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A trippy project that is hindered by underdeveloped gameplay and other minor issues.

  • Decky
  • 09/28/2010 10:55 PM
Space Funeral is a random game with interesting graphics, high doses of parody levied toward the RPG Maker community, and well-written yet strange dialogue. On the other hand, the game boasts mediocre and underdeveloped gameplay, as well as considerable design oversights and the occasional glitch. The near universally positive praise and assurances of brilliance leave me wondering: what am I missing? My guess is that some of these oversights in gameplay and design were intentional; however, this is a serious RPG Maker website, and I'm going to give it a serious, impartial review. Call me a prude or a twit, but that's how it is. I rate games based on my personal enjoyment and whether they accomplish their goals. The latter of those two reasons is probably why I'm giving this game an above average rating.

For the record, my review scale is: 0.5 = unplayable, 1 = very poor, 1.5 = poor, 2.0 = mediocre, 2.5 = fair, 3.0 = above average, 3.5 = good, 4.0 = great, 4.5 = excellent, 5.0 = perfect.


The all-custom graphics are nothing short of excellent. Each charset and chipset conveys three things: randomness, silliness, and spookiness. The colors and barriers clash like crazy, and many of the charset animations are silly at best. Houses (and their interior walls) are made out of skulls, and copious amounts of blood and other "creepy" things are to be found everywhere. In short, the graphics are very relevant and succeed on every level. Catmitts deserves extraordinary praise for this category.

There are some minor issues, such as pass-ability errors and the occasional difficulty in distinguishing objects and features, such as paths from cliffs. The final map of the game also features some awkward mapping, but that's just a nitpick -- you'll know what I mean when you play it. Another nitpick is the open space and awkward layout in some maps; I see a bit more potential in the usage of these chipsets! Overall, though, the graphics deserve a 4.5 out of 5.


Most of the sound effects are RTP, and I have no problem with this. A few of the sound selections seem to come from the NES/SNES eras, which is a nice touch. I did find it strange that Catmitts elected to use some default music, such as the mystery themes -- I assume this was part of the overall parody of RPG Maker games.

Overall, the music selection is quite interesting. Most of the songs sound straight out of Woodstock, or at the very least modern interpretations of that entire movement. While the selections are interesting, I find it difficult to award points based on relevance. This is actually one of the categories that has me baffled: people say the music fits the overall story and theme perfectly, but I don't see this at all. Yes, the music is trippy, but it's a different kind of trippiness -- I don't exactly envision Woodstock when I see these graphics. Some of the tracks are definitely relevant, such as the Pokemon theme, the battle music, and some of the horror-flavored tracks. Other selections make little sense but are very likable, such as the fort and tundra themes. The rest is a mixed back; I couldn't stand the Blood Cave "music", and the victory theme just strikes me as unfitting.

I think a 3 out of 5 is reasonable for the audio: the selections are mostly interesting, but a few are nonsensical and one or two are downright annoying to me.


I don't even know where to begin, nor do I know what's accurate or not. I'm just going to go with what I got out of this -- sorry if I'm wrong. For the sake of organization, I'm going to group "intent and overtones" into this category; to that end, I might make some references to gameplay or graphics.

(For what it's worth, most of the writing is solid.)

From what I've seen, the game's story is a parody of RPGs -- no, RPG Maker games in particular. The game's protagonist is constantly sad, much like the protagonists of various JRPGs and RMN games. We begin the game in his house, where his parents -- and his village -- seem to have shunned him. He's contaminated and a failure, and must head north to a city to find answers or thereabouts. The overall layout of the story is linear -- you progress to each area, get distracted by an obstacle, and progress until reaching the city. Along the way, you meet a "Leg Horse" -- I won't even begin to describe it. I'm also not quite sure what Leg Horse is meant to parody: sidekicks? Bossy secondary characters like Misty and that girl from Suikoden V?

Along the way, these two compelling characters deal with a blood-sucking wizard, criminals, and a character from Leg Horse's past. The scene regarding Leg Horse and the other character is downright awful, and I'm almost positive that it was a blatant parody at the horrible attempts at forced character development featured in most RPG Maker games. I bet it's based on a certain horrible scene from one of my own games! Maybe I'm over thinking it...

There are a couple hints embedded in cutscenes that suggest that nothing is exactly what it seems. These suspicions are indeed confirmed when the players make their way to the city and encounter the "antagonist". Spoilers ahead:


The thing behind the trippiness is "Moon". This "Moon" fellow was an artist who traveled to the city seeking to make something perfect. Once at the city, he realized that nothing could be made as perfect as the originals, so he went berserk and turned the world into a "grotesque mockery of itself".

