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Fiora Review -KrimsonKatt

Fiora Review -KrimsonKatt

Fiora is an interesting game. For one, it’s mercifully short, so it can be finished in less than 30 minutes. It also uses a lot of custom assets, which I can appreciate. However, while the custom assets are nice to look at and very creative, the game heavily falters when it comes to it’s gameplay and storytelling.

Story
The story is very strange, as surprisingly, the majority of the story is found on the game page itself. In my opinion isn’t a good way to tell a story. The story should be presented in the game itself, not in a separate document. Besides that nitpick, the story doesn’t really do much.

Characters really have no reason to exist. Though the after credits text from the developers claim that the story is about “relationships between different people” and “finding one’s true self,” in reality various characters (there are only three) don’t really have any personality, backstory, connections, or any reason to be there. (except for one, but I’ll get to that soon enough)

The little story that is there presents a mysterious camel like creature who seems to not have a name, or any personality. It lives on a desert island that used to have an oasis, but it has now all dried up and shadow creatures haunt the sands.

It’s default “identity” as the game puts it is of the “broken” who has terribly low stats. There is also the “beast” identity and the “man” identity. Beast has high STR, and average stats in everything but defence, which is horrid. Man has more balanced stats, but excels in none of them.

After going to the spring to get water, the nameless camel meets a strange penguin/fish like creature who gives you the ability to heal. They seems to know each other, but this character is never seen or mentioned again for the rest of the game. Every night, you fight a mysterious being in a void of blackness. You cannot see it or even your own character. It’s just blackness and menus.

On the third day, you meet a strange man who says he can be anything and says currently his name is Finn. Finn offers to take the nameless camel away to explore the world, and depending on which identity you have, you get different responses.

No matter which identity you have equipped, you will always get a response along the lines of “hey, that personality is cool and all but did you ever think you were actually a girl?” which is odd to say the least. If I was that person, I would get the hell away from that creep, but the nameless camel seems to accept it and you obtain the last or “true” identity “Fiora,” the game’s namesake.

You then head back while fighting a super powerful shadow that just looks like any other shadow, and it can only be beaten with Fiora equipped, which makes you much more powerful. Then you go to sleep and fight the dream monster one final time, which you are able to retry infinite times. You get different reactions when you lose depending on which identity you have equipped, but it doesn’t change anything. The “final” boss is impossible to beat without Fiora, so don’t even try without it.

After beating the dream boss, “Fiora” wakes up to see the oasis is blooming again, and heads for the docks while fighting overpowered enemies with little to no trouble. (if you use Fiora’s exclusive ability determination, which is OP) Also to note is that after you beat the dream boss, the other identities disappear from your inventory. Fiora then does a quick talk with Finn, and they set off in a boat to explore the world, a very anticlimactic ending.

Overall, the story presented in Fiora feels rushed, underdeveloped, and very odd. Characters have pretty much no personality, other characters just pop in and then you never see them again, and the anticlimactic final boss (who isn’t really the final boss as there are normal enemy encounters after) and ending. However, I haven’t even mentioned the worst aspect of this story; the failed symbolism .

The failed attempt at heavy symbolism is insulting on multiple levels. Very early on, it is pretty obvious that something isn’t right. Two of the identities, the broken and the beast also have shadow monsters with the same names who use attacks that are the same as the identity descriptions. Very mysterious. I tried to figure out what this all meant, and throughout my playthrough, I could not figure out what was going on.

I thought it was all going to be revealed in some big twist ending, but nothing came of it and it was never brought up. Throughout my playthrough, I had a constant feeling that there were multiple endings but after many resets, I only got one.

It seems many times throughout the game that there are multiple choices that will affect the plot, but all it really does is either effect dialogue in minor ways or makes you retry. I feel like I’m missing something important, but the ending I got seemed like the “true ending” if there really is multiple endings.

Gameplay
The gameplay falters in many various aspects. First of all, the gameplay is extremely repetitive, with you just heading to the spring and back every day. You can’t really level up, as it seamingly does nothing for your stats.

After the first day, you get a healing ability, which you may think would be useful. Instead, it only heals what damage the enemy did on the last turn, making it completely useless. Also, you can never see exactly how much HP you or any monster has. You can only guess using a bar on the left side of the screen.

The bar seems to be the player’s health bar, but it doesn’t move with the player, making it seems disjointed. Another glitch happened when I went into the cave, which serves no purpose by the way. It put a permanent light effect on the screen, which stayed there even when I exited the map, went into battles, or even during cutscenes or in my house.

The identity system would be neat if it was better implemented. It’s basically just equipment that changes your sprite a bit. The game is also brutally difficult, with the only way to beat it is to play only on easy mode and to run away from everything. Even still, the game is very unforgiving since EXP is pointless and there are no shops to buy stuff with the GP that you get.

