Last week, Square Enix surprise-released a demo of the upcoming role-playing game Octopath Traveler, and you will be pleased to hear that it’s excellent. The best part? Nobody can complain that it’s not coming to Switch.
The full version of Octopath Traveler won’t be out on Nintendo Switch until 2018, but for now, you can check out a meaty eShop demo to get a feel for the game. Play the demo and Square Enix will send you a survey asking for your feedback, which the developers will no doubt take into account. So you’re not just getting a free mini-RPG here, you’re also getting an opportunity to influence this game’s future. (Getting feedback early and often seems to be part of Square’s larger plans for all of its games, which is smart!)
Octopath Traveler is best described as a cross between SaGa Frontier and Bravely Default, with a title twice as silly and art direction better than both. (Square Enix says this is a “working title” but I’m sure the final one will be just as ludicrous.) The game will tell the stories of eight protagonists—hence “Octopath”—and the demo lets you pick between two of them. There’s Olberic, a semi-retired knight who’s called back into action when bandits attack his village, and Primrose, a dancer who’s out for revenge against the assassins who killed her father.
Both stories are traditional JRPGs, complete with cutscenes, villages, and random encounters. The twists are that A) both Olberic and Primrose can have unique interactions with NPCs, with Olberic challenging them to duels and Primrose seducing them into travelling with her; and B) combat has a Bravely Default-esque boost system, in which your characters can reserve energy and then let it all out in big blasts.
I’ve spent about an hour poking around in both characters’ stories, and they’re really good, to the point where I don’t want to play more because I know I’ll just be upset that Octopath Traveler isn’t out yet. I do recommend downloading the demo if you have a Switch, though. Between the art, the writing, and the general vibe, this feels like the type of old-school JRPG that Switch owners really need.
Plus, the music is incredible. I mean, come on: