Kemco has certainly released a lot of RPG mobile games over the past few years, so much so that it's hard to filter out which ones are actually worth playing. Asdivine Hearts was initially released for mobile and was a combined effort from both Kemco and EXE Create. Was it worth it? Yes. It's not going to win any points for originality that's for sure, but it holds up as a solid game with a good storyline. Add to that the nostalgia of 2D JRPGs such as the Lunar series or Final Fantasy, and Asdivine Hearts actually stands to be a great addition to the Wii U eShop.
The story follows Zack and Stella, two orphans who are about to return an injured wildcat they have found. Upon heading to the woods to return it they encounter the Light Deity, a God who has lost its physical form and is claiming that the world is facing great collapse. The Light Deity tries to take over the body of Zack, but instead ends up possessing the body of the wildcat. The Light Deity is not best pleased at being a cat, and this is used as a handy source of humour in the early dialogue - the deity doesn't appreciate being named Felix. We learn that the evil Shadow Deity is trying to destroy Asdivine which leads Stella, Zack and Felix to decide to travel together in order to save their world. They are later joined by two more characters who complete the team which you will use on your adventure.
The characters in Asdivine Hearts are pretty standard Anime to look at, but are actually quite entertaining. There are some funny moments to be found in the dialogue, and Felix especially is a great personality with some real character depth as his story develops, with some sassy one liners to boot. There is written dialogue and no voice acting, but the script is very well put together and gets the character personalities across just fine without being too wordy. Zack can be rather annoying, but it wouldn't be a JRPG without the typical, perfectly coiffed, teenage rebel holding up the team. That said, the characters are at least memorable and complement the story perfectly. The story and humour in the game are what make it worth playing, and there are a few unexpected twists which make it a fun adventure to pursue.
If you are familiar with RPGs, this game will be nothing new in terms of basic battle gameplay. The system is much like that of Soul Historica. Each character has their attacks, magic and special moves. You are allocated points for these special moves throughout the battle, meaning that using them doesn't detract from your Magic Power and encourages the player to try these out rather than just use regular attacks. You also have a trust meter, which builds up across time and allows a character to unleash a powerful ultimate attack once it's full. Skills are different for each of your team, and you are allowed to pick your team's formation (although not during battle). A feature which is quite different is the addition of the rubix system. A rubix is a small grid which each character has and gems which affect immunity, magic etc are placed on these in order to achieve different effects. These gems are found upon defeating an enemy or in chests, and can also be fused in order to create new ones. The addition of the rubix system is a neat way to tweak your team's abilities, though not as customisable as in other Kemco titles.
There are four difficulty settings for Asdivine Hearts of which you can choose before you begin. The harder the level chosen, the better the rewards on offer. The difficulty settings can be adjusted once in game, so starting on Normal is advised as this level still packs a punch. The game is quite forgiving with boss battles, as you are able to restore your MP/HP before battle and are able to exit after via a shortcut.
The graphics are quite standard, nothing too spectacular but also nice to look at. There isn't much variation between the enemy sprites and there isn't anything unique about the character design, but it all fits nicely in with the 2D JRPG aesthetic. The layout of the game is also good, with everything getting more complex as you continue. There are hidden weapons, fossils and rare gems to find if you take enough time to look around.
The controls can be irritating and non-responsive at times, however. Using the joystick on the GamePad is simple enough, but sometimes the character does not move or moves far too quickly. This may not have been a problem on mobile, but on the Wii U it can get jarring.
Speaking of jarring, the music really could use some work. It's a relatively standard JRPG soundtrack, but there is not much variation to it. When you find something or a quest is unlocked a sound effect plays over the music rather than stopping it, too, which can be headache inducing.
The game consists of about 20+ hours gameplay including the main story and side quests; there are alternate endings and extended storylines which allow for more longevity. There is also a battle arena where you can win guild coins to trade for valuable items. The Kemco IAP shop is also implemented, although it only contains cheat items so nothing crucial to complete the game.
There are so many JRPGs to choose from that it would be easy to overlook Asdivine Hearts, but it is definitely worth a try. Although simple in terms of graphics and battle style, the game has strengths where needed with its story and humorous characters. There is plenty to do for those who take the time to complete all the quests, and the addition of features such as the rubix system and the trust bar allow Asdivine Hearts to be a little different. Plus, there's a God trapped inside a cat, and how often does that happen?