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A Game about the Crimson Meteor

This is a demo review.
This is a review for version 1.4, which then transitioned to version 1.4.3 at Ozma Keep due to a game-breaking bug, and transitioned again to version 1.4.6 due to another game-breaking bug that prevent me from entering the final dungeon.
My playtime: 17:02:17

Intro
Meteo Chronicles is an RPG Maker game about Koros, a young man that is destined to save the world from its doom. Three companions will join you as you continue with your journey to help you with your destiny.

Graphics
The mapping for the towns looks good enough for their small size. Buildings are scattered through the area and still made in a way to make it easy to explore them. However, some NPCs can block your way due to the narrow paths. I would appreciate it more if the town is bigger and more spread out.

The dungeons, on the other hand, need some rework. They look plain with almost nothing in them, especially the last three "floor" dungeons. They might look unique to each other with their theme, but it also feels like being made in a rush. Some areas will have you take a very long path just to reach your destination, making you think that it was done on purpose to extend your playthrough.

Story
The story is all over the place. We have Koros' story about saving the world at its core along with some other dialogues, both from NPCs or your companions. You can learn how worldbuilding works from these conversations, but there are just too many concepts clashing out, making it to be inconsistent. One NPC will talk as if they are in the same world as Koros, somewhere medieval with a bad guy to slay, one NPC will talk as if they are playing an online game, one NPC will talk as if they are living in the same world as us, and many more. I think it's better to just stick to one theme and focus on it.

Dialogues tend to be unnecessary. A lot of facts will be blurted out of nowhere that makes it feel unnatural. Moreover, there are just too many coincidences for your party members to join you, and they don't seem to have any problem in following what the main character wants. Heck, even the main character doesn't seem to have a problem in following a mysterious voice that makes him kill someone dear to him. The conflicts are being kept to the minimum, and although this can be a good thing, the dialogues themselves aren't being made in such a way that can make you enjoy them.



Your party members seem to be too "open" to each other. It's nice to have someone lewd in your party member, but having all of them at the same party just makes it weird and lose their charm. Moreover, they seem to have no common sense, as if they are thirsting for blood. Almost everyone will fall in love with the other at first sight and they won't mind switching their pair without thinking. I don't think I can call it a romance anymore.

The Game
Gameplay
Meteo Chronicles is played out like other turn-based RPG Maker games where you need to explore a dungeon and beat the boss that resides in that area. Each dungeon will have a level recommendation that you need to follow to make sure that you won't die easily. However, I found it weird that I needed to grind in the first few areas. You might even get unlucky and encounter a high leveled monster at your first fight in the easiest area, killing you in the process. I had to grind for a while before I can proceed to the first dungeon. That's the only time you need to grind though.

Although the game is quite linear at the beginning, the world will soon open up, allowing you to explore the area in any order that you want. The level recommendation at that point is still available if you want to clear it in the order that the game intended, but your level should be high enough to finish them all without minding the order. Sometimes, you'll also get a side quest and get rewarded for it. However, since there isn't any journal log, it can be hard to keep track, especially for one quest where the quest giver disappears after you finish them (Frozen Crypt). I'm not sure if it's just a bug or not.



I liked the class mechanics. You'll be able to choose one class from numerous amount of choices, and more will be unlocked as you play. This allows you to mix and match skills that you can use, although sadly, I found that some skills can't be used at all. I'm not sure if you need a specific weapon for that, but the game never states it.

Money is scarce. You'll eventually have a party of the size of 4-5, and buying equipment for everyone is almost impossible due to their expensive cost. You need to either grind money to afford them or ignore it, hoping that you are strong enough for the next dungeon. There is a third option though. You can just change their class to Brawler, a class that doesn't require armors at all. This is a cheaper option and honestly, I feel that this class is overpowered since it can deal a lot of damage while still having enough HP.



Combat
First of all, the random encounter rate is horrible - you can even get in a fight one tile after the previous fight. This makes it easy to cap your level and random encounters become useless and annoying because of it. Luckily, there is an accessory that can eliminate random encounters. I was almost crazy from being in battle most of the time.

