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Urban fantasy meets High fantasy (Episode 1)

First Impressions

A slick opening presents us with a cityscape in the rain and a semi interactive introductory sequence to introduce the party. There's a bit of a glitch in the very first dialogue with Simmons where both character busts are on the same side of the screen.

Looking over our party, we have:
Ryder, a SpecOps soldier
Simmons, a CIA Agent
O'Hara, a combat Medic
Watanabe, a Scientist

Each of them have flavourful skills, like "spray and pray", "lifesaver".
Some interesting things right away are the item consuming skills, those powerful looking gun skills consume bullets and some of the medic skills use adrenaline shots.
The scientist is set up as a blue mage type, with empty "sorcery" and "enemy skill" categories as well as "science".

Step through the portal, see the marines' last stand, and onward into a fantasy dungeon.

Writing

The writing is enjoyable and the characters have different personalities which show through. There are lots of military references which I didn't get, but I don't need to - they work fine as colour. Unfortunately this is let down by formatting errors like text running off the end of text windows.
There are nice touches like having the otherworlders speak in unintelligable runes when translation assistance is not present, and a scientific explanation of save points.

Game Mechanics

With limited ammunition and supplies, you'll have tough choices. If Ryder lets rip, you can win most combats quickly. But that burns through ammunition fast. Stick to "short controlled bursts" (his Attack command), and ammunition lasts a lot longer.
Simmons can be a backup fighter / thief with the default submachine gun, or using his pistol for status effects and less damage.

I think the game does a good job of tempting the player to use up scarce resources.

The Scientist works well, though the high cost of the analyze skill is a difficulty early on. I wasn't sure about the sorcery / enemy skill split, which is essentially about the silence status. I think the game could benefit from a Bestiary script or some way to track which enemies have been analyzed previously.

Combat has enough depth to be intrinsically fun without overwhelming complexity.

The only obnoxious enemy design was the wisp (which has both high evade and magic reflect). While automatic weapons make short work of them (due to having 3-5 attack rolls per attack), I had a couple of long fights of constant missing on the way back.

Maps

You'll spend 90% of your time in an edit of the "tower of the void" sample maps. The open pits for jumping down levels are new, as is the poison lake at the bottom.
Encounters are on-map events, rather than random steps. However most of these reset when leaving a map and coming back (which you will do a lot due to the layout requiring staircase traversal).

Graphics & Sound

There's an intentional clash of styles between the semi realistic proportions of the Earth characters and the chibi RTP style of the fantasy world characters. I like the choice of resources for the Earth characters and the dragons.
Music is well chosen for the most part, at least some of it comes from other soundtracks but fits the game.

Conclusion

Episode 1 is self contained and could be considered a complete game with around 2 hours of gameplay. It's enjoyable, well written and does some interesting things with mechanics.

A polishing pass, to go through and check all the text boxes and item/skill descriptions to fix overflows would be a good idea before adding the next episode.

I have scored this based on the current state, as a completed episode is more than a demo.

Posts

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Thanks so much for this review! I agree with pretty much everything you had to say (I also appreciated the Aliens reference, there's one in the game itself too, in memory of the late great Bill Paxton).

There's a bit of a glitch in the very first dialogue with Simmons where both character busts are on the same side of the screen.


That's actually working as intended. I put the busts on the same side of the screen facing the same direction because the characters are sitting together on a bench, facing the same way (if that makes sense). Then when Ryder gets up and takes several steps screen-right and turns around, his bust moves to the right side of the screen facing left. Idk. It made sense to me.

Unfortunately this is let down by formatting errors like text running off the end of text windows.


I didn't see these during my last run of testing...considering that screen resolution and font should be constants I wonder if maybe this has anything to do with the fact that I have a ridiculously wide monitor (it was originally a television but I've press-ganged it into service as a monitor for my desktop beast). Could that be it?

Anyway, thank you again for the feedback, very appreciated, and I'm glad you mostly ignored your time down the Staircase.
Ah I see, I thought the same side of the screen was copied from the next scene where those two are on the left and the other two are on the right.

I was running the game in a window, and my monitor is 1920x1080 same as a television. Perhaps there is a missing font that you have installed as a system font?
The text box overruns were frequent and the main reason I gave this a 3.5 instead of a 4. I'll send you some screenshots in a private message to avoid spoilers
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