Ever Oasis, developed by the wonderful folks at Grezzo who brought us the Nintendo 3DS remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, is an endearing city (See: Oasis) building, dungeon crawling, Action-RPG for the Nintendo 3DS that, despite some repetition and questionable decisions, is a fantastic journey that always had me yearning for one…more…day.
The game starts simply enough with you, a young seedling of The Great Tree, living peacefully in an Oasis in the middle of the desert in which your brother is the chief. You learn some of the basics of the game until Chaos is unleashed and the Oasis is overrun. Your brother saves you by sending you far away to start a new Oasis in hopes you will live on and one day stop this Chaos once and for all. You meet up with a Water Spirit, Esna, who needs your help to grow this new Oasis to its full potential. After this brief opening, you become the chief, and your actions determine the fate of the Oasis and its inhabitants, and the real fun begins.
What I loved most about Ever Oasis is the fact that, as the chief, you are working day in and day out for your home. The game is broken down into a day and night cycle, and you have to choose how to spend those hours. Do you cultivate your garden and grow some plants? Do you run out into the wild and go dungeon crawling in search for materials or new residents? Do you restock and chat with your existing residents, those of whom you’ve helped grow their own shops called Bloom Booths? There are tons of options to take part in, and each action makes you feel closer and more connected to your Oasis and feel that you are earning the growth you are witnessing.
As for the inhabitants in the world, there are a few main species, including the scorpion-like Serkah & lizard-like Drauk who you can complete tasks for. These range anywhere from questing with them, finding their missing bags of tools, or having a certain Bloom Booth in your oasis, and these actions convince them to become a permanent resident. Every few you recruit allows you and Esna work together to level up you Oasis which comes with it upgrades including, but not limited to, more areas to plant, more locations to plant Bloom booths, and cosmetic upgrades to make you Oasis even more magnificent and protected.
This brings me to these Bloom Booths. A character may have a specialty, like soup-making or scarf-making, and by providing a Bloom Booth for them you give them a chance to sell their wares to visitors, including the adorable bird-like Noots, and reap the benefits of their good fortune. However, you have to go out and collect materials for them to keep them well stocked, or you won’t see any of the revenue and won’t receive bonuses like extra HP by having a fully happy Oasis.
Once you’ve taken care of everything inside the Oasis, its time to venture out and participate in combat with creatures possessed by this Chaos and explore dungeons and caverns to find all you can to help grow your home. Luckily, you don’t have to venture out alone. As you recruit more residents, you gain access to use them as party members and each carries with them a unique skill. Some may be able to roll into a ball to get through certain passageways while others may have the ability to dig up buried treasures. These play into the puzzles the dungeons throw at you, but it gets frustrating, especially for a completionist like myself, when you enter a dungeon with two party members and come across a chest that only a resident you left at home could reach. This does break the flow of the game up, even though it doesn’t take too long to warp back home and swap them.
That point, however, begs me to bring up the biggest issue I had with the game in that it can get very repetitive. This intensifies these issues, like swapping out party members, and while it may not have been an issue had you ran across them every once in a while, they start to really get bothersome as you get deeper into the game. The other glaring issue is the fact that a lot of the quests can be very fetch-questy and similar and while there are some clever variations in puzzles later in the game, it gets tiresome on a journey that can last you upwards of 30-hours or so.
That being said, the promise and allure of your Oasis growing kept me coming back and wanting to play just one more day to see what I could do next to build the best home I could. As you find more residents, you do gain the ability to automate some tasks like finding materials and gardening, and that does help with some of the repetition.
Aside from that and considering that this is an RPG, there are plenty of ways to level up and upgrade your gear. You have the ability to throw forth a giant gale of wind that is useful in and outside of combat which can be improved over the course of the game, and you can equip your character with swords, armor and clothing options that can be found or crafted by recipes, which do tend to keep things exciting.
Ever Oasis is a game that surprised me with its depth and continuous stream of things to do and improve upon. I really felt a connection to this world and to the Oasis, because every action had some lasting effect on it and its inhabitants. There are layers upon layers of strategy that you, as a chief, can utilize that can truly help your Oasis flourish. There are some annoyances that are pervasive throughout, but they are overshadowed by this colorful world that truly needs your help. I still am humming the catchy themes of Ever Oasis and thinking about my residents and my Oasis, even after the credits rolled, because I made this adventure happen. That is what I have taken most from this game, it truly felt like my story and I know if I didn’t give it my all my home and all its residents would have suffered.
I highly recommend you play Ever Oasis, and to keep your eye on Grezzo as they have crafted a superb title that grasped me in a way I haven’t been in a very long time. Stick through some of the issues, and you will find yourself a magical adventure well deserving of your time.