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It stole my heart <3

Lemme lay it out for you: Star Stealing Prince is a gem. It’s a great game: not only a great RM* game, but a fantastic game in its own right. It’s a charming little romp with fun characters, a genuinely interesting story, gameplay mechanics that make for a moderate challenge, and comes packaged with some of the prettiest graphical work I’ve seen ‘round these parts. It invokes feelings of nostalgia from the SNES era of RPGs while avoiding many of the aspects that haven’t exactly aged well. It’s a perfect mix of the old and the new.

In short, I absolutely adore this game. Let me tell you why.

Gameplay:

Y’all know the drill by now. I dig breaking this stuff up. DEAL WITH IT.

Combat:

Combat in SSP is pretty vanilla as far as RPGs go, which, I feel, works strongly in its favour. It’s easy to pick up, but has enough depth and is paced well enough that each new dungeon needs to be approached differently, and each boss battle is unique. This seems like it ought to be a given, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve played games that have basically been “spam strongest attacks and heal” for every major encounter!

Player characters and enemies alike have inherent elemental weaknesses to be exploited (and you will need to exploit them if you want to win). For those of you who (like myself) grew up with Final Fantasy, you will need to use buffs and debuffs if you don’t want to die horribly. You’ll have both MP based magic attacks and IP based techniques to choose from, and figuring out which is more efficient to use is surprisingly important!

Basically, it keeps you on your toes and is really fun! I enjoyed what little grinding I had to do (not because this is a game that requires a grind: if you fight every encounter you come up against, you’ll probably be fine. I just, uhh… skipped around monsters and went treasure hunting until I could get near enough a healing station to grind so I wouldn’t have to cut into my stacks of healing items. What? I might have needed them later), and any terrible game overs I encountered were me playing stupidly, rather than the computer being a cheating bastard.

I think my only beef with combat was when monsters could use skills that would incapacitate the entire party in some way (confusing, paralyzing, freezing, etc.). Those were the only times I felt the game was a little cheap, but, again, being efficient in offing monsters usually prevented such situations from occurring!


SUNFLARESUNFLARESUNFLARESUNFLARE AUUUGGGHGHH


Exploration:

Oh my lord, now here is where this game shines. If you take the time to look around in this game, you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of goodies and knick-knacks that make for a much easier adventure! There are restoratives to be found, equipment all over the place, secret passages to more treasure, skill tomes, snowmen to speak with; everything a good RPG needs! I know I didn’t find everything I was supposed to (by the end of the game, only Astra had her ultimate weapon and there was this mysterious statue in the Forgotten Paths that perplexed me, so obviously I missed a few things), but I was more than happy with what I did discover. SSP isn’t particularly open, but it is detailed enough that, if you speed through it, you’ll miss a lot.

One of my favourite parts of the game was interacting with the various events tucked away. I’d say about a third of the plot is discovered through reading various notes and plaques and books that are scattered around dungeons. This is especially evident in the Sepulcher, as the notes serve to characterize two important NPCs that otherwise would get very little screen time.

On the topic of dungeons: they were very well designed! I had fun exploring them: they felt neither too big nor too small, and it was nice having puzzles that were more than just pushing blocks around or flipping switches. Encounters were also well placed (PS there are on-touch encounters in this game. XD), so I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of monsters creeping around, and they were easy enough to avoid if I didn’t feel like fighting.

So yeah – if you’re like me and love games that encourage a lot of exploration and have interesting puzzles, this is the game for you.

Writing:

This is, I think, the part where I have the most mixed feelings. On one hand, the story was interesting, the characters were endearing, the setting was fabulous and the overall atmosphere and tone was amazing. However, there are a few technical beefs I have with it, so I’m gonna start with those, and then just, like… gush everywhere. Because oh maaaan I need to gush about this game. OTL

Okay, so my issues with it. First of all, I sometimes felt that dialogue was a little awkward. I can’t really pin exactly why I feel this way – I think it might have to do with how modern some of the dialogue sounded (the “oh my God!”s, for one, were a little jarring), and sometimes things were worded a little differently than how I would have worded them, but that’s mostly just me being nitpicky and is overall not a big turn off for me, and ought not turn you off, either! It’s just large enough to warrant a mention.

And I’m sticking this next bit under a spoiler, as I can’t really see how I could talk about it without spoiling the entire last portion of the game. So, uhh… don’t look at this until you’ve played it.

I felt like the first part of the game had great pacing as far as the story went, but everything post-Western Tower suddenly fell flat to me. It felt like the climax of the story was there, in the tower, and everything after that was cleaning up loose ends. Not that I’d remove those parts of the story: on the contrary, I thought the quest for the ship and the dream dungeon were necessary parts of the story. However, if I’d have been writing this, I would have put those two dungeons before the Western Tower in order to keep building tension, rather than making them feel more like an anti-climax.

