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Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Game

Clawing your way back up from catastrophe and thriving on the meager remnants of a "World of Ruin" has always been a setting that's appealed to me. I like the idea of a world that can't be saved and you're just trying to scratch by until you can reach some sort of personal goal. I've made games pretty exclusively around this premise and I feel myself drawn to games that do likewise. The problem with "World of Ruin", however, is that it doesn't deliver on this one bit.

You're simply told that the world is destroyed, yet humanity shows no signs of slowing down. There's a grave to the fallen hero but the mayor of a bustling city alone on an island seems rather chipper about the appearance of four new heroes to take their place. Not chipper enough to grant you any means to start off on your quest to destroy the Big Bad Evil Guy, granted, but chipper all the same. You start off naked with no gold and no items and the first thing you're told to do is to eradicate some monsters from a cave to the north. Fine, sure, whatever, but at least it's a starting point if not a very inspired one.

Dungeons (like their town counterparts) are essentially menus in this game. You walk "into" a cave and told there's enemies before you're thrust into battle. The first time you fight this first dungeon (intended for Level 1 players), the enemies (two bats) are damage sponges compared to the stats you have. After slowly chipping away at them, you're given an even bigger obstacle to surmount: an orc. He attacks twice and very hard compared to the bats to make up for the fact that there's only one of him. Use your skills and perhaps throw out a heal (if you've chosen such a class) and he should fall eventually.

Success! You get 200 gold (100 each time you complete the dungeon and a one time bonus for saving the city) which is just enough to buy two potions from the starting shop. Luckily the inns are free, but you should be given so much more for your effort (at least enough to deck out your characters with some starting equipment). You're given a ship which you can use to access the "main continent" to the east, but enemies there are designed for Level 4 characters at least and you've just hit Level 2. What this means is that you'll have to go back to the starting dungeon and fight the same two bats and one orc over and over again to make up the difference. Bare bones RPG fare that allows you to eventually set yourself up with starting equipment which should've been given at the start or at least earned after the first "quest".

Anyway, it's extremely easy to lose interest once you realize that the rest of the game is going to be just this over and over again with higher numbers and more resilient enemies. I clocked in at 10 minutes, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it was enough to grind my party up to Level 5 with starting gear (no items, however). It's supposedly a 3 hour game, but it all takes place in roughly the same manner the whole time, so I feel confident in my 10 minutes being enough to judge the quality of the rest of the game.

The one map that the game has is an overworld with very average to poor usage of the tileset. The music is certainly nothing to write home about and is likely just ripped from someplace. It's truly just a game for the sake of being a game. The highlight of this project is likely its dialogue which is competently written.


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There's a level 2 dungeon just east of the second town, and level 3 dungeon east of that. There's little reason to repeat dungeons.

What of madman do you really think I am?

That said, I don't really take this review too personally. The game was just made for a challenge.
I think you're being quite unfair on the gameplay section of this review. If I understAND right, you've written this based on a disappointment that the game wasn't what you had hoped for and expected.

Still, to me it doesn't seem fair to review the gameplay based on that. The battle mechanics in my opinion are quite fun for the simple type of game it is, and, as you've been told already, there is a level 2 and a level 3 dungeon for you out there. So your statement on backtracking is actually incorrect.

With the latest version, I did have to do a bit of grinding later in the game, a little, but otherwise you can just go to the next dungeon your meant to and take care of the enemies. They do act differently and replaying the game a second and even third time to test out different skills with different class combinations can be fun too, if and when you have the time for that.

You may be right that the item cost rates are too high, as I didn't test these outs untill near the end of the game with all three of my playthroughs, but I did focus on stocking up with upgraded equipment and that seemed a good reasonable price to me.

I suppose the objective and features of this game and how it plays out should be stated clearer on the front page, and it makes sense you were disappointed with the story from that perspective, and I agree the description page is vague in that respect, yet it does say the game was made for a one map challenge on the same page too, so I'm still not entirely sure what you were expecting.

There are other games on this site just like this one though, where you just fight encounters and gain items and/or equipment and that's it. If this is what you mean by your statement on jugding the quality of the game, I could also say in any other RPG Maker game going from and to Town > Field > Dungeon > Town > Field > Dungeon can be judged in 10 minutes that the rest of the game will be the same quality too, just like you said here.

It's not spelt out extremely obviously where you should go next, and I had a bit of confusion to check different locations a little myself, but I wouldn't say it's that difficult to figure out either, and for the most part I was able to find those next dungeons with ease. Just required a bit of checking different areas, and in any game that involves exploring a world map you usually have this problem at a more complex scale then it was in this game. Granted though, less confusion would've been good but here it is not game breaking to me the way it's been designed.

