko Sutori feels like an old school traditional Japanese role playing game. You start off as heirs to the rulers of a small kingdom who are safeguarding crystals that protect their town from invasion, paying a sort of homage to the older Final Fantasy games. The graphics are a callback to the golden era of tactical role playing games as well, with the characters being 2D sprites set against a 3D world.
Even the pacing of the game brings to mind the role playing games of old. You start the game by taking control of the daughters of the current Daimyo and set off on a leisurely stroll to inspect your village. There’s a lot of talking involved and things progress at a relatively slow pace compared to the action driven games of today. And then you are off on your first quest to take in a ruffian by the name of Bellamy, who has been terrorizing the nearby village of Ellismuir. Throw in some foreshadowing of some foreboding events and the game has officially begun.
To complete quests, you usually start by stopping at a village and talking to all the friendly NPCs who live there. You may get a side quest from talking to villagers, such as the one from the two cheese enthusiast brothers, Caleb and Brady. They task you to recover a very exquisite cheese they bought using their entire life savings. After recovering it from slimes, they will dub you the Cheese Finder and pledge their undying support and join your party. You could say it was a pretty cheesy quest.
The next part usually involves going into the overworld map and exploring. From here you can explore small side areas and fight roaming bands of enemies, both human and monster alike. The battles are all turn based and the focus is on tactics. You create groups of fighters called lances and each lance moves together as one unit. The fighting itself is done automatically so you only have to concern yourself with the composition and positioning of each lance. There’s still plenty of strategy involved and playing haphazardly will result in units dying. Once they’re dead, they are gone forever so be sure to take care of your units.
The battle system also has some more depth in how you build each character. There seems to be a job system in place, which brings to mind games like Final Fantasy V. As your units level up, you can choose to unlock jobs from cards and each job allows different equipment and abilities.
Overall, Himeko Sutori does a pretty good job at capturing the feeling of playing a traditional tactical Japanese role playing game. The graphics look pretty nice and the sound track does a great job of fitting the style of the game. The only small nitpick I have with the game is that the user interface and moving in the world feels a little bit clunky. Fans of more traditional tactical role playing games may want to check this game out.