Battles are easy, but they can take time to finish. Random encounters can be defeated with just a normal attack while bosses will die in a few hits if you use multi-hit skills. I don't think they are balanced though. Late-game bosses can be easier than the first few bosses since you can kill them in fewer hits. I'm not sure if that's because I already know the optimal setup for my party members, but having an easier fight just feels weird to me.

Bosses will unleash an attack after you kill them, dealing you some damage. I found this to be unfair to some classes since my priest die in one hit no matter what I equipped him. Classes with high HP will have a better chance to survive this although luckily, the game will distribute EXP even to dead party members.



Length and Difficulty
The game doesn't seem to be tested properly from the start to finish. I stopped playing the game after reaching the final dungeon in ~17h due to the "floors" dungeon, softlocks, and time-consuming battles. The game isn't difficult if you know what you are doing, and you can always grind level if you still have trouble with it. The most difficult part in the game lies in finding the quest giver and the softlocks. For the first issue, sometimes it's hard to remember where they are since you are too focused on finishing the quest. As for the second one, I encountered three game-breaking bugs throughout my playthrough that are normal story progression.

Three dungeons, namely the "floors" dungeon, annoy me. They have multiple floors and you need to explore the same-looking map just to reach the highest floor. The thing is, you need to explore the same map 20+ times, and it was so boring since the map is empty and huge. Sure, you can fight enemies but they will end up annoying you if you don't use an item that eliminates random encounters, and using it will just make you bored since the maps between floors are mostly the same. Moreover, there is also another bug that forces you to finish everything from the start to finish, and there are 70+ floors in each dungeon if you want to fully explore everything. I wish these kinds of dungeons don't exist at all.

Problems
There are a lot of errors and bugs in the game. The unskippable prologue also makes it hard to read the lore.

Pros:
- Freedom to choose and build the characters to the class that you want

Cons:
- Very high random encounter rate
- A lot of bugs, some will break your game
- Gears are too expensive
- Annoying "floors" dungeon

Final Rating: 1/5
(changing the score to N/A since the version that I played is no longer supported)
There are just too many bugs in the game. Although I don't mind the missing battler and sound pop-ups, the softlock issues are just too much. You might even have to lose your save if you somehow replace it and have no save backups because of it. The game might be enjoyable to some extent, but it got boring quickly once you reach the max level. There don't seem to be any need to do some additional exploration afterward. In my opinion, it needs a lot of rework and testing to make it worthwhile.

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Typo:
Note that there are just too many typos and I ended up being lazy to list them all. Notice the difference between it's and its, and pay attention to the typos if you want to check and fix them all.
- Prologue:
"it's wake" should be "in its wake" (there is also another sentences that are like this but I didn't get the time to type because how the dialogue moves)
"resaources" (or something like that) should be "resources"
"is name was Koros" should be "his name was Koros"

- When talking to the brown-haired DLC guy in town, next to Angelic Hero Rose grave: "Want to experiance even more fun gameplay?" should be "Do you want to experience even more fun gameplay?" (the grammar can be improved though)
- After defeating the first boss: "...come fourth, and sieze your destiny..." should be "...come forth, and seize your destiny..."
- After the previous dialogue: "You cannot excape your fate." should be "You cannot escape your fate."
- After the previous dialogue: "I have watched over this world in it's many forms thoughout all of time" should be "I have watched over this world in its many forms throughout all time" (or better yet, remove the "its")
- One of the statues in Kairo's room: "The Hero of Darkness Sero, who was consumed ny revenge" should be "The Hero of Darkness Sero, who was consumed by revenge"
- One of the statues in Kairo's room: "The Hero of Dimensions, Tobias, who stopped me from achiving" should be "The Hero of Dimensions, Tobias, who stopped me from achieving"
- When talking to Officer Karl after you are banished: "You're not supposted to be here, you monster!" should be "You're not supposed to be here, you monster!"
- When Kairos told the story about Zophia: "Like Zophia, Nargi possessed the gift of creation, but instead of using it, she used it's power" should be "Like Zophia, Nargi possessed the gift of creation, but instead of using it, she used its power"
- When Kairos is talking to Amadeus for the first time: "but my physical form only manafested some 6000 years ago." should be "but my physical form only manifested around 6000 years ago."
- After the previous dialogue: "With enough skill and pratice, you can make your ageing process practically stop completely." should be "With enough skill and practice, you can make your aging process practically stop completely."
- After the previous dialogues: "or to ascent to another plane of existance, the mysterious "Outrealms."" should be "or to ascent to another plane of existence, the mysterious "Outrealms.""
- After the previous dialogue: "one guarded be the people of the sky," should be "one guarded by the people of the sky,"
- After the previous dialogue: "It's form always changes, chaging shape" should be "Its form always changes, changing shape"
- When Koros and Tayo set up camp: "and yesterday was supposted to be the day of my final exam." should be "and yesterday was supposed to be the day of my final exam."
- When entering Beastmen Village for the first time: "spreading out all across the world to form small, nomatic tribes" should be "spreading out all across the world to form small, nomadic tribes"
- After the previous dialogue: "I can only applad them for their efforts." should be "I can only applaud them for their efforts."

