At first glance, it would be easy to say that Absinthia is made to cater to a more liberal demographic; with predominantly female main characters and multiple same-sex couples, it hardly seems like the type of game that would be made to cater to a more conservative audience.
And yet the highly sexualised female characters and generally poor portrayal of LGBT+ characters seem like something that would be more traditionally associated with right-wing media.
It’s confusing, as while I can see the developer wanted to feature same-sex couples, with very few exceptions, every main LGBT character is either a villain, cheater or traitor, something which frankly makes me feel uneasy and is likely to offend some.
In addition, almost every leader is female. Once again, with few exceptions, they are either highly sexualised, corrupt or clueless, portraying a traditionally underrepresented group poorly.
In conclusion, while I believe the developer sincerely believes themselves to be an ally of the LGBT community, the result does little but reinforce negative stereotypes about the very same people Absinthia aims to feature in a positive light.
The age of the protagonists appears to be all over the place, with some characters referring to them as children and the character themselves acting in a childlike manner, such as requiring permission from their parents to leave the town or being not allowed to date someone who their parents disapproved of. Yet, other characters refer to them as “full-grown adults” and treat them accordingly.
In addition, two of the main playable character are in a mature same-sex relationship that appears to have been going on for a few years, again indicating that they are much older than the childish manner in which they sometimes act.
The developer may come from a culture where asking parental permission is more common, and honestly, showing honour to parents is not only a good thing but is one of the ten commitments given by God to humanity.
Jesus Christ later reiterated this point during his earthly ministry, who had this to say about honouring your parents.
Now, please understand me, honouring a parent doesn’t mean you must never disagree or even (as an adult) always obey them; parents are human and, like all humans, can make mistakes, however even in disagreement, God requires people to show honour and respect to their parents, just as he would expect their kids to show them honour and respect.
When Absinthia isn’t trying to be funny, it’s a pretty decent JRPG; the problem begins when the developer tries to write witty dialogue that references anachronisms such as Pornographic Magazines, Rick and Morty, eGirls, Student Loan Dept, Internet Memes, and Simps.
While including pop culture and real-world references in clever ways is not uncommon in more lighthearted video games, when combined with Absinthia’s already barely tolerable dialogue and cringeworthy character depictions, pop culture references only weaken an already shaky narrative.
I like a good puzzle as much as anyone; however, Absinthi’s mandatory puzzles range from well-made to infuriating complex, with certain relatively early-game puzzles requiring dozens of steps, where even a single misstep will require a player to restart the combination from the beginning.
Under the best of circumstances, this would not be ideal. Still, when combined with Absinthi’s rudimentary 8-way controls and occasionally misaligned interaction zones, the developers should include a toggle to bypass puzzles entirely, as they are considerably more difficult to complete than any boss battles unfold within the first half of the game.
While most JRPGs take around 60+ hours to complete, Absinthia can be completed in as little as 9.5 hours, making a perfect bite-sized JRPG for those who do not want to commit to a longer journey for whatever reason.
While on the surface, the combat system appears to be pretty standard for a traditional RPG, with a greater emphasis on combining various attacks and debuffs, Absinthia has more in common with a tabletop role-playing game or modern RPG, with some encounters proving to be impossible without the correct application of skills in the right order.
For those who want a simpler time, auto-combat does exist; however, the developer appears to have not tested this thoroughly, and it quickly becomes worse than useless, with auto-combat proving itself unable to defeat even low enemies by the time players reach the second region.
Unfortunately it only gets worse from there, with auto-combat often leading to a complete wipe of a party when facing off against much weaker foes that can fall in as few as 20 seconds when handled manually.
Absinthia is a role playing game video game developed by Joshua Keith, Team Bewitched and published by Team Bewitched, it was released on 13 March 2023 and retails for $14.99.
Absinthia is available exclusively on PC.
On average Absinthia takes between 9 and 15 hours to complete.
Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Absinthia is unrated and contains the following:
Absinthia is a decent enough game, and at least on the surface level, the developer has strived to be inclusive; however, there are much better written and executed similarly priced games on the market, and for that reason, I cannot recommend it.