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Repetitive Quest

Not having a lot of experience with RM2k3 games, I wasn't sure what to expect going into Retro Quest. My first surprise after unzipping the game was that the executable was not the installer for the game, but for the (Japanese) RM2k3 RTP. After navigating the Japanese menu to install it, I was able to run the game itself. I don't know whether or not RPG Maker 2003 is capable of turning off the RTP dependency, but doing so would've made the installation process a lot smoother and almost surely would've cut down on the filesize, since I doubt Retro Quest makes full use of the RTP.

The second surprise which awaited me was the almost-unreadable font. Several letters appeared indistinguishable and there were some cases where I couldn't tell if a letter had been forgotten or if it was simply overlapping with an adjacent character. This made reading the messages particularly difficult and made discerning numbers nearly impossible. I don't know if this was some problem with not including the right fonts or if I made some mistake during installation (which, since it was in Japanese, I wouldn't rule out), but it made reading any text printed in the game a huge strain on the eyes.

Gameplay: 0.5/5

The gameplay is standard fare for every other RM2k3 game out there. You only have a single party member, the aptly-named Hero, who can perform a single special attack. The gameplay consists of walking aimlessly around a dungeon hitting random encounters every 2-3 steps and mashing enter while waiting for your ATB bar to fill. Unfortunately, the enemies take far too many hits to kill and there's no free healing. More often than not, I found I was making less money from battles than I needed to purchase healing items to replenish the HP/MP I spent in the fight.

Although you can get full HP/MP healing (for a fee), it requires you to trek all the way across the castle to a specific room. Unless you happen to be in an adjacent room, this is completely impractical; if you're in need of healing, you will certainly die on the trek back to the healing room. Not only can you not escape from battles, you also can't use items in battle! If you don't go into every battle at max HP, it's almost a guarantee that you will die. Considering the rate of random encounters and how sparse money is, you'll quickly find yourself bankrupt just trying to survive.

I ended up being incapable of finishing the game. I was stranded in the middle of a room with no money, 10 HP, and no MP. Within three steps, I was guaranteed to get a random encounter, resulting in my death. No amount of savestating would get me more than three steps in any direction before my death. At this point, my only choice was to restart the game, which I didn't, since the game was unentertaining, uncompelling, and unfairly difficult.

Story/Writing: 1/5

The writing is pretty bad. There's nothing wrong with the spelling or grammar (as far as I could tell) but the characterization and story are nonexistent. The first line of the game is "Gotta love alcohol!". It doesn't get much better from there. The dialogue lacks character and exists solely to carry you from point to point with only the most minimal of explanations. The story is that the princess is in danger and you have to save her. Why? Because you feel like it, I guess.

There isn't much more to be said about the writing; there's so little of it that there's not much to comment on aside from how bland it is and how shallow the premise is.

Graphics/Level Design: 1.5/5

The graphics are in plain black and white and seem to simulate old Game Boy game graphics. In that regard, I guess the graphics accomplish what they're shooting for. There's nothing particularly impressive or appalling about the graphics. They're very simple and lack detail. The level design leaves much to be desired, however, with most of the maps being repetitive and boring. Frequently, my path was blocked by a line of identical objects that I couldn't identify, which looked particularly unattractive. There's not much else to say about the visual aspect of the game, aside from the font issues mentioned earlier.

Audio: 1.5/5

I hardly noticed the audio. I don't know if it's RTP or what, but there was nothing to write home about. It wasn't appallingly bad, but it was completely forgettable and repetitive. I guess not remembering anything about it is better than remembering something bad about it.

Suggestions
- Playtest your game before releasing it. Have beta testers offer their thoughts on game balance and variety.
- Have some more varied environments.
- Add party members.
- Give some way to get free healing, even if it's difficult.
- Test your game on multiple machines. Have other people go through the installation process and see if they encounter any difficulties.

Bottom Line
Retro Quest is a poorly-balanced and repetitive game reminiscent of old (very old) RPGs. There's little innovation or creativity to be found and the gameplay is far from rewarding.