Another thing I would have liked to see were more references to the Original King. I felt as though he was tacked on, and that the demon inside of Snowe was the real bad guy here. I don’t think the connection between the King and his demon was strong enough: they felt like two separate entities rather than a collective force for Snowe and his friends to be working against. Don’t get me wrong, though; I love the Original King. He’s awesome, and the ever looming threat that he might catch up with you and kill everyone in Sabine gave the game this sense of urgency that made it hard to put down (turn off?).

Okay, now that that’s out of the way: time to gush.

Holy sweet mother of marble mountain lions, the characters in this game are fabulous. Seriously: each and every character is endearing in some way or another. I couldn’t really pick a single favourite (which is really good!), although I was particularly fond of Relenia and Hiante by the end (probably the whole “skeleton who loves fantasy novels” thing). Each character had a unique attitude and way of speaking (Snowe’s stutter was bloody adorable <3), which is surprisingly rare in RM games! They were all memorable, and no one felt out of place or shoehorned in, which was excellent. And when I say all the characters, I mean every single one: party member and NPCs alike. Everyone has a purpose, no one is there just to tell you that poison will hurt you or tonics are a good thing to buy. This game is full of personality!


ALSO NUMISMATIST. <3 Numismatist is probably one of my favourite characters. XD


I know I mentioned above that the pacing for the first 3/4s was excellent, but I feel the need to say it again: the pacing was excellent! On top of that, I rarely had a feeling of “oh this dungeon is totally filler to get me from point A to B”, which is kind of a staple thing in RPGs. I think the compactness of the game serves to keep the story nice and concise, which made for a far more enjoyable experience.

Finally, oh my goodness the setting. <3 It’s eerie, it’s beautiful, it’s enchanting… agh. Just go play this game. You’ll see what I mean.

Aesthetics:

I don’t really need to tell you how gorgeous this game is, but I’m gonna do so anyway, and also talk about a couple other things that may or may not been covered elsewhere!

First of all, back to how much I love these characters: another reason I love them is their character designs. Ronove has created some memorable and lovely looking characters with a unified feel. No one looks out of place (no, not even the skeleton or the demon), and everyone looks unique enough that you shouldn’t be reminded of characters from other games (except for Hiante, who apparently started off as an expy of a character from Master of the Wind…?). There’s nothing but custom sprite work here, making the game even more gorgeous and unique looking.


Did I mention the custom artwork system
ALSO SNOWE x ASTRA 4 LYFE


The mapping is wonderful; I mentioned it before in the exploration section, but maps are neither too big or too small – they’re just perfect. Ronove also makes excellent use of lighting/fog/weather effects, which are surprisingly difficult to pull off! I was an especially big fan of the Sepulcher maps; so beautiful. ;w;

The music choice is spot on. I don’t think I’d change a thing about the soundtrack (there were maybe 2-3 tracks I wasn’t fond of, but that’s just because I’ve heard them elsewhere and was broken out of my immersion for a sec); I was especially fond of the battle theme. It was super catchy, which is awesome when you’re grinding! Also the second track used in the village of Sabine -- auuughh I would dick around in my menu and do extra item shopping so I could hear it more. OTL

As far as sound choices go, I was a little disappointed that VX RTP sounds were used for battle. They’re just plain gross, but I do recognize that it’s kinda hard to find anything better out there! I’d suggest switching over to XP sound effects, or going with more Chrono Trigger/other SNES game sound rips.

I could literally go on for pages about how beautiful this game is, but this review is approaching 2000 words already and nope I need to wrap this up. OTL
IT’S GORGEOUS. It’s lovely. Pet it, touch it, smell it, kiss it, hug it, love it, take it out to dinner and buy it expensive champagne. It’s a 10/10 in the aesthetics department, and should be treated as such.

Conclusion:

Star Stealing Prince is an excellent game, and I recommend everyone grab it right now and play the shit out of it. I’ve gushed about it enough here, and if you don’t want to play it by now, then… man just like

Get out

Get out of here right now

I don’t like your face

I'm gonna give this a 5/5 despite my issues with the plot and my minor complaints about the RTP SEs and cheap incapacitating skills. This is a great game! It offers up a moderate to difficult challenge, depending on your play style, and should take around 9-10 hours to complete. I definitely recommend it; you'll enjoy every minute of it.

Posts

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Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
Thank you Emmy! For once a review that isn't dream crushing.

Perhaps when I release a new version to fix a few things, I'll poke at those cheap skills for a little bit. Since none of my testers particularly had a beef with them I thought they ended up being okay, but if a lot of people feel they are cheap and annoying, I can give it a bit more thought.

Though I am a bit saddened you felt the part after the Western Tower wasn't up to code. While I can't figure how I could make it work if I put the last two places before the Tower, I do see where you're coming from. Here's hoping if I make anything else I can figure out how not to shoot myself in the foot for an anti-climax.

Poor RTP SEs, makes things easy, but nobody likes them. :P
Yes yes YES. I was going to write a review for this myself but it'd pretty much just be exactly what's already written here.

I love Numismatist so much I can't decide whether I'd hug him or Snowe more tightly. Mind you, I suppose it'd have to be Snowe, what with Numismatist being corporeal and such.

No amount of keyboard smash can express how much I love this game. All of my creys.
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
Numismatist is a lady. :)
...that makes her cuter.

