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A very nice game.

Avarice is the winner of the game chill event made by Anamei Productions and Solitayre. It took me around straight 2.5 hrs to get both endings. This review is very spoilerific, it’s better to not read this review unless you have played the game yourself to completion.

Plot – 4/5
The plot revolves around a man named Vandeli who is searching for his missing amulet and Lexi, a very male-looking woman, who seems to have a bad reputation in the guild. As the game goes on, the two sides meet each other and decided to help each other. Vandeli says he was cursed and is looking for the amulet to free himself, where Lexi decided to help him.

It’s revealed that the gang of mages who has taken control of the three Kyderia ruins are Vandeli’s former comrades, the character’s intentions are revealed in a casual pace leaving the player not very confused or bored. The story ends with the player choosing a side and determines the future of Kandahan.

Unfortunately, due to the time limit, the ending isn’t as good as I hoped to be, I won’t say the plot is an entirely awesome masterpiece, but it’s definitely a good read. However, in terms of ending, the best one would be definitely be Lexi’s.

Characters – 4/5
If there’s one thing that’s great about Avarice, it has to be Vandeli. This ominous sorcerer often has witty dialogue to accompany with him and his personality as a pretentious jerk fits magnificently well. He’s the perfect example of someone drunk in power though, even reaching lengths of killing his own master and in my honest opinion, a total psychopath.

The other one is Alexis, or known as Lexi, who’s a very capable engineer. Unfortunately, whenever I think of Lexi, I can’t think of a way to describe her. She’s certainly not a bad character but at the same time I don’t really get her personality. She’s certainly not entirely good, nobody is, nor entirely bad either. She does seem to have bad relationships with the people she worked with, like in the intro saying she caused 5,000 Jade worth of collateral damage because of her usage of technology.

Somehow, the two of them mix together in perfect chemistry and their hilarious comments such as, compressing a specific NPC to a “singularity” and Lexi considering it, or frowning at an NPC spouting geographical history all of a sudden. This certainly gives them more character than what the plotline gives. It’s too bad that Lexi isn’t as developed as Vandeli due to once again, time constraints.

Graphics – 4/5
I have no comment over the graphics. I believe they have a nice balance. Nothing clashes as they use Mack RTP and the character art are well drawn by Yaoumei.

One thing though, I wish the HUD was better.

Gameplay – 3.5/5
I have a feeling that this is going to be the longest section.

The system is custom made by Anaryu, I believe it’s called the, “SERAPH Engine.” It’s a tile-based, action battle system that has several features accompanying it. One of these are the “Talents.” This system allows you to master specific skills that will help you in your quest to apprehend the three mages. Such as being able to get to certain places with your magnificent acrobatic moves, or being able to open certain doors that has treasures inside them, or learning runology that could help you cast stronger buffs from Runes lying around the place. This gives the setting more purpose than just random maps that you have to walk over to reach the next level.

The finest part of the gameplay, I believe, is the ability to have several weapons or elements that suits your liking. Depending on the character, the weapons they can use varies. Lexi has the ability to use any types of guns as well as melee weapons. But she definitely can’t use magic. Her weapons are very reliant on ammo, except the melee weapons such as whips or swords. Lexi can also use traps that are like the substitute for Vandeli’s curse skills, giving her a nice balance overall.

Vandeli on the other hand uses elements, runes and Gylphs. His elements definitely have their own quirks that make them extremely fun to use. One of them is Flame Pulse, it works like fireball but once it hits a spot, it explodes repeatedly on impact. Or Petal Storm that sets flying petals that can damage enemies or Cyclone that can suck in an enemy to a specific spot. One of my favorites is “Gust” that damages an enemy three times as well pushing them back. It’s one of the useful spells in the game. Vandeli can also use Runes and Gylphs that would cause positive or negative status effects depending on their purpose, Prison makes the enemy stuck in a specific position as soon as they stepped on the rune, there’s also Weaken that weakens enemy attack and so forth.

The issue I have with gameplay is that, despite how fun the system is, it’s the balance that bothers me. The game does offer Easy, Normal and Hard. For the first part of the game, you are pretty much thrown out and free to do whatever. You can apprehend any of the three mages in any order. Without knowing what’s going on. You might get wiped out at specific field that pretty much says, “You’re too weak LOL!” which made me rage for a bit I admit, partly since I’m horrible at ABS games.

I noticed that Vandeli is the best person to use for the first part of the game and Lexi delivering the final blow to the first mage with an imperial sword when he ran out of MP. I found Lexi’s first guns to be slow and weak at aiming considering the Talent Levels I have. I got myself a Scatter Gun and Rocket Launcher and Lexi pretty much owns afterwards. The thing is, Lexi’s weapons overpowers Vandelis by a huge margin that the rest of the game was pretty much Lexi Scatter Gunning and blowing my enemies into oblivion that Vandeli can only dream to do.

I found myself buying herbs more than caring about the weapons. I somehow get them when I am treasure hunting. It is a good thing though, considering that getting money is pretty hard and I don’t really feel like grinding. In fact, grinding is pretty much useless since by the time I reach the Final Battle, I had 3-4 Talents mastered and a few others with 2-3 points on them without even trying. Mastering Talents is very easy in this game as the enemies drops a lot of EXP.

I also have an issue with the aiming, somehow, even though my first 5 fireballs are in perfect alignment with any enemy like slimes, hornets, whatever, it misses and despite us being close. This makes me waste a lot of MP while cursing why it wouldn’t just, BURN them. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or a bug, but yeah.

