This has been by far the hardest Final Thoughts for me to write thus far. Putting together a perfect summary of my feelings towards Terranigma is difficult when they are so drastically disjointed. When it comes to the battle system, boss battles, and plot, Terranigma is a terrific game. Unfortunately it is everything that stitches the game together between those moments that is subpar and in some cases, abysmal. My biggest complaint pertains to the objectives and dungeon design being largely incomprehensible, leaving players scratching their heads in confusion as they stumble aimlessly in an attempt to decipher what they should do next. Thankfully, Terranigma is 20 years old, making it easy to look up the information the game conveniently forgot to supply and get back to the more enjoyable segments of the game. Ultimately, Terranigma is a good game marred by numerous shortcomings; it is a game I'm happy I experienced but one that I will never feel compelled to replay.
The imagery for this month's Terranigma Final Thoughts was created by FixelCat, a wonderfully talented artist who was gracious enough to let us use their artwork for this update. Be sure to check out their DeviantArt page
Terranigma really is quite the enigma. Not since Trails in the Sky have I felt more torn about a game for the podcast. It's so ambitious for a 16-bit title, especially with the scope of its narrative and the topics it addresses, but is dragged down by weak, convoluted dungeon design that makes a good chunk of the game feel like a chore. There are also some gameplay mechanics, like the underutilized magic system or the options to throw away weapons, that feel almost token, without any real need for their existence. And the box-menu-thing is overly complicated and somewhat intrusive. At least I got to witness the game's incredible graphics and sound? Terranigma is an experience, one way or another, and whether or not it is a good one depends on the player's tolerance for its many quirks.
Terranigma is easily the most esoteric—no I will not make an enigma pun—game I've ever played. This inscrutable quality permeates every aspect of the game, from the dungeon design to the story and even the "menu." It is frequently frustrating, in part because I felt the developers had interesting ideas but couldn't or wouldn't convey them to me as the player in a coherent way. Nevertheless, it is a rare game that wasn't afraid to take a risk, and I am glad to have experienced it and shared it with my friends on Retro Encounter.