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Cima: The Enemy certainly has a lot to offer and what it offers it does quite well. Attempting to provide gamers with a truly unique RPG experience is difficult, especially when you consider the limitations of a handheld system such as the GBA. Natsume has done a fantastic job localizing this title and has presented us with an experience that can genuinely be called unique. Though the game suffers from some very serious flaws, including the incredible inept NPC AI and the slightly difficult to navigate menu system, but these are all issues that tend to be minor and are easily overcome after a short time with the game. Those of you looking for a wholly new style of RPG should give Cima a look... and hopefully Natsume will bring out a sequel that remedies many of the problems that seem to haunt Cima in the end. Of course, Natsume could also bring out a sequel to Car Battler Joe... only time will tell!
I like Natsume as a company; they try, they really do. CIMA aspired to be a real game, but unfortunately it just didn't make it there. If the next Lufia game includes a CIMA-esque mini-game, I'd probably think highly of it, but it just doesn't stand on its own this way. With boring gameplay and poor controls, CIMA is definitely the enemy.
As Yoda might say, "Difficult to rate, this game is." Indeed, CIMA: The Enemy has a lot going for it. It gives players a mission to complete that is unlike any other they've experienced on the GBA. That alone makes it intriguing and worth checking out. The gameplay is slow, but fun and also repetitive. With only one main goal, the innovation seems less important when you wish you could just abandon the passengers and go on a new journey.
So without the best gameplay, CIMA: The Enemy should hold you in for the long run to unravel the great plot and adventure. For those who are more into puzzle solving than fighting, this should have some appeal as well. It’s not the longest adventure, roughly 15 hours, so if you have a GBA and like any sort of RPGs, definitely try this one. It's tough at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I also believe this, being the first of this game type, can only lead to improvements of this sort in the future.
While CIMA's concept is indeed very cool and refreshing, interface issues frequently get in the way. When your group gets large, the point-and-click interface can be confusing, and herding the whole lot requires patience. Pathfinding A.I. for the characters under your command is pretty bad, too (they get stuck on corners), and battle collision detection is a bit off-base. Still, Natsume scores points for trying something original, even if the controls keep it from being a complete success.
There are about sixteen dungeons in all, each one taking a little more than an hour to complete, which puts the game in at a healthy fifteen to twenty hours. There aren’t any towns (except for one stuck in purely for humor’s sake) or mini-games, so if anything, the game lacks variety. It may not attract top-tier attention, but CIMA: The Enemy is an engaging title that’s worth checking out for fans of puzzle, RPG, or adventure games.
If I had to suggest buy or rent I would probably say buy it. Not because you’ll need it for more than a rent, really, but because it only costs like six dollars at your local used games store. The game is definitely worth six dollars.
For a game with such ambitious intentions, CIMA: The Enemy does a lot of things right. The story and the protective guardian concept both work. And developer Neverland did a brilliant job with the game's controls. The ability to do so much with so few buttons is astounding. The game snags when it comes to the clunky and unrealistic movement of the characters. Also in need of some reworking are the inventory and status screens which just present too much information to reasonably fit on the handheld's screen. These are not insurmountable obstacles. Hopefully, a sequel will meet the high expectations that this first game couldn't.
I'll definitely give Natsume credit for not only releasing a new game franchise in a market where only namebrands succeed, but for also producing a game design that's distinctly different. It's definitely something unique for the GBA, but that element alone can't really carry the design. The implementation feels extremely cluttered and clunky and requires an incredible amount of micromanaging during gameplay; some people might find this aspect the game's real charm. And though Natsume's proven that work can be fun with its successful Harvest Moon brand, Cima just feels like work.