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Take this as a learning experience

  • Marrend
  • 11/30/2019 06:30 PM
Game Title: Crypt Challenge DX
Engine: RPG Maker MV
Status at review: Complete

This particular review was requested by the developer. He claimed was that it was better than the last game he made, Zero Gear Fighters. I've never played that game, so, I cannot come at this game as a comparison point for potential developer growth. What I can do is give this game a whirl, and see how it stacks up to other games I've played over the years.

As the game has multiple downloads, this review is based on my experiences with version 1.0.4. For full disclosure, I played until I achieved an ending, my game-clock reading 40 minutes and 51 seconds worth of play time. This does not necessarily represent my total time with the game, naturally.

The game starts with a text-scroll relaying how Koros (our protagonist) is a typical RPG hero, and has defeated a powerful enemy at the cost of a friend's life. The speed of the scroll was quite brisk, and went by almost unintelligibly. Maybe it could work better as a sequence of Show Messages, maybe with a few Show Pictures to relay this story instead?

The only other information I gathered from the text-scroll was that Koros has become a mercenary, and is out for a Lich's treasure. Maybe he was hired, maybe he's doing it for himself. If it was in the text-scroll, I missed it. Either way, it establishes why he's here in the first place.

At the end of the beginning area, we meet up with Chili, a dark mage with amnesia. This is a little eye-quirking to me. Even if Chili isn't the Lich in question, she could easily be related to the creature. Still, Koros doesn't think much of the chance encounter, and allows her to join him. With each sub-boss you defeat, she becomes more desperate for Koros to fight the Lich, and more despondent when he says no. Eventually, it is revealed that she is, of course, the Lich in question.

With the ending I got ("Good Ending"), I was given another text-scroll. This one was slower, making it easier to read. However, it threw at me names that I feel I should care about, but, had no context to do so. It's possible this is a lead-in to other games that I'm simply not aware of. Still, it was hard to not be disappointed/annoyed with the resolution the game gave.

I'm not terribly familiar with MV, but, I have the sense that most graphics are very much from the run-time package. I'm going to hazard a guess, and say that the battle backgrounds and enemy battler sprites were drawn by the developer.

I guess I wasn't expecting the "swamp" terrain on the first screen to be able to be walked on, and be a damage tile. There are lava tiles later on that I didn't try walking on, so, I cannot comment on that. Outside of how those tiles seemed to clash with the surrounding tiles.

The music, however, is decidedly not from the run-time package. One might initially think that, if one looks at the BGM directory, and see titles like "Battle1", "Field 1", "Theme1", and so on. However, they are, in fact, tracks from various Gameboy and/or Gameboy Color games, with a few tracks from more modern games mixed in.

I don't necessarily mind the use of ripped resources. I'm guilty of that as many others who use RPG Maker. What I mind is when they are unaccredited, and renamed. I'm certainly not too keen on the "unaccredited" part, but, renaming? I just don't get the reason to rename the tracks. Are players supposed just magically know where they are from, and what they are called (or otherwise what situation they play in)? I never played any of these games. I may recognize Megaman and Legend of Zelda, but, the only other way I know where they're from is from the metadata information.

At least they have metadata information! However, it seems a little disingenuous to me to pull something like this. I would point the developer to Luxaren Allure, or practically any game I've made since at least Myriad Cypher as examples of the kind of attribution I would find more acceptable. I will fully admit, however, that this is such a huge pet peeve of mine, as one may have surmised by now.

After the initial text-scroll, there is a "Loading" screen. So, what this actually amounts to is a text-box that prints the word "Loading...", my guess is using "\." between each character to emulate the effect of a loading screen. The intended effect would probably be better if it wasn't displayed through a Show Message command, and require players to press the action button to continue, only to do display the same message in the same way again. It does this a total of three times. The question in my head is: why include this at all? What is the point of it? The only thing this does is add frustration to a game that has already proved frustrating with the opening text-scroll.

The difficulty in this game is a little wacky. When it's Koros by himself, you generally want to avoid fights as much as possible. To wit, my very first encounter was three ghosts that dropped Koros before I was even able to input a command. Suffice it to say, I felt marginally confused about this. Shouldn't this guy have more staying power than this? Compare that experience with after obtaining Chili. While Koros' best attack might take out one guy, Chili can basically just wipe the board effortlesly. Mooks mean nothing to her.

