Most of the PSVG crew have opted to not try Ever Oasis in favor of Miitopia later this month. I am the exception to the rule and downright ecstatic to be so. The past few weeks have been spent beating story mode (within a week’s time) and chipping away to satisfy my urge to complete all quests imaginable. That’s right, the 100% run. When I dove into this game, I knew it would be a matter of boosting your oasis and gaining residents, but I had no idea how obsessive collecting the whole roster of residents would be.
The game starts out with the protagonist of your choosing (Tethu - boy, or Tethi - girl, with name and physical attributes changeable) suffering a misfortune in their home oasis which is a basic tutorial of how oases look and feel. While the game starts on depressing grounds, things start looking up pretty quickly when the protagonist starts up a new oasis all on his/her own--the last oasis in the realm. The story progresses along at a reasonable pace and will require some additional side quests to be performed in order to continue. However, these side quests are very prevalent and I had little to no issue triggering them to continue on in the story. Though the game has a predictable, bittersweet ending, it doesn’t take away from the journey you take to get there. The story and quests alongside it are extremely rewarding.
Mechanics for the game are rather simple. Tethu/Tethi gains residents by helping out Seedlings, Drauks, Serkahs, and Lagoras. Seedlings are the only residents that will be able to build Bloom Booths--the shops that attract Noots (basically fluffy penguins that only boost your economy with the game’s currency, Dewadems), travelers (the four aforementioned races that can become residents), and merchants. The more you help out the Seedlings to keep up their Bloom Booths, the more their Booths level up, and in turn, profit more for your oasis. It’s your job to keep all Bloom Booths stocked, however! Best do some monster hunting and foraging to keep supplies available for your residents to sell things.
Dewadems are not just currency to build Bloom Booths; they are a material of sorts to craft newer and better weapons that you will use out in the wild to defend yourself from monsters. You can also use Dewadems as a water source for your garden. Seeds are sold by merchants and can be grown in a garden area of your oasis that expands as you progress. These fruits, vegetables, and grains and will be required for some Bloom Booths that sell food items. I never had a shortage of Dewadems in my gameplay, and quite frankly, I had way too much at times and had no idea how to spend them. I’m all about having more currency than I need though, so I did not mind having a surplus one bit.
Graphically, this game is what you would expect from a 3DS game. Though the models have jagged edges, the 3D is rendered very well in this game. Some of the illustrations in the menu are even pixelized which I adore. The characters are vibrantly colored and well designed. I found myself excited to see what the Bloom Booths looked like upon leveling up just to see the new design embellishments on their exteriors. As a graphic designer and illustrator, I did not see anything glaringly bad regarding character or environment design--in fact, the cheery atmosphere (yes, even in some dungeons), made me almost relaxed playing the game (for a girl who takes gaming way too seriously)!
AND the music in the game has a somewhat celtic vibe at times. Mix those celtic tones with the expected sitars and general middle-eastern music that come from a game set in the desert, and you’ve got yourself a unique blend of sounds that make for a really pleasant listening experience. Even the ominous music got stuck in my head, and I was not opposed to it in the least.
All in all, Ever Oasis is probably going to be one of those lesser-known and underappreciated gems in the Nintendo 3DS library. I wish more of my PSVG folks would give it a shot (hint, hint!) and get hooked on playing it like I did. Now, I’m back to working on getting my save file to 100%--I still have a lot of Bloom Booths to level up to the max!