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Space Funeral gives somethings to think about

  • calunio
  • 09/22/2010 05:27 PM
  • 15031 views
Wow... how do I even begin to speak of this game.

I've always enjoyed catmitts's games because of their uniqueness, interesting and funny dialogs, peculiar graphical style and bizarre internal consistency. I always tried not appreciate his games not in a gaming perspective, but as gaming experiences (if that makes any sense).

None of this is different with Space Funeral.

What IS different is that this is an RPG, and it's made in RPG Maker 2003. I knew that catmitts had been working with rm2k3... but it surprised me that he pulled off a fairly decent RPG according to traditional RPG standards while still managing to maintain his style throughout.

Story-wise, I don't really know what this game is about. There is no intro whatsoever. You just start as a bulky guy named Phillip, and you talk to people. Most people say things that don't make any sense. Some of that is funny, some of that is just random. Other people say things that are directly related to what you have to do, and about the world you live in. Even considering the random stuff, all of the dialog do a good job in giving shape to this strange and unique universe. After some time, none if the writing seems random, they do their part in defining a very solid setting.

What can be told of the story is that you're looking, for reasons unknown, for a place named the City of Forms, where all original forms and concepts come from. Along the way you find people that will tell you how to get there, and even a guy that will join your party and come with you. Things start to make sense as you follow the game's linear path. There is an actual POINT behind everything, and it's a very good one. But don't expect motives.


He can't be any clearer.


What struck me the most about this game is that, at the same time it seems to use a very random selection of songs, "poorly"-drawn sprites and senseless dialog, everything is very well-tied together, and there's a strong sense of consistency that ultimately culminates in a world that feels alive, sad, disturbing and painful. Doing something like this without following common formulas is a real accomplishment.

The soundtrack of this game is really something else. Some of the songs are average, some are delightful, some caught me off-guard (Pokémon???), but none of it is unfitting.

Graphics are a bit messy, but quite charming. Some areas were really creepy, especially the Blood Cavern... creepiness that rivals some of The Longing Ribbon's scariest moments.


Yes, there is.


This game is a traditional RPG, so there are battles, skills and items. Overall I would consider this to be a good, or at least smooth part of this game, but I couldn't say they were really well designed. There were types of monsters, and specific items that dealt extra damage to specific types of monsters. There was also a wide skill selection, and many different restorative items. There was even a good variety of equipment. But none of this really made sense, because battles were far too easy. At the very beginning of the game there was a house were some muscle guys would tell you all about the rules of such battle mechanics. But understanding them isn't really important, because you don't need them to win any battle with just a few strikes without taking serious damage, including boss battles. But I'm not someone who complains about not being frustrated by battles, so it didn't bother me much.


You don't really need to know that.


At a given part of the game there was a handful of traditional puzzles. They were simple and fun enough, and I saw them as catmitts saying "hey, I can make normal game challenges too!". Yes, you can.

So, besides the thanfully unbalanced battles, my main complaints about this game would be... maps not having clear way outs, excessive amount of unnecessary NPCs in some areas (especially the town of Malice), and maybe a lack of better story direction... randomness WAS good, but maybe just a bit too much. My opinion.

What needs to be said about this game is that it's got one of the (if not the one) best ending I've ever seen in a videogame. Also, Space Funeral is exactly what you need to play if you're looking for inspiration on creating unorthodox and interesting RPGs without making it a mess.

Best catmitts's game yet by far, and definitely one of the best games in RMN.

Posts

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Thanks for the review! I definitely agree about the battles, I kind of based them around my own ridiculous lack of attention span for RPG fights and uh it definitely shows. A lot of people on other forums have said that they usually hate RPG battles but enjoyed these ones so maybe different audience etc but yeah they're very easy! They're like a cardboard simulation of battles instead of the real thing.

