#58 Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Pier-Solar-HD-5

  • Original release year: 2010
  • Consoles: Genesis/Mega Drive (HD remaster: PS3, PS4, Windows, OS X, Linux, Ouya, Wii U, Xbox One, Dreamcast)

Pier Solar is a game that I feel is worth playing, if only for the reason that it is a legitimate, solid and, potentially, the biggest 16-bit RPG of all time and, yet, was only released 5/6 years ago, for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, no less. I must admit I haven’t finished the game yet and it has its flaws, but there’s still lots of reason to recommend Pier Solar.

Pier Solar is a labour of love, a tribute and love letter to oldschool overhead JRPGs, in which Watermelon put in a tremendous amount of effort into the presentation, music and gameplay.  Take the Dreamcast version, for example, which is based on the HD remaster (but in 480p, since the Dreamcast obviously can’t output any higher than that resolution), which comes in beautiful, legitimate Dreamcast packaging (which you can choose to be European PAL, North American NTSC or Japanese NTSC style packaging), offers widescreen or 4:3 ratios, auto-save options and achievements, making it feel like a traditional RPG, with modern features.

Pier Solar features traditional turn based battles.
Pier Solar features traditional turn based battles.

The game itself is very good too. It isn’t all style, no substance, as Pier Solar boasts a fairly deep battle system, with decent amount of strategy. Defending and ‘strength-gathering’ (increases your attack power with each turn) find themselves being central mechanics to battles, perhaps even more so than the traditional magic and normal attacks.

There’s a few flaws, such as awkward dungeon designs that, at times, are easy to get lost in (it’s awfully hard to distinguish between parts of the environment you can walk across and parts which are barriers), but the story and script make up for it and are both charming.

Despite it’s flaws, Pier Solar is an enjoyable and fun game. It may not be ground breaking, but if you’re a fan of the classic Final Fantasy or the Phantasy Star games, you should really appreciate the style of Pier Solar.

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