Nostalgia is a title that is aptly-named. Playing it evokes memories of role-playing games from years past, of games heavy on dungeoneering and light on story, of simple turn-based battles and two-dimensional enemies that rarely had motivations beyond destroying/ruling the world. Set in an alternate version of our world where magic and airships exist about a hundred years in the past, Nostalgia begins as a tale of a boy trying to find his adventuring father and turns into, as these often do, into a world-saving adventure. The story isn't particularly deep, but it's enjoyable enough in the brief snippets that it is given in before you return to fighting monsters and whatnot. It'll take you across the world, from London to Siberia to New York and Dehli, as you try to figure out the mystery of tablets and the evil cabal trying to hunt them down.
The game plays out in many ways like an old-school, classic RPG from the days of the SNES or even before then, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. For the most part, the game takes place on the world map and in dungeons, running around fighting monsters and finding treasures. Combat takes place using turn-based combat, where all the staples of the genre - special abilities, mana use, battle afflictions - take place. The combat itself isn't too bad, but tends to be on the uninteresting side. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that with the exception of a very few select battles, everything in the game was far too easy. Most enemies could be taken down by hammering the attack button, and bosses merely meant using a couple special abilities. I didn't even die until finding an enemy that could instantly kill you, and even that was a rare, rare ability.
Winning battles earns you money, experience, and skill points, and depending on how well you do in combat, you can get bonuses to each of these. Skill points are used to upgrade your abilities in each character's skill tree, and will affect each skill by reducing MP use and raising effectiveness. In addition, some skills require other skills to be at a certain level before they can be learned, so it's important to invest a few hundred skill points to each skill if it can unlock more. It's a pretty interesting system, and gives more involvement to the player in how the skills of each character grow, but it has flaws. For example, though little arrows tell you what skills are prerequisites to other skills, the arrows don't tell you what level those skills need to be at, so it's just a matter of randomly levelling up skills in the event that the higher level might unlock other abilities.
Instead of having a traditional world map like other jRPGs, Nostalgia instead gives you an airship right at the beginning of the game, and this is what you use to get around the world, limited only by the height you can fly to - which gets upgraded as you play the game - in order to bypass mountains and other barriers. Using this airship you can land in towns and dungeons as well as fight in special air battles. In these battles, each of your team members control a weapon on the airship, and the abilities and skills that go along with it. What also changes is how enemies can occupy positions on three sides of your airship, or group up on a single side. This affects attacks, as certain weapons do extra or reduced damage to particular sides of the airship, and there are some abilities that can attack all the enemies on on side. It adds some strategic elements to the battle, but they rarely seem to make a difference.
Though airship battles, in a striking contrast to those in dungeons, seem to lean to the side of remarkably difficult. Some battles seem fairly easy, but drift a little off-course, and it's possible to be defeated in a small amount of hits, despite owning the latest ship upgrades. And oftentimes flying up in altitude can mean meeting enemies which can do serious damage if you meet them one-on-one, and completely devestate you if you happen to encounter three of them at once. Seeing as how this is a game that forces you to reload a save game if you perish, and these airship battles can quickly become a tedious experience that are best avoided until your characters and ship are over-leveled and over-equipped.
In addition to following the main story, Nostalgia gives you a number of secondary tasks to complete if you so desire. The first is that of quests given to you by the Adventurer's Association. These are rarely more complicated beyond "find/kill a thing/monster in location X", but they reward you money and special items, so they're worth doing. The other is finding World Treasures. These are found by first discovering the location of a special ruin from a random townsfolk, then confirming it with your contact, then flying to the location given and seeing it pop up. Not terribly complicated, but it can get you rewards if done enough. You can also fill up your Adventurer's Notebook, which tracks everything you find and kill, as well as every quest completed and every map explored. It's a great tool for those who want to do everything in the game, but I can't help but laugh when the notebook's cover fills the screen, declaring it an "Adventuer's[sic] Notebook". That the title is so big, repeated every time you open the notebook, and yet is still misspelled makes it even funnier. There are a couple issues like this in the game, but it rarely detracts from the experience.
Nostalgia is a game for those who, well, want to experience some nostalgia. It's a simple, old-school RPG with new twists here and there that make the experience more fun to play through without changing things up too much. If you were a fan of the Final Fantasy remakes that came out recently for the Nintendo DS, you might enjoy this one. Don't expect to see anything ground-shattering, but it's a fun enough title to play through.