IDK if I'd call a lot of the stuff in the game random though because that was one of the things I wanted to avoid!! Like I hate that uh Monkey Friggin Cheese XD style tedious wackiness. Most of the NPCs here are just kind of exaggerated/warped versions of just generic RPG villagers and things. The idea was to take the already fairly bizarre speech patterns and conventions of rpg dialog ("i hear there's a werewolf in vanedia cavern!!" "welcome to chitilin! we sell armour and goods" etc) and kind of exaggerate it into something bizarre but still recognisable. This was kind of the general plan for the game, like even Phillip is just a generic voiceless protagonist with just enough weirdly specific details to be strange again. It's actually a weirdly traditional game in a lot of ways! There were definitely places in Malice etc where I kind of rushed them off though yeah.

edit aaa that was weirdly defensive, i just want to drive home to people that this isn't actually just RaNdoM jokegame #3426
This looks awesome!
How is it that some of these fly completely under my radar for so long?
post=203012
IDK if I'd call a lot of the stuff in the game random though because that was one of the things I wanted to avoid!! Like I hate that uh Monkey Friggin Cheese XD style tedious wackiness. Most of the NPCs here are just kind of exaggerated/warped versions of just generic RPG villagers and things. The idea was to take the already fairly bizarre speech patterns and conventions of rpg dialog ("i hear there's a werewolf in vanedia cavern!!" "welcome to chitilin! we sell armour and goods" etc) and kind of exaggerate it into something bizarre but still recognisable.

I'm sorry, you're totally right, maybe "random" wasn't a very good word for it, what you say makes sense and I noticed that during the game. I kinda tried to say that things start to make sense when you get feeling of the game, but maybe I didn't perceive this as clearly as you put it now.

I'll be playing it again soon. :D

--edit--
On a closer look, there ARE things that do seem RANDOM, like Leg Horse, some item names, etc. But I didn't mean that as a negative thing. And I know most (if not all of the lines) were carefully planned, not just pouring out the first things that came from your mind.
Ocean
Resident foodmonster
11243
Well it's a good thing that you posted this review, I wasn't aware that it was released already. I've downloaded it, I'll give it a playthrough soon!
yeah, the battles were a bit too easy

i actually played through the entire game on autobattle! none of the enemies (including bosses) were really a threat

still a cool game though
Yeah, I kind of wanted it that the skills and things would be an optional thing! Like people can just spam attack if they want and get by but if they mess with skills and items and Mystery commands they can do everything much quicker / easier and also have more fun with things (??).

Also Calunio ahahah yeah uh I'll probably have to concede Leg Horse and Dracula and Purple Drank and other stuff to just messing around, I was just trying to make sure people knew this wasn't just complete joke/novelty material.
I was just trying to make sure people knew this wasn't just complete joke/novelty material.


If it were, I wouldn't have liked it so much. I think anyone who plays this game to the end will notice that.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
So, besides the thanfully unbalanced battles, my main complaints about this game would be... maps not having clear way outs, excessive amount of unnecessary NPCs in some areas (especially the town of Malice), and maybe a lack of better story direction... randomness WAS good, but maybe just a bit too much. My opinion.


Okay, you can enjoy the scribbly graphics (they do, I admit, have some charm), and atmosphere is of course important... but how can you justify 4.5/5 stars for an RPG with a shitty main RPG mechanic (battles) and shitty ease-of-use ("clear way outs")?

It's perfectly fine that you enjoy the game, but how the hell is this is TOP-NOTCH, BETTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE game when it's not even balanced or set up well? That's just a "fuck you" to games that might not be involved with as many drugs but still work on being decent games.

Oh right, you made that hard-to-navigate and for-the-shits-and-giggles torture game. Sorry, I forgot.
The problem with anything on a scale is that things of equal value are not necessarily equal. So, if the game didn't have these issues it may be a 5/5, but who's to say that 5/5 wasn't worth 6/5? Then those issues may have only brought it down to a 4.5/5

I mean there's a difference between rating a game on how good you think it is and deducting from the score as you find things you don't like.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
I guess I feel that games should be rated based on how good they are at being fun games. Notice "fun games," not just "fun" or just "games."

Also, I dislike that mediocrity is AWESOME BEST GAME EVER

(catmitts, for the record, I respect you, but not your followers)

(also I played Molasses Meow a while ago and it was shitty but entertaining when I had no internet)
post=204704
I guess I feel that games should be rated based on how good they are at being fun games. Notice "fun games," not just "fun" or just "games."


Well, it is fun. Just because it isn't fun for the typical reasons a game is fun doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.

Also, I dislike that mediocrity is AWESOME BEST GAME EVER
This isn't mediocre! The battles are(although, due to the fact they are easy and they have the Mystery command, they are better than the majority or RM games I have played), but the writing is superb and the graphics definitely work with the rest of the game. And the soundtrack is very cool.

