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The legend of the Uchioniko... with default assets!

  • Fflo
  • 12/23/2021 07:14 AM
I challenged myself to write a review during Secret Santa 2021. Writing reviews is not a habit but I've always considered 2021 to be the year of challenges. I've started to learn Ren'Py, I've participated to my first ranked game jam in March... Oops, I'm telling my life.

So... Who had the honor to receive a review for one of his/her games? I was given the name of Marrend. I know this guy, he often registers to gamedev events, like me.

He desired to get some art or some written content for his game named Uchioniko MZ. Graphics are not my strong point at all so I chose to write a review.
I've already sent him a PDF presentation which details this review.

Uchioniko MZ takes place in Japan. Ruri is a student who's been transferred to Iwayama High. Her project is to befriend with all of her schoolmates! Their teacher organizes a trip to the mountains to study the legend of the Uchioniko: a 6-women army which fought a group of bandits based in the Iwayama Mountains. However, events will turn bad as a student will be attacked by some strange creature.

The fights are not the game's main gameplay element. It focuses more on building relationships with Ruri's schoolmates.
You only need to touch a monster on the mountain's map to start a battle!

These fights have a huge problem. Ruri is alone (at the beginning of the game) and she must fight monsters by groups of 2. Usually, her strong physical attack is enough to eliminate a monster in one attack. But the Agility stat completely outbalances the fights.
Each fighter has an Agility stat. Its value defines the order of the actions during the turn. A fighter with 25 Agility will attack before the fighter with 23 Agility. That's the most basic case. On RPG Maker, each Agility receives a random point boost between 0 and (25% Agility + 5) each turn. This means that the fighter with 23 Agility may act before the fighter with 25 Agility!

I lost at least 5 times because of a unfavorable Agility boost. This lack of Agility even prevented me from fleeing! Lucky for me, the turn order is fixed when Ruri reaches LV3.

The heroines' skills are interesting even if the game's short length prevents from creating strategies from these skills.

Level Design
Mapping is classic. Default resources are used. A modern/futuristic pack has been added to make the player understand that the story takes place in the 21th century.

Mixing tiles from different assets breaks the immersion. The elements from the futuristic tileset are way bigger than those from the default inside tileset! The book is as big as the laptop!

The map of the mountain is better, even if it lacks a little ambition. A passage error exists here which makes me go through the cliff by walking on a grass patch.

The method for progressing is repetitive. You just have to talk to all of Ruri's schoolmates "each day" to trigger cutscenes which will make the story progress.
Bug: when I choose "Go to Iwayama Mountains", interactions with the other schoolmates done before are not registered. Everything happens normally if I choose "Go back home". I had trouble to realise I didn't progress in the story because of this.

The succession of interactions makes the story progress. I really enjoyed reading about a Japanese legend in a game whose universe is inspired by Japan. Effective immersion.
Ruri's schoolmates are a little cliché: the tomboy, the bookworm, the cool guy. They are charismatic, however. I am looking forward to learn more on them.

The game doesn't use a lot of soundtracks. Some choices are questionable (title screen music has an 8-bit style, which is odd) but others are good. Maybe the sound ambient is a little too calm overall.

Final score
What can we say about Uchioniko MZ? I disliked some things but the overall quality stays fine. The game doesn't have a lot of content, default assets are predominant, some technical flaws exist; but that wasn't catastrophic at all.
Every flaw I've mentioned is easily and quickly fixable. Overall, it lacks a little something to make me say "I like this a lot!". I will stay tuned for the next enhancements.

3 / 5
"Fine. Could've been better but could've been worse, too."


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Guardian of the Description Thread
Thanks for giving this a go, and for giving your opinions! While I agree there isn't too much content to play, and combat might be a punishing, I tried addressing the combat with an incoming update, as well as that one bush-tile you screencapped.

Music was generally copy-pasted from the original game, with maybe a few songs that have been replaced. They are tied, conceptually speaking, to the game, and I found it hard to part with some of them. However, I can't deny that having some consistency with the styling would go a long way. Like, there is this sense, at least in my head, that the soundtrack are performed/sung/written by Sei-chan?
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