Posts

Pages: 1
May be my opinion, but seems as if you are reviewing this game based on your feelings against the engine in general as well as games this is trying to emulate verses the actual game itself. I've played this game myself and loved it, but I can respect that others will not enjoy it. It's a matter of preference. But I can't really understand why a person would bother to play such a game when they seem to not care for retro style games to begin with.

Case in point # 1: You stated that the gameplay is "standard fare" yet you give it 1/2 a star. Does this mean you consider most rpg's gameplay to be a 1/2 star rating, and if so why play rpg then? Or if not, perhaps you can elaborate on why you feel it deserves 1/2 star. You mentioned it was difficult, but that again goes back to what this game is trying to accomplish, which is to reflect on past NES/Gameboy style games, thus the name "Retro" in the title.

Case in point # 2: You mentioned the poor writing. Again, this reflects the style of game from the ancient NES days. Even the SNES had absurd points of dialogue ("spoony bard" anyone?), but a retro style game wouldn't be the same without it.

Case in point # 3: You put down the graphics, yet acknowledge that they seem to be simulating an old Gameboy game.

Admittedly, this is not a perfect game. It does require a lot of level grinding, and when you do level up and purchase certain pieces of equipment, you do get a lot stronger. As for not being able to escape from battle or use items in battle, I'm not sure what game you are referring to, because I was able to do both when I played it.

But one has to reason for playing such a game, they have to have a fond appreciation for games of old (Commodore, Atari, NES), as well as rpg's in general. Otherwise, why play in the first place? There is a category on images that would have shown what type of game this really is. As for reviewing, I personally think it is an attack against the genre verses the game. It wouldn't be fair for me to criticise a side scrolling game and grade it low simply because I don't like the genre.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
The reason I reviewed the game is because I was assigned to review it for an event.

Case in point # 1: You stated that the gameplay is "standard fare" yet you give it 1/2 a star. Does this mean you consider most rpg's gameplay to be a 1/2 star rating, and if so why play rpg then? Or if not, perhaps you can elaborate on why you feel it deserves 1/2 star. You mentioned it was difficult, but that again goes back to what this game is trying to accomplish, which is to reflect on past NES/Gameboy style games, thus the name "Retro" in the title.

The gameplay is indeed standard fare in terms of design, but I clearly pointed out the reasons for its low score. The game is boring and repetitive with no strategy required, no innovative mechanics, and nothing to do other than to mash enter as you walk from random encounter to random encounter. There's a difference between being difficult and being unfair due to lack of thought into game design and balance. Making a "retro" game is not an excuse to neglect basic design principles.

Case in point # 2: You mentioned the poor writing. Again, this reflects the style of game from the ancient NES days. Even the SNES had absurd points of dialogue ("spoony bard" anyone?), but a retro style game wouldn't be the same without it.

That's not an excuse. If the writing is bad, it's bad. Just because every other game in the genre has bad writing doesn't make the writing any better. I don't look at games in comparison to other games in their genre, I look at games as games that should stand up on their own merits.

Case in point # 3: You put down the graphics, yet acknowledge that they seem to be simulating an old Gameboy game.

If you're emulating poor graphics, then you're aspiring to have poor graphics yourself.

I believe I've laid out my reasons for the score very clearly. The very best parts of the game were acceptable at best, while most elements of the game were subpar or just plain bad.
@amerkevicius
From the sounds of it the balance of battles sucks.

Tell me what sucks about the dialogue in Final Fantasy Legends 3?

Points for graphics include mapping, which is said to be poor.


someone's gonna say it: write your own review.



I'm a big fan of old gameboy games, especially the gb FF series. I own the cartridge for Legends 3 and Adventure and beat them several times, as recent as a year ago. I play emulators more than any new console/PC games. But if a game has crappy fights/poor maps/lame dialogue there is no way I'm going to enjoy it (even though that 'nostalgic' feel is there)

Nostalgic does not mean shitty, I hate when people say that :( I can only guess they are referring to a small section of games that have some pieces of bad dialogue and apply that to all games of that time period. I just don't understand that logic.
Well, Captain Obvious, maybe you would have seen that I wrote my own review, the very first one to be in fact.

