Ever Oasis Review
Ever Oasis is one of those titles that no amount of video, and no amount of dialogue with others will convince you to purchase and play it. Ever Oasis is a game that needs to be played, not read about, to fully appreciate, although multiple scores of 8.5+ should be a strong indicator of what is under the surface, and how much enjoyment you can probably get out of this experience.
I was a huge skeptic, chalking this up as a half-sincere attempt at introducing new IP on an aging system. The announcement didn’t get me excited. The trailer didn’t get my excited. Even the E3 Treehouse Live demos did not get me excited. This game was destined for failure I told friends, and I wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. Then the demo launched, and my review key activated, and I’ve never looked back.
Ever Oasis is phenomenal, and although it isn’t without its problems – no deep combat here folks, so move along – it is definitely a game you need to pick up and play, if you enjoy town building, RPG experiences.
There isn’t anything substantially difficult about playing Ever Oasis, and I would classify this title as a pick-up-and-play experience. Almost everything is done through only a few button presses. When maneuvering around the oasis and interacting with various people and buildings, two button presses are mainly used: one for interacting, and one for blowing out a gust of wind that the player uses to harvest crops and fruit, and collect money from the Bloom Booths.
Once outside, the controls get a bit deeper, with buttons for light attacks, heavy attacks, and even a button to dodge. As you progress and level up your character, more input combinations are opened up for performing deadlier attacks, but these are introduced at a fairly slow pace.
Deep Town Building
Again, from watching videos, I wasn’t convinced that there was much depth to the town building aspects of the game, but once you get your hands on the retail version, you notice a lot of exciting things you can do. Your management ranges from placing Bloom Booths (shops) that travelers will shop at, as well as planting shrubs and flowers around town that provide bonuses to the shops directly adjacent to the plant.
Strategizing where to place these plants could mean the difference between a few dollars from a shop, or hundreds of dollars from a shop. Being conscious of what shops you place where, only scratches the service to the strategic elements available in Ever Oasis.
Trying to run your town alone would be a tall task, especially as you engage in numerous quests outside the Oasis, so thankfully, various citizens can be used to make your town management more…manageable. Take your garden for example. Having a garden in your town is a great way to get close access to materials you’ll need to stock shops, but attempting to keep those plants tended, harvested, and regrown is a lot of work, and takes time you definitely won’t have. Placing one of your unemployed seedlings to run the garden is just one of the ways you can optimize and strategize will building your own Oasis.
As you advance, your Oasis will level up as more and more residents move in. With each Oasis level comes a new perk to the area, whether it’s a special merchant who sells various items, new crafting options, or more room to plant (?) more Bloom Booths.
Questing and the Oasis
Another aspect of leveling up your Oasis is tending to the needs and requests of the people who are visiting, or taken up residence, in your small town. Many of the people wandering around the Oasis will have various tasks for you to complete. In general, these quests revolve around following up on a rumor they heard – which often leads to new residents – or purely to find various items they wish to have in their possession.
Once you satisfy their requests, they often offer to open a shop, or provide some other useful service to you. Taking care of your residents is equally as important as venturing out and questing, so make sure to check in often.
Getting Away from the Oasis
You will spend plenty of time away from the oasis in Ever Oasis, so it’s a good idea to make sure your character is always prepared. Venturing out into the world begins in the Oasis itself, by equipping yourself with the proper tools, and making good selections on which other two friends you will bring along on your adventure.
Who you choose to take with you might depend on what your goal of leaving the oasis really is! If you are simply hunting for resources, it might be best to take someone with digging capabilities, or a miner. But if you are questing, you might need specific seedlings with specific skills, in order to complete puzzles and finish caves and dungeons. Again, on the service, Ever Oasis doesn’t exude an aura of depth, but this is yet an other example of that depth in action.
There are people spread all over the world, and many of them will have tasks they want you to complete, in order for them to promise to visit your oasis. When you complete the task, and when they do eventually come to your oasis, there is usually one more task to complete to make them a full fledged resident. After they have become permanent residents of your oasis, you can begin the recruitment process. These recruits will act very much like your own character, and will earn experience for things done outside the Oasis, just as you would.
Moving the Story Forward
Obviously, there will be overarching goals to accomplish in order to advance the story, and I won’t spoil those things here. However, there is substantial length to the regular story, with tons of side things to accomplish – after already playing 20 hours, there is so much more for me to explore and do, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface!
Ever Oasis isn’t the easy game to review because its complexities that are deep beneath the surface aren’t easily explained. They are not hard to pick up, mind you, but they are surprisingly deep, and can’t be gleaned from words or let’s plays. This is a game you must play to appreciate, and from ourselves, it comes highly recommended.