About An Elf Review (Switch)
Sure thing. All I ask is that you pretend to listen.
Available on: Switch
Genre: RPG-ish Point & Click VN
Publisher: Meringue Interactive
Have you ever came across a game that looks so weird that you just have to play it, no matter how good or bat it could be? About An Elf is that for me. When I saw About An Elf pop up I was interested enough to look further and after watching the trailer, I just had to play it. It was so weird that it made me want to play and see what was up with it.
About An Elf is, well, about a particular elf named Dam. It turns out that elves in this world are near extinction and Dam and her friend Dido are one of the last elves alive. Dam, or Princess Dam as she calls herself, is looking to bring back the elves and a wondrous place called Elftopia. However, Elftopia can’t come to be unless she drives all the nasty monsters out of the lost elven lands and reclaims it. And of course, what’s a hero, or a Princess, without a brave warrior to join her side? Well, Dam quickly runs into one of the elf’s greatest enemies that won’t hesitate to eat them up, a cat. The cat ends up not eating her in her story, I mean truth retelling of events, as he is actually a good cat and is thus named Roland the BraveCat, the lvl 1 hero-in-training (Roland for short). Roland may also have a tiny crush on Dam. So from there on, they travel to the ancient Elven lands, kick out unfriendly monsters, and bring in Elftopia!
Dam’s whole journey to bring Elftopia is actually framed and told by Dam retelling it (or making it up depending on where you stand) to her friend and fellow elf, Dido. Dido doesn’t exactly believe Dam and actually sees it as a scam, especially since Dam is asking for gummy bears for a food fund and it does seem like this isn’t the first time Dam told tall tales to get something. Despite that though, Dido listens whether it’s because of pity as Elftopia comes from the tales her late grandpa told her or because it’s humorous.
What I really liked about About An Elf is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. We all know movies or games that took itself way too seriously and that ultimately ruined the whole work. This game does not have that problem as it knows it’s a silly premise, and it even fits Dam’s character, and it does feel like the writers might have had a fun time writing it. This also brings in the character interactions which ended up being funny and a delight to read through. I was looking forward to every piece of dialogue and I more often than not chuckled or smiled at the dialogue. About An Elf also happens to insert serious moments in without them feeling out of place and switching to being silly again without it feeling like it got undermined.
Combat was one aspect that was unclear as we know Dam would attack with the help of her Magiballs, but we didn’t see how player interaction will go. Well, it’s pretty simple to get into and while it’s not what a lot of us were probably imagining (including me), it does work and fit with how Dam is. First, you’ll have to get the fight started. The monsters will be hanging out on the map with most of them moving around so you can’t really catch them easily. On the main area map, where you meet the character meant to represent the fantabulous spirit of the area and helps you by giving a hint on what to click on, there will be monsters hopping around the objects and clicking on these will take you to the corresponding Plexus. After getting a quick history on the Plexus from Dam, this will be where the monster encounters will happen as clicking on them will cause combat to start. Monsters do theme around the Plexus they’re in, despite having the same basic model, and will have their own unique interactions between them and Dam (even sometimes having a small storyline within them that lets you get to know Dam and/or Roland more). Anyway, Dam will be ready to hit them where it hurts soon after clicking them.
Once Dam is ready to attack the monster, you’ll have to hit the monster’s weakness. Luckily, Dam does get the first hit in as she goes down with one hit from the monsters. To know the monster’s weakness, you’ll get a vision that you’ll have to decipher and then choose which magiball corresponds with what the vision showed between water, fire, and electric, as well as new magiballs to combat monsters in future chapters. At first, these visions will be easy but they do get tricky as Dam gets further in her journey. Sometimes the game might even give you something easy before giving you something tricky to kind of prep you. You might get something easy like a dog being bathed, but then you’ll get something like a guitar neck having a light shined onto it. And once you defeat all of the monsters in a Plexus, you’ll get a handful of gummy bears as a reward (yay!).
The combat may not have been what a lot of us thought it would be, but it does work well, and I do actually feel the tradition turn-based combat would have felt out of place. Especially with how powerful Roland is with him eating everything he goes against. Though, the combat (and maybe the game) does sometimes get a bit old, so you might want to take breaks between the chapters/parts.
There are also some decisions made here and there. It will either be a choice on what Dam should do, like how she should escape a life-or-death situation, or what item to use by selecting one of three choices. While you will lose a gummy bear when you pick the wrong choice (both here and when losing in battle), it is funny seeing the ending Dam could have gotten and Dido coming in with her skepticism causing Dam to go back and correct it so you can redo your decision.
I honestly really enjoyed my time with About An Elf. I had no idea if it would actually be a good game since I was really only playing for how weird it seemed, but it did turn out to be pretty good. Part of it, I feel, is due to the game not taking itself seriously which made for the narrative to be funny and to include silly dialogue that I couldn’t help but either smile or laugh at. Plus it probably helped that I kind of liked the character models and found them kind of charming in their own way.
If you’re up for something weird and silly, and don’t set your expectations high, About An Elf is worth picking up and playing through.