As for me criticising this review is because of what was written. He starts off talking about the RM2K3 upset over the filesize and the font. That's due to the engine, not the game designer, and a bit of research would have shown how to fix some of his problems due to the font.

His first line in gameplay was how this is standard fare, how you are a single character, walking aimlessly around dungeons, and fighting tough enemies. Sounds like half the rpg's I played on NES. So he doesn't like it. How does that equate a 1/2 star rating? Because he wasn't pampered along like next gen games? He stated he couldn't use items in battle or run from enemies. Then my assumption is he either doesn't know how to play an rpg, or had a corrupt file, because those weren't problems I faced playing the game.

As for writing, I'll give it to him it could have been better, but not deserving of a 1 star rating considering (again) half the games I played back in the days of NES had pretty bad dialogue, if any at all. I don't quite understand the 1.5 rating for graphics and then acknowledge they simulate Gameboy games and say "In that regard, I guess the graphics accomplish what they're shooting for". So if they accomplished their goal, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume a 1.5 rating for graphics and level design was a smidge too low?

Audio: He states it was not appalling bad, but yet gives it an appalling low score of 1.5. If it's not bad, not great, but maybe forgettable, sounds sort of average to me.

And while I'm on the subject, his overall rating is 1/2 star. Now, I don't agree with his rating for his categories, and I'm not an expert when it comes to math, but he has 4 categories rated as such: 0.5, 1, 1.5, & 1.5. Last I checked, that's an average score of 1.125 out of 5 stars, not the 1/2 star he gave it. If he's going to review a game as an assignment, perhaps he should do without being biased and at least get the score correct.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
As for me criticising this review is because of what was written. He starts off talking about the RM2K3 upset over the filesize and the font. That's due to the engine, not the game designer, and a bit of research would have shown how to fix some of his problems due to the font.

Only an amateur designer hides behind their engine. When you choose to use an engine, you either have to overcome its limitations or accept that your game will suffer because of them. That said, the player shouldn't have to "do research" to get the game to run. There should be a readme included that walks the player through the steps of getting the game running properly. I could hardly be assed to do it and I had decided to review the game; how can the creator expect a player who downloaded it on a whim to go through these hoops?

His first line in gameplay was how this is standard fare, how you are a single character, walking aimlessly around dungeons, and fighting tough enemies. Sounds like half the rpg's I played on NES. So he doesn't like it. How does that equate a 1/2 star rating? Because he wasn't pampered along like next gen games? He stated he couldn't use items in battle or run from enemies. Then my assumption is he either doesn't know how to play an rpg, or had a corrupt file, because those weren't problems I faced playing the game.

Just because there are commercial games that do it doesn't mean it's good practice. The problem isn't the dungeon crawling or difficult enemies but the fact that there's nothing innovative about the way they're presented. There is nothing interesting or rewarding about the gameplay. I've played plenty of RPGs, so if I couldn't figure it out, it was a fault of the game for not having sufficient self-documentation. If the gameplay is boring, a chore, and without interesting challenge without any redeeming qualities, that sounds like a 0.5/5 to me.

As for writing, I'll give it to him it could have been better, but not deserving of a 1 star rating considering (again) half the games I played back in the days of NES had pretty bad dialogue, if any at all. I don't quite understand the 1.5 rating for graphics and then acknowledge they simulate Gameboy games and say "In that regard, I guess the graphics accomplish what they're shooting for". So if they accomplished their goal, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume a 1.5 rating for graphics and level design was a smidge too low?

Just because he modeled the game's writing after games with bad writing doesn't excuse him for having bad writing. The same point stands for the graphics. I'm not going to give this game a good score for having "not bad" graphics, because that's an insult to other games with better graphics. No effort was put into the graphics or making them appealing.

He states it was not appalling bad, but yet gives it an appalling low score of 1.5. If it's not bad, not great, but maybe forgettable, sounds sort of average to me.

