Royal Frontier review for PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC

Platform: PS5
Also on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC, PS4
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Woblyware
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

It’s hard not to look at Royal Frontier and immediately think of The Oregon Trail. Maybe it’s lazy to look at a game where you’re leading your party across a wild frontier and immediately think of one of the forefathers of the genre, but it feels like the obvious comparison here applies at least somewhat.

Mind you, it’s not a one to one comparison, which you’ll notice right off the bat, seeing as one of the caravan’s escorts is a mage. Moreover, alongside the usual wild animals and diseases that can harm you, you’re also fighting off goblins, orcs, and wizards. So, if nothing else, the comparison becomes The Oregon Trail with a heavy dose of fantasy.

And then you factor in the strategy and roguelike elements, and you (or at least I) realize that there’s a lot more here going on than simply an update to a 40-year-old game.

However you want to look at Royal Frontier, though, it’s a pretty enjoyable game. You start off with a trio of heroes (mage, healer, warrior), you unlock a few more skills, you die fairly quickly, and then you start a new run with some of the new skills. It’s far from complicated and it’s not very long (particularly once you’ve built your heroes up) but that’s just part of the charm. Because it’s so straightforward, it’s hard to not want to start up a new run the moment your last one ends.

That said, there are a few quirks that mean that Royal Frontier isn’t quite as good as it could be. Most notably, the battles are a little annoying – you pick your action, but then you have to press X just at the right moment in order to maximize your strength. It’s the same thing for defending, with well-timed press being the difference between losing a ton of HP and only losing a little. Eventually you get used to the constant QTEs, but it’s still a little annoying.

There’s also the fact that this is published by Ratalaika, which means you have a Platinum popping long, long before you’re done with the game. Obviously, having an easy Platinum trophy isn’t the worst crime a game can commit, but it still takes away some of the incentive to play Royal Frontier all the way through.

And Royal Frontier is enjoyable enough – and short enough – that it’s worth playing through. It’s fun to see a game adding new elements to a well-worn formula, and it makes this game an easy recommendation.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Royal Frontier PS4/5 code for review purposes.

Grade: B+

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