Everyone remember the hullabaloo about the dangers of Y2K back during the end of the Nineties? While it didn't end up all that much of a problem in the real world, it's actual effects only got rolled back 20 years later for a select few pieces of software (like WWE 2K 20). But let's imagine it having larger and more dire consequences to machinery in a JRPG. Enter Destiny Connect. It's a cute, fun little game that might lean a little too hard on the nostalgia, but it's got heart where it counts.
Destiny Connect is about a little girl that lives with spirit-filled machines, clearly using the Japanese concept of animism as the basis for this setup. The time is New Year's Eve, 1999. Once the clock strikes midnight. Time seems to have stopped, and only the protagonist and a few others managed to be unaffected. Also, the machines have gone rogue are rampaging around town. Trying to find the cause of this, the group finds a robot named Isaac who has the ability to travel through time. The team goes back to the past to discover the cause, and hopefully stop it.
Gameplay is very simple, which suggests that this game was an RPG developed for the younger audiences since it has a cartoony Western art style similar as opposed to a Japanese one. It's still very enjoyable, so gamers not wanting something too complex needn't worry about obtuse systems. This also comes right down to the fact the game lacks voice acting. As for gameplay though, it seems to mimic the mechanics from popular games at the time. Wild Arms serves as the main inspiration, as you've got your base attack and skill options, but skills use MP that goes up to Level 3 and refills a little bit every round.
Isaac is the important character of the game, seeing as if his HP drops to zero, it's game over. Thankfully, there are ways to beef him up. Over the course of the game, Isaac will get upgrades that let him more or less class change on the fly. Each of these forms can be upgraded further using tiered gears to tweak his stats or gain new skills for those classes. It only costs an initial installation fee, so selling items to keep up your bank account is important, especially since new armor and accessories get pretty expensive.
The game isn't very long, so it doesn't wear out it's welcome. It's a real experience with a cute story and amusing bits of dialogue. What Destiny Connect fails on only weigh it down a bit, as they are mostly insignificant. These issues do need to be mentioned, however. For one, the game lacks voice acting, which could have complimented the wonderful dialogue amicably. One other big issue is the inability to pull up a full map of any given area to better determine where to go. Combine this with a camera that seems to go rogue the minute you try to use it while moving, and you can end up in bad shape when an enemy on the field runs into, prompting a pre-emptive strike on your party.
Thankfully, those are the only problems with the game, and what you are left with is a brisk 20-30 hour experience that might evoke memories of both Chrono Trigger, Back to the Future, and Wild Arms. It helps that the game is basically a budget title, running at about $40. So if you are in the market for a JRPG that won't hurt the wallet too badly, you can't go wrong with Destiny Connect.
The Good: The dialogue might lack voice acting, but it's wonderfully written.
The Bad: No way to pull up a full map.
The Ugly: This game's camera controls are pretty garbage.
SUMMARY: Destiny Connect is a fun little JRPG that probably could have benefited from more quality of life changes, but what's there is pretty great.
Promotional consideration provided by NIS America
Eric is a freelance writer and has a podcast called RPGrinders, and you can support their Patreon page here.