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A Game about A Cunning Plan

My playtime: 24:01:06 (last save, before the final scene)

Rave Heart is a turn-based RPG Maker game that offers up to 6 playable party members and a lot of side quests.

The game mostly uses customized assets with some default ones mixed in. I recognized some assets from this pack although I couldn't seem to recall the rest. The maps are also well done except for some occasions where an NPC blocks the way to the exit.

Dungeons tend to be short with either a straight forward path or a huge, one screen map with a lot of branching paths that lead to the same place. To be honest, I wasn't fond of the latter one since it feels more of a maze rather than an actual dungeon. The towns, on the other hand, looks beautiful and unique from each other.

Each town has a unique feel to it.

The game sets in a sci-fi setting, where traveling between planets is as easy as driving to another city. The worldbuilding somehow reminds me of Septerra Core (my review), introducing different sectors where each sector has different cultures and appearances. This information might be a lot to take in at first, but the game never forces you to understand them in one go. All of the detailed information is available in some machines that are spread throughout the beginning areas - it was easy to revisit this information whenever I needed to.

Cutscenes are abundant throughout the game - you'll mostly spend your time watching the cutscenes rather than clearing the dungeons. Despite the static portraits, characters are portrayed well with their unique way of talking. The conversation between characters always gives a smile to my face, especially the side stories that are unlocked at the latter half of the game. Although the ending is wrapped up nicely, some unanswered questions and the mysterious part in the ending can serve as material for the sequel.

The Game
Tutorials are provided at the beginning of the game and the game does a clever job in combining the tutorial with the main story. The game also very helpful to its players by providing arrows to denote important objects such as interactable objects, chests, and even quest directions. However, the quest directions are not available at some point, especially near the end of the game. It might be happening since the destination is on a different planet, but this limitation might leave you confused as to where to go next as a result.

Colored arrows help to find important items quickly.

Party Members
You'll have up to 6 party members in your party, each with different roles. It might take some time to understand their roles, especially the ones that have several unique skills in their arsenal. Finding what each character is best at and the proper strategy to defeat enemies in battle are what make the game fun, although the lack of MP regen skills might hinder you from trying too much.

The game has a unique weakness and resistance system which can be seen by how the enemies look like. Robot-like enemies are categorized into Tech types, which are weak to Physical types that are made of flesh. In response, Physical types are weak to Ether types, which are made of spiritual beings. The Ether types are weak to the Tech types, turning it into a full circle of weakness and resistance. It wasn't hard to remember this mechanic and surprisingly, it's easier to find enemy's element this way compared to the usual fire - water - grass mechanic.

Normal encounters will mostly provide you with one enemy of each type. They aren't hard to beat although you must be careful with their damage - they still can kill your party members if you aren't careful. Items are also quite costly at the beginning of the game and the lack of MP regen skills makes it hard to spam your attacking skills. Luckily, you'll get fully healed after each level up and your party members can level up quickly.

Normal encounters tend to appear in bulk.

Bosses tend to spawn with normal enemies. This makes all strategies to be similar with a slight difference based on what the boss does. Strangely, I found the boss in the early game to be one of the most difficult bosses in the game since there wasn't any way to heal my party except by using items. The game tends to be not very clear that you're going to fight a boss though - it will give some sort of precaution by placing a healing orb before the boss room at first, but the said orb seems to be nowhere to be found as you progress the game.

Side Quests
If you are the type that hates story-heavy games, the game surprisingly has a lot of side quests that you can finish. The side quests expand the exploration area by a huge margin, making it seem like you're only touching a small portion of the in-game universe with the main story. Most of these are just fetch quests, although they tend to come with optional boss fights. It feels like I'm playing a different game with a different focus, especially since most side quests are unlocked at the same time.

Length and Difficulty
The in-game clock states that I finished the game in ~24h. A great portion of my playtime was spent on finishing side quests although there were some occasions where I had to reload my save several times to finish some boss battles in the early game. The difficulty isn't hard once you have a full party and understand their role.

Some texts are hard to read if they are written in italic. The cutscene when you travel to other planets also takes too long to finish.

- A lot of side quests that lead to boss fights
- Charming side stories for some characters
- Quest direction is denoted by arrow marks

- No quest log
- Quest direction sometimes doesn't show up

Final Rating: 4/5
The developer did a good job with the worldbuilding - it looks unique and doesn't feel overwhelming with the amount of information you have to take in. Although the main game put the story as its focus, somehow I enjoyed the side stories more, mainly because it focuses more on the character interactions and funny atmosphere instead of the serious and bland tone. Side quests also provide a different feeling to the game; it's as if the developer tries to find which style works the best for him. It's not a bad thing though - I enjoyed them both, and I'm sure you also will if you like RPG Maker games.

Typo: (note that there are also some dialogues that lacks dot after the end of the sentences, but I didn't cover it here)
- After arriving to City-Lab for the first time: "May the Universe grant you its' favor, Your Highness!" should be "May the universe grant you its favor, Your Highness!"
- When Doctor Skylark is explaining Test C: "While in Astral state, we want you to peak over the corner of the Cyber-zone and tell us what you see." should be "While in Astral state, we want you to peek over the corner of the Cyber-zone and tell us what you see."
- When talking to the Kunian Woman in the house that you first see in Haden Village: "I would like to have some peace and quite, please. *meow*" should be "I would like to have some peace and quiet, please. *meow*"
- When talking to the Kunian Teen near the green orb: "No wonder why you guys don't need no guards." should be "No wonder why you guys don't need guards." (the current sentence implies that they need guard. Maybe you can make it "any guards" if needed? I'm not sure which one is better tbh, grammar-wise)
- When interacting with the ritual book on Crasper Sewer for the second time: "An ritual book that was left open." should be "A ritual book that was left open."
- When interacting with the shopping center at Rave Palace Ground Lobby: "Just deposite your AION to the machine and your items shall be delivered." should be "Just deposit your AION to the machine and your items shall be delivered."
- When talking to Sola on ATLAS before going to the Cosmic Cube: "And all you can think about are Applie pies?" should be "And all you can think about are Apple pies?"

- If you change your system resolution when playing the game, the screen will freeze.

- Allow changing screen resolution to play the game in windowed
- After you meet Tessa as Chad in front of the bar, there is no direction where to go next. Maybe you need to give some hint that you need to go to the apartments.


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Wow! Thank you so much for this wonderful detailed review, aquatorrent! <3 ^_^ I really appreciate it a lot!! :D I am so happy you enjoyed the game and its side-content! It means a lot!! :D

And yes, thank you so much also for finding those typos and issues I can fix!! But sadly, regarding the screen resolution, it is quite hard to do so in VXace without some coding knowledge. T_T And I can only get it up to 640x480 for now. :(

I will also take your suggestions in mind! :D

Once again, thank you so much aquatorrent for both this review and the review you left on my game's steam page!! I appreciate it a lot! :D <3 Much love!!
You're welcome! I thought the change resolution thing was from a plugin or something since i noticed it to be available in some vx games. Guess i was wrong. It's not a problem though, i can always change my screen resolution whenever i am playing the game.

Thanks for making the game too. You did a great job with it.
Yes, aquatorrent, there is indeed a script for it! ^^ Sadly, I remember it being incompatible with many of the scripts used for the game. x(( :(

But yes! I am just so happy that you enjoyed the game, aquatorrent! Thanks so much for your kind words! It means a lot! :D <3 ^_^ Your review inspires me to continue to improve with my game deving!! <3
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