Now here’s my real beef. For some reason, I found the normal enemies harder than the bosses themselves, probably because it’s like playing a Bullet Hell Shooter as I evade the amount of bullets and claws, and winds that enemies keep throwing at me when I did a wrong move. I admit that those specific events knocked out Vandeli once in a while, especially when I didn’t notice a bush or flower was in the way and I was too busy escaping.

Now for the bosses, the first person I fought, Razan, who I thought was about to summon some kind of Lovecraftian horror on me by summoning Cthulu or something, is somehow the hardest. The rest of the mages were easy as cake, in fact, it’s like taking a candy from a baby. I fought Haldez and Lexi pretty much kicked his ass with a Scatter gun in the span of a minute. Then Elyne which I pretty much just exploded to shreds in half a minute. Granted I have very high Elemental and Gun and Heavy Talents by this point but yeah.

Then there’s the FINAL BATTLE. Now this one is very dependent on the character, if you play as a Vandeli, then yes, I consider it as a fitting final boss battle as Lexi is like a walking Danmaku (Bullet Hell Curtain), spamming freaking grenades, bullets and, slashes like there’s no tomorrow. Then there’s Lexi’s route, which makes Vandeli hilariously easy as I explode his face with my Rocket Launcher making me weep how an awesome character got defeated just like that. I was hoping the Boss battles were more epic!

All in all, this section is way too long. But those are the ones that I can remember from the top of my head.

Music – 3.5/5
The music is pretty good, but there are some style clashes, specifically I think the final battle somehow doesn’t fit with the rest, at least with the quality of the audio and terms of style, but still amazing.

Overall: 4/5
It’s a great game but it’s probably not for everyone.

Posts

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Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
Your description of the final battles made me laugh. =)

You are right that I did not have enough time to develop Lexi. If you view a lot of the optional scenes (viewable by sleeping at the Guild after beating certain bosses) you do get some background about her, but not as much as I'd have liked.

I also couldn't make both endings as awesome as they could have been, though I personally like them both, in different ways.
Yeah, I saw the optional scenes as well :D
It did give me more of an idea how she's like but I still can't describe her in a way. Is it odd? 'w');;

I wonder if Vandeli would ever succeed in the ending tho, is it more of a mental thing that gives him that much power?
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
It's not odd, she was definitely lacking in defining personality traits. If I'd had more time I'd have emphasized her laid-back, devil-may-care attitude and some hints about her past and her brief foray into smuggling before joining the Guild. There are only so many hours in two weeks!

You are pretty much right about Vandeli, it's all in his head. I didn't get a chance to develop the setting much in such a short game, I originally developed it for a different project so there's plenty of other things going on in the world, so what he does isn't necessarily significant to the greater setting.

Anyway, thanks for the review!
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
Then there's the FINAL BATTLE. Now this one is very dependent on the character, if you play as a Vandeli, then yes, I consider it as a fitting final boss battle as Lexi is like a walking Danmaku (Bullet Hell Curtain), spamming freaking grenades, bullets and, slashes like there's no tomorrow. Then there's Lexi's route, which makes Vandeli hilariously easy as I explode his face with my Rocket Launcher making me weep how an awesome character got defeated just like that. I was hoping the Boss battles were more epic!


This seems spoilery!!! Unless you're supposed to know from the outset that the final boss fight will be against the other playable character? Sorry if I misinterpreted this.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
She put a spoiler warning at the top of the review. =)
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13829
I like how Max stated the spoiler AGAIN.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13829
Spoiling it.
sorry max but I said
This review is very spoilerific, it's better to not read this review unless you have played the game yourself to completion.


I'll put the spoiler warning in bold next time as it could be easily missable :(
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
You can edit this review at any time. Just click on your Submissions tab and click the edit button for this review.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
yeah sorry I tend to skim and I did completely miss that (stfu craze)
To be fair I missed the spoiler notice too. :D

Also, what's this "tile-based" stuff?! That's all pixel-perfect movement.
Many brain cells... died... to bring us this, er, create that (I should build a memorial or something.)

The rest of your issues are really my fault for presentation; I hoped to lead the player into better understanding of how some attacks worked better against some enemies through experimentation and how they were grouped, for example:

You mention "Gust" as a very solid power; that's because it's an area collision, so it hits anything within it's 'range' - this makes it ideal for small enemies that are hard to hit with bullets/projectiles. That's it's advantage over it's weaker attack power (melee also works like this.)

Some of the very fast enemies that hit hard and move faster than you are very weak against traps and wards.

Larger enemies are most easily dealt with by Lexi's concentrated firepower if you have the ammo, or clever use of Van's spells (which pack an equal wallop, Bolt was a personal favorite.)

The bosses could have used some extra difficulty added in there, but the difficulty levels unlock a lot of their more powerful attacks too, I didn't want them to make the game inaccessible on lower difficulty levels.

I'm a bit surprised you found normal enemies harder in some cases, again I attribute this mostly to fighting them with the wrong tactic (trying to gun down or use Fireball on tiny enemies, since their collision is pixel-perfect versus area, or trying to melee or hit fast enemies versus traps and sniping) which comes back to me needing to make it more clear.

Maybe make some additional tutorials as I introduced weapon types, and explain what rubric for enemy types more clearly. Maybe a tip system people can turn on/off? It's certainly things to think about since I do want to use this system again. :)
It was? I'm sorry I'm losing braincells while playing it since I've been betatesting too much 8D

Maybe make some additional tutorials as I introduced weapon types, and explain what rubric for enemy types more clearly. Maybe a tip system people can turn on/off? It's certainly things to think about since I do want to use this system again. :)


Definitely, it'll really help if I could understand the "area" of the skills :3
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