The audio is merely "acceptable." Average to me is "pretty good." This game's audio was not pretty good.

And while I'm on the subject, his overall rating is 1/2 star. Now, I don't agree with his rating for his categories, and I'm not an expert when it comes to math, but he has 4 categories rated as such: 0.5, 1, 1.5, & 1.5. Last I checked, that's an average score of 1.125 out of 5 stars, not the 1/2 star he gave it. If he's going to review a game as an assignment, perhaps he should do without being biased and at least get the score correct.

My final score isn't an average; it's my overall impression of the game. I'm not going to write up a grading rubric for how I come to the average because there's no formula for it. I don't average together all the categories because the categories are arbitrary constructs and don't apply equally to every game. In some games, such as this, gameplay should be weighted more than story, making an average of the categories a poor way of determining a final score.
Actually, I'm more like Captain Lazy. I didn't do my research, sorry about that.

I won't go into everything you mentioned, as most of it is directed towards Sailerius(*edit:and he already posted). I wasn't intending to get into a battle with you.

The filesize probably didn't factor into the review score and yes, the font thing was his fault(but raises a good point about the creator telling the player about it). He stated he doesn't have experience with 2k3. The filesize wasn't that big actually and was probably just a suggestion. It is pretty easy to exclude the RTP in 2k3.

'random encounters every 2-3 steps and mashing enter '
'I found I was making less money from battles than I needed to purchase healing items to replenish the HP/MP I spent in the fight.'
'Not only can you not escape from battles, you also can't use items in battle!'

These were the main points I got from gameplay, which sounds horribly unbalanced as opposed to challenging/old school. If you can't item heal in battle, then you would have to have a spell (or autoheal after battle). If you only find spells that means you don't start off with a way to heal in battle. That's a bad idea and I never played a gb/nes RPG with those problems.

I can't really speak on the other points, I'd have to see/hear the game. Which I might now just to see what it's like.

I don't feel that a review score has to be a sum of all parts, because in some cases each section can be relatively low and still the game could get a decent score. Or the opposite, like here, where the score is lower than the sum.

I don't really see this as biased. Your defending of this game could be considered biased. Maybe?

About your review, why don't you just copy the text of your review, delete it, then paste it in a new review and give it some stars. Now that there are other reviews with stars, the name of your review won't trump seeing a low score on the game page.
Regarding the item/run point. I commented on that over in the other area, but heres the main problem I think he had here. He didn't scroll down to see if the menu scrolled down, and if he had, you would of encountered flee, and items. In fact, I would of lost to the fiends if there was no item command. As far as the encounters, mercenaries were a good resource of money for me, when I needed to stock up before a boss. Later on after you kill a certain fiend, there is the waterway option, but you may find yourself using items and making less in that area.

If not for that, his main point of having to run across the castle to heal would have been partially true. I didn't really find the enemies very threatening myself, but if it came to it, why not just buy some mobile items from the shop, and use that to heal? It may be a tad more expensive than using the shop if your healing quite a bit, but it's always there if you get down to that point. I'd say there are some areas that could use some modifying, but everything is fine for what he is going for, as it's not really imbalanced or anything. If anything, he can do that in the sequel.

My points are to stop the arguing. Granted he may of been a little rough in his review, but reviewers do tend to do that to push game makers into striving to make there games even better. If anything, I think he should of been more thorough, so that he didn't put points that really didn't make sense (flee/items anyone?). Not meaning to criticize ya, but the fact ya didn't notice them is hilarious. Always check for a scroll down menus when playing rpgs!
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
author=undefined
If not for that, his main point of having to run across the castle to heal would have been partially true. I didn't really find the enemies very threatening myself, but if it came to it, why not just buy some mobile items from the shop, and use that to heal? It may be a tad more expensive than using the shop if your healing quite a bit, but it's always there if you get down to that point.