If you can’t run away, either in a forced encounter or RNG just isn’t on your side, you should hope that you dodge every attack or it’s back to your last save. That is until you get Fiora. Then the game becomes a cakewalk due to Fiora’s “determination” ability which makes her deal way more damage and dodge almost all the time. The same simply isn’t fun, which is what all games should strive for in my opinion.

Graphics
They graphics are all custom, which is a nice change of pace from the abundant amount of RTP content within RPG Maker games. There isn’t much to say about the graphics, as they all look fine and serve their purpose. My only complaint is the inconsistency with the character designs.

Some are obviously human, while almost everyone else is an animal of some kind. I don’t really understand how things in this universe works, but one of the creators said that this was going to be the origin story of one of their OCs, so this is only one tiny part of their world. I would just like it if things were better explained.

Music
I didn’t get to hear much of the soundtrack, as my audio on my PC is currently broken. The only audio able to be heard comes from headphones directly plugged directly into the PC and those headphones are very small and uncomfortable. The music I did hear was good enough, and of what I know of it was all custom, which is always a plus. It also seems like the music was all auto-generated though software which I can’t blame. Writing music is hard!

Final Verdict
Overall, this game isn’t very good. It has it’s good points, like the graphics and music, but overall when a game has boing gameplay, a forgettable story, and plot elements and themes that don’t go anywhere, the game simply isn’t worth your time. Even still, I’m glad I played this game, as I now know how badly you can screw up with symbolism in your game. Overall, I would rate this game 2 out of 5 stars

Story 0.5/5
Gameplay 0.5/5
Graphics 4/5
Music 3.5/5

Overall: 2/5

Posts

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As a member of the team that worked on this game, all I can say is this: I implore players to make their own judgements apart from the ones read here.
I'm sure most of the community has already heard how this review had given both me and my gamedev partner a breakdown when it was first submitted as a secret Santa gift, and how the part about the music being "auto-generated" is just flat-out false (not to mention the main character is not a camel), but at this point, I'd just rather suggest that the players of this game make their own decisions.
I do hope this message is understood well.
author=lavendersiren
As a member of the team that worked on this game, all I can say is this: I implore players to make their own judgements apart from the ones read here.
I'm sure most of the community has already heard how this review had given both me and my gamedev partner a breakdown when it was first submitted as a secret Santa gift, and how the part about the music being "auto-generated" is just flat-out false (not to mention the main character is not a camel), but at this point, I'd just rather suggest that the players of this game make their own decisions.
I do hope this message is understood well.


I'm really sorry this review caused a meltdown. I never meant any harm by this review, I just wanted to get a review out there, and I'm very sorry if this review offended you. I made it very clear that it was my guess that the music is auto generated and I have nothing against that. I use computer generated music all the time for my games so I'm not putting you down for saying that. The character looked like a camel to me, but it's all up to interpretation, and since the game takes place in an oasis turned desert and camels live in deserts I just guessed it was a camel. I'm sorry if I caused anyone any harm or emotional damage. This was not my intention, and I will stand by that.
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
10101
author=KrimsonKatt
The character looked like a camel to me, but it's all up to interpretation


I don't think the main character's species is something that's up to interpretation. It seems to be canonically a deer, or at least a similar animal. It does have horns.

I guess that's sort of like saying whether Harry Potter is a mugblood or not is open to interpretation (he isn't, both his parents were wizards). Not trying to come off as rude, just pointing it out.
author=Frogge
author=KrimsonKatt
The character looked like a camel to me, but it's all up to interpretation
I don't think the main character's species is something that's up to interpretation. It seems to be canonically a deer, or at least a similar animal. It does have horns.

I guess that's sort of like saying whether Harry Potter is a mugblood or not is open to interpretation (he isn't, both his parents were wizards). Not trying to come off as rude, just pointing it out.

Opps, didn't notice he/she had horns. Maybe i'm just dumb, but I never noticed it throughout my 30 minute playthough. Haha.

Edit: Also, I searched the forums, and your claim that most of the community has heard of how my review caused you and your friend to have a breakdown doesn't seem accurate. I don't question how my review may have upset you, I felt the same way when I got 0.5 stars for my first game Zero Gear Fighters. However, no one seems to be talking about this apparent "incident' at the moment, but to say it again, I am genuinely sorry if this review caused you any harm. I really did not mean it and will try to do better.

Edit 2: Also, if you noticed I did rate both the music and graphics quite highly, as I respect people who have the time and patience to make custom assets. I only rated it 4/10 (2 stars in RMN terms) due to my OPINION of the story and gameplay not cutting it. If Zero Gear Fighters got a 1/10 (and not saying it was good, it was utter trash and I made it when I was 13 or 14) then I thought this game deserved a 4/10. That's it. Again, I am very sorry if this review upset you and I will try to do better.
Hey, I'm Nyx, I'm the designer and writer for this game, and I'm also responsible for the symbolism I apparently fucked up. There's a few things that have been on my mind about this review for a while, and the general reception this game has gotten from both inside and outside of the RPG Maker community, so I'll say my thoughts here.

