Stella Glow Review (3DS)on March 30, 2016 by Mitch Jay
Stella Glow is Imageepoch’s final game following their closure last year and whilst they’ve had some less than stellar (heh) games, Stella Glow isn’t one of them.
Time and Eternity was surely Imageepoch’s blot on their history, and likely one of the causes as to why sales continued to decline for their games despite the excellent Criminal Girls releasing after, and it’s a shame to see them go especially with Stella Glow being pretty damn good. Stella Glow follows hunter Alto who suffers from amnesia, leaving him with no memories of his past. Finding a new home in Mithra Village with his friend Lisette and her mother, his peaceful new life is disturbed when witch Hilda arrives and turns everyone bar Alto and Lisette into crystal statues. Wanting to return Mithra Village back to its former self, the pair set out to defeat Hilda and find a way to bring everyone back to life.
I like the characters and the plot does a good enough job at making you want to see what happens next, even if it isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking. It’s a solid SRPG for the 3DS that proved that Imageepoch could turn out a great JRPG and went out with a bang rather than a whimper. Some parts are very sweet, heartwarming and some can be pretty sad, and it had more depth than I honestly expected it to have. It’s certainly something I would have liked to see a sequel for but, sadly, we’ll never see it happen and if we do it won’t be from Imageepoch.
Stella Glow is more of a SRPG than JRPG with turn-based battles taking place on a square grid, and usually I’m pretty bad at SRPG’s (I still don’t know why though!) but Stella Glow wasn’t quite as punishing or drawn out as I find many SRPG’s can be. The combat is solid with normal attacks, skills, items, wait your turn out or to traverse the map being your options in battle, so it’s already off to a good start in being easily accessible. Positioning is important in ensuring that you don’t get surrounded and, with some moves covering differing ranges and being able to hit a different amount of people, you’ll want to position yourself in the best place to maximise damage – it’s also good to be near other party members in case you’ve got some quick healing to do! You also select which direction your character faces which has an effect on the damage you take and give, e.g, you’re going to take more damage if you’re facing away from an enemy.
When you’re not going all slashy-slashy against enemies, you’ll spend the rest of your time in the city of Lambert where you’ll purchase items, equipment amongst other things. You’ll spend a lot of your time reading – or listening to – dialogue but with how charming the characters are, I can’t say I had a problem with it. I’m a big fan of bonding in RPG’s and being able to use my free time to better learn about my teammates (yes, there are alternate endings) is good fun, although you’ll have to prioritise how you spend your free time as you can’t bond with everyone, do free missions to gain experience, etc, all at once – you can get a generous amount done though!
The 2D art in Stella Glow is nothing short of beautiful, and I absolutely adore it. The character design, portraits, CG images and cutscenes are amazing, breathtaking and it really is gorgeous. The 3D chibi art is adorable too and is brimming with colour, proving to be a real delight for the eyes. If that wasn’t enough, then the varied locales and nature only push the point home further – it’s a game I was constantly impressed by visually which isn’t a huge surprise as Imageepoch have always had a good team of artists behind it.
If you’re a fan of English dubs like I am then you’ll be pleased with the talent involved in Stella Glow. You’ve got a bunch of great talent including Robbie Daymond, Christine Marie Cabanos, Cristina Vee, Patrick Seitz, Kyle Hebert, Erin Fitzgerald, Matthew Mercer and, well, the list goes on! The cast is large and the dub does it justice and although there’s no option to switch to another language, nobody should have an issue with the game being in English as the dub is fantastic. The OST has some catchy tunes although it’s not a largely memorable OST, but it provides a nice and fitting ambience along with a variety of songs for each occasion. The more I talk about it, the more shocking it is that Imageepoch really aren’t in business anymore when they’re capable of games such as Stella Glow.
If you’re looking for a solid SPRG on 3DS then Stella Glow more than fits the bill, and it’ll have you wanting more from Imageepoch although that’ll never happen now, which is a huge shame. Stella Glow has a lovely cast of characters, absolutely beautiful visuals and an outstanding amount of voice talent behind it, and the gameplay is engaging and smooth. I recommend that you don’t look over Stella Glow and, as I may have wrongly assumed, it does a good job of not becoming a standard harem although it’s easy to ship Alto with another character (if you don’t ship him with Lisette though, then you’re shipping wrong), due to the bonding system and character development. Stella Glow is the perfect swansong for Imageepoch, and I’ll miss them.