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A nice mazy dungeon crawler, mazes are designed better than I thought.

  • boos405
  • 08/28/2018 05:28 PM
  • 219 views
Maze Of Heroes is a fun little short RPG game made in VX. I think it's quite good overall, and I had fun with this game, so I'm just going to go over it quickly and then suggest ideas on what could improve the game further.

Story & Characters

Three characters known as Alrick, Sandra and Mitchel appear in the Maze Of Heroes. Right at the start we're told Alrick just lost to Piranos and it seems anyone who loses to him appear in here. They all decided they want to get out of the maze and defeat Piranos so they work together. Straight after there introduction your introduced to Nicholus, who for the most part of the game sells them items. I don't see it as much of a spoiler to add he has a sister called Alexis who you meet a few dungeons later and she will sell you weapons and equipment.

All these characters have motives and depth for being in the maze and having a grudge against Piranos which is slowly revealed to you along the way. You also get introduced to a sixth characters who becomes a fourth party member eventually.

Without spoiling anything, I think mostly it was quite a good story for a dungeon crawler. It didn't play out as a bad excuse plot but didn't put too much attention on the story over gameplay either, which is usually exactly what you'd like in a RPG Maker Dungeon Crawler.

Everything gets resolved in the end and I think the ending hints on sequel, but I'm not certain. Otherwise it ends with the beginning of a new character arc for two of the characters, which don't develop in this game, but since everything else is resolved that's fine to me.

I enjoyed the scenes that were there and the plot, I think both the plot and dialogue is good as it is but I do believe it is possible to improve the dialogue even further if your a really good writer or have one on the team.

I just felt though, Piranos, the main villain, could've done with more depth and motive to him. He seems to be the weakest character in the game as it is at the moment, but otherwise every characters does have a good motive in this game.

Gameplay

This was really good, especially for an RPG Maker VX game. It used some basic skills but differed each party member equally.

Both characters that sell you items and equipment upgrade on their stock as you go through the mazes, so that is good game design too, and I felt that really made the first 80% of the game really fun. Untill near the end when I had a lot of gold without anything to spend it on.

You get a good amount of skills per dungeon, as I just said good increase in stock for items and equipment and there is reason to replay and backtrack through some of the dungeons to defeat optional bosses that give you either an ok or a really good reward, depending which ones. A certain state defending item I think is the best reward you can get. The other tome reward I felt was ok, but not as good in combat as I'd have liked it to be.

Nearly everything with the mechanics is still simple enough and quite basic here. Though there is a bit of a twist from basic weapons, most increase two stats instead of one each and the one that increases just attack increase it by a good amount. The weapons and there stats are thought carefully with each character and make good sense for those characters.

I did feel however that the final boss was rather easy and a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the game. I also felt the final dungeon before this boss could've had a few more treasure chests and been more maze-like like the other dungeons. I get the developer wanted to make it more different, and that I thought was good, but I think it'd been good to be similar to the other mazes while still having those differences.

And I had about 13830 gold left, with no real need to use it. I'd add in a few new items and equipment into the game before the last dungeon, or perhaps an optional dungeon that require spending the gold to unlock it, basically just something is needed here to make it worth spending that gold somehow. Anything else the developer can think of may do the trick as well.

Another two fun game mechanics in the game are crystals and keys. You can gain and then give crystals to goblins to unlock small new areas in dungeons and you can gain keys to open up otherwise lockable blue chests. I think both of these designs were great, as it added to the game without making it over complex.

The mapping design also surprised me, I thought it was good. I'm glad WerePanda83, the developer, did more to each maze then just make them the random generator button type of maze, as it really adds to the gaming experience.

Mitchel also is a special character that doesn't gain equipment on level up but gains new skills and more AP (The MP in the game) by finding metal chests (or metal boxes as they're called in the game) and I thought that was a really fun idea.

There are a few creative ideas and surprises that turns the game around a little, most of them I've no mentioned, and these ideas help prevent each area just being repetitive and the same as the previous one.

I do feel each maze differs enough from the other, I don't know how they do as in many ways they are similar, but yeah that feeling is there and that's great.

There are also optional chests to find in each maze, which I think are worth finding, they give a good amount of extra item that help out in battle and some contain rarer equipment.

Also with the mazes, they're feel quite short while still having enough room for exploring them all over. I felt this design was perfect for them as you wouldn't want a maze to be too long and you do want to be able to gain rewards by exploring all of it, all of them felt this way as well except the last one.

So with all that in a maze, it's fun trying to explore all of it, making sure you collect all the metal chests and opened all the chests before proceeding to the next area. Then remember as well about the optional bosses that are in the maze to fight them later, as there too overpowered to begin with, but not later.

There are also no random encounters in this game, and I like that a lot, but blue flames that when you touch enter a battle. If your patient enough, it becomes easy to avoid most of them and they move quite slowly, so as long as you don't mind waiting a few seconds per enemy moving, you can avoid them with the way the maps are designed and that's great.

Also grinding isn't really required in the game, getting into about 3-4 battles per dungeon is enough to beat the boss of the same dungeon.

There was one regular enemy in the swamp dungeons, I think it was four Red Bones, a type of skeleton battler, and that was overpowered when using Air Slash which they used often. So I got game over a few times there with little to nothing I could do. I just had to try and avoid them and hope they didn't keep using Air Slash if I faced them in battle. This could do with work, but it's the only time the game felt over unbalanced to me.

Some bosses are easier than others, but they're mostly fun.

