At most gaming news outlets, not much info is available regarding a certain Game Boy Advance RPG by the name of CIMA: The Enemy. While this fate befalls surprisingly many games, this one may not have originally been predicted to stay in the shadows to the point that it has. For one thing, the game is being created and published by the well known company Natsume. Secondly, it was on display for all to see, hold, and feel at this year's E3 in Los Angeles. But despite those factors and some unique gameplay aspects, this title has eluded coverage and slipped below the proverbial radar. Nonetheless, RPGamer has this nice little preview for the curious non-mainstream gamers to sink their teeth into.
Cima's universe is home to two worlds: one in which humans dwell, and another that holds the Cima, or "semi-humans." These two races have been at each other's throats ever since they discovered one another. Reaching out to the audience, the humans play the good guys, while the Cima (as the name says) are the antagonists. Players jump into the role of the human named Ark J, who is responsible for watching over the gate between the two worlds.
Ark's companion Elly, as well as a handful of other humans, will accompany him as he solves puzzles, fights off angry Cima, and performs various other common RPG tasks. Elly will follow Ark wherever he goes, while the other four characters will only go where they are told, somewhat similar to Princess Yorda in Ico. These pawns are termed "Active Player Characters" (APCs).
Ark J can move the four APCs individually or as a group by way of special markers he places to tell them exactly where to go. The APCs can only walk straight lines from point to point, and this will have to be taken into consideration when placing the markers. Before movement, players must select the character they wish to move from the list of APCs. Then, players choose a direction to take the character, and the movement is performed. Players are allowed three movements per puzzle, which will be interrupted by battles. Your foes will be dealt with using the game's action-based combat system. This hack-and-slash system is probably to provide relief from the constant puzzle-solving that must be done in order to advance.
Using this play system, the game's puzzles can be solved, and progress will be made. These puzzles consist of obstacles like levers that need pulling, weight-sensitive switches that need stomping, bridges that need lowering, walls that need knocking over, and many other such puzzlish things.
Natsume takes advantage of the fact that Cima is set in the distant future by giving the game an impressive arsenal. The game is said to have pretty much every type of weapon that has appeared in RPGs, as well as a few innovative items.
With some unique, innovative gameplay and a story that seems like it will at least hold some mild interest, Cima: The Enemy could end up being the Game Boy Advance's sleeper hit of the year. The game is currently scheduled to arrive in North American retailers on Sepember 9th.