Vampire’s Fall: Origins (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Early Morning Studio
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Platform: Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Anroid, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Vampire’s Fall: Origins (Switch) – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Fast-paced turn-based combat system with a good amount of strategic options
Bad: Awful attempts at humor
User Score
7.8
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Contrary to what the “origins” in the title would have you believe, Vampire’s Fall: Origins is a standalone game, and not an entry in a series titled Vampire’s Fall. We imagine that developer Early Morning Studio would love to see this title become successful enough to warrant a sequel, as it is clear that a lot of love and dedication went into bringing this title to life. Still, love and dedication don’t always make a good game. Is Vampire’s Fall: Origins a title you should sink your teeth into or should you drive a wooden stake through its heart?

Story

The game opens with a brief history of events that precede Vampire’s Fall: Origins’ main storyline, detailing how the death of the Heirless King made way for the rise of a Witchmaster. This Witchmaster, who is the game’s main villain, is conquering village after village. The protagonist of the game is a new recruit of the militia tasked with defending the peaceful village of Vamp’Ire (what’s in a name?). As you’d expect, the Witchmaster’s army arrives soon enough to destroy Vamp’Ire. The protagonist, being the sole survivor of the attack, finds himself turned into a vampire. Driven by revenge, the protagonist embarks on a quest to track down the Witchmaster and destroy him once and for all.

It’s not the most original premise, but we can live with it. However, the writing throughout the game is awful. Not only are dialogues ripe with spelling and grammar errors, but some of the dialogue is groan-inducing. Developer Early Morning Studio highlights the game’s humor when promoting the game, but we felt like the attempts at jokes fell flat all the way through. Most of the game’s comedy relies on randomness and subverts the dark atmosphere that the rest of the game evokes. 

As an example, at one point you’ll find yourself on a farm where the inhabitants tell you they have been cursed with being stupid. As you take on the quest and find the spirit that caused the curse, you’ll find that the punchline of this “joke” is that they are stupid anyway and that the curse was that they couldn’t drink milk instead. We also weren’t sure whether it was meant as a joke or if it was just lazy programming, but when playing as a female character, you’ll find that NPCs will still address you as “sir”. 

Graphics 

The overworld graphics manage to capture the spirit of ’90s PC RPGs, which is what we assume Early Morning Studio was trying to emulate. While this aesthetic fits the game overall, there are a few downsides. For one, it’s often difficult to distinguish between NPCs as they are represented by tiny sprites, with a lot of duplicates used. The overworld is also difficult to navigate, as the limited number of assets means there is a lot of repetition and almost all of the wooded areas look identical.

Meanwhile, combat animations are relatively basic, but they do have the benefit of displaying your character’s actual look, including war gear, which is a nice touch. As you progress through the game, you’ll have the option to buy cosmetics, such as wings and various hairstyles, which adds to the feeling of the protagonist being “your” character. 

Sound

Vampire’s Fall: Origins’ soundscape is odd, to say the least. There is no music present while you’re running around in the wilds. Instead, you’re treated to natural woodland sounds. Background music will still play when you’re walking around villages or when you are in battle, but it’s a strange experience to hear the music fade out whenever you leave a village and are left with a relatively barren audio experience. The music sounds generic and we wouldn’t be surprised if the game made use of stock tunes instead of original compositions. Voice acting is present at certain points in the game, such as during the opening, but voice work sounds muffled and distorted.

Gameplay

Harkening back to classic RPG titles of yesteryear, Vampire’s Fall: Origins is a top-down 2D RPG with turn-based combat. The main storyline sees the player character hunt down the Witchmaster, who razed the peaceful village of Vamp’Ire to the ground. Although this storyline is relatively short and can be completed in under 18 hours if you rush through the game, there are plenty of sidequests that add to the game’s longevity, with the developer claiming that the game offers about 50 hours worth of content.

The game is set in an open world which for the most part consists of natural areas such as forests and meadows, with villages and other clusters of activity spread out over the land. Villages serve as hub areas, where you’ll find shops and healing services as well as sidequests. Sidequests typically involve venturing into the wilds surrounding that village area and are quite varied. Of course, you’ll see the typical “kill x number of monsters” quests, but thanks to the presence of more elaborate sidequests, such as digging up the remains of a buried villager and deciding whether to return the bones to his family or to the priest that requested them in the first place. The quests are generally easy to complete and will net you a decent amount of coin and experience.

Being in a village also allows you to craft potions, which is an idle process that happens in real-time while you wander around the village. The more time you spend on crafting a potion, the more effective it becomes, encouraging you to spend enough time walking around and talking to every villager you encounter. 

The game’s turn-based combat system involves both standard attacks, the effectiveness of which is determined by how good your weapons are and special attacks, which represent your vampiric abilities. Special attacks require you to use focus, which builds up gradually between turns. Every third round of combat, you’ll also get a focus boost and are able to chain special attacks together. The effectiveness of special attacks and abilities depends on how many skill points you invest in them every time you level up. By focusing on improving specific attacks, you’ll be able to create a character that suits your own playstyle. Although turn-based, battles in Vampire’s Fall: Origins are fast-paced, and the battle system is easily one of the highlights of the game.

While the combat system is good, we did run into some performance issues elsewhere. There were times when the game stuttered or froze while we were just moving around in the overworld. Seeing a “loading” message pop up randomly for a second or two at completely unexpected moments was also far too common of an occurrence. This is likely the result of poor optimization and unfortunately really breaks the immersion. It seems like something that could be fixed with an update, so it’s something that hopefully will be tackled by Early Morning Studio at some point in the near future. 

Conclusion

Despite a few performance issues, Vampire’s Fall: Origins remains a solid, if unremarkable RPG. Although the game features rather basic visuals and very poor writing, it’s still obvious that a lot of care has gone into the creation of this game. The gameplay is enjoyable and the combat system especially stands out. While it’s not the masterpiece it attempts to be, there is a lot of fun to be had with Vampire’s Fall: Origins, and given the reasonably low price of entry, it’s definitely worth a look. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Vampire's Fall: Origins (Switch) - Review, 7.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


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