Ys Origin Switch Review

A Retro Action RPG That's A Joy To Play
User Rating: 8.9
Ys Origin Switch Banner

If you’re a seasoned gamer like myself, you might be familiar with the Ys (pronounced “Eess”, like saying a plural “E”) series of games. My exposure to the series has mostly been with their modern-day turn-based Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPG). Knowing this I jumped at the chance to review Dotemu‘s latest Ys experience on the Nintendo Switch entitled, Ys Origin. What I hadn’t realized was this Ys game has a lengthy history. A version of it originally came out in 2006 on PC, followed by a 2012 English-language localization of the game released via Steam. Console versions of the game were subsequently released for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2017, for the Xbox One in 2018, and now sees release on the Nintendo Switch. Welcome to our Ys Origin review for the Nintendo Switch!

A Fantasy Based Story All-Around
Ys Origin - Hugo

One of two immediate character choices!

The story to be told here is not drastically uncommon if you’re a fantasy game player. Nevertheless, it is somewhat unique. A tragic demonic invasion befalls the city of Ys. The loving twin Goddesses of Ys use their magic to sequester the inhabitants into the sky for their own safety. While the demons work to construct “Devil’s Tower” and reach the elevated humans, the Goddesses disappear. Playing as a melee warrior or a long-range mage, you must seek the Goddesses in Devil’s Tower.

Fluid And Responsive Control
Ys Origin - Basic Actions

Simplistic and responsive controls

After the opening story, you’ll pick your avatar, either the ax-wielding Yunica or the ranged mage Hugo. I went for Hugo and was quite happy with that decision. Hugo plays more like a shooter than a typical glass cannon mage. He felt quite powerful. With proper button-mashing, he can plow through most of the demons. Boss battles were another story as his glass cannon-ship showed up then. In Ys Origin, you’ll be running, jumping, attacking, and using magic attacks. You’ll even need to jump and attack. A pleasant surprise is that you can shoot on a 45-degree angle as well. This is totally useful when kiting to avoid things like magical saw blades coming your way. Hugo also has a boost gauge that fills up. Once full you can unleash more powerful attacks for a limited time. This is akin to many “rage” systems in other games and MMOs.

To Save The Goddesses
Ys Origin - Beastly Encounter

Demonic encounter

Gameplay consists of running through a fairly linear upwards climb of the massive Darm Tower, each floor is essentially a “dungeon”. Each floor will include many demons, bosses, hidden doors, platforms to be jumped and doors to be unlocked. You’ll even find your off the beaten trail treasure chests. Getting through the dungeon floors is fun and fulfilling! This is due, in part, to the fluid controls and speedy, almost airy movement of your avatar. Jumps were pretty straight forward to make and minimally frustrating.

What About The Loot?

Ys Origin - Incoming

Beating enemies, and there’s a lot, but not in the Diablo sense, drop shimmering items galore. These bad boys also respawn when you leave a room and re-enter, . Drops include health pots, buffs, and points to spend on upgrades at save points. But there wasn’t a loot explosion, per se. Armor upgrades seemed to be less frequent of a drop and were found mostly in chests or as gifts from NPCs.

Ys Origin - Cadena

Character dialogue shows us some nice anime-like art

The story dialogue was a bit campy. Typical and not totally unexpected for a game essentially fourteen years old. Each character will take about ten hours to play through, not exceedingly long.

As far as the performance is concerned we played entirely in undocked mode. It performed well, the soundtrack sounded great and the text was legible to read.

The inventory system is broken down into two screens, inventory and equip, and is one of the only minor complaints we had. It’s not the typical, expected paper-doll cutout equip system. Here you need to highlight an item and select “A” to equip, which results in a blue border around the item.

Ys Origin - Striking Visuals

Though perhaps an outdated graphic style there are still some lovely scenes

Ys Origin was an unexpected fun and rewarding gaming experience. This game is certainly one to cut your “ARPG teeth” on even if you’re a non-action RPG player or newbie!

Note: Our copy was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.

COMPARE TO: Zelda series

If you're a fan of action RPGs, especially retro ones, then Ys Origin is worth your time to invest in. The action gameplay flows well and is quite rewarding. While the game is challenging it's not overly difficult. Your hero does seem powerful and that's a nice feeling. There's also plenty of environmental puzzles and platform jumping to break-up any monotony of button mashing. This one also plays extremely well in undocked mode and hist the mark of a great action RPG all around!
  • Responsive, fluid controls
  • Fun platforming and environment puzzles
  • Graphics dated but vivid
  • Challenging dungeon crawler but not overtly difficult
  • Campy dialogue
  • Inventory interface is unatural
Written by
Scott is a comic book, music and gaming nerd since the late 70s. Gaming all began on the Colecovision and Atari 2600. He buys and reads new comics every Wednesday from his LCBS and helps run an online Heavy Metal radio station.

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