So what was the original glory like? Well, you'll see in the ending. It's pretty obvious, but the ending confirms the parody in every way, shape, and form. The question is WHAT kind of parody? Is Catmitts mocking the RPG Maker community for being like "Moon" and trying to replicate the pros without success? That's my guess, but there's another option. Catmitts could be poking fun at newbies who try to emulate some of the classic RPG Maker games, like Hero's Realm, which gives meaning to the ending. You could really go both ways here!

Either way, it's a parody that generally succeeds. My beef is that, in my humble opinion, the humorous elements are not quite as cohesive or clever as they could be. Some of the parody is either lost by me or just plain doesn't fit, such as the "criminals" and some of the random enemies. The random Pokemon throwbacks is a nice reference to those fangames, of course, but I feel that there is some clear potential for improvement in the parody. I think Catmitts was going for equal parts randomness and parody, but I'm left a bit confused and wanting a bit more. And for me, confusion and missed potential takes away from my enjoyment of a story -- comedy, parody, or serious. 3.5 out of 5.


This is where everything falls flat for me. The gameplay is average, at best. On the bright side, there are plenty of sidequests, NPCs, items, skills, and not a single random encounter to be found. The "mystery" command is a nice touch; I got everything from an instant death spell to a full-heal. I approve of such a skill! Moreover, there are all sorts of neat items that have varying effects on enemies, and there are plenty of healing items and equipment to be found. Some of the equipment offer interesting trade-offs, such as increased defense at the cost of being poisoned.

Unfortunately, these cool features are underused and overshadowed by some problems. First, the game is far too simplistic and easy; enemies have low HP and pack little punch, so they can be offed with a few taps of "enter". Thus, all the skills and items -- including some detailed enemy movelists -- go to waste, and the entire battle system is left underdeveloped. That takes a lot of the fun away for me.

Some of the skills have balancing and/or logical issues. For instance, the physical attack skills are often weaker than regular moves, even early on! The buff/de-buff spells, as well as the status effects, have little purpose and don't really offer a significant advantage or disadvantage. I did like having the chance to use the Coin Trick ability against a certain boss, but even then it's not exactly rewarding. I also like the groups of frogs in the tundra area, as they would demand an area-of-effect bashing...if they had more HP.

There are a few basic puzzles in this game: switch-pushing, traps, and so on. All of them are elementary and none of them are annoying, which is a good thing to me. I did like the mummies in the pyramid, as they required a bit of thought to avoid. Unfortunately, there wasn't much punishment for colliding with the traps; I think most of them deducted 1 HP per collision. Thus, there was little incentive or feeling of satisfaction in avoiding the traps to begin with.

Glitches and designer oversights are moderate in this game. The screen-to-screen teleports are sometimes difficult to find, as they are often slapped against one of three empty edges of a map with little marking. An easterly teleport will often give way to a different direction, which as a little annoying. Some of the traps deal no damage upon collision, and a few enemies have strange movement patterns (I.E. fixed graphics).

I could get into an entire thesis on why the execution of this battle system does nothing for me; i.e. that it takes the reward out of using skills and strategy, that it makes exploring pointless, etc. I understand that Catmitts prefers straightforward, attack-only games, and I also understand that much of this was a parody of RPG Maker games in general. However, the score must reflect my own enjoyment, and I was quite underwhelmed by the fighting and the rather uninspired level design. 2 out of 5.


I hope I didn't seem overly harsh on this game. I truly enjoyed the graphics and even liked the parody aspects, but the gameplay wasn't exactly fun. The game IS short, and I think that helps mask some of the flaws regarding the skills and battles. There are definitely worse ways to spend an hour of your afternoon. My final verdict is a 3 out of 5: above average.

The Breakdown
Graphics: 4.5/5
Audio: 3/5
Story: 3.5/5
Gameplay: 2/5
Overall: 3.25/5


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I thought this game was compelling. The entire setting was intrinsically moving, far more so that I can usually find with any flavor of traditional RPG fare.

It also featured one of the most intelligently implemented ideas for a game I've ever played. What that idea was cannot be precisely quantified - you're talking philosophy of the mind type of stuff - and I think it's funny that there's some attempt to fit it all into the realm of RPG tropes here. That said, in some ways I think the game failed to deliver; the postmortem imagery and repetitions of "it's too late for you" never turned into anything important, for instance, and definitely the battles felt like an afterthought. The whole theme of sadness and death wasn't really developed, and I think the part at the end where it all came together was very rushed. I think it would have been cooler if the undoing of Moon's madness was a perfect arrangement of chaotic happenstance rather than a disembodied leg-creature's revenge quest... you know? Symmetry.

But then again, the blood wizard scene was probably the most intense thing I've ever seen in pixel form. Overall, I think the game did something and said something unusual and genuinely intriguing, even cerebral, which is really quite an accomplishment. Thanks for the game.

