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Sacred Reviews: One-Screen RPG

Intro

I'll admit, I find myself a bit torn on whether I should rate "One-Screen RPG" by sword_bean or not. On one hand this project is described by the developer as an attempt to create a proof of concept for the core mechanics of a much more substantial project. Unfortunately this larger game was either never made or at the very least was never submitted to this site if it did get made.
On the other hand "One-Screen RPG" feels like a complete if rather short puzzle game. This is because the game's core mechanics actually work and aren't riddled with numerous unresolved bugs like "Pyro Act I". As such, I will be giving an overall score for this project.

Story

The only major short coming I can throw at "One-Screen RPG" off the top of my head is it's lack of a narrative. Admittedly this deficiency isn't that big of a deal since one can point to games like "Minesweeper". So having a narrative isn't strictly necessary for a game, but it is a nice thing to have. And this project really wouldn't need much to give the game a simple narrative hook like the heroes being on a quest for fame and glory by slaying a dragon and claiming it's treasure. Or maybe they could be on a quest for revenge against the dragon for ravaging their village. In short this game would be a bit better in my opinion if it came with a short opening text scroll giving a little context to why the heroes are tackling the dungeon at the heart of this game.

Gameplay

"One-Screen RPG" is a simple logic game where your given party members who can choose to perform one of two actions. These actions can range from flirting, fighting, pushing heavy objects, or unlocking doors/objects. I suppose some would point out that my list of actions includes four options, but each of the playable characters only has access to two choices from that list and those options are consistent throughout the game.

Your objective is to use those choices to advance through the levels and reach the blue door at the end of the stage. Or in the case of the last stage you need to figure out how to position the final boss so you can kill it. As such, you need to plan out how you'll approach any given stage. To make things more interesting a few of the later levels include crystals that can restore your character's action point. A feature that would definitely be more useful in a longer game, but in this project it basically means you need to approach puzzles with the mindset of how you can reach the end of the level or the next crystal with just three actions.

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective it's pretty easy to solve most of the puzzles in this game with one or two attempts since the amount of options available to you are pretty limited and most of the decisions you'll make are fairly obvious like taking out a slime monster by fighting it or getting a guard to move out of your way by flirting with them. In fact, the only choice that might give you a little trouble is probably the last one with the dragon since you might be tempted to just walk right up to it and fight it directly the first time you encounter it. A choice that will lead to you being turned into barbeque.

Graphics & Sound

As far as I can tell this project makes use of the default assets that come with RPG Maker VX Ace. As such "One-Screen RPG" doesn't really have a unique flavor or identity to call it's own, but to be fair the main purpose of this project was to show off the game's core mechanics. So I really can't fault sword_bean for not creating some custom artwork or music for this game.

Conclusion

"One-Screen RPG" is a rather simple logic game, but I feel like it's worth a look if you've got a few minutes to kill. After all, I managed to beat this game in under six minutes the first time I played it. On the upside the game's core mechanics are solid and could be used to create some truly fiendish puzzles if sword_bean introduced a few more actions as well as expanded the number of players in the party. That way the puzzles would have to be broken down into larger chunks and the increased amount of options would create more openings for the player to make mistakes.

As it stands if you truly wish to test your logic skills you'll need to turn to something like "El Dorado". At least if your looking for a puzzle game that will make you want to pull your hair out in frustration as you die over and over again in a bid to figure out the proper sequence of events to win. If your looking for a short puzzle game you can knock out in under ten minutes than I would definitely recommend "One-Screen RPG", but if your looking for something a little longer with a bit more variety in terms of puzzle types then I'd suggest taking a look at "Towerø".