Thirsty Suitors takes several elements from Atlus’ Persona franchise, from its means of developing interaction to the art and turn-based battles.
Persona is easily one of the most popular RPG franchises in the past decade, namely due to its unique gameplay options and how it switched things up beyond its turn-based battles. By combining socialization and relationship-building, the series has gone from niche to mainstream, though it strangely hasn’t inspired too many wannabes. One upcoming indie game, however, is looking toward Atlus’ franchise for some clear inspiration.
Thirsty Suitors is an upcoming game published by Annapurna Interactive that borrows many of the artistic and gameplay elements that made Persona a hit. It’s also very much influenced by another Atlus title and an iconic Western comic book, all wrapped together in a Persona-style bow. Here’s why fans of the Shin Megami Tensei spinoff should check out Thirsty Suitors.
Thirsty Suitors Is Essentially a South Asian-American Persona
The premise of Thirsty Suitors involves a young woman named Jala, who returns to her childhood home in order to celebrate her sister’s wedding. Unfortunately, it’s not just a matter of celebration, as she’s forced to take a sometimes harrowing trip down memory lane and confront her exes. When facing them and other opponents, Jala’s battles are turn-based in nature. Turn-based gameplay was once prominent in RPGs, especially Japanese RPGs such as Final Fantasy, but it’s since begun to become less mainstream. Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are some of the last bastions of turn-based fights, and it’s clear that the former inspired several elements of Thirsty Suitors.
The bright and colorful art style is highly reminiscent of the stylized anime look of the last three Persona games, with the emphasis on social interactions being analogous to the character-developing Social Links of those titles. Jala even has a “Thirstsona,” making the game’s inspiration even more obvious. Another potential homage exists in the form of her enemies in Bearfoot Park, who are led by Soundie the Bear. This could very much be a reference to Teddie, a character from the fourth Persona game, making fans of that franchise feel right at home.
Thirsty Suitors Uniquely Remixes Persona Instead of Ripping It Off
Besides Persona, the art style and general premise are reminiscent of Catherine — another Atlus game with slight RPG elements — and the Scott Pilgrim comic book franchise. Though these help to make gamers familiar with the story the new game is trying to tell, Thirsty Suitors isn’t content with just regurgitating old ideas. For instance, Jala gets around her town of Timber Hills by skateboarding, which is a to-cool-for-school form of traversal that even the protagonists of Persona don’t have. With the combos and cool moves allowed by this mechanic, it’s clear that Thirsty Suitors is more than just a retread of what’s been done by other RPGs.
Jala can also try her hand at whipping up a selection of South Asian edible arrangements, with these dishes and the time taken to cook them helping to improve her relationship with her estranged mother. This all ties into how the game’s story reflects the life of an outcast Westernized child of South Asian parents, both through said parents and Jala’s infamous exes. Even the battles incorporate this, with Pokémon-style type weaknesses being replaced with Achilles’ heels such as one suitor’s “momma’s boy” syndrome. Whether the person playing it is South Asian or from any other nationality, it’s clear that Thirsty Suitors will take their love of titles like Persona and give them an entirely new experience through a taste of basmati and skateboarding.
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