Are there rules for adopting ghost ladies?
I believe you have to be a ghost lady yourself.

Awwww, Emmych! I wanted to review this game! Though, it would be the exact same thing just not in your crazy unique lingo.
Craze
RMN's supervillain, and enjoying it; Octopus Prime
9961
Lyric
Yes yes YES. I was going to write a review for this myself but it'd pretty much just be exactly what's already written here.


Yeah, except I was going to give it 5/5 despite agreeing with the (minor) faults. The writing is a little weak in places (while the story is consistently great), but it's still a fabulous whole.

pretty much the best game on RMN so far? yeah, I'd go there
@Ronove: Yeah, the cheap skills didn't bother me enough to warrant a mention at first, as, like I said, efficient playing does get around it! (Example, for the enemies in the screenshot there: a combo of Flamma and the cyclone technique was usually enough to stop them from murdering everyone, but if I got lazy/ran out of MP, I'd might barely make it out of the fight alive.) I was doing some thinking about it as I was going back and playing around a bit for my review, and I realized it may be more of a problem than I initially thought...? I like the challenge that it offers, even if it is a little cheap sometimes, but I figure not everyone might be into that. OTL I dunno -- I don't think you should fiddle with it unless you get a bunch of complaints, because I personally don't see it as a problem. Mostly I mentioned it for the future players' sakes!

And definitely take my plot issues with a grain of salt -- I did power through your game in about 2 days, so I may have been a little SSP'd out! I'll go back and replay it eventually to see if I feel the same way, but overall, I defs agree with Craze - fabulous as a whole, and not enough to turn me off the game by any means. (I mean, I have more issues with the plots of some of my favourite games ever than I do with this one, so you still done good. XD)

@Lyric: is it wrong that I feel like Numismatist has a Moaning Myrtle style crush on Snowe and I totally hope that's canon
because oh my gosh Numismatist was so cuuuuute <3

@Craze: ...you know, you're right. My minor issues are not worth taking off a half star (and I'm totally thinking on it now and pffft I defs didn't give it a perfect score because I thought someone might try to punch me but YOU KNOW WHAT, I DON'T EVEN CAAAARE).
THIS GAME IS FUCKING AWESOME. FIVE OUTTA FIVE. >BI
Just watched both the good and the bad ending, and I completely agree with the review.
Even in the fact that I couldn't get any of the best weapons except for Astra's. XD
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
Well I know what to add to my wordpress now... *adds a page for final weapons*
author=Ronove
Well I know what to add to my wordpress now... *adds a page for final weapons*

HURRAH~! Time to go all completionist. >:3
Who would yell at you for giving THIS game a 5\5?
I hoped you would do that. :P

Also, I'm glad I got the good ending first by chance... if I watched the bad ending without knowing there was a good one, I wouldn't have been able to be happy for a while. :(
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
http://starstealingprince.wordpress.com/guides/final-weapons/

^ yay for final weapons!

@Cosser: yeah the bad ending is like really depressing. There isn't much chance to be had for the good ending however when Astra straight up tells you to go poke her demon. A few of my testers got the bad ending first because it wasn't clear as it was now and I felt bad so I put another blatant hint there.
author=Ronove
Astra straight up tells you to go poke her demon.
*snort*

author=emmych
@Lyric: is it wrong that I feel like Numismatist has a Moaning Myrtle style crush on Snowe and I totally hope that's canon
because oh my gosh Numismatist was so cuuuuute <3
There is no way that could be wrong. Ever. D'awww Numi ;~;
author=Lyric
author=Ronove
Astra straight up tells you to go poke her demon.
*snort*

I didn't know Astra was a yaoi fangirl~ >w>
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
author=emmych
author=Lyric
author=Ronove
Astra straight up tells you to go poke her demon.
*snort*
I didn't know Astra was a yaoi fangirl~ >w>



Conversation that happens once you wake up from optional dungeon:
Astra: "So, what were you two doing?"
Erio: "It's not what just went through your head."

I thought of all people you would have gotten that Emmy.
author=Ronove
author=emmych
author=Lyric
author=Ronove
Astra straight up tells you to go poke her demon.
*snort*
I didn't know Astra was a yaoi fangirl~ >w>

Conversation that happens once you wake up from optional dungeon:
Astra: "So, what were you two doing?"
Erio: "It's not what just went through your head."

I thought of all people you would have gotten that Emmy.

I definitely burst out laughing at that part, because oh man yup I got it OTL
Oh damn ... I have all the final weapons and the happier ending (I think so) in the first play through so I never thought of going back for another possible ending. The bad ending would be not completing the Dream's dungeon right? Because I think I still have a savefile before that point 'v'
Ronove
More like Misao Stealing Prince
1497
@Valkryz: yeah, instead of doing the dream dungeon, talk to Richard and go to sleep.
I wish somebody who watched the bad ending would have commented on how creepy it was, so I wouldnt watch it and ruin the good end :<
depressing? the ending was downright scary D: it's not implausible or illogical, but it was so twisted D: dang ...
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