Opernecia: The Stolen Sun is the new flagship IP of Zen Studios. You may recognize this as the name on most of the licensed pinball compilations that hit the Switch. You should try those out, but this isn’t a review for them. Operencia, as I will refer to it from here, takes original PC dungeon crawling and a well put together JRPG battle system to mash them like your fries and chocolate Frosty.
Operencia features a character customizer, but you choose between a few defaults. Each default has their own look and voice. The game begins by telling the story of the king Attila as he slays the mighty dragon Thaid. After completing the short prologue, you’ll be thrown into the main game. Shortly into your adventure, you are made aware that the sun has vanished from the sky. You’re contracted by the King, and the royal “army” of one man, to find it. I enjoy this plot setup, and the full voice acting was all of pretty good quality too.
When I said “original PC dungeon crawling”, I meant it. Operencia works on grid-based movement of genre-defining dungeon crawlers. This type of gameplay isn’t for me, but I can’t complain about getting use out of it. The characters point of view is in the first person. Controlling the camera with the analog stick just felt annoying. It was always far too fidgety to slap it on a system designed for a keyboard and mouse. These two points in combination were the beginning of the end for me.
You start battles by walking into enemies. The battle system is incredibly in-depth, but the game does a very poor job at pacing everything out. The worst thing to do with a complicated system is shove it in the player’s face, and Operencia immediately hits you with walls of text during the prologue. I retained almost none of the information by the time I was actually fighting enemies and bosses with true stakes. The battle system itself is inoffensive, but I had a major flaw with how it was conveyed.
When you combine these two systems together, you get a very unique game. Operencia is a very long game and it immediately clicked with me, but in the opposite direction. I didn’t enjoy the style that this game went for, but I was at an odd crossroads with it. I received a free code for an RPG I knew I couldn’t finish. So I wanted to push myself to put in what I believed would be the minimum. That was five hours, and the game didn’t really change in them.
The love in the writing, voice acting, and design is clearly visible. I can’t find myself recommending Operencia: The Stolen Sun. This entire thing is about my opinions, and I’m not going to sit here and say “well I don’t like it but go buy it.” I would stay away from the console ports. The game is clearly designed for PC, and the console ports totally suffered. I’m very intrigued to see where Zen Studios goes next. Both with this franchise, and other new titles. This title may not have stolen my heart, but it certainly gives them a new light to walk forward in.