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Chili is better than Chilli!

Hello!
I received the request to do a review for Crypt Callenge DX from the developer, and I never say no to a review! Unfortunately it arrived a bit late for the contest awards, but since this is a short game, I decided to play, write and post it anyway.

Crypt Challenge DX starts telling us (I say "telling" because there a lot to read, and no cutscenes) the story of ̶S̶o̶r̶o̶s̶ ehm, Koros, a famous warrior that together with his friends triumphed against the demon Baetylus. Now our hero has to defeat a Lich, but for some reason he is going alone.
And this is the first mistake, since Koros will soon be outnumbered by stronger foes, but the encounter with Chilli, an amnesiac dark mage, will make his mission easier. Well... maybe meeting amnesiac DARK mages near the lair of a necromancer is not exactly an auspicious beginning. Anyway he needs every help is available, because besides the Necromancer and his undead army, there are also three generals, three powerful wraiths that should be killed. Or not, if you listen to Chilli, but it's your choice!

The Good
I liked some things of this game, for example the charsets, facesets and battlers, that I think are custom, and in any case they are not bad at all. I also liked the freedom of choice, since the game isn't totally linear: you can choose the order of the dungeons (if you want to fight the three generals), and some humorous situations, like the dungeon of the Red Wraith. It was a funny moment!

Combat is nothing special or particularly new, but I enjoyed the Boost system since in the beginning (when Koros is alone) it's the only way to survive the encounters with multiple enemies. I also liked how combat was particularly fast, but...

The So-so
... but this game is too combat intensive! Well yes, there are too many combat encounters in my opinion, well they take just one minute each, anyway they were too many.
I'm also not a fan of the minimalist style of the opponents, and the maps are really bare bones and too simple. But they are functional and this is a short game, I do not consider these things too bad, but I was not a fan of these sylistic choices (and of the RTP tilesets used, but this is my problem).


You're welcome!

The Bad
Ok. What I did not like of this game, then?
Well there are some choices that were a bit odd: for example a clever answer at the end of the Red Wraith's dungeon result in a gameover! Hey no, that's unfair and unexpected! Annoying like some typos I found ("probally", "multible", "decicious")

Then there's an odd difference of style between the (text) intro/ending sequences and the rest of the game: while the game is humorous and funny for dialogues and some situations (the Red Wraith's lair already mentioned is an example, but also most of Chilli dialogues aren't serious), the beginning and the end are really serious, if not tragic (ok, the good ending is an happy end, but not without some serious events that aren't directly linked with the story we played) and also just told through text. This was an odd choice, because I'd have preferred some cutscenes or even just some images, to tell what happened before, and what happened after, since these events involve some characters we never see in the game, during the adventure...
And then there is this change of mood, that is so sudden that makes these sequences look like they were made for a different game (removing them would not ruin the story as they are unnecessary and not relevant to the plot... I do not know why, but I imagined a terrible twist in the end, like learning that the Lich was none other that his old friend that sacrificed himself, now corrupted and coming back from the dead for revenge, but no, this was not the case these details were not important!).

As someone else mentioned, story is too predictable, and even the final revelation is totally unsurprising. If this was a comedic adventure it would be ok, but in this case Koros should be dumber and maybe not so heroic as the legends tell, and everything else should be exaggerated and sillier (for parody of course). Instead this lighthearted feeling clashes with the seriousness of what is told by the texts that rolls before and after the adventure.

Finally there is not much balance: enemies are stronger than Koros that despite being a hero is a weakling (so the first map can be a nightmare if you do not know what to do), but Chilli is stronger that anyone. Enemies have weaknesses, but these do not matter at all as every attack made by Chilli totally destroys them (especially the poison attack).
There is also the problem that the Fenix Downs only restore the "Dead" condition to 1 health, so the character is often killed again the next turn, not to mention that the Lich that has some "Instant death attacks", that will terminate you immediately (unlike his minions he is clearly quite tough, so you've to cross your fingers during that fight because it won't last just a couple of rounds!). A suggestion is to stock as many holy water as possible as they are quite powerful, more than the Excalibur (except if compared to the boosted Excalibur, but it takes some time to perform the strongest attack).

Verdict
This is a game with some nice ideas, that can nonetheless be improved in almost every department with some changes and fixes. I forgot to mention that I liked the different endings even if these are not so different (at least the two bad endings I got looked similar, the good ending was instead satisfying even if it was a bit too long).
I also wonder where are the two secondary secret bosses (maybe one of them is involved with an apparently ordinary mirror?) and if something happens if you eat all those demonic fruits. I used some of them but there was no side effect.

Ok, this game earns a 2.0, a decent attempt that suffers from some minor problems.

Posts

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Thank you for the review! I really enjoyed it. I always like to add a bit of humor to my story in an otherwise serious plot, but I can see where to tonal changes might have rubbed you the wrong way. I'll probably fix the fenix down issue in a later patch. The balancing is bad, that I can admit, and if I could do it all again Koros would probably start at Lv.60 or something and have more multi-target attacks to make himself more useful. Yeah, I did make the "twist" pretty obvious, but hey, at least it has a twist! Chili is meant to be OP to clue you on to her true identity, but I think I made her a little TOO OP. The first secret boss is linked to the mirror, you have to click on it 8 or so times and winning the battle with give you a useful assessory. That serious plot elements which are not connected to the main story are linked to a future game called Meteo Chronicles which I am working on right now. Truth be told, I should have released this after that game for more context and I sorta hap-haphazardly shoehorned in an old plot from a old event game that I wasn't allowed to post into a new game that ties in with my future projects, which wasn't really the right choice. I hope you understand, and thank you for the review.