I believe I mentioned that I couldn't do that because I was stuck in a position where I was broke, out of items, and low on health--there was literally nothing I could do to progress; I couldn't win the next battle since I was out of items and I couldn't buy more items since I was out of money. I was spending money on items faster than I was making it back.
Okay, I probably won't sleep until I get this off my chest. I want to apologize for being a dick, and you're probably right, I am probably a bit biased based upon my love for retro style games. I understand the market may not have been as well accepted, but I think what the developer was going here was a sort of trip down memory lane, and in some parts a bit of a parody. It may not have been well executed as it could have been, but I felt it was better than what the 1/2 star called for. It's just a matter of opinion, after all.

But I like the idea of reposting so that my score will show up. I'll do that when I have more time.

Okay, now I can sleep and dream peaceful dreams.
author=undefined
That's not an excuse. If the writing is bad, it's bad. Just because every other game in the genre has bad writing doesn't make the writing any better. I don't look at games in comparison to other games in their genre, I look at games as games that should stand up on their own merits.


"This game achieved exactly what it intended to, but I hate oldschool RPGs so the game sucks" (is what i'm hearing). Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who believe nostalgia to be a good thing, just because you don't doesn't mean you should try and turn people away from a game that many will feel IS nostalgic. It DOES excuse bad writing and graphics, because it is EXACTLY what retro gamers are looking for and expecting. Failing to acknowledge this makes me feel like I'm being manipulated, which means the review as a whole is very poorly executed.

You want your engage your audience, not isolate them for being old fogies like me.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
author=undefined
author=undefined
That's not an excuse. If the writing is bad, it's bad. Just because every other game in the genre has bad writing doesn't make the writing any better. I don't look at games in comparison to other games in their genre, I look at games as games that should stand up on their own merits.
"This game achieved exactly what it intended to, but I hate oldschool RPGs so the game sucks" (is what i'm hearing). Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who believe nostalgia to be a good thing, just because you don't doesn't mean you should try and turn people away from a game that many will feel IS nostalgic. It DOES excuse bad writing and graphics, because it is EXACTLY what retro gamers are looking for and expecting. Failing to acknowledge this makes me feel like I'm being manipulated, which means the review as a whole is very poorly executed.

You want your engage your audience, not isolate them for being old fogies like me.
I don't mind if you disagree with my opinion, but I would appreciate your not constructing a straw man and using it to discount my viewpoint by arguing against things I didn't say.
haha amerkevicius, you didn't come off as a a dick, imo, just...passionate :P

sbester, the thing is that making this type of game doesn't excuse bad writing and design. those things are excused by you, the retro gamer, because of your love of the style. im on both sides here, i am one of the biggest retro gamers but i also crave good design.

im gonna play this tomorrow and we'll see what a hybrid retro gamer has to say
author=undefined
Case in point # 2: You mentioned the poor writing. Again, this reflects the style of game from the ancient NES days. Even the SNES had absurd points of dialogue ("spoony bard" anyone?), but a retro style game wouldn't be the same without it.

author=undefined
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who believe nostalgia to be a good thing, just because you don't doesn't mean you should try and turn people away from a game that many will feel IS nostalgic. It DOES excuse bad writing and graphics, because it is EXACTLY what retro gamers are looking for and expecting.

When games are rated out of five stars, unless you grade on a curve whereby you allow retro games a lot of leeway in nearly every category, games such as the above will be rated low. Reading reviews by a reviewer that doesn't give a low rating for bad writing and bad gameplay in some circumstances would make star ratings pretty hard to interpret, as they wouldn't all be comparable.
So I played this game. It's not good, even for a retro game.

I was really digging the graphics/music/and some sounds, but that's not the issue. It is so horribly unbalanced. Your too weak and don't get enough money. If that was fixed this game would be playable. As it stands it's a chore to play. I gained 3 levels and dealt 1 more point of damage and was dying just as fast. Have you ever played an RPG where the first monsters are as strong, if not stronger, than you? Plus I couldn't afford to buy a new weapon. My skill does 1 more damage than a normal attack and I ran out of MP. The healer costs a whopping 25g! which if you do that more than once your a sucker. You'll waste your money. The only way to really survive long enough to get strong and build up your money is to just mash attack and buy 5gp potions. That makes it weak and boring.

