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Bonds of the Skies review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: KEMCO
Developer: KEMCO/Hit-Point
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

Even by Kemco’s usual standards, Bonds of the Skies feels like a pretty generic RPG. It’s got all the usual tropes of the genre — a young orphan adventurer has a big day interrupted by a monster attack, he wanders around a map fighting monsters and building up his party, he fights those monsters in turn-based battles, and so on. It’s all presented via retro graphics and maps that look like they came straight out of early Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda, and you could swap it out for pretty much any other Kemco RPG and not notice a difference.

In fact, in some ways it lags behind even some of those other Kemco games. Whereas, say, Revenant Saga or Asdivine Hearts stood out for their decent characters and engaging stories, Bonds of the Skies doesn’t even have that. The story is utterly forgettable, and the characters are too. Even worse, it features the bizarre design choice of a system where your total HP increases when you level up, but the amount you have doesn’t – so even if you have a full health bar, leveling up actually costs you, in a way.

And yet, even with those flaws, I find myself enjoying Bonds of the Skies more than most other recent Kemco games.

In large part, this is because it’s easy — like, to an almost ridiculous degree. Part of the reason I complained about the leveling-up system was because I leveled up so often: I’d plow through enemy after enemy (in large part because encounters are so frequent), which in turn made my character stronger, which in turn made it easier to kill more monsters, which in turn meant I was going through them even faster. It was kind of a vicious cycle of monster slaughter — and as someone who hates grinding, I loved it.

In other words, if you’re someone who plays RPGs for the challenge, Bonds of the Skies will leave you feeling a little unsatisfied. And, for that matter, if you play them for a unique experience, you won’t get that here either, since it’s the same as at least a half-dozen other Kemco RPGs in the PlayStation Store. But if you just want some quick and easy (very, very easy) RPG action on the go, Bonds of the Skies will deliver that in spades.

KEMCO provided us with a Bonds of the Skies PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: B+