(One question though, you said the game only suffers from a few minor problems, so why a 2/5 / 4/10? That's a pretty low rating, and could draw people away from my game when they see that. I think a 3/5 / 6/10 is more accurate. Despite this, thanks for the review anyways!)
author=KrimsonKatt
Thank you for the review! I really enjoyed it. I always like to add a bit of humor to my story in an otherwise serious plot, but I can see where to tonal changes might have rubbed you the wrong way. I'll probably fix the fenix down issue in a later patch. The balancing is bad, that I can admit, and if I could do it all again Koros would probably start at Lv.60 or something and have more multi-target attacks to make himself more useful. Yeah, I did make the "twist" pretty obvious, but hey, at least it has a twist! Chili is meant to be OP to clue you on to her true identity, but I think I made her a little TOO OP. The first secret boss is linked to the mirror, you have to click on it 8 or so times and winning the battle with give you a useful assessory. That serious plot elements which are not connected to the main story are linked to a future game called Meteo Chronicles which I am working on right now. Truth be told, I should have released this after that game for more context and I sorta hap-haphazardly shoehorned in an old plot from a old event game that I wasn't allowed to post into a new game that ties in with my future projects, which wasn't really the right choice. I hope you understand, and thank you for the review.

(One question though, you said the game only suffers from a few minor problems, so why a 2/5 / 4/10? That's a pretty low rating, and could draw people away from my game when they see that. I think a 3/5 / 6/10 is more accurate. Despite this, thanks for the review anyways!)


I start from the end... I recently gave 2.5/5 to two games that are complete, longer than this game and suffer from less problems (my rating is 2/2.5 - bad but with some good qualities or good but with many bad flaws. Could have been worse and some people may like it anyway). True, it may seem harsh and there are many minor problems and no game-breaking bug or major issue, but the sum of them unfortunately makes this game a bit of a chore, from the initial difficulty spike to the sudden death dialogue, to the need to collect items repeating fights, and the predictability of the story (not to mention the prologue and ending that are just a wall of text, and it's a pity since showing in cutscenes instead of telling would have been far better, maybe it's because this is what usually happened in past games, text is fine when it is spoken in general of the setting, not about the characters involved).

But hey it's not bad, and it surely can be improved, but if I must speak about a "forte" or thing that really impressed me... I find difficult to find something, maybe the characters and portraits that looks good, because I think that almost every aspect of this game, while not terrible, can be improved.

True, a 3/5 would be ok for a complete game, this one can seem complete but rushed, I think it needs to be more balanced, and improved in various areas.
I could have overlooked some flaws and given a better score only if it was a longer and more articulated game.

Tonal changes are not bud but the mood shifts suddenly from dark/tragic to humorous with little reason and it is... weird. I don't know how to explain it, but there's a certain "Mood Dissonance": the different elements simply cancel each other out and don't harmonize well, making a confusing mess. It feels like these are two distinct parts of two totally different worlds.

I am pretty sure you can improve it or do better in next project, I think that maybe you released the game a bit early and some more feedback was needed because with some changes it can become a valid game.
Good ideas. I like what you're saying. Everyone gives different scores in different ways, and that's fine. However, what reasons am I supposed to give to add in humorous moments into a somewhat serious story? Breath of Fire (one of my major inspirations) did this exact same thing and people still praised those games, what am I doing wrong and how can I better incorporate humor into my serious stories? In my mind, a story can't just be all serious or all silly, there needs to be a balance between silly and serious moments. Most RPGs do exactly that with adding in funny moments and I'm basically doing what they did, so what exactly is the problem? Also, if you didn't know this already, there is a feature that allows you to run away from battles at an 100% success rate, so if you don't want to fight you don't have to. (except for story fights. Only works for random encounters.) I should have made that a bit more obvious, but there are no towns in my game to add NPCs into and due to the circumstances it would be weird to have signs telling you what to do as this IS the bad guy's lair and your literally traveling with
the big bad
so it wouldn't make sense for
her to give info.
The two other bad endings you get for eating the fruit BEFORE the final battle as that activates a switch that can be triggered in the cutscene before the final fight to give you the other bad endings.
Yeah the problem is that I always look back at the other games I played and try to find a spot for it. In some cases I even changed my score due to the changes made after my review.

Hm I do not know very well Breath of Fire (it van be' done but depending how) but I can for example talk for the other games and played and reviewed. Silent Insanity 2 for example is a horror with comedy, the Game Over Screen for example says "the fate of the world will be in the hands of another hero since you could not do the job!". See? It's a hint of irony that makes the tragedy less serious. And that game continually shifts from gore, horror and violence to parody, gags and humor.
I have to think about other examples but it's probably not so easy making an articulated setting in such a short game, maybe the bad ending should have a tint of (dark) humor. After all Chili is a humorous character, or maybe making some cutscene to replace the written parts... (or an ending screen, I do not know but there must be a "bridge" to connect the shifts of tone).

Yes I know that you can escape easily but in the first area I expect weak opponents. Well he is the hero and confident to go alone and he is still outside the crypt so I expected weaker enemies.

Another problem that I probably did not stress is how the holy water is Uber powerful, even more than the Excalibur (except when boosted, but takes time), and was probably more useful than the sword during the last battle.

Nice to know about the fruit!
The holy water wasn't meant to be THAT overpowered, maybe I should nerf it in the next update. However, it was mainly added so it could actually be possible to defeat the Almighty Lich (stronger version of the Lich that you fight in the endings B and C routes) and get the joke ending. (Ending Z) I'll probably add an ending guide pretty soon as well as a final update.
I do not know if it's necessary to nerf the holy water, maybe the Excalibur should be instead overpowered. Doesn't matter if it makes the final combat pretty easy, it's the end of the game and I think it should be more useful.
Okay, sure. I'll make the Excalibur more OP in the 1.2 update. Thanks again for the feedback!
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