True confession: If a game will let me collect and battle with tiny creatures I’ll probably play it. Even saying that makes me feel sort of inhumane, like a digital critter slave-trader, but there it is. Bring on all the Pokemon-inspired, indie monster-battle games. I’m a sucker, I fully admit it. But as long as I keep finding new ones at good prices, I can keep myself from ponying up a subscription fee to World of Warcraft just to pet battle.
Although I haven’t even come close to exhausting Siralim, and I recently tracked down Pokemon Uranium, I still couldn’t stop myself from picking up Extravaganza Rising in the DIG Super Bundle 69, despite having little to no interest in the rest of the package. For the most part, it’s pretty much what I expected – an RPG maker game with a JRPG aesthetic and party based pet combat. If you’re not the type who’s motivated by catching them all and the occasional treasure room, there’s probably nothing here to compel you.
The game seems to be light on story, heavy on self-depreciating humor, and full of procedurally generated dungeons full of tiny beastlings. Instead of a more standard beat-it-to-collect-it mechanic, you can buy any creature you’ve battled out in the wild from Madame Extravaganza. I’m not asking where she gets them, and why I can’t get them that way, because it gives me a reason to pick up all the little shiny gold piles in the treasure rooms.
There’s some light (and I do mean very light) puzzling necessary to get you around the map, a rest mechanic to recharge the skills of both your avatar and your pets. Combat is turn based, and restricted to 2v2 active at a time. I was disappointed that in my first non-tutorial dungeon, I only encountered a single type of creature over and over, and the choice of lighting there kind of hurt my eyes.
Extravaganza Rising isn’t an awful game, but it certainly doesn’t feel revolutionary in any way. It seems like you can wander at will, or pick up some pretty generic monster hunting quests to guide you along. It doesn’t feel like there’s any depth here, and it’s not a visually stunning or mechanically intensive version of collect things and profit. Still, at the bundle price, it’s worth poking at for the pet battlers among us.