In the days of PlayStation 2, Makai Kingdom was a celebrated strategy role-playing game from Nippon Ichi Software. Now, you can enjoy a remastered version called Reclaimed and Rebound.
Updated for modern systems, Makai Kingdom plays the same as its original. You play as Overlord Zetta who is trying to reclaim and rebuild his Netherworld after an unfortunate accident leads to him being bound to a book. The game sees you merge souls with items in the world to create minions. These minions fall into familiar RPG classes – mage, rogue, knight, etc. and can be optimized with gear for further attacks and bonuses. With your party ready it’s time to head out to other Netherworlds where you must battle it out, collect items, and return unscathed to progress.
It is strongly recommended that you don’t skip the combat tutorial because there are so many options at first it can get very confusing, especially if you’re unfamiliar with this type of SRPG. Combat works by taking turns, in each turn, you can move each of your party, set them to attack or heal, check stats of your foes, and more. Once you’ve set the actions, you can execute your moves and watch it all take place in front of your eyes. Then your opponent gets their turn and will do the exact same. Whoever is left standing, wins. If you win, you get rewards and acquire buildings that can be used to upgrade and look after your party while growing your Netherworld. If you lose… it’s game over so be sure to save prior to jumping through the portal!
What I do like is that parties can grow and don’t only last for a few turns. This is especially useful as some of the stages can be quite sizable and take a long time to clear. Part of the strategy is picking the best object to merge your soul with as each item will either give a stat bonus or a penalty.
Another good thing about Makai Kingdom is that each stage is randomly generated. This offers a good level of replayability. In a game where the story is light and the process is effectively repeated, this is a bonus to keep it entertaining.
The story isn’t overly compelling in the Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound. The previously mentioned Overlord Zetta, who is a self-proclaimed ‘bad-ass’, needs to rebuild his realm following a prophecy from a fellow overlord coming true. It came true, I might add, by Overlord Zetta being a little too cocky and through his own foolishness has doomed his Netherworld. It’s all a little predictable from here. While the voice acting and dialogue can be a little ‘hammy’ in places, it has some levity which makes the cutscenes and setups between stages enjoyable enough.
Graphics and Sound
The music within Makai Kingdom is good enough. Nothing that will drive you crazy, but not exactly memorable. This is fine, and the sound effects for the various attacks and gameworld are good and overshadow this anyway.
Graphically, the game has been updated for modern screen resolutions without losing the delightful sprite graphics that made the game such a joy the first-time round. Playing it on a 1440p monitor felt good and I didn’t need to do much to have it looking how I wanted it. It was all delightfully retro. The environments look wonderful and due to being generated always feel new and visually interesting. Sometimes the camera can be in an awkward location, but with nothing else to really complain about, that isn’t bad at all.
Is Makai Kingdom: Reclaimed and Rebound good?
If you like SRPGs then yes. This is a solid entry from Nippon Ichi Software and has been a popular entry into the genre since its PS2 days.
The control system can take some getting used to as there are a lot of menus to navigate, and the voice acting is a little over the top. There isn’t much really to complain about though, it’s a solid experience and there’s a lot of fun to be had trying to reclaim your power and Netherworld!