When you’re watching an eShop page, you might not want to believe it’s all you’re going to get in a game. WeakWood Throne comes close to it, but its price tag truly honors the saying that you get what you pay for. Still, there aren’t many ARPGs with skating in them, which might be a plus for some players; not counting the charming graphics to boot.
There isn’t much to the story and it isn’t explicitly told, either. Something clearly isn’t right in the WeakWood Kingdom and as the protagonist of the game, you must wander around, fight beasts, and complete quests. WeakWood Throne clearly isn’t a game that excels on its story. You’ll only be given excerpts of it from quest givers, at most, and it’s miles away from being enough. The game instead attempts to focus more on its gameplay and charming graphics.
There isn’t much to do in WeakWood Throne. Besides fighting monsters and wandering around the kingdom, you’ll find yourself looting items, tackling quests, and strengthening your character. The game isn’t one to hold your hand as you play; you’ll be left mostly on your own learning the ropes and experimenting with the mechanics. There are some guides, but they aren’t extended throughout the game.
World and Quests
The game has three main landscapes and a mini-map to help you traverse the world. Even though the world isn’t large, its size is huge enough in which you can get lost. There’s no way to expand the mini-map, which helps with making it easier to lose your bearings. The nonexistence of fast travel points also forces you to manually get around, so there will be times you will need to backtrack your steps. Walking through the entirety of the game would have been horrendous because of this, but thankfully the developer has implemented the ability to skate to help alleviate this.
The lack of content begins to show once you’ve sat down and played for a bit. You likely won’t cross 3 hours of gameplay to finish WeakWood Throne. The number of quests isn’t high and you’ll barely find NPCs to spend some extra time with in conversation. Some of the quests the game provides are interesting, so there’s a high chance that you’ll have to good time finishing them. The lack of more quests is discouraging, especially since the pacing is poor.
Weapon Types and Stat System
There are three different weapon types—Close Range, Long Range, and Magic. Each weapon is associated with its own level and there are various weapons of each type with their own levels. As you level up your character, you will acquire points to invest in weapon mastery; you’ll be able to decide between these three skills to wield higher level weapons of the respective weapon type.
Unfortunately, it becomes extremely tedious to grind for good levels in all three of these weapon types in a single playthrough. Focusing your effort on one is manageable, but it becomes a pain to manage them all. There’s also no way to reverse your action, so you’ll be forced to start a new playthrough if you do happen to make a switch late in the game. With long-range and magical weapons being scarce in the early portion of the game, some grinding for levels will be inevitable unless you get lucky and discover an item early.
One of the first things you’ll notice when initiating combat in WeakWood Throne is the aiming. You’ll have to use the right analog stick to move a cursor next to an enemy before launching an attack. It can even become a chore the more you play as it’s something you need to rely on to land hits against the enemies before you. Getting past this hindrance makes the game more enjoyable.
The game has a decent number of enemies to face for its length. Even though they’re evenly paced throughout the game, they still feel as though they’ve been copied and pasted with different sprites; some inflict higher damage than others while others may inflict a status condition. Even the low number of bosses in the game feel this way, with a minor difference. New foes you face will often provide a challenge; however, the game itself isn’t difficult as long as you level up and equip stronger gear.
Dying in the game sets you back at the main menu. You won’t lose any progress, but it’s annoying having the cursor point at “New Game” rather than “Continue” when the latter will likely be your intention. The game’s autosave feature is a blessing for the situations in which you can unexpectedly be knocked out by an enemy; you’ll start again in the previous area with full HP, but also any previously inflicted status condition. There is even a method to cheese your way to victory early game, but unfortunately, there’s also a bug that freezes movement until you’ve defeated the enemy.
Similar to any other RPG, WeakWood Throne has an inventory system. The game wouldn’t explain the different options to you, but it’s far from overwhelming with the limited content offered. The problem lies with how easy it is to drop an item without even knowing about it. The controls are uncommon, which can open players up to making mistakes. When an item is dropped, it’s also difficult to spot it in the overworld. If not careful, you may end up dropping valuables that you may have difficulties finding again.
From time to time, you will need to sell items to merchants. WeakWood Throne is the type of game where you’ll be collecting multiples of the same items. Transactions for singular items are a seamless process, but that changes the moment you obtain a large volume of the same item to sell. You’ll be forced to click the same item repeatedly until you’ve cleaned out your inventory.
Another game design flaw in WeakWood Throne is how it lets enemies attack you during dialogue screens. This occurred once during the playtime for this review and it wasn’t a pleasant experience reading the details of a quest while also staring death in the eye. Although with the low number of quests in the game, it’s likely everyone wouldn’t even encounter such an issue.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The most impressive part of WeakWood Throne is its graphics; it’s bright and charming to look at. Equipping different weapons and armor reflect on your character and there’s a variety of enemies to fight against. It runs smoothly on the Nintendo Switch with one minor glitch that froze movement once, but it’s unlikely that half the players will ever encounter it.
Unlike the graphics, the soundtrack isn’t that impressive. It’s calming and saves face for the exploration portion of the game; however, it’s lacking in every other part. Sometimes the game gets quiet, which can be daunting. The lack of music played during the game is also noticeable, but may not become repetitive with the low number of hours you’ll pick it up for.
WeakWood Throne may look cute on the outside, but it wasn’t sufficient to mask the many problems at its core. There’s still some fun to be had with the game, but it might be something to consider after a discounted price arises; there are better games to contemplate on that are two or three times its current price tag. Better story execution, more entertaining quests, and better battle controls would have done the game justice. If you’re looking for a short, charming game with a little grinding in the mix—or a cheap game to try for a short period—then WeakWood Throne is for you.
WeakWood Throne gets a 4.5/10.