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Scar of Shadows is a traditional, story-driven RPG. Follow the story of Eldric as he travels across the world, slaying monsters to avenge his family. He his joined by Xavier, a student from another academy, Callie, a girl who has lost everything, Mythia, a witch that lives in exile, and many others. Together they travel to uncover the truth about the monsters they're fighting, and save their world in the process.

Features:
-A traditional turn based battle system
-Challenging boss fights
-5 playable characters (8 in full version)
-Approximately 3 hours of gameplay (roughly 1/6 of the full game)

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  • Antilurker77
  • RPG Maker MV
  • RPG
  • 05/18/2020 07:48 PM
  • 03/23/2021 02:06 PM
  • N/A
  • 6760
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Any of the 31 brave souls who've downloaded the game have any feedback to give?
Spoilers:

Ok, so first thing: What is the solution to the 8 lever puzzle in those ruins you go to after your audience with the king? Because I couldn't get past that one.

I wrote a review sharing my experiences pretty much as it happened, but to summarize it. First, the things that could use improvement:

- Encounter rate is way too high, I was actually scared to venture even a few steps out of the intended path on the world map as that could significantly increase the amount of random encounters. And it was even more annoying in dungeons where you don't know where to go and if you missed any treasure. So, you have to backtrack and deal with even more random battles. Aside

- I know it's sort of standard to have walking forced for world maps, but together with the constant random encounters, it's seriously annoying. If the teleporting crystals didn't exist, it would be a nightmare.

- With the ridiculous encounter rate comes hand in hand the XP and gold rewards. They are too low. I fully explored every dungeon I went into (except the last one), got all the out of the way treasures and backtracked a bit and with fighting all the random encounters on the way, I was still 1 level below the bosses. You can't afford to ignore any battle. And you get into a random battle every 5-15 steps. That's just ridiculous.

Gold-wise, even with all that grinding, I was lucky if I could replace the sword and spear of Eldric and Xavier with whatever the best in shop one was. The rest of the party was out of luck. As for the armor, that one was so expensive and the effect so minimal that it seemed like there's no point to even bother. Even when I replaced it, I didn't notice any effect.

My suggestion is to lower the encounter rate drastically, adjust the XP/gold rewards to compensate and then increase that amount by atleast 50% (even more for gold, atleast 100%).

- I appreciate the amount of work that went into ensuring that each and every cutscene can be skipped, but it really breaks immersion during certain points in the game and becomes really annoying, as it interrupts the game.

Even worse when it asks you twice during what's technically the same cutscene (most likely due to map change). Like the opening cutscene. That one really doesn't need to be skippable. Holding down enter the whole way versus selecting Yes to skip only adds up to a difference of a few seconds. If it has to be in the game, it might be better to limit it to pre-boss cutscenes or some overlong ones (none really spring to mind though).

- The main character is seriously too one note. He could use more humanizing moments and less brooding deathwish ones.

- Xavier is the best character and I really like him. However, he could use a bit more characterization during certain moments. I shared more thoughts in my review.

- The whole story so far seems like an overlong fetch quest with largely unconnected events taking place (or atleast, events that appear to be largely unconnected). I get that it's essentially Act 1 of a 6 Act story, but I feel that by the time you get to the king, you should atleast have an idea of what you are fighting and what the stakes are. So far, the main characters only learned that the monsters are intelligent and can talk. Also that the king is kind of a jerk.

- I have to mention that the scene where Eldric discovers his Limit skill due to his determination to avenge his parents was hard to take seriously due to the fact that those cute rabbit enemies were the catalyst.

- From when I got Xavier all the way till I got the third companion, monsters seemed to exclusively target Xavier for some reason. Eldric only ever took damage from AoE. Afterwards, it went to normal. Dunno why.

- The game froze two times. Once during one of the early cutscenes at the Academy, then in a shop window, with the travelling merchant in the flooded tunnel.

- The character abilities seemed pretty well balanced and everyone felt like a valuable team member. The only issue I see with the character balancing itself is that everyone's Limit skills (except the Healer's) seemed to be only useful in random encounters with lots of enemies. Maybe give Callie an AoE light damage Limit skill as an alternative for random encounters and everyone else a single target/utility Limit skill as an alternative for boss fights.

- The bosses had way too much HP. Especially the Wyvern. Once you knew what to do in that boss fight, it was just doing the same thing over and over again for 10 minutes.