Thanks for the comments! I definitely agree that there's a lot of stuff which doesn't really get fleshed out that much, the game is kind of a mix between an actual idea being expressed and just throwing in stuff I thought was funny. The postmortem stuff actually is kind of a holdover from the first idea I was gonna make the game about, where it really did involve an elaborate funeral which turned out to be your own or something, but I didn't think that went anywhere and I changed it around when I was writing dialogue for the first wizard guy. I generally like scattershot approaches to this stuff although obviously your mileage may vary!!

I disagree about the end though! The point wasn't to show that Moon's ideas were selfdefeating or whatever (if nothing else they were actually a kind of warped version of my own opinions on this stuff) but rather if anything that she didn't go far enough, that despite all the weird stuff on top the game was still a fairly straight/traditional RPG in many ways and so it was kind of inevitable that people would fight to reclaim their reactionary boring rural idyll etc. I'm not explaining it well but it was kind of about the generic rpg stuff fighting against the awful world I made them live in aaaa that sounds awful maybe I should shut up huh
That thing you want but never who I am
No please keep going it is interesting!
I disagree about the end though! The point wasn't to show that Moon's ideas were selfdefeating or whatever (if nothing else they were actually a kind of warped version of my own opinions on this stuff) but rather if anything that she didn't go far enough, that despite all the weird stuff on top the game was still a fairly straight/traditional RPG in many ways and so it was kind of inevitable that people would fight to reclaim their reactionary boring rural idyll etc. I'm not explaining it well but it was kind of about the generic rpg stuff fighting against the awful world I made them live in aaaa that sounds awful maybe I should shut up huh

I actually thought the ending was subtly poignant, when they marched out of the castle into a generic rpgmaker background - so I did appreciate that aspect. Something beautiful was lost, even if that beauty was mired in a nightmare/discord landscape. And let me reiterate that I really enoyed this game.

But I'm just talking basics. Whiny nerd plot hole stuff. I don't know if you ever watched the Buffy series, but there's an episode which features something like the Great Change, wherein a sideline wannabe warlock suddenly becomes king of the world. It's a great episode because the whole world is completely taken unawares; everyone (but the audience) wholly accepts what's happened without thinking. So why does Leg Horse know what's going on when everyone else fits seamlessly into the Change? I'd assumed he'd have had more to do with the origin of the Change itself, but apparently that's not the case.

More than anything, I was a little surprised to find that Philip really had nothing to do with the story. I think most players who start getting into the game start to wonder what the significance of this character is who appears dead everywhere in a mostly-dead landscape. The fact that he can't stop crying indicates that he's on some level able to appreciate the horror of what's going on around him. I'd kind of imagined that Philip would somehow be at the center of either the problem or its solution - that perhaps the state of the world played into his nightmarish/twisted view of life or vice versa. It reminded me of an Aleister Crowley story where a psychic reads the mind of a dying man only to find that the agonizing process of death goes on forever and only gets worse and worse and worse as the mind further decays, the physical manifestation of hell within the mind. I'm no philosopher, but I remember one thing out of Socrates was that happiness is a state that exists basically irrespective of circumstance. I guess I saw the potential for an Earthbound-style ending, where Philip stopped crying... who knows? I dunno.

EDIT: Also Jacob's Ladder... am I just rambling now?
I guess I saw the potential for an Earthbound-style ending, where Philip stopped crying

It was too late for him... but yeah I know what you mean! Also it was less that Leg Horse was the only one who knew/remembered and more to do with his role in the game itself. Like it doesn't make sense in terms of an actual world being changed but it's more to do with a videogame that was changed/corrupted, like all the useless oneliner NPCs stay useless and oneliner except they're slightly more grotesque, and Phillip is just a generic silent rpg protagonist with no real motivations except now he has just enough offputting details to not quite fit. Leg Horse still has some degree of backstory though because it fits into a generic secondary-character archetype of you know deposed princes turned into frogs or whatever. This wasn't really developed in the game that much though and originally he was just going to talk in incomprehensible out-of-context lines from whatever the original game plot was ("Kronos is a tyrant... but he still deserves a fair trial!" or just random lines from Final Fantasy 3 (the end reveal was originally gonna show the game to take place in the world of Final Fantasy 3 but I haven't actually played it so I just used a generic rpg world (this explains the little ram heads too kinda))) but in the end I decided to make him a real character just to give the game some focus. These explanations are sort of contradictory actually but oh well.

also just to clarify I'm not trying to justify stupid shit in the game (dracula...) or say UGH YOURE GETTING IT WRONG or anything! i just like rambling about this stuff too and batting ideas around.

basically this game is a paper rad mario fangame.
Yeah, I'm more discussing than nitpicking. Most good pieces of (dare I say art?!?!) are problematic in certain ways, and picking at the problematic seams is fun! :)
Hey, your game is discussion-worthy! You don't get too much of that.
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