Tropia is something of an anomaly in today’s gaming sphere. Designed not as a retro with enhancements for today’s players bringing about that enchanting feeling of nostalgia, Tropia is actually a retro title designed like Final Fantasy I, Dragon Quest I and whatever other RPG launched during that era. It’s short, it’s hard enough if you don’t grind and explore, and finally it’s a fun little throwback.
Starting off with your quest, the Princess has been kidnapped and you must set out to find five keys that are located in five different temples. Starting off with a Wizard in the throne room, you pick up your fighter standing beside the king, grab your brawler over in town and soon find your rogue inside of the first cave. Your core trinity + extra muscle now in place, you can really set out to go boss hunting and acquire those keys and a metric ton of loot in the process.
Perhaps the one enhancement from the olden days that Tropia holds is that your party members all have character specific features to bring to the adventure. The Wizard and the Warrior are there to really chat with others if need be while the Brawler can move around heavy objects on the map and the Rogue can pick locks. True, the Wizard can also see hidden doors that lead to some nice treasure, but it was a neat feature that each brought something different to exploration and sometimes without switching characters, you couldn’t advance because only that team member could pave the path forward.
Gameplay wise, Tropia is fairly standard. You move around, you get into fights, you select your options, and then you win or you lose. More to me like the original Dragon Quests than Final Fantasy, there’s a constant feeling of that “one step too far”. Each new area contains monsters that will almost wipe your party in the opening battle and it’ll constantly take a few new levels and some new gear in order to survive the onslaught and come out on top. In these areas are serious amounts of loot. Cash, healing items, new weapons and armor. Some of these can be found in shops while others can only be found in dungeons.
What I appreciated with the gear in Tropia is that not all new gear made your old gear obsolete. In a lot of cases, new gear really meant that your could swap between these pieces with no penalties because while the contained the same defensive stats, they protected you from different elements. The same theory was applied to the Wizard’s Tomes and the Rogue’s Arrows. These could be swapped between to change the damage type for the Rogue or the spell proficiency with the Wizard. It was a nice touch.
Where things didn’t quite jive so much for me were the boss fights. You really, and I mean really, needed to grind for these. It’s not so much that they hit like freight trains as much as they have just so much health that after a while you wonder if they are even ever going to die. Add in abilities that can hit your whole party for anywhere between a third to a half of each member’s health? And they are daunting. The one bonus is that defeating these major bosses only nets your cash and the treasure behind them so if a member died during the battle and you can’t get around to resurrecting them, it isn’t the end of the world as they aren’t really missing out on exp.