Viola – Preview
Follow Genre: RPG, Indie, Adventure
Developer: Jelle Van Doorne
Publisher: Jelle Van Doorne
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Viola – Preview

Good: Very fun interactive combat, pretty art style
Bad: A few visual bugs present
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Many popular RPG and platforming games are known by most gamers, such as the Mario and Luigi series, Final Fantasy and Undertale. Viola, an early access game, is a love letter to those series as said by the developer himself. Viola is set in a world where music plays a huge role for just about everybody who lives there. The main character Viola gets thrown into that world and will have to find a way back home. Luckily, she doesn’t have to go through this alone as she meets new friends along the way.  Viola is developed and published by Jelle Van Doorne and we got a chance to look at the game while it is still in Early Access.

In Viola, you follow the main character Viola who got sucked up into a portal and thrown into another world. She is trying to get back home and gets the help from the Wolfman Fenrys. During the search for Viola’s way home, you will meet more and more party members. With Niko the half-cat, half-man joining pretty fast. Fenrys took Viola to Niko in the hope that he would know a way home since he is a magician and all. However, it seemed Niko isn’t a licensed magician, so the party decides to go to look for a magician that is licenced and has more knowledge about the unknown.

Viola’s graphics look very pretty, the whole game has this sort of hand-drawn feel to it, which only makes it shine brighter to say the least. All the sprites of the character look very good and have a lot of tiny details, you then also get to see an even more detailed version of the characters in their portrait. The portrait gets used when characters talk and to show the stats of your party members. Sometimes a little bug happens where the portrait of the previous person speaking still sticks around even though another person is speaking. Backgrounds in the game also are pretty thought out, a lot of the music theme from the game returns in the background as well. Violins are certainly more common, which does make sense since the main character Viola has a special bond with the instrument.

The theme in this game is fairly easy to figure out: music. There is of course more than just music to Viola, but it is the most prominent theme. Every party member has their signature instrument including Viola who has a violin which is an heirloom from her mother. At times you will have to play a song to unlock a special event which is reminiscent of the Legend of Zelda mechanics. In Viola it does feel like the example goes away a bit too quickly, so you’ll have to quickly press the buttons while the example fades away. Once you do complete the song, the whole party plays together to create a beautiful melody which then triggers the specific event.

Viola is besides an RPG also a platformer, so you’ll jump around on platforms and discovering chests with nice goodies in it, until you come across an enemy. When you come in contact with the enemy you switch to the battle screen. Just like an RPG, you will be able to choose to attack, block, use magic, use items or run away.  Running away doesn’t have much use though, since you can’t actually use items out of combat, besides being able to equip gems. The only way running away would help is if you already know where you need to go next and even then, you might still have to fight. Attacking in Viola isn’t just by pressing the attack button and then letting the character attack, Viola has a special Mechanic for attacking. When you press attack, you get a small pop up above the character where you will have to press buttons as if hitting a note on a musical game. Hitting the button on time will determine how much damage you do. Two perfect hits are what obviously does the most damage while two “meh’s” do the least.

Magic attacks use your AP or CP and are harder to get right an attack. If you miss a button, your spell just fizzles, and your turn is over.  Some spells will also require you to hold a button for a long note. Whenever you unlock a spell and try it out for the first time in combat, you will have to wing it. Since the spells don’t first show the buttons you need to press, you will need to pay attention and react quick enough. There are even a few spells that require you to first hold one button and then immediately after press two other buttons. For example, with an Xbox Controller, you would have to hold Y and then the spell requires you to press A, B and then A again. This mechanic makes it much more challenging and interactive if you want to use a spell in combat. Spells are always the same button combination so after a while, you will get the hang of the spell.

The combat in Viola feels more interactive than the regular RPG way of just selecting what kind of attack.  Even though it feels like you are hitting notes when attacking, there are no actual notes or music that comes from the character that is attacking. This might be as to not make the combat too crowded but at the same time having a note fail or succeed with the sound of a character’s instrument might be a nice addition. Combat can be a bit more challenging certainly if you mess up hitting buttons a lot. There is also no way to get healing/mana/reviving potions besides finding them in chests. Monsters can also come in groups, so bigger groups are often more challenging to fight. There is no way to see how many monsters will be included by the monster on the platforming map. Sometimes the monster on the map isn’t even included in the combat which might also be a bug. Luckily there is a way to play it safe, since Viola is a platformer, you can jump over some monsters and avoid combat. That way you can choose your battles.


Viola surely is a fun game with unique mechanics for combat. The graphics are a joy for the eye and the characters are well designed. All the characters are also quirky and have their own personalities, certainly all the party members will grow on you. There are a few little bugs still in the game but as an Early Access game that is made by one person, it certainly is already splendid.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Viola - Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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