Another day, another new Nintendo Switch port of a classic game. This time? It’s Nihon Falcom’s Ys Origin, the prequel to their long-running series. Originally released in 2006 in Japan, it was first localized into English in 2012 and has been released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. So, we decided to take a look and see how it holds up on Nintendo Switch.
The plot of Ys Origin follows characters Hugo Fact, Yunica Tovah and “the Claw” as they scale the dungeon and monster-infested Darm Tower, the recurring location from the main series of Ys games, in search of kidnapped goddesses Reah and Feena. Taking place 700 years before the start of the main Ys timeline featuring Adol Christin, it tells the backstory of the goddesses, the tower and the land of Ys itself.
For a game from 2006, the graphics and gameplay hold up quite well. It plays as a dungeon crawler with action RPG mechanics, and each character has different fighting styles and differing stories that require you to replay with a new protagonist each time to get the full story. Of course, the gameplay isn’t flawless, and there were several times when I was frustrated with the clunky controls. Early in the game, playing as Yunica, you need to use your newly learned whirlwind ability to jump across a gap and reach a platform on the other side so she can continue on her quest. What seemed to be a logical “Jump, then use whirlwind” became a tedious exercise in timing as I continuously fell to the floor below, forced to time the difference between charging up the whirlwind and giving Yunica a running start to her jump across the gap.
Much like other Switch ports, Ys Origin doesn’t take advantage of the touchscreen controls when browsing through the game’s menus, but it’s not a noticeable letdown. Given that the fighting controls wouldn’t work on a touchscreen anyway, it makes the jump from handheld to docked modes fairly seamless. And, as a bonus, the graphics and the text all scale up and down on the displays perfectly, leaving everything easy to see and read no matter how you choose to play.
Ys Origin itself is a fun game, and it’s relaxing to go around bashing demons left and right, but it’s also not the best entry for beginners to the series. It’s not as plot heavy as the mainline games are, and much of the exposition is floating and ungrounded without the framework of the modern story to explain why any of this is important. That said, it’s not totally inaccessible and even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the series, its fun combat and charming graphics make for a worthwhile play if you’re a fan of dungeon crawlers.
As far as Nintendo Switch ports go, Ys Origin belongs on the “good” list. Controls are smooth, with a few clunky hiccups, and scaling between handheld and docked modes works beautifully. Considering it’s a port of a game from 2006, the graphics look great and while the story works best for those already familiar with the series, it’s still a fun play for those new to the franchise or anyone looking for a good dungeon crawl. Now, can we get a port of Ys V to go?
TechRaptor reviewed Ys Origin on Nintendo Switch with a copy provided by the publisher. It is also available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.