For better or worse, Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown feels as though it jumped straight out of the early 90s.
Naturally, your fondness for that era will play a huge part in whether you’ll enjoy this purposely nostalgic nod to the likes of Might and Magic. For this reviewer of a certain age, Amberland hits all the right notes while providing some nifty quality-of-life upgrades (e.g., an on-screen mapping system). Sadly, Forgotten Crown probably doesn’t modernise the experience enough for modern-day gamers, which is easily the biggest barrier for entry.
Before getting started, Legends of Amberland tasks you with assembling your band of merry adventurers. Creating a well-rounded group will make your battles a bit easier; without finding a good balance, the monsters who call this world home will make short work of you. Even if you decide to lower the game’s difficulty level, squaring off against monsters with the wrong group will quickly end in defeat. If creating your own heroes sounds like a chore, Amberland will kindly roll a group that will get the job done.
The story itself doesn’t break any moulds – you need to locate and retrieve the relic mentioned in the game’s title – but I doubt Silver Lemur Games really strived to create a groundbreaking, noteworthy narrative. That’s because Legends of Amberland truly shines when you take an adventurous stroll off the beaten path. Right from the jump, you can either get the plot rolling by visiting a nearby castle or explore the many caves and dungeons along the way. The choice is truly yours to make.
However, while you have the freedom to go wherever you want without restriction, it’s important to note that you may suddenly find yourself up against creatures beyond your skill level. Thankfully, Amberland features a very handy autosave system, but as any hardcore CRPG fan will tell you, you should save your game frequently.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to fight as you roam the countryside. Combat unfolds in a turn-based fashion, with each character getting an opportunity to take a swing or cast a spell. The actions you can perform during your turn are mapped to either a button or a button combo, making it easy to do what you want without the need to fiddle with menus. And if you forget which button combo opens your spellbook, for example, a reminder is a button press away. While most games of this ilk from the 90s had a bit of a learning curve, Legends of Amberland does a wonderful job of getting you into the action thanks to its streamlined interface. Just don’t expect it to hold your hand.
Although it does have its share of problems, from the overall static nature of the world itself to the often distracting low-res art style, Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown should satisfy gamers who long for this style of gaming. And while the adventure may seem a little too old-school for those who crave more modern RPGs, those who want to experience the thrills of a solid 90s-inspired first-person dungeon crawler can easily do so on the Switch. In fact, Amberland feels like a perfect fit for the handheld; you can jump in and out with ease, allowing you to devote as much or as little time as you wish. As a fan of the games that inspired it, I can’t wait to spend more time in Amberland.
Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown £17.99
Although it pays strict homage to a bygone era of first-person dungeon crawlers, almost to a fault, Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown still feels fresh and exciting. The experience almost seems tailor-made for the Nintendo Switch.