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Eve of the Genesis (Android) artwork

Eve of the Genesis (Android) review

"Nothing special, but it does pass the time."

While it's often easy to poke fun at them, I do find Kemco's seemingly never-ending deluge of JRPGs to have value as a sort of gaming comfort food. With scant few exceptions, they're short, reasonably easy to churn through and ultimately disposable. The publisher might have amassed a library of 60+ games at the time I am finishing this review--hell, for all I know, they dumped another on the market while I was typing--and a lot of those games might be derivative of superior titles or even other ones released by Kemco, but I still enjoy spending the odd hour or so working through one during my gaming nights. They might not be labeled "instant classic", "great" or anything more complimentary than "decent, I guess…", but for me they serve to keep my enjoyment of JRPGs alive. Their short quests serve as a refreshing change of pace, compared to the tedious behemoths designed by major companies.

Eve of the Genesis epitomizes that "comfort food" aspect I mentioned. I had a decent time playing it, but there wasn't anything memorable to discuss when I was done. I had to go to Kemco's website simply to refresh my memory about its mechanics…and this even though I'm writing a review just a few days after defeating the game's final boss. As for characters, I needed a primer there, too. That's more a Kemco thing than anything particularly pertaining to this game, though; when you're a publisher that releases vast numbers of short RPGs with flat, one-dimensional characters, it's hard for players keep all these generic do-gooders straight.

So, let's see… You start with Effat and Harty, a pair of youngsters who're being taught about an ancient war with robotic forces. Since this game was designed by World Wide Software and WWS does NOT mess around, it doesn't take long for Harty to journey off to local ruins by herself. Naturally, Effat follows in an attempt to ensure her safety. And guess what the duo finds in these ruins? A BIG, HOSTILE ROBOT! From there, the duo go from one place to another, attempting to explain that the robot war might be starting anew. This series of events leads them (along with youthful mage Clia and amnesiac warrior Viper) directly into a conflict with the demonic machines.

Arguably the neatest thing about the story is the manner in which it progresses. Early on, Effat and Harty have no real intentions of being the vanguard for humanity, of facing off against the machines. Hell, the girl's father basically pleads for her to stay out of danger. Instead, they are instructed to go to specific locales to tell a certain person or two of the incoming threat. But one thing leads to another and before you know it, they're not stopping after delivering their message. They figure that since they know about the problem and have been fighting their way through every hostile being in their path, they might as well continue on their collision course with the forces of evil.

As for the game itself, I would say that if you've played a few retro JRPGs in your life, you won't be surprised by much of what you see here. You know the drill: turn-based battles, towns containing inns and stores to buy items and equipment and an assortment of dungeons set in ruins, caves and forests. With a couple of exceptions, boss encounters are best described as "big monsters show up because you need a real fight every once in while, don't you?"

Eve of the Genesis does treat battle skills and spells with a bit more thought than many Kemco games do, though. You buy special attacks in towns and then collect various sorts of gems to augment them. The most common variety of gem is used to make them more powerful, while others copy the spell or cause it to affect all enemies or allies that it's being cast upon. Until you've reached the post-game content, gems are only available in a finite quantity, with many of them accessed by finding rare artifacts known as Ooparts which are scattered throughout the world. You have to be careful choosing which spells and skills you want to upgrade, or you'll be lacking in gems later on when you obtain superior powers.

While I've said this more than once about World Wide Software games, they can be rather amazing when it comes to how much content gets crammed into a short period of time. While I didn't pay much attention to the post-game content, which seemed to mainly consist of a couple extra boss fights, it only took me about seven or eight hours to beat the actual game. During that time, I visited a good dozen or more dungeons in my quest. Like I said earlier, WWS doesn't mess around. Towns are small and simple, and unless there is a key person that you have to talk with to advance the plot, you don't really have to do anything besides rest at the inn and make purchases at the stores. Dungeons also focus on brevity, often only consisting of two or three small areas to explore before you're engaged in battle with a boss. Those places also are fairly simple, with "puzzles" rarely being more complicated that "use a torch to light sconces to make things more visible" or "find switches that open doors." Does any of this create a good game? Not necessarily, but it does lead to a fast-moving campaign that ends long before its mechanics get tiresome.

And with Kemco offerings, that is a very large part of the battle. Regardless of which development team is producing them, the most notable flaws in that publisher's titles are always the same: limited dungeon tile-sets, limited monster designs and simple battle systems that likely wouldn't hold up under the stress of a 50-hour adventure. If one is so inclined, they can easily find a lot of complain about with the average Kemco game. So when one is brief enough that those potential issues never truly become annoying, it's hard to look at the brief duration as anything other than a positive.

Well, unless you're taking price into consideration. While Kemco games tend to regularly cost $4 or $5 dollars through the Google Play store, I've found this one priced at $7.99. That's more than I'd consider paying for so short an adventure, especially when so many other games are available for half the amount. If I'm being truthful, my library of Kemco games would number somewhere between zero and none if I was forced to pay a similar rate for any of them. They're the sort of investment that's best savored when obtained for as little cash as humanly possible.

So, would I recommend Eve of the Genesis? Sure, with qualifications. If you're a fan of JRPGs and find this game on sale, it's worth a spin. While I wouldn't consider it to be remotely worth $7.99, I had no issues with paying a fraction of that amount to get a short, connect-the-dots quest lasting about eight hours before being deleted from my tablet. While there's nothing memorable or even particularly noteworthy about this game, it was capable of scratching my RPG itch without sticking around long enough to become tiresome and bloated. And under the proper circumstances, simply not being burdened by glaring negatives can be a positive!


overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (December 27, 2017)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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