- Speaking of bosses, some could use more. Maybe that Skeletal Dragon could summon skeleton minions, maybe Lord Attidas summoning those fire orbs could actually matter. Certain ones were made absolutely useless with Xavier's Blind spell.

- It feels a bit weird that Poison does so much damage against the boss monsters, yet Bleeding does so little. Bleeding Status could use be a bit buffed.

- I am not a fan of sudden mandatory puzzles being introduced so late in the game. Or mandatory puzzles in general, unless the whole game revolves around that or they are easy/have hints available. The ruins you go to after your audience with the king suddenly throw in two sets of spikes that need to be lowered to access the rest of the dungeon (and most likely the boss). The first one with 3 levers is easy, you can do it just by randomly mashing levers. The second one suddenly escalates to 8 levers and I just couldn't manage to get through it.

You can't even reset the levers to their original form, so if you want to retry, you better save beforehand or just get frustrated. That would be a great addition to the final version.

As for the puzzle itself, either have it guard some optional area with great treasure or provide an alternate route. Maybe instead of those spikes, it's a door and somewhere in the dungeon there's a key to them if you don't manage to solve the 9 lever puzzle. And said key is guarded by some optional to make it actually challenging. And solving the puzzle could give bonus XP to the party. Just an idea. I don't like it when I get stuck in an RPG due to a mandatory puzzle like this, not to mention the progression is more than a bit steep.


Anyway, I see a lot of good things here and I hope you finish this game! Maybe if you tell me the solution to that 8 lever puzzle, I will try to play the demo again fully. Most likely after the grinding is lessened a bit.
To make this accidental double-post a bit more useful, maybe you could also add some consumable item that eliminates random encounters for a number of steps.
author=Beregon
Spoilers:Ok, so first thing: What is the solution to the 8 lever puzzle in those ruins you go to after your audience with the king? Because I couldn't get past that one.


Hit the for corner switches, then the four middle switches.

author=Beregon
- Encounter rate is way too high, I was actually scared to venture even a few steps out of the intended path on the world map as that could significantly increase the amount of random encounters. And it was even more annoying in dungeons where you don't know where to go and if you missed any treasure. So, you have to backtrack and deal with even more random battles. Aside


Yeah, this is something I really wanted feedback on. I want the game to be combat heavy but I agree it might be too much now. I'll see about reducing the encounter rate and buffing rewards to compensate. I might decrease max MP a bit too.

author=Beregon
- I know it's sort of standard to have walking forced for world maps, but together with the constant random encounters, it's seriously annoying. If the teleporting crystals didn't exist, it would be a nightmare.


Well, that's why they do exist :). I like the slower walking speed because it gives the world map a better sense of scale. I think once I tone done the encounter rate it should be a lot more bearable.

author=Beregon
- With the ridiculous encounter rate comes hand in hand the XP and gold rewards. They are too low. I fully explored every dungeon I went into (except the last one), got all the out of the way treasures and backtracked a bit and with fighting all the random encounters on the way, I was still 1 level below the bosses. You can't afford to ignore any battle. And you get into a random battle every 5-15 steps. That's just ridiculous.

Gold-wise, even with all that grinding, I was lucky if I could replace the sword and spear of Eldric and Xavier with whatever the best in shop one was. The rest of the party was out of luck. As for the armor, that one was so expensive and the effect so minimal that it seemed like there's no point to even bother. Even when I replaced it, I didn't notice any effect.

My suggestion is to lower the encounter rate drastically, adjust the XP/gold rewards to compensate and then increase that amount by atleast 50% (even more for gold, atleast 100%).


The bosses being a level higher actually means you're pretty much right on the level curve, that's intended. As for gold, I definitely want the player to make hard choices with what gear they choose to upgrade, but it's possible I was to stingy since I know what the best items are for each situation and can probably min-max better than the player can.

The game uses the same damage formula as Final Fantasy XII, which is essentially (Power - Defense) * (Multiplier based on Stat on Level). Each point of defense will be more effective than the last because of this, so the higher tier armor tends to be more bang for the buck. Cheaper armor probably won't make much of a difference. Not sure this is something I can fix without changing to a different formula and doing a drastic rebalance.

author=Beregon
- I appreciate the amount of work that went into ensuring that each and every cutscene can be skipped, but it really breaks immersion during certain points in the game and becomes really annoying, as it interrupts the game.

