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Great game idea, fun, small mistakes in execution

I must say I really love this game. The way it is designed feels a lot like a Pen&Paper game, but it combines it with JRPG elements. I can almost say that this seems to be the best game setting I've ever seen.

You, the wanderer, come to a village to discover its mysteries. Your resources and time is limited to uncover them. You can only rest a limited amount of time but resting is the only way to fully recover for free.

Story - The story is really good even though there isn't actually much story. Due to the setting it's just good by default. On top of that there are many dialogues which are really well written. Also the rhythm the letters appear fits to the way a normal person would talk. This is done really well. For its setting everything here is perfect: 5/5

Graphics - I think most of the graphics are taking from RPG Maker sets, the monster sprites look original, though. Some sprites, especially the boss sprites don't really look very good, the resolution is too low for their size. Since not all are original and the self-made ones could be better I have to subtract a point. I still count it above average because the graphics are well used and there are many effects like rain, snow and darkness that improve the atmosphere: 4/5

Music - The music is really good, but I think it's not original either (correct me if I'm wrong, I haven't heard the music before, but one melody sounded like a Touhou theme). The music works really well with the atmosphere and I really like some of the battle themes. If it was all original I would give it a perfect score, but as I think it isn't I'll give it: 4/5

Gameplay - The difficulty is really well done, it gives you a good challenge but that's not impossible or unfair. The game offers a difficulty setting and easy is still quite challenging but do-able for anyone. It's really nice that the game is accessible for everyone this way. One flaw here is the balance. First of all, the power of the weapons isn't well balanced. Pure weapons that only use one type (Melee, Ranged, Force, Psychic) are a lot stronger than combined weapons, even if both relevant stats are maxed out. The only character with Tenacity as main stat joins last, but you have two of each of the other types early on. Also guns seems to be very useless, they deal not only less damage than pure weapon, but also make you 3 times slower.
Apart from this, the game also doesn't really tell you where to go so you might stumble in too hard (or even too easy) enemies. Better idea - make the difficulty of a battle depend on the current day. So on day 1 all encounters will be easy and then they slowly get harder each day. I think this actually happens to a low extend already, but would be nice if it was done for all encounter spots.
Combat is really good. I really like how the battle system shows the ATB bars of the monsters because that adds a lot of strategical elements. Haven't seen this design before, would wish to see something like this more often. Also the fact that it's fairly real time is fun.
Except for the balancing issues mentioned above, everything is great: 4.5/5

Stability - The game is mostly bug-free, there is only one single missing wall that I managed to find. The game crashes after a battle if you equip certain items (apparently the after battle script they use doesn't exist). Some songs don't really loop so if you stand too long in a section there won't be any music anymore. Sometimes there is a scene or warp-in in a bad position so that a monster has time to move next to you before you can even move so you are forced into an encounter, other than that I really can't complain about anything. As it's mostly bug-free I'll only subtract half a point: 4.5/5

Story - 5/5 (perfect setting, very good dialogues)
Graphics - 4/5 (not all original, partly low res on original sprites, helps atmosphere)
Music - 4/5 (great music selection but not fully original, helps atmosphere)
Gameplay - 4.5/5 (challenging and fun, but partly balancing issues)
Stability - 4.5/5 (stable and almost bug-free)

Total - 4.5/5


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Actually I managed to get the game to crash now. There is an accessoire that is said to recover willpower after battle, but if you equip it you will crash after a battle instead of getting willpower. Reduced stability score from 5/5 to 4.5/5 because of that.
Thanks for the review, and sorry for the belated response. I'm the writer/scenario design/lore guy for this project, and wrote almost all of the dialogue, except for some of Alphonse's lines in the tavern and a few random small out of the way bonus events. Craze is the guy that worked on the battle system and who did most of the mapping. He probably put way more effort into this than I did, but I'm happy you liked the writing, for what it's worth. =)

To clarify something about the graphics: none of them were by us. They were all a part of a monster set made by a Japanese artist. I'd give a link but I'm not sure the site exists anymore. The thought of making custom art for this game did cross my mind at the time but we only had about three weeks to make this project initially so that idea never came to anything, and by the time we started working out the bugs for the project a few months later we had forgotten. :P

Anyway, glad you enjoyed this old project of ours in spite of its flaws!
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