---
Bugs:
- Error when fighting Nutcrackers
Loading Error
Failed to load: audio/bgm/Tower%20of%20Fates.ogg

- You need to interact with a raft twice to use it to cross
- The Chapter 2: Old Dragon's Power text still showed up if you reenter Ari.
- Error when battling Garnet, Nadia, Aria, Azari
Loading Error
Failed to load: img/sv_actors/Garnet Battler.png

- Error when battling Protector
Loading Error
Failed to load: audio/bgm/Fight%20Fight%20and%20Fight%20Some%20More.ogg

- Unable to enter the left area of Ozma Keep - Mallary's Chambers
- The colored filter on the screen doesn't go until you to the world map. One example is when you trip the alarm in Ozma Keep - Mallary's Chambers
- Error after you beat Baron Ozma and the notification about the world changing showed up
Loading Error
Failed to load: audio/bgm/Fell%20Meteor%20Rising.ogg

- Error when trying to bypass the guards with Jeht in Magitek Armor
Loading Error
Failed to load: audio/bgm/Love's%20Vagrant.ogg

- You won't be able to move if you fall in the trap to Accursed Well 3BF
- There are only 6 stones in Accursed Well but the NPC wants 7.
- One of the monsters for Zenith's quest is wrong. It's Mandicore, not Chimera.
- The bunny girl side quest in Aetheria with King Azul is bugged. After Koros turned into a bunny girl, you won't be able to see your character and can only drag around the map since your character is invisible. This happens if Koros isn't at your party.
- The quest giver in East Graape is gone after you break the seal.
- Using the teleporter in Frozen Crypt and Skull Cavern to reach 25F will result in a black screen.
- You can be trapped if you try to not use the hot spring by going through the left or right side.
- It's impossible to progress in Tower of Babel since the barrier doesn't disappear after you defeat all enemies in the northeast corner of the first floor.

Posts

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KrimsonKatt
I like tights! They're comfy and easy to wear!
3129
Hey, thanks for the review! I'm working on fixing the glitches, even though it will be very tough. In fact, I believe many of them you mentioned have been fixed already. I'm an absolutely terrible speller, and since I write the script and dialogue on the fly I tend to make a lot of mistakes, a lot of them simply due to be hitting the wrong key while typing and not noticing it later. My biggest regret in making this game is that it wasn't properly playtested, as I rushed the end because I was tired and burnt out from working on the game for 2.5 years and wanted to do other things. This is why the game is so buggy, I was burnt out and didn't want to spend 100+ hours playtesting everything again and again.

And for your story bit, I will have to interject. First of all, not every character is horny. Only Koros, Jeht, and to a lesser extent Zenith is. Stacy is completely pure and innocent (she doesn't know what sex is despite being 17) and Tayo is typical in terms of hornyness. That's only 2 or 3/5ths of the main cast.

And about the lore inconsistences, the only character that acts like he is in a videogame is ThiefMaster, who is heavily hinted at being a celestial. In the lore, a celestial is a higher being from a celestial realm, and are praticly gods to the people of the lower planes. Humans from this earth are the celestials, and our plane of existence is the celestial realm. The worlds we create in our heads become the lower planes of "fiction," and Zutara is a lower plane created by me, KrimsonKatt.

