Ikenfell is a magical turn-based RPG developed by Happy Ray Games. It’s about a girl looking for her lost sister in a world were magic rules everything. I did not think this game would be for me from everything I had seen of the game pre-release, but boy, was I wrong. 

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Sometimes a game just clicks with you from the get-go. I certainly did not expect to be swept up into one of the most enchanting worlds of 2020. 

Maritte, the main character, is known in this world as an “ordinary”, which is just their word for someone without magical powers. She’s looking for her sister Safina who has been attending the magical school Ikenfell and did not return home for the summer.

When Maritte arrives at Ikenfell, everything is not what it seems. Monsters are plentiful, the administration is seemingly nowhere to be found, and many of the students are missing. More importantly, when Mariette arrives at the foot of the school she discovers that she does in fact have magical powers. 

This is what kick starts your adventure into this mystical world as you try to unravel the mystery of what happened to Ikenfell. 

You’ll recruit a hefty amount of party members all with their own unique spells and abilities. This is where Ikenfell really shines. The combat is reminiscent of the old Paper Mario RPGs. Having to hit A at just the right time during an attack to extend it and increase your damage.

This allows combat to feel active because timing attacks is essential, but timing enemy attacks are crucial. The combat is a good push and pull with no fight feeling too easy or impossible. In fact, the action was so enjoyable I found myself doing something in a game I never do, grinding.

Ikenfell also has the added mechanic of positioning. Moving around the space is just as important as the timing of your attacks. Spells have a specific range, which is indicated by colored tiles on the battlefield. Not every spell has the same attack pattern, so understanding your position around the enemy is also crucial. 

While the combat system is one of the game’s highlights, I did find some of the boss battles to go on a little longer than I would have liked. This is not to say the fights are boring or bad, but some are tedious.

The enemy designs are as charming as the main cast in the game. Going to a new area meant I got to witness more awesome creature designs from slime monsters to cute looking chain chomps. 

The cast of characters you meet along the way is both charming and intricate. Petronella is one of the best alchemists on campus, but she’s so uncertain of herself at times that she often falls into the background. 

Everything in the world has so much charm and warmth, even if the story takes some dark and dramatic turns. Ikenfell’s save points are just a myriad of different cats scattered across the campus. Petting them will heal you and allow you to save. How cute is that? 

This is furthered with a fantastic soundtrack composed by Aivi & Surasshu, known for their work on the animated series Steven Universe. All of the tracks help set the tone for what’s ahead—massive shoutout to the song that plays when you encounter Gilda, certainly a personal favorite.

While the majority of the game takes place in and around Ikenfell, all of the environments felt unique and interesting in their own way. I was excited to visit all of them from the forest outside of Ikenfell to the overrun alchemy lab.

My only real big point of contention with this game is that its pacing can be a bit rough at times. Early on, before you recruit a few party members, battles can feel like a slog. There are parts of the game that are very story-focused and can feel like a pace killer while exploring a dungeon or trying to get to a new area. 

Of course, this shouldn’t deter you if you want to know more about the world and its people. All in all, Ikenfell is an easy recommendation for any RPG fan who wants a fantastical journey with charming characters, great combat, and an excellent soundtrack. 

 

Pros:

  • Amazin soundtrack that helps elevate the world and combat.
  • A charming cast of characters and enemy designs.
  • Engaging and strong combat mechanics

Cons:

  • Pacing can be a problem at times.
  • Some boss encounters drag on a little too long

Score: 9

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.