Fiora is a very personal game to me. A lot of its story is based on my own experiences with gender identity and mental illness. It's not just a story about walking through a desert and fighting shadows, it's about fighting yourself and finding yourself. I didn't want to make these themes too explicit in the actual game, because I knew that if I did, their impact would be reduced. The enemies in this game are based on aspects of the main character's psyche, and to some extent my own, and the Identity system is a literal interpretation of how I change my identity and sense of self to fit an emotional situation. People in the transgender community such as myself understand these ideas much more readily, so I understand if any of you here didn't quite see what I was going for. A lot of the design decisions I made, like Resolve being overpowered or enemies still spawning even after the fight against your past self, were intentional to convey a specific idea. Just because you have a new identity doesn't mean your inner demons go away, but you now have the tools to better fight them and the resolve to do so. A lot of people have told me that the very end of the game seemed off to them, but to me it is the perfect end for this chapter of Fiora's story. I'm hoping you can at least begin to see where I was coming from with this game's design and direction.

A similar thing I want to address with this review is the complaint that the gameplay "isn't fun," and that fun should be the primary goal of any game. This is an understandable viewpoint, and I will admit that the game's design as an RPG is rather lackluster, and that wasn't intentional. I'll own up to that, that was a legitimate mistake. But what wasn't a mistake was choosing to emphasize story and meaning over typical fun. There's always a place for fun games in the world, but if we're going to progress as a medium of artistic expression we need to move past fun and towards empathy. Certain parts of Fiora, like how most enemies are too powerful so you have to run away from them, are reflective of the way one runs away from their demons when they're unable to properly take them on. Having an easy time with them from the start would change the feel and message of the story entirely, in a way that would negate the underlying point of the game. You're right to say that Fiora isn't fun, but fun isn't always what a game is trying to be, and I feel like if the gaming community understood this more, we'd get a lot more kinds of games.

The last thing I want to mention here is the music. Now, I understand that the reviewer for this game had non-functional audio at the time of playing, but calling this music auto-generated is insulting to the effort me and my friend lavendersiren put into the game's score. The title theme for this game, as well as certain overworld themes, were written and composed by me, and then later arranged by LS to fit the mood and atmosphere of the occasion. We also made use of leitmotifs several times throughout the game, you can even listen to the soundtrack here to confirm it for yourself. This point is a minor one, especially coming from me, but I do feel it is important to mention just to verify that everything about this game comes from us.

Now, I cannot make you, or anyone, like this game. I'll admit it's not for everyone, and certain parts were rushed to meet an appropriate deadline. But I hope that this clarification and seeing my perspective can shed some light on what this game is trying to be, and how it's meant to be approached. I hold no ill will towards anyone here, and I'm wishing you all the best on your future endeavors. But if you want a game about trans identity and confronting yourself, this is the game for you.
@NyxAsteriaSolomon Thank you for responding. I now understand your reasoning for you making the game the way you did. All of the poor design choices are intentional, which I am both against and for. Games like Spec Ops The Line aren't meant to be fun. Their meant to be works of art that tell a meaningful story. The story didn't connect with me very well, as maybe I looked into it a little too much as I have been playing a lot of deep horror RPG-Maker games like The Witch's House and Dreaming Mary. Those games seem simple on the outset, but really contain so much depth, secrets, and dark themes that gives way to multiple playthoughs and endings. From the simplistic title, the screenshots, and the description, I believed this game was a experimental visual novel type game with many endings and alternate paths. I came in with false expectations, and I can only blame myself for that. Finally. another thing to note. I grew up in an extremely religious family with very strong views on various topics. My dad grew up in an extremely strict christian household full of false information and paranoia. They didn't let him watch TV, go outside, eat cereal, make friends, eat at restaurants, have his own car, listen to music, or play anything other than his most prized possession, his Atari 2600 which was destroyed in a fire. He was and still is mentally unstable with all the trauma he has endured in his childhood. This caused a rift in my parents which caused their recent divorce. However, my mom grew up in an atheist/agnostic household which eventually converted into a very moderate christian household. My mom, unlike my dad was more open to ideas like RPGs, Card Games, and mainstream pop music. During my childhood, my parents constantly argued due to their opposing political and religious views which eventually led to a divorce. But why do I bring this up? Well, I was conditioned from a very young age by my father to resist all that wasn't 100% christian. This included zero tolerance for the LGBT community and all related acts. Only recently did I open up to many other cultures, traditions,and even the LGBT community. I personally am 100% (Okay, maybe 98%, I really envy female model's bodies) straight, but just recently been introduced to various people who practice so called "alternative lifestyles" and to my surprise they were perfectly fine people. Not devil worshiping cultists who take part in disgusting acts in the shadows. I'm still trying to get over the stigmas taught to me at birth, and that is partially another reason why I hold something, possible subconsciously, about this game. I hope you will understand my point of view. I hope this doesn't discourage you, and I hope you make more (hopefully more fun) games in the future.

-KrimsonKatt
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