I have a feeling Sailerius died because he spent all money on healing and just got too far away from safe zone near weak monsters. Also, when your in battle there is an empty space at the bottom of the list and there is no arrow to indicate more options. It's totally understandable how he missed items/flee.

The biggest turn off for me was the battle backdrops. It was effin default colorful dungeon backdrops. That ruined any sense of "retro". Default game over screen too, would it have killed you to make a white background with the words game over in black pixels? If you make a retro game then EVERYTHING has to be retro, you can't pick and choose. It killed it.

The dialogue was weird. I can see how it was trying to play off the rescue princess cliche but it was trying too hard and to me it just fell flat.

I had no problems with mapping.

I'd give this a 2 at best.

Make a sequel. Use the same graphics and music. Just put more focus into having a better fighting system and this would be a game I would look forward too. It's just too much work to actually progress, it should be fun.

From the looks of it, the only RTP thing I saw was the game over screen and backdrops. Any Rm2(k3) game that doesn't use RTP should simply place any of the RTP graphics you actually want to use should be placed in the actual project folder. That way you can exclude the need for RTP, it's as simple as opening the projects rpt_rt.ini file and changing FullPackageFlag=1 to FullPackageFlag=0. That way your game is less than 10mb instead of over 20mb.
In all fairness, I did score the story at a 2/5:

From my own review, which is pending on a repost:
Story: 2/5 â€" I was initially going to give this 1.5/5, but bumped it up half a star because of some of the humor and witty dialogue between the characters. In addition, it was written with hardly a spelling error, which I feel is an accomplishment in comparison to a ton of other RM games.

When I score the story, I usually include the mechanics of writing into the score (whether or not spelling and grammar are an issue or carefully written out). So yes, I agree the story could have been better, but I did like the intro.
Sailerius
did someone say angels
3304
author=undefined
In all fairness, I did score the story at a 2/5:

From my own review, which is pending on a repost:
Story: 2/5 â€" I was initially going to give this 1.5/5, but bumped it up half a star because of some of the humor and witty dialogue between the characters. In addition, it was written with hardly a spelling error, which I feel is an accomplishment in comparison to a ton of other RM games.

When I score the story, I usually include the mechanics of writing into the score (whether or not spelling and grammar are an issue or carefully written out). So yes, I agree the story could have been better, but I did like the intro.

Personally, I feel that your standards are too low. It should be expected that there's proper grammar and spelling, just like it should be expected that the gameplay isn't glitched or that there are no spriting errors. The presence of those errors should bring the score down, but the lack of errors shouldn't bring them up. Something has to stand out as good to get a good score for me. There are no bonus points for merely being acceptable.
Sailerius has a good point there, about no bonus points for having no mistakes.

I didn't feel the story was good, but at the same time I can totally excuse a ridiculous or cliche story for this kind of game. I didn't find the dialogue "bad" exactly. Just..."weird". I can't really explain it. There were some witty remarks and the characters spoke coherently, though. I'd say it was sufficient. I know I suck at NPC dialogue.

I just wanted the good old fashioned gameplay, which unfortunately was severely lacking.
That's actually a good point, not to score upward for doing what is accepted. Unfortunately, I've played so many games where the spelling is horrid, that I'm actually grateful when a person actually takes the time to proofread their stuff.
Not to defend the completely dickish review or anything, but seriously, how goddamn "retro" games have been made on this site alone? If you want to play something all old timey, then why the hell don't you just go grab an emulator and a rom? Or play one of the other retro games that's already been made? At this point, it just seems like lazy "me too"-ing.

You know what would make for a great change of pace? Putting some goddamn effort into things, instead of repeating the exact same thing that was done DECADES ago! Let's give that a try, folks!

-Tabris
Same could probably be said with all the SNES style games as well. What we really need is for Enterbrain to take a step forward and actually create an engine worth creating games on, but instead they keep taking steps back.

But not Generica. That was near perfect for a retro game.
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