ThiefMaster is a celestial from our world who incarnated as an NPC in Meteo Chronicles. He thinks he's playing a VR MMO like Sword Art Online or something since he's from 35 years into the future from one possible timeline when really he's entered into another's lower plane through his dreams. He's just too stupid to realize he's not in a game, that everything he's experiencing is real. He's immortal because when he dies he can just make a new character as his body in Meteo Chronicles isn't his real body, it's just a vessel for his celestial spirit.

Normally when a being dies in the lower plane of Zutara they die for good, but the player characters we control don't because they have Kairos' blessing who saves, loads, and rewinds the universe when things go wrong in order to ensure that his mysterious "true history" comes to pass. The beings of Zutara can never learn the horrible truth that everything they do is predetermined and that they're just characters in a video game, because that would break them and cause them to rebel against the system aka me. Heck, that's the entire core of a plot twist later down the line in this series, so yeah.

And about technology levels in Zutara, I tried to go for a more sci-fi/fantasy sort of setting, like Xenoblade 1 for example, but was limited by the tilesets available in MV. Like, in the lore they have guns, machines, electricity, modern plumbing like toilets and sewer systems, proper running water, they take frequent baths, ect. They still use swords and other short-ranged weaponry instead of just guns because guns and machines are actually magic and therefore drain ether/magic energy to use. Gunpowder, oil, coal, and other fossil fuels don't exist in their world. (yet)

They have a very basic internet framework, but only the Wingli have it and it's still late 90s/early 2000s internet with online forums and stuff. No google, no amazon, no social media like Facebook/Twitter, ect. There are no megacorps, every shop is a small business. Ferngulf is a representative democracy with decentralized capitalism and Morda Vael is a communist constitutional monarchy. (the good kind of communism, checks and balances exist to ensure that the government doesn't seize the means of production from the people and become facist)

When characters mention real-world things that don't exist in their world (I think there was an NPC in a previous version that referenced blues clues or something) those are errors in the writing that slipped through, as once again I didn't write a script for this and wrote everything on the fly, though I did have a basic outline for the plot written down. Everything else is pretty consistent, and the rest are just silly jokes not meant to be taken seriously like the Persona 4 reference you mentioned with Jean De Arc. (that would be Koros' persona if he was from the Persona universe Amala 11103. That's the actual cannon name in Megaten lore for the persona universe, actually.)

As for your other issues, all of them are being worked on as we speak. The ENTIRE game is being rebalanced for 2.0, meaning that most multi hit skills are not nearly as OP, every class has a new moveset, new classes have been added and old classes have been restructured, split, or sometimes even removed, the encounter rate has been greatly reduced, Skull Cavern and Frozen Crypt are now fully fledged dungeons, Tower of Babel has been greatly simplified, all glitches have been fixed as the game is now properly playtested, and gold distribution has been completely rebalanced. (way smaller numbers)Not to mention all the new content like two additional ending routes, new/fleshed out story chapters, better fast travel, interconnected areas instead of a world map, multiple new bosses and areas, an actual quest log, and more. Anyways that's all the time I have for today. I have to go back to playing Metroid Dread on my Nintendo Switch Lite.

Edit: Also, Koros never kills anyone close to him? Did we play the same game? Kairos didn't tell Koros to kill Krom. Koros lost control of his powers and killed Krom in self defense after being stabbed by him. Plus Krom was an asshole, Koros never really liked him anyways. And for Tayo, Tayo NEVER wanted to hurt his friends. He only did so because his body was being controlled by Baetylus. This is made very clear in game. Tayo was not willing in any of those scenarios. And the characters do have a reason for doing what they're doing. Both Koros and Tayo want to stop the crimson meteor along with Koros kinda being forced to by his focus and Tayo wanting to atone for his past actions as a bandit.