Even worse when it asks you twice during what's technically the same cutscene (most likely due to map change). Like the opening cutscene. That one really doesn't need to be skippable. Holding down enter the whole way versus selecting Yes to skip only adds up to a difference of a few seconds. If it has to be in the game, it might be better to limit it to pre-boss cutscenes or some overlong ones (none really spring to mind though).


Honestly the skip cutscene feature is mostly there for my own sanity. After playing the game 20 times even those few seconds of enter mashing start to add up. There are a handful of very short cutscenes that can't be skipped (mostly ones that are 1 or 2 textboxes). I'd love to do it some other way but I'm not aware how.

author=Beregon
- The main character is seriously too one note. He could use more humanizing moments and less brooding deathwish ones.

- Xavier is the best character and I really like him. However, he could use a bit more characterization during certain moments. I shared more thoughts in my review.


Yeah, the whole cast really needs some more personality. This is my first major attempt at writing a game with a story, and it's definitely pretty hard.

author=Beregon
- The whole story so far seems like an overlong fetch quest with largely unconnected events taking place (or atleast, events that appear to be largely unconnected). I get that it's essentially Act 1 of a 6 Act story, but I feel that by the time you get to the king, you should atleast have an idea of what you are fighting and what the stakes are. So far, the main characters only learned that the monsters are intelligent and can talk. Also that the king is kind of a jerk.


Funnily enough there's a scene right after the dungeon you got stuck on where the party comes to a resolve on what they want to do (don't think it's in the demo though). I think I need a better way to emphasize how dangerous the monsters are too.

author=Beregon
- I have to mention that the scene where Eldric discovers his Limit skill due to his determination to avenge his parents was hard to take seriously due to the fact that those cute rabbit enemies were the catalyst.


Yeah, maybe I should swap those enemies out with something else.

author=Beregon
- From when I got Xavier all the way till I got the third companion, monsters seemed to exclusively target Xavier for some reason. Eldric only ever took damage from AoE. Afterwards, it went to normal. Dunno why.


Just double-checked in the editor and no one has a funky targeting stat or anything like that. I think it was just bad luck.

author=Beregon
- The game froze two times. Once during one of the early cutscenes at the Academy, then in a shop window, with the travelling merchant in the flooded tunnel.


No idea what caused these. I didn't encounter anything like that during my testing. Might just be a problem with MV, unfortunately.

author=Beregon
- The character abilities seemed pretty well balanced and everyone felt like a valuable team member. The only issue I see with the character balancing itself is that everyone's Limit skills (except the Healer's) seemed to be only useful in random encounters with lots of enemies. Maybe give Callie an AoE light damage Limit skill as an alternative for random encounters and everyone else a single target/utility Limit skill as an alternative for boss fights.


They do actually get single-target limits at level 15. With that said even the AoE ones should be doing more damage than their normal skills on single target.

author=Beregon
- The bosses had way too much HP. Especially the Wyvern. Once you knew what to do in that boss fight, it was just doing the same thing over and over again for 10 minutes.


Are you using stat buffs? They are multiplicative with each other, for example with Sharpen (atk buff) and Expose (def debuff) the party will be doing 1.69x their normal physical damage. I took a page out of the SMT book "use buffs or die" so it's intended from them to feel pretty mandatory for bosses. It's also possible that not having top-tier weapons makes bosses too tanky too which goes along with the gold issue you mentioned earlier.

author=Beregon
- Speaking of bosses, some could use more. Maybe that Skeletal Dragon could summon skeleton minions, maybe Lord Attidas summoning those fire orbs could actually matter. Certain ones were made absolutely useless with Xavier's Blind spell.


Maybe. It looks like I've got to do another balance pass anyways so maybe I'll see about giving them more abilities or Blind immunity.

author=Beregon
- It feels a bit weird that Poison does so much damage against the boss monsters, yet Bleeding does so little. Bleeding Status could use be a bit buffed.


Poison does max HP damage per usual while Bleeding damage is actually based on the target's level. I never intended for Bleed to be as strong as Poison though, it's supposed to be more like a bit extra damage for people that are managing debuffs perfectly. It should be more powerful than most basic skills though, I'll double check the numbers on that.

author=Beregon
- I am not a fan of sudden mandatory puzzles being introduced so late in the game. Or mandatory puzzles in general, unless the whole game revolves around that or they are easy/have hints available. The ruins you go to after your audience with the king suddenly throw in two sets of spikes that need to be lowered to access the rest of the dungeon (and most likely the boss). The first one with 3 levers is easy, you can do it just by randomly mashing levers. The second one suddenly escalates to 8 levers and I just couldn't manage to get through it.

