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Existential Aphids

  • kumada
  • 08/05/2018 07:23 PM
  • 558 views
Mownt: For Peace is an indie gem. It has quite a bit in common with the developer's other title, Three Ghostly Roses, from its art style to its heavy philosophical undertones to its highly deterministic, small-numbers battle system, but ultimately Mownt walks its own path. All eight of them.

Mownt is a game in the style of Groundhog Day or Day After Tomorrow. You control a small, telepathic insect and guide it through multiple repeat lifetimes. Each time you pilot the Mownt to a bad end, it learns from the trauma and grows a little bit stronger in its next lifetime.

There's a message behind all of this, and it's a fairly nice one, but where Mownt really shines is in its world-building and storytelling. Every setting detail in Mownt feels weird-but-familiar. In a land where telepathic aphids spit syrup on armies of invading ant-men under the shadow of psychically corrosive wasps, all the character interactions feel like they could take place in this world, if only the names and species were changed.

Now, Mownt's story is fairly heavy, and I was glad that there was regular combat to space it out, but the combat is as close to a stumbling point as Mownt has. Unlike Three Ghostly Roses, Mownt's combat feels a little ponderous. You have a standard attack, a growing library of specials that cost HP, a no-cost option to heal, and a changeable library of summons that cost points you can only recover by exploring new parts of the screen. Against this, the enemy fields...well, a bunch of HP-sponge mooks, most of the time. I think I fought an enemy that I couldn't outpace by just mashing heal *once*, and that took a lot of the tension out of combat. I cared about the fights because I was invested in the story, but I didn't ever feel like I might lose.

Or maybe I lost every time. None of Mownt's ends are happy, and this prompts some excellent meta-fiction, but Mownt isn't a game to play when you don't want to feel at least a little sad and trapped.

Overall, Mownt is a solid title. Given the time pressure it was made under, the custom artwork, lovely soundtrack, simple-but-compelling writing, and good game design are kind of amazing, as is the fact that the game feels very complete.

RPGs are usually extremely easy to add just one more dungeon, or boss rush, or optional arena to, but Mownt doesn't need any of these. It's a complete statement, and it's a good one.

Posts

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zDS
Besr Richard Slayer
5044
Thanks for the much kind words! I'm very glad you enjoyed the game.

I agree about the combat. That was definitely the weakest part. It had good ideas but ultimately I was more focused on telling an interesting story and time more or less ran out to balance the combat further haha.
The story was great, and the combat still felt pretty good.

Part of what's tough about making the mechanics for one character rpgs, I think, is that having a single character limits the actions a player can take in a turn. It makes game balance against multiple enemies kind of weird and puts an emphasis on AoE attacks.

I think if you could program in a couple of actions for your Mownt before ending your turn, combat could get a little more interesting.

But in any case, I'm eagerly looking forward to whatever gets developed next.
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