To be fair I didn't give that good of an explanation for Zenith joining the party, but I'll work on that in the story updates in 2.0. Stacy joins the party as an excuse to leave her home and so she can travel the world to get the scions back. She stops Baron Ozma because he's evil, and same goes for any other villain. Jeht joins because he has a crush on Tayo and wants payback for the Ebony Order falsely imprisoning him and his family after his father discovered Trello's plans. I think those are pretty good motivations.

And about them being bloodthirsty, I don't really see that? Yeah, they kill a lot of villains, but what other JRPG protagonist doesn't? That isn't being bloodthirsty, this is simple JRPG logic. In Final Fantasy VII did the characters show any mercy on Rufus? Or Jenova? Or Sephiroth? In even freaking Kingdom Hearts, a disney game, did the characters show mercy on any of the actually evil organization members? (Ansem, Saix, Laurxene, Marluxia, Xigbar, Xenmas, Venitas, Young Xehanort, Terranort, etc) Or the Disney villains? Or Xehanort himself? Of course not. The main characters kill them because they're evil, or they die and are then resurrected and redeemed.

Not every RPG is Undertale where every "villain" is sympathetic and can be spared. Yeah, villains should have motivation and not be like "lol I'm evil because I'm evil" like Garon from Fire Emblem Fates, but not every villain should be redeemable or even live. Baron Ozma has motivation, but he's still evil and has to be stopped. There's nothing wrong with killing off the bad guys in an RPG. Or are you talking about the oracles? They're actually pretty tragic characters now that I think about it. Maybe I should add a sidequest in 2.0 that allows you to see them again? Visiting Selice Shrine in Morda Vael or something to fuse the 4 broken shards of the oracle's animus to get them as a summon? IDK. But the main characters of MC aren't bloodthirsty, they're just doing their job, defeating evil and stuff.

Edit 2: Sorry if I sounded angry back there. I'm really not. I really appreciate the review, no matter how critical the review is. I can ensure you I'm working on all the issues and will make this game worth playing in the end. So, yeah, thanks for the review. Really appreciate it.
no problem! glad to see that you are working on a fix. as for your comments:

I'm an absolutely terrible speller, and since I write the script and dialogue on the fly I tend to make a lot of mistakes
everyone makes mistakes, don't worry. in that case, i suggest you to use a spell checker like grammarly. i'm not sure how to implement it directly as you write the script, but you can always copy and paste the text from there to minimize spelling errors.

First of all, not every character is horny. Only Koros, Jeht, and to a lesser extent Zenith is. Stacy is completely pure and innocent (she doesn't know what sex is despite being 17) and Tayo is typical in terms of hornyness. That's only 2 or 3/5ths of the main cast.
sorry if it's not clear enough, but my main point here is to make every character different. having at least one party member gets riled in every conversation doesn't make it an easy read either.

And about the lore inconsistences,
in that case, imo, it's better to include thiefmaster later, in the same game when you reveal this information. since there is no one that knows about this except you, it just makes the lore to be inconsistent, especially combined with that persona joke. if you really want to add it, you can try sticking with one "other worldly" element for now. they might look a bit off, but it won't be as bad as having everything included into one game like this.

Also, Koros never kills anyone close to him?
well, he killed his uncle. i didn't remember any stabbing part tbh, i might forget about it.
iirc, he can become dragon because kairos possessed him, so he technically lost control because of him, right?

And the characters do have a reason for doing what they're doing.
my point about this is how the character just conveniently tags along. for example:
"hey i want to slay this guy"
"oh what a coincidence i want to slay this guy too because he has done this and that"
and then he blurted a lot of fact out of nowhere about his reason for joining your party. maybe chunk it into several cutscenes or something. this is more of a writing issue tbh.

Jeht joins because he has a crush on Tayo and wants payback for the Ebony Order falsely imprisoning him and his family after his father discovered Trello's plans.
jeht's business should have been done after he's out of prison (and town), but he still tags along with no reason except for tayo, which is kinda weak imo.

And about them being bloodthirsty, I don't really see that?
i was referring to the lewd scenes actually.

Sorry if I sounded angry back there. I'm really not. I really appreciate the review, no matter how critical the review is.
no problem. as i said before, i'm glad that you fix the issues. i don't mind with questions, so don't worry about it.
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