Very unfair, with some incorrections, but understandable, review in my opinion.
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
I start off on one small island, fight, don't get anywhere near enough money to really do anything with it. Sail to the next island and the first two dungeons I find are a level 4 and a level 5. I'm sorry, but if you wanted to let the player know that there's not a difficulty spike for the sake of a spike, you need to design your game in a way that makes the most amount of sense with as little effort as possible. I'm not going to explore the entirety of a world map just because there's an easier place of access on the far side from where I started. If I see that the first dungeon that's thrown in my face is a level 5, I'm going to anticipate that this is likely my intended level (the downright ridiculous prices of equipment and items compared to what I earn for repeated content solidifies this).

This was the Abyssal Caverns or somesuch which is a level 5 dungeon. I come to this island from the west. I see this before I see the town. Logic dictates I should try and go here first. I don't know if the game designer is experienced enough to know how game design works, but I anticipate the worst based on what I've already played. The bats at level 1 are damage sponges and the orc is a dual-attacking, heavy-hitting mess. Nothing of this shows effort. After this I went south and found a level 4 dungeon. Okay, so I've found two areas now far above my pay grade. What should I expect?

My experience with this game was literally that, and when I jumped back to the main page and it said that the game is roughly 3 hours, I figured that meant an extreme emphasis on grinding. I didn't stick around.

yet it does say the game was made for a one map challenge on the same page too so I'm still not entirely sure what you were expecting.

I have no idea why this should matter, but I do know from personal experience that you can do an awful lot with "one map" in a program like RPG Maker VX Ace. Heck, you could probably make a feature length game in "one map" (500x500; towns and all) with such a program.

Just to illustrate my point, I took the world map of my 2-3 hour game and extended its borders as far as I could.

Look at how much extra space you've got to play with. If you designed your stuff intelligently, you could squeeze an awful lot in there and nobody would be any the wiser. I could've done so much better of a job with this world map and added more stuff, but this is an old project.
My experience with this game was literally that, and when I jumped back to the main page and it said that the game is roughly 3 hours, I figured that meant an extreme emphasis on grinding. I didn't stick around.

I mean, you could have just asked.
But instead, you went to spend more time writing a review than for a game than you spent playing it, and probably nearly twice that time writing this single post.

But hey, I'm not against you claiming the placements of the gauntlets as flawed designed. My initial intention was to have a higher-level dungeon that sticks in the players mind, because they eventually loop around the main content and reach the southern continent by the time they return to it. Kind of like Super Metroid, where you see Ridley's Liar before you can travel through the lava to get to it.

It's entirely a fault on my behalf that I failed to guide you in the correct direction after that.

However, after 200 downloads between multiple sites, this is the first time someone openly complained about it. Soooo... I'll just keep it in mind for future games.
I could've done so much better of a job with this world map and added more stuff, but this is an old project.

I admit I was thinking of VX Ace/MV only here, but sure. I always would assume a person using the same tileset, which would be limited in those two engines, would only do so much with it. As I think it's more rare that a people would edit the tileset to their liking first rather than stick with what they have.

Still, I guess they can mash together tiles by default, or edit a single tileset to contain a few indoor and outdoor tiles and objects on top of the world map. Since VX accomplished that, I guess then to a good extent this is very possible.

The bats at level 1 are damage sponges and the orc is a dual-attacking, heavy-hitting mess. Nothing of this shows effort.

I don't understand your problem with an orc that deals massive damage though? To me that just means against that enemy, I should focus on offensive, def buffs, healings, or else if otherwise possible take him down as quick as possible? So it does have some strategy to it the way I see it.

All other enemies that I paid attention to have 1 custom skill as well as a physical attack or magic attack, and the bosses differ from one another a lot with there custom skill/skills.

There not all like this, in some fights using magic reflect on certain turns has advantages for example. Healing though is usually required a lot. You do gain new skills with the Warrior, Sorcerer, Dancer and Engineer that all become useful.

Balance to me mostly works well if you choose one of those four classes each with that setup. Possible you were right about the gold rate on items, I can't comment there, but otherwise the rest is well done.

There are a couple of states and a lot of buffs and debuffs used in the game too. I guess on the enemies there is a lot of attacks and magic attacks that can feel repetitive, and you're saying it'd been good to differentiate them further, fair point, I do agree even more skills should've been added. Still with all of this going on it's not completely lacking with no effort either, I couldn't say that about this game, no way.
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