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Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore review — Squadala!

Only Princess Arzette can defeat Daimur! When the demon lord is freed from his book prison, Arzette must light the beacons around the kingdom to reach his lair and, after repairing the Jewel of Faramore, use it to seal him once again. Along the way, she’ll solve people’s problems, fight ferocious foes, and perilously platform through precarious places. I wonder what’s for dinner?

Even in an era of remakes and sequels, we never see follow ups to bad games. The reason for that might seem obvious, after all a follow up to something bad is bound to also be bad right? I would argue that a lot of bad games just need a bit of tweaking to be something more interesting. Anyway, Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore is a spiritual successor to the Zelda CDI games, aiming to recreate the terrible animation for a new generation of YouTube Poops. If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the trilogy of Philips CDI Zelda games, but if not there’s thousands of videos and articles about them out there. All you need to know is they weren’t good, had almost no oversight from Nintendo, and the first two had MS Paint style animation with voice acting to match.

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore Gameplay - Switch [GamingTrend]

So why recreate something so universally maligned and memed? Because it’s hilarious! Developer Seedy Eye (get it?) perfectly understood the assignment here. When you start up the game, you’re greeted by a cutscene going over the backstory with overly dramatic narration and far too many proper nouns. Only about a third of what you hear here matters. It’s all accompanied by some very colorful still images. Starting a new game, we get into what we’re all here for: the animated cutscenes. Every single one of these is a treat and follows the quirks of the CDI games perfectly. Characters have weirdly detailed hands, never stop moving, the perspective never makes sense, and the camera will move wildly at random times. It’s clear the game is in on the joke, as these good voice actors are giving their worst performances save for Arzette who is something of the game’s straight man. There are new characters to talk to throughout the game by hitting them with your Smart Sword, and most of them have one or two animated cutscenes. It’s always a delight to see what weirdo will be around the next corner, and helping them with whatever their problem is is always worth it for both the cutscene and the powerup they’ll probably give you.

Just like the CDI games that inspired it (not you Zelda’s Adventure), Arzette is a level based 2D platformer. Playing on Switch, you move with the D-Pad or left stick, jump with B, swing your sword with Y, use items with X, shoot your gun with A, and perform the iconic duck walk by holding down and moving left or right. It’s simple to grasp, but level design can be deceptively difficult. Unlike the CDI games, however, these levels actually feel good to move through thanks to tight controls, great pixel art animations, and clear delineation between what is a platform and what is not (most of the time). Enemy placement can sometimes be unfair, even after you get the gun and trivialize most combat, but as you become familiar with each level you’ll naturally learn how to navigate around or through them.

There are quite a few locals to explore in Faramore, but you’ll still be returning to previous levels throughout the entire game as you acquire candles to open up barriers and new platforming powers like the double jump or green wall destroying flute. I did enjoy the backtracking to a point, but around the middle of the game when you get the gauntlet I had no idea where I needed to go to progress. So I replayed every single level and talked to every NPC and eventually found what I needed. At this moment the game could use a bit more direction, but for the most part it’s easy enough to figure out where you need to backtrack to to progress so long as you remember what blocked you previously. Even so, having the speed up power available at this point or the ability to choose which warp point to start at (quest NPCs are often at the end of levels) would have gone a long way towards easing the friction a bit. Though, listening to the incredible soundtrack does make revisiting each area more bearable.

Eventually you’ll also need to find and defeat the various bosses holding pieces of the Jewel of Faramore. The most interesting of these was the horse man, who is simply a vehicle for horse puns. Joking aside, his was the only fight that required different tactics from normal enemies, as you need to knock giant acorns from a tree above onto him to deal damage. The cat woman fight was still interesting with her teleporting around, while the scarecrow was just hilariously ineffectual and rewards you with a “dodge” that is laughably useless. The final boss is another good fight, but more of a platforming challenge as, just like in the CDI games, he goes down in one hit.

Even after defeating Daimur, there’s still more to see in Faramore with more power ups to unlock, secrets to find like the bonus stages (one of which is based on Hotel Mario) and Arzette coins, and side quests to complete. Beating the game also unlocks a boss rush as well as a new difficulty: Hero Mode. I haven’t started Hero Mode yet as it seems there’s only one save slot and I’m still missing a few coins, but it’s nice to know there’s still something new waiting for me after 100% completion. After that, let’s hope Seedy Eye can deliver on their promise that Arzette will return.

David is the kind of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He can find positives in anything, like this is a person who loved Star Fox Zero to death. You’ll see him playing all kinds of games: AAAs, Indies, game jam games, games of all genres, and writing about them! Here. On this website. When not writing or playing games, you can find David making music, games, or enjoying a good book.
David’s favorite games include NieR: Automata, Mother 3, and Gravity Rush.

85

Great

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore

Review Guidelines

Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore revels in the absurd animation of the Zelda CDI games while avoiding most of their pitfalls. The princess’ romp through Faramore is wacky and fun, with secrets to find around every corner and a new NPC with a hilarious cutscene just over the horizon.

David Flynn

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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