A little boy that wanders the world collecting creatures and letting them fight for him? No, I’m not talking about Pokemon. Cadabra Games and QUByte Interactive have collaborated and the result is Adore, a monster collection game with some RPG and roguelike elements.
If you like games such as World of Final Fantasy or the aforementioned Pokemon, you might very well be interested in Adore. A game by Cadabra Games which was published by QUByte Interactive. It released on 3rd August 2023 on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and Steam. The game has a price tag of €/$ 19,99.
Cadabra is a small Brazilian studio of 6 and with Adore they created their first game for Xbox and Playstation.
What is this place?
Adore is set in the world of Gaterdrik. Due to the mysterious death of Draknar (God of Creatures), this world is now in complete and utter chaos. Draknar’s Divine Essence has been stolen by the bastard of all bastards: the evil god of the End, Ixer. As a result hardly anyone worships Draknar anymore. Just a few Adorers, a community of monster tamers which remain loyal.
You are Lukha, a young apprentice Adorer, who is killed at the end of the tutorial. And thus the game ends. Nah, thank god Lukha is revived and he learns that Draknar is not dead at all. When Draknar seemed to meet its end, the last spark of his Essence actually landed in Lukha’s body, now bringing him back to life when he needs it himself. Following this revelation Lukha and the slightly pissed-off God sharing his body, are on their way to try and defeat Ixer and retrieve Draknar’s Divine Essence to restore order to Gaterdrik.
Lukha (yeah you) cannot directly attack, but you can summon up to four of your creatures for a short while to attack the monsters. Of course you first have to capture those monsters and select which of them will accompany you on your quests. You die if you run out of health. Your conquered monsters also have their own health bars. Once that goes down to zero, you can still summon them, but any further damage taken by them is inflicted on your own health bar instead. I thought this was a nice bonus in this game. It adds a form of risk management, with you often having to quickly call back your monster just before an attack hits, or pick the right moment to unleash a special attack.
I choose you!
Recruiting new monsters is the core part of the game. Monsters can be obtained one of two ways: unlocking them from chests, or capturing them in the field with a resource called Particles of Gaterdrik. The first method is very straightforward and foolproof. The second one not so much. Capturing monsters is both easy, but yet somewhat tricky. I’ll try to explain.
When you want to capture a monster, you have a degree of control over your creatures in combat in terms of directing them towards a preferred target. The actual capturing is tied to a auto-targeting system made in hell. It becomes highly unreliable when there are multiple monsters on the field. Why? Because it latches on onto random monsters. And that happens a lot, perhaps even most of the time. This can be especially annoying when you need to capture that very specific monster, but due to the multitude of monsters onscreen you continuously screw up.
Visuals and sound
Visually this game looks good. Yes, it shows it’s an indie game, but there is nothing wrong with that. You are let loose in a world of vicious monsters who attack on sight. The view of the game is like looking from above. Not really top-down, but a somewhat slanted view. The levels are procedurally-generated. So no, your not getting completely new levels every time you die, but the levels of the area are somewhat rehashed and replayed by you. Only in a different order.
Some parts of the worlds and levels are quite polished. Other parts are a bit bland. Especially the trees, rocks and foliage. Monsters are neatly detailed but a bit small. It would have been nice if some graphics were a bit bigger.
Sound starts off really nice. A good addition to the worlds and levels you’re traversing. After a while you notice the songs get repeated and are in fact on a loop. It is there where things get messy. You can hear certain songs only that many times before they get annoying. When that finally happened, I turned the sound settings to mute and went on with the background sounds of my own music.
Go wash your mouth sir!
As you keep on playing the game you notice something regarding the language that is being used. It is not exactly PG. To me personally this was no issue, but you might want to be careful with smaller children around. It also seems that English is not the native language of the development team. Sentences are often not really fluent and the usage of words is sometimes strange.
Adore is a pretty good game for a first effort. However it drops the ball on a couple of occasions. In my opinion it is too grindy. You have to scavenge for food, totems, scrolls etc. All to prepare yourself for battling the bosses of this game. As the game is not consistent with awarding you much needed items (you may not be awarded certain orbs for several maps), after a while the game feels grindy and offering you rather tedious tasks instead of fun gameplay. Visuals are ok, but I was hoping for a bit more in regards to the environment and monsters. Sound/music starts off good, but turns repetitive after a while. So basically: a lot of potential, it just could have used a bit more polish.
Adore is a pretty good first effort by Cadabra Games with a pretty looking and smoothly playing game on Xbox. Its problems lies within its core gameplay which is a bit to grindy for my taste. The gameplay loop is a bit unbalanced. The game can be tweaked with patches, which could make Adore a contender within it's genre.