(catmitts, for the record, I respect you, but not your followers)
=(

(also I played Molasses Meow a while ago and it was shitty but entertaining when I had no internet)
Uh, I don't know what you were trying to say with this, but catmitts didn't make Molasses Meow.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
13865
All of his posts include subliminal messages to play it. I know he didn't make it.

EDIT: To clarify further, it was just an aside to him and has nothing to do with my bitchiness.
I would rate this 4.5 if I were to review it. To put it bluntly, this game does what it wants to achieve exceptionally, and that warrents a high score for me. Of course, diff. ppl have diff. criteria.
kentona
I am tired of Earth. These people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.
20836
Exactly what sunshine susan says - different people rate games based on different criteria. But that's why we give every member the ability submit reviews.
There's a reason I don't divide reviews and rates into Graphics / Sounds / Mechanics (not anymore, at least): because I believe a game CAN be awesome with bad graphics, or bad mechanics, or bad story, etc., as long as the bad part is not the focus of the game and is compensated by something else. I rate games based on my experience with them. Originally I was going to give Space Funeral a 4, but then I decided to raise it to 4.5 because it's a game I really loved and really gave me things to think about in terms of game design... serious business. You know, there aren't many games I actually enjoy playing these days, let alone games that make me THINK and GROW as a designer and player, so... well, what you should actually be asking "why not 5?"

I just think the premise of Space Funeral is very smart and clever, and that's why I love it. If I were to play another game very much like it right now, I probably wouldn't like it very much, because it wouldn't be as insightful.

So, yeah, I can appreciate the effort of someone who carefully balances each and every single number of a more gameplay-oriented game, but that's just no guarantee it'll be a good gaming experience. It does not equal fun. I'm old, I've had my share of regular RPGs (many Final Fantasys and derivates), and I do know it's hard to make a polished balanced RPG, but most of those aren't really good gaming experiences for me, they're more like flashbacks. Fifteen years ago when I played FFVI, I used to spend hours walking randomly on the world map just so I could take random encounters, level up my group and learn skills. That's not the type of thing I look for in games anymore. I'm sorry for appreciating a game that tries hard to do something different and interesting, because I know that doing things that have been done plenty of times is also hard, but they're just not that interesting.

And I'm not a blind catmitts fan... I've reviewed his games before, but none I liked this much. And I'm not saying this is OMG BEST GAME EVER, there are very specific reasons why I like this game. But maybe you're just jealous of the rating and didn't bother to carefully read my review, so whatever.
aaa anything i write is gonna come off as a gross defensive nooo-my-worthless-star-rating thing but alas. . . mayhap our roles are already set ~ vivi ff9. I don't care about ratings since they're always worthless buuut

That's just a "fuck you" to games that might not be involved with as many drugs but still work on being decent games.


That was basically the purpose of this game. Like if you want to talk about beating off over mediocrity let's talk about the legions of incredibly worthless and boring anime games which get halfhearted props because the creator spent a lot of time polishing up the dialogue of the stupid derivative characters into something which is vaguely acceptable to illiterate 15-year-olds if they squint or smearing lighting effects over everything like Thomas Kinkade with a Blingee account or making sure the fucking chipsets line up properly or balancing the numbers or all the other ways people try to gild their boring fangame garbage. The combat in this game is fairly awful and that's a completely valid reason to hate it but if you're gonna try to use this as some kind of cautionary tale to prod people back into that absolutely disgusting and pathetic circlejerk horseshit about sufficient levels of polishing being more important than some absolute minimum level of thought or actual creativity than nah gonna have to vehemently disagree *rolls up sleeves to reveal anchor tattoo* because even more so than ripped graphics or poor gameplay I'd say that's (rightly) 100% of the reason why noone with any kind of taste or standards worth caring about regards RPG Maker games as anything other than a bad joke.
is this the next rmn drama topic.... where are the iron gaias of yesteryear....
wait didnt i make this joke already
YDS
member of the bull moose party
2441
those are very long sentences

for the record, i had a lot of fun playing Space Funeral and it was probably the only LT where I wasn't cussing every thirty seconds. idk that is all i really care about ......
hi. that paragraph is 100% true and i hope to play this game someday.
Balance(lack there of) is only a problem when it impedes or annoy the player. It is only a flaw when it is favorable towards the player, i.e. your character's are significantly more powerful than your foes. This is a flaw that is overcome with the sheer number of good things that exist in this game.
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