The game has a mechanic where leveling up means restoring health and mana to full. Which certainly helped in the early game, when it was just Koros. After meeting Chili, it meant not having to go back to base camp as often. For full disclosure, I I returned to base camp once per sub-boss.

Saying that, the game's encounter rate is super-high. Or, maybe it just felt that way? Or, maybe, the RNGods were simply unkind to me? Whatever the case is, the experience is exasperated more by same-y fights. The difference in enemies is basically what element they are weak to. Even that is mostly made irreverent because of Chili's abilities, as mentioned previously.

Inside the crypt, the game throws some info at you. One piece is that the area is split up into sections, with each section holding part of the Lich's strength. I swear it said there were six sections during the explanation, but, the number is three. Either way, it seems one can go directly for the Lich, but, that doesn't seem too smart of an idea. Another tidbit of info was about the Boost system, which one could probably guess to some degree on name alone. Think "boost of power", as opposed to "boost of speed", and you're good.

There is something I noticed about Fenix Downs. They restore the "Dead" condition, as was probably interned. However, they only restore the member to 1 health. This makes that character exceptionally vulnerable to just getting knocked back to "Dead" by the next enemy action. I burned through my stock of Fenix Downs, and used a lot of Apples, over the course of a fight against a sub-boss. However, I considered re-loading my game, and only using Fenix Downs much, much later in the fight. I was noticing how Chili could pretty much hold her own, and wasn't taking as much damage as Koros was. It felt like a weird strategy to use, but, if it worked, it worked.

After the three sub-bosses are defeated, I felt comfortable attacking the Lich. Sort of. Chili left the party to "scout ahead", leaving Koros to fend for himself. I was able to forge Excalibur, and gain a new skill, though. Koros seemed to be able to hold his own for a change!

The last area is a map on repeating loop that lagged pretty horribly on my machine. This machine is getting to be five years old (if not already), so, it could be that. However, it might also be that there's a parallel process that keeps getting triggered. However, I don't know for certain what the true cause is, nor have the engine to see what could be going on in this regard.

The moment of truth
Taking a step back, perhaps this game is more about growing as a developer, and showing what one can do with the systems at hand? In that lens, one can probably forgive a few things.

Given the sheer number of separate downloads, it went through a number of revisions even before I got my hands on it. Even so, it still has a fair number of issues to sort out, should the developer wish to come back to this game. However, if the developer wishes to apply what he learned here to another game, that's fine. That is absolutely an option that is available.

As this game stands however, I'm afraid I can't recommend this. At best, it's an average game. However, with the faults that I mentioned, I'm sorry to give this...



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I like tights! They're comfy and easy to wear!
Thank you for the review. Just to clarify, I DID credit every song in the game during the end credits. Please do not spread misinformation. Another thing was that the reason I added the "fake loading screen" was because I wanted to draw out the music playing at that time to build up tension. In the next update, I will fix the loading screen and make various balance changes. Thank you.
I also got a request to review this. However, seeing this review and that the balance problem I had with this game is still there, I'm guessing by this point that it's a conscious design choice.

EDIT: OK, you do intend to fix it, nice.
I like tights! They're comfy and easy to wear!
I also got a request to review this. However, seeing this review and that the balance problem I had with this game is still there, I'm guessing by this point that it's a conscious design choice.

It's not really. I'm fixing it right now as we speak. The balancing issues are not intentional. Please do not spread false information. Thank you.
I also got a request to review this.

I also got a request. He probably just wrote to everyone.
Guardian of the Description Thread
author= KrimsonKatt
Just to clarify, I DID credit every song in the game during the end credits. Please do not spread misinformation.

I'll fully admit to closing the game during the end-credits, and did not see how you credited the songs. I would probably still feel slightly more comfortable with a text file, or something packaged with the game that said what came from where. This is why I proposed looking at Luxaren Allure and/or Myriad Cypher in the first place.

The message that I received started with "Hello everyone". This made me super-suspicious about who all received the very same PM. Frankly, I wasn't even sure I would be able to write this in time for the event, since I saw the PM early yesterday morning!
I like tights! They're comfy and easy to wear!
The issues are now fixed in version 1.1.1. See for yourself!
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