Asdivine Hearts review for PS Vita, PS4, Wii U

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PS3, PC, Wii U
Publisher: Kemco
Developer: Kemco/Exe-Create
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Asdivine Hearts got its start as a mobile game. This is simultaneously the most- and least-surprising thing ever.

On the one hand, it’s a surprise because it seems to capture the look and feel of an old NES RPG absolutely pitch-perfectly. Like, if someone were to tell me that this was secretly a port of a game from 25 or 30 years ago, I’d have no problem believing them. The animation is relatively basic, as are the controls, and as is the combat. If you were to imagine a generic, Link to the Past-style RPG, the game you’d be picturing in your head would look a lot like this.

Of course, that simplicity is also why I’m not shocked Asdivine Hearts got its start in mobile gaming. A lot of it seems tailor-made to simply pick up and play. Battles are short and to the point, with relatively few times where you have to waste all your energy fighting a single enemy. Similarly, while the map is pretty sizeable, moving around it is pretty easy — gently pushing the thumbstick in any direction sends your character flying across the screen, until they either meet an enemy or run into an obstacle. Most importantly, the game allows you to save at pretty much any point outside of cutscenes, which makes fitting a quick session into a commute fairly easy.

That said, because it’s not an old game, on some level it feels kind of strange that Asdivine Hearts’ creators simply remade an old-school RPG without updating the form or formula in any way, shape, or form. I know that there’s a market for retro gaming, but given the way mobile gaming has transformed traditional genres, you’d think that there would be some kind of nod to past few decades somewhere in here.

I won’t complain too much, mind you. Given how complex a lot of modern RPGs can be, there’s something refreshing about how straightforward everything is here. Asdivine Hearts won’t turn any heads for innovation, but if it’s just an old-fashioned RPG adventure you’re after, it delivers that in spades.

Grade: B