Pier Solar and the Great Architects
- A love letter to the 16bit era of role playing games
- Interchangeable graphics system
- Unique battle mechanics
- Can get grindy
Pier Solar and the Great Architects is a Western developed RPG created by Watermelon and started originally as a small project by the community of the website ‘Eidolon’s Inn’ (a community dedicated to homebrew games on the Sega consoles) In the beginning the game was titled ‘Tavern RPG’ as a reference to the site’s forums being called ‘The Tavern’ and was originally being developed for Sega CD. As development progressed the name and direction was scrapped in favor of a full fledged fantasy RPG. Much of the original team departed as new members came in and the engine and eventually the whole game were completed. In 2012, Watermelon created a kickstarter page for a HD edition of their game, adding availability to many more platforms. By the end of the month they had met their minimum donation goal and here we are now. Pier Solar and the Great Architects is available on many platforms.
Straight off the bat you can tell a lot of love went into this game. It’s certainly influenced by many RPGs from the golden 16bit era. One interesting feature (above) is the ability to switch from the original graphics set to HD graphics, and HD+ (which is just a filter being ran over the original sprites of the characters alongside the regular HD graphics set). Another interesting feature is the gather system, in which characters use a turn to gather energy which can then be stockpiled to increase attack strength or be given access to stronger spells (provided you’ve learned to use them) Gathered points can be stocked up to 5 but above two you can lose gather by being attacked. You can also pass your gathered energy on to other players in your team, which makes for some interesting and new battle situations. Especially when it comes to boss battles.
The battle system itself is a nice throwback to the turn based times of old. You can switch rows, use spells, gather, attack and defend (which is more elaborate this time around) In Pier Solar, if you’re attacked while defending you can counter attack. And considering your enemies are in two categories (grounded and flying), this is an opportunistic way to get a close quarters only character to land a hit on a flying foe. Otherwise you’re stuck with using magic or using long range character attacks only. A lot of little things like this make it all a truly unique experience and a joy to play for RPG veterans.
The dialog is well written and even funny at times but the game is set out in a way that you don’t get lost too often. And while it may be quite linear, you’re able to visit old locations and have access to sub-quests so it’s not too straight forward. Boss battles are challenging and a trophy set makes this game not only fun but a challenge to 100% The story itself is well written and quite sad at times, which is good because story should matter a fair bit and it’s well presented in this particular game. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and i’m giving Pier Solar and the Great Architects 4/5. I hope to see more releases from Watermelon in future because good 16bit era styled RPGs are hard to come by and it’s a shame because in my opinion, they were the best. If you’re into your older RPGs i’d absolutely recommend it.