The life of the RPG protagonist is tough: Level up, heal, stare silently as non-playable characters jabber about their lives, level up some more. On top of all of this, our poor protagonists are often charged with the task of saving the world. The whole thing. With a sword. And some Mana. Well, players looking for something a bit less ambitious with their RPGs need look no further than AWAY Shuffle Dungeon, the latest effort by Mistwalker and Artoon, the folks that brought you Blue Dragon for the Xbox 360.
Shuffle Dungeon puts players in control over the unimaginatively-named Sword, a young man with a past looking to settle down. His journey brings him to Webb Village, a locale beset with difficulties. It turns out that, one by one one, the residents of Webb are disappearing, or, more accurately, are being “spirited away” by some unknown, evil entity.
It’s Sword’s job to rescue these missing villagers. Fortunately, the hapless civilians are held close by in dungeons. Unfortunately, for Sword, they are held in Shuffle Dungeons, which are bad news. After a set amount of time, these aptly-named Shuffle Dungeons reset themselves, hurting Sword and those he has not rescued. Players must think quickly and decide whom they would like to save and who has to remain trapped.
That decision is important, as the villagers, after being rescued, in turn aid Sword in his quest. Rescuing the blacksmith, for instance, releases the gentlemen to his trade which, in turn, allows him to upgrade Sword’s weapons. Likewise, rescuing the local restaurant owner gives Sword a place to pick up food.
AWAY features the creative talent of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, Naoto Oshima the designer of Sonic the Hedgehog, and Nobuo Uematsu, composer of many Final Fantasy scores, and more recently, the Super Smash Bros. Brawl theme.
Set for an October release date, AWAY Shuffle Dungeon should prove to be an awesome dungeon-crawling time for RPG fans.