Sylvan Tale

Original Title
Game Gear
Official Website
A Game Gear exclusive, Sylvan Tale came out roughly six months after NexTech’s other action RPG, Ragnacenty (AKA Soleil (PAL)/Crusader of Centy (US)). It’s worth noting that the music in this game is by Saori Kobayashi, who’s probably best known for her work on the Panzer Dragoon Saga soundtrack.
Although the game is classified as an RPG there are no levels or other statistics, the only possible increase is to Zetts’ health bar and this is done by finding a particular special fruit that’s either hidden away or grown from revived trees. Other healing fruits can be given by NPCs or occasionally dropped by enemies although for some of the more potent items only one can be held at any given moment.
Sylvan Tale’s main “gimmick” is Zetts’ ability to transform into one of five different forms - turtle, mole, mouse, merman and bird, allowing him access to new areas by giving him unique traits and abilities. As a mouse he can run exceptionally fast and fit into small holes, while as a merman he can swim and dive underwater. The bird ability is completely optional and isn’t required to complete anything in the game but its ability is a powerful one; Zetts won’t get hit by enemies while in this form, making it useful for travelling about.
The game is presented in an open manner, with Zetts free to wander as far as his current abilities can take him. As is to be expected new places and dungeons open up as he finds new animal forms or completes mini-quests from NPCs to gain useful items to progress (such as the lantern he needs to see inside a dark cave). There are eventually three lands to explore, and Zetts can return to any of them if the player wishes to pick up missed items or go exploring.
Dungeons are where the game’s puzzles come into play, usually involving some block-pushing or switch-finding but also some more unique puzzles such as touching every tile in a grid without treading on the same tile twice or using magnets to get around. Each dungeon finishes with a fight against a unique boss (bar one repeat late game) – animal forms can make these fights easier but there’s no specific required “trick” to beating them.
The game was never officially translated but an English language fan patch is available here.