I did however feel most of Mitchel skills, Sandra skills and the fourth party member skills, became less useful, some useless, when they learned there next skill. So I mostly used the same next powerful skill in the next fight. With a exception on Mitchel where at the end of the game he has two powerful skills that are worth switching between.

Sandra, as well, I'd sometime switch between her powerful skill and hear healing abilities. I did think it was pretty cool giving the main healer some combat skills to use too, and yes the way it plays out in this game, she can mix the two together quite well.

There still was some strategy in every fight, because you'd have to use healing skills quite often and switch between them and the combat skills but it could've been improved upon.

More work could've been done here to try and make weaker skills still useful in battle, and while you don't want to overcomplicate it, I think some more skills to switch between would've been great. This, and the final boss, is the biggest reasons why the score of this review was lowered.

I would not normally rate a game with mashing the same skills with a high score, games like this usually can become quite tedious, but here it's a little more than mashing same skills and if healing needed to be used it requires careful thought, for that reason and the reasons that I enjoyed exploring each maze and stocking up on items and new equipment and other bits, overall I still found myself enjoying this game quite a bit, so it will get a score above average from me.

Mapping & Graphics

It uses the default VX RTP entirely, I think. Maps are ok from a visual point of view but since they're mazes and made for game design purposes I wouldn't say anything is very pretty, though I think WerePanda83 did a good job with what he could do as there is a good amount of detail in each maze but if there was a way to make them more pretty without taking away the game design purposes it would've been a extra plus for sure.

And I want to comment on the animations in the game. I think they were all custom and liked them. I thought WerePanda83 did a good job making them. My favorite was the all enemies rock animation and all enemies wind animation.

They still use the default RTP but it does differ from every other default animation that some players would otherwise be use to seeing so often.

Also, every time you beat a maze your main hub area updates and shows the next maze visually on the screen. I liked how this was done and thought it was nicely handled. Pretty neat in my opinion.

Audio/Music

All the VX RTP I think, but I did like the use of them. I thought they were used well at the right points in the right places.

Originality

As mentioned in the gameplay section, I'd say there some well used original mechanic ideas here. There's two nice twists to the story ending too, you learn about them near the end of the game and they get resolved right at the end, and while it's a simple plot to think up I haven't seen it used in this exact way in any RPG Maker game so far.

Conclusion

So I'm going to finish off with my views on how the game could improve and then let you know who I recommend play this game.

Improvement ideas.

1. Give Piranos more depth and motive, as the main villain I really feel he could do with it.
2. Add some treasure chests to the current final dungeon. It's a bit bland with only the one metal chest. If possible, make it more maze-like like the other dungeons, still keeping it short but worth exploring but do keep in your ideas from it at the same time.
3. Make the final boss more challenging.
4. Perhaps add more attack and skill patterns to enemies and balance those with the character skills to make differ a little more and remove the use the most powerful skill over and over feel to the game.
5. Make weaker skills still useful later in the game. Perhaps they can have there own element that works better against certain enemies later in the game, or a chance to inflict certain states. Buffs and debuffs on may do the trick.
6. Make more use for the gold you end up with near the end of the game, somehow. I'd advice one of the suggestions I gave but if you think you have a better one that's worth trying too.
7. If it were possible, visually making the mazes more appealing without taking away the good game design here would be good.
8. Let the player gain more crystals and keys to open the rest of the locked chests and get through the areas goblins are guarding, I really would've loved to backtrack all the mazes with this in mind later, instead of just a few of them and then run out of crystals and keys. I also didn't know in advance which chests and areas were the best and saving in multiple files then checking a couple made me realize you definitely could miss out on a good weapon!
9. Even though each maze differed enough, perhaps it would've been nice to have a few mazes with different structure patterns, ones with different tiles creating each corner for instance. That sort of thing.

I think that's it then, if I think of anything else later I'll add it.

Yes, I would recommend giving this game a go if you like dungeon crawlers, not sure if it will appeal to every player as they're more like mini short mazes than regular dungeons in a typical dungeon crawler, but you lose nothing by trying it. It is quite short and can be beaten in a little more than 2 hour and a half for certain, including backtracking and all the optional content to the extent you can explore it. Less time if you don't do the optinal stuff, or fight less enemy encounters than I did.

You may enjoy it as much as I did, more so, or possibly less so, but I think you'd definitely admire some of the game mechanic design ideas WerePanda83 had, and enjoy WerePanda83 attempts at developing the characters, as he/she made sure they all have motives for what they do.

For me, I'd rate it slightly above average, 3.5 instead of 3, as that's the exact amount I enjoyed the story/plot/characters, exploring the mazes and fighting enemies/bosses overall.

Even though this score is quite good, if the improvements were done I would've highered the score for sure.

Posts

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Thank you for playing my game. It always makes me feel so good when someone enjoys a game I worked on.

I agree with you about the character development. I could have fleshed out Piranos. I'm considering remaking the game from the ground up in MV. If I do I will take everything you said to heart cause you made a lot of valid points.

Unfortunatey, towards the end I got in a hurry to finish the game and it shows. Thus, the really crappy final boss fight and dungeon.

I, presently, am working on a couple projects, but I really wanna come back to this story and give it a 'proper' ending.

Again, thanks for playing and leaving a review.
That's alright, I had a lot of fun with the mechanics of it. If you do decide to remake the game then giving Piranos a better motive is definitely one thing I recommend you do.

Best of luck with whatever future projects you end up deciding to do! I look forward to reading about them sometime on here. :)
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