"Stella Glow looks to be a fun new entry in the turn-based strategy RPG genre. There's a solid battle system with a few new ideas, like song magic, and the bright visuals help it stand out from the crowd."
At E3 this year, Mike and I had a chance to meet with Atlus off the show floor and have some hands-on time with their upcoming turn-based strategy RPG Stella Glow. The game is set in a world where magic is long gone, yet when hero Alto steps into the forest one day he hears a woman singing and sees her use magic. The woman turns out to be Hilda, the witch of destruction. She soon approaches Alto's home town and destroys it, causing him and his childhood friend Lisette to set out in search of the other witches to put a stop to Hilda. It looks to be full of anime tropes, but the good versus evil should be compelling enough for most players.
Battles occur between story segments and feature classic mechanics any fan of the genre knows well. All characters move on a grid and take turns to move, attack, or use skills when in range. Positioning is important since standing to the side of an enemy prevents a counterattack, while attacking from the back allows potential for additional damage. I only had a chance to see Alto and Lisette in action, but there will be a number of other characters who join the team in the full game.
2D portraits and backgrounds are used for dialogue, while battles and other actions on the bottom screen use 3D chibi-style models. Environmental objects can be a little rough around the edges, but the visual style is vibrant and appealing. I didn't hear much music, but it's worth noting that only English audio will be available. However, songs and song magic used in battle will retain the original Japanese vocals.
While I didn't get to see free time outside of battle, you can use the downtime to build relationships with other members of the cast. Developing close bonds changes aspects of the story and dialogue, so there's plenty of potential for replay value. We were told that veterans of Luminous Arc should feel right at home.
Stella Glow looks to be a fun new entry in the turn-based strategy RPG genre. There's a solid battle system with a few new ideas, like song magic, and the bright visuals help it stand out from the crowd. A final release date has not been set yet, but players can expect it towards the end of the year.