You can't even reset the levers to their original form, so if you want to retry, you better save beforehand or just get frustrated. That would be a great addition to the final version.

As for the puzzle itself, either have it guard some optional area with great treasure or provide an alternate route. Maybe instead of those spikes, it's a door and somewhere in the dungeon there's a key to them if you don't manage to solve the 9 lever puzzle. And said key is guarded by some optional to make it actually challenging. And solving the puzzle could give bonus XP to the party. Just an idea. I don't like it when I get stuck in an RPG due to a mandatory puzzle like this, not to mention the progression is more than a bit steep.


Yeah I should probably add a reset switch. Though I didn't think the puzzle is that hard, I actually stole it straight from Spyro 2. I added puzzles to that dungeon because I think it's quite boring otherwise. It's one of the few areas that use RTP tiles instead of FSM tiles so it doesn't look nearly as nice.

author=Beregon
Anyway, I see a lot of good things here and I hope you finish this game! Maybe if you tell me the solution to that 8 lever puzzle, I will try to play the demo again fully. Most likely after the grinding is lessened a bit.


There is not much more left after that puzzle. I think it's just a boss and that's it. So you've pretty much seen the whole thing anyways. But thanks for playing!
Hello, glad you liked my review! I made it sort of a "stream of conciousness" style since I was writing it more for you as the developer than for prospective players. Sorry for the terrible attempts at humor :D

- The world map speed comment wasn't meant as something that neccessarily needs to be changed, it was meant to get across my feelings of frustration when playing the game. If the game had a reasonable encounter rate, I wouldn't mention it, but along with fights every 5 steps, it only increased my frustrations.

-I know I was probably on the right level curve, but that was with me fighting literaly every random encounter on the way and backtracking several times (and thus fighting even more random encounters). I mean, battles every 5 steps or so are bad enough, but when you can't even skip any of them without being underleveled for the boss, it makes it really annoying.

-The gold issue, I couldn't buy any consumables, because I had no money after buying weapons for Eldric, Xavier and maybe Mythia. I made do with what I got from treasure chests, which seems to be just enough to get by, but giving the player a bit more income would be appreciated. You could say it's my fault for buying the weapons, but I imagine the game would get even more slowpaced that way.

-I did use stat buffs, yes. How do you think I got through the Wyvern boss? :) I literally had to stack every stat buff skill over and over again to get through. On every boss beforehand, I always used both the damage buff and defense debuff skills on the bosses beforehand and I made sure to get the best weapon available for everyone but the healer (I managed by ignoring armor). It still took way too long.

- The limit skills do more single target damage than normal ones, but it's not by much. Glad to see they get more as they level up.

- The battle music was really awesome.

- The random battles seemed very well balanced when you were actually fighting.

- The battles themselves were pretty fun. I wouldve's enjoyed them more if they weren't so frequent though.

- The story is actually pretty good for a first draft.

Also, I figured I was probably at the end, since the playtime was close to those 3 hours, glad I didn't miss much. Hope you finish this :)
As for the puzzle... well, I would really advise you to just keep the 3 lever one and have the 9 lever one guard like an optional area with good loot or something. Maybe I'm dumb, but I couldn't solve it for more than an hour.
Okay, bit of a progress update. I redid the encounter rate of the entire game, reducing encounters significantly. I adjusted XP and gold to compensate for the less encounters, while also further increasing gold amounts from enemies and chests. Also been fixing some random bugs and typos I've found along the way.

I'm going to hold of releasing an update until I finish the rest of Act 1. Right now it's roughly 60% complete, I hope to have it ready in a month or two.
author=Antilurker77
Okay, bit of a progress update. I redid the encounter rate of the entire game, reducing encounters significantly. I adjusted XP and gold to compensate for the less encounters, while also further increasing gold amounts from enemies and chests. Also been fixing some random bugs and typos I've found along the way.

I'm going to hold of releasing an update until I finish the rest of Act 1. Right now it's roughly 60% complete, I hope to have it ready in a month or two.


Great :)
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