Destiny Connect: Tik Tok Travelers, A traditional turn-based JRPG is brought to us by NIS America (the folks behind Disgaea), it’s available on Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch. It’s the latter that NIS kindly provided us with a review code for. 

Pegreo, Sherry and Issac.

Destiny Connect: Tik Tok Travelers is set in the small town of Clocknee, an adorable town not too far from its nation’s capital. Clocknee is renowned for its machines, all sorts of fantastic devices not available anywhere else. The game beings December 31st, 1999, the Millennium is just a few moments away. This is where and when we meet Sherry, the games core protagonist. Immediately upon meeting Sherry it’s clear she’s confident and sassy, Sherry is off to enjoy the New Years’ Eve fireworks display when suddenly it becomes clear that the entire town of Clocknee is frozen in time…well, almost the entire town. You soon stumble upon Pegreo, the son of the local mechanic and a rather tech-savvy chap in his own right. Where Sherry has confidence, Pegreo certainly doesn’t. After exploring Clocknee together the pair uncover Issac, a time-traveling robot who’s sole purpose is to protect Sherry.

The map of Clocknee.

From the moment the game began I was getting some series Disney Animation Studios vibes from the games art direction. I mean, I almost googled Glen Keane to see if he was involved with the project (he wasn’t). These Disney vibes intensified upon meeting Issac, he screamed clock work Baymax to me. Now, being the Disney nerd that I am all of these vibes were welcome. From the very beginning Destiny Connect feels like you’re playing a Saturday morning cartoon. 

Once the core party of Shelly, Pegreo, and Issac are together the team happen upon the INSANELY dressed and eccentric Dr. Cheatstein, think Doc Brown by way of Johnny Depp and the time travel aspect of Destiny Connect: Tik Tok Travelers kicks in, you’ll meet a variety of characters in your journey through Clocknees past, present and future. Some of these characters have links to the core party, and while the game attempts to keep a veil of mystery about those links anyone but the youngest of gamers are going to figure them out instantly.

The aforementioned Dr. Cheatstein.

I think that’s enough about the plot of the game as the games Saturday morning cartoon vibe is heavily achieved through its story and while not overly complex it is fun and compelling. So compelling in fact that it kept me playing through the games biggest weakness…it’s complete and utter lack of difficulty or challenge.

Destiny Connect doesn’t have a difficulty curve to speak of, its user-friendly and comes across as a perfect introduction for the JRPG uninitiated. From overly forgiving combat to spelling out enemy weakness when highlighted for certain attacks, to having a ‘Status’ page available in every battle, even if it’s the first time you’ve encountered that particular foe. Nobody is going to struggle to progress in this game. I’ve played a lot of JRPGs and as such spent the first few hours of the game grinding and leveling up the party, I mean, that’s just what you do. In Destiny Connect however this was a mistake, I was consistently ‘over-leveled’ and I even hit the games level cap about 6hrs before the end of the roughly 24hr long journey

Combat is pretty much what you’d expect after reading ‘Turn-based JRPG’, player characters and enemies take turns to attack based on their respective Speed stat. Shelly would be classed as a supporting character, healing and boosting other party members SP (Mana) although she can still pack a punch with a selection of elemental attacks. Pegreo would be Destiny Connects version of a Red Mage, although his most stand out ability is called ‘Energy Barrier’, once deployed if an enemy attempts to use a skill as opposed to a standard attack the energy barrier will active causing a huge amount of damage, early on in the game this is often enough to one-shot most foes. That brings us on to Issac, by default Issac is basically a tank. Although he has several different modes you unlock over the course of the game, all of which feature a different look and ‘character’ and once more enhance that Saturday morning cartoon vibe. 

There are other party members that you’ll find along the way but the game never really gets challenging enough for you to need their specialties, especially as you unlock more of Issac’s forms.

Tell me this doesn’t look like the final form of a Pokemon!

When it comes to leveling up Destiny Connect has a nice little twist, as in any JRPGs leveling up increases your stats and unlocks new abilities for your party. This is, of course, the case with Destiny Connect, however leveling up won’t actually improve the effectiveness of said skills. To do that you’ll have to collect ‘Wisdom’ from defeated enemies. Wisdom comes in 3 different sized portions (the larger the wisdom the more it fills that skills EXP bar) that are dropped by vanquished foes, you then spend them to level up selected skills. 

Speaking of foes, this is where Destiny Connect comes into its own, the Character Design, especially that of the game’s enemies. Honestly, the first few hours of the game were fantastically exciting, every battle a chance to encounter a new wonderfully designed foe. All the enemies in Destiny Connect are corrupted machines and the design team deserve an award for creativity. My favourite baddie had to be the Terrorvision, a corrupted TV who was equal parts menacing and adorable. The guys making the newest Pokemon games could learn a thing or a dozen from Destiny Connect. 

The annoying blur.

As far as design is concerned everything in Destiny Connect is fantastic, but on Nintendo Switch the game has an odd blurriness to anything that isn’t a character model. This blur is distractingly apparent in handheld mode meaning that I spent as much time as I could playing the game docked, the blur is there in TV mode but it’s not as noticeable. You’ll have no doubt noticed on many of the screenshots in this review. It’s not a huge issue but it does somewhat ruin what otherwise would have been one for the most visually pleasing games I’ve ever played. I’m a firm advocate for art direction over graphical fidelity. I’d much rather play something with a strong design over the most photorealistic graphics of the day that don’t remotely tie together with the game’s themes. That being said it’s distracting and when coupled with the lack of challenge in the game it marred what otherwise would have been a fantastic experience.

I’d happily play through this game again if a new game + option was added with a boosted difficulty but as it is, once is enough.