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The Awful

  • NTC3
  • 05/08/2017 09:13 PM
  • 162 views
Have you ever heard of the Sphere engine? Apparently, it turns 20 this year. Moreover, its original creator now works at something as instantly recognizable as Dropbox. His creation can (in his own words) load PNG, JPEG, PCX, BMP, TGA, and GIF images and play Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, IT, XM, S3M, and MOD files. It also supports keyboard, mouse and joystick at the time. You certainly wouldn't learn about any of these capabilities from playing The Demo, a 2010 game marked as "Complete" in spite of the title (hence the scored review), which seems determined to use the engine to the littlest of its capacity.

Storyline



As I started the game, I hoped that there might be some sort of meta humour to go along with the title. I did get that, but in a (much better) The Game Demo. Here, you only have a few lines that are riddled with spelling errors and alternate between generic as hell (goblins attacked the village, etc.) and inane (and still equally forgettable). It probably would have been better off without any writing at all.

Aesthetics (art, design and sound)



It starts off with a bare black menu and no sound. In some way, though, that was preferable to the flat, garish graphics you can see above. There's sound too: a 5-second moderately annoying loop. There are 2 more similarly short and obnoxious loops for the soundtrack, while the graphics stay similarly bad, or worse.








You can actually go out of bounds in that corner and create this paintbrush-like glitch. Probably the most interesting thing about the game.



Gameplay



You get a choice of a male or female player character at the start. Then, the character class, which can be Paladin, Archer, “Unknown” and “Unknown”. Yes, it’s that much of a demo. While I was tempted to pick either of the two “Unknowns”, I decided to first try what I know and went with an Archer. However, the difference doesn’t matter, since both classes pick up a sword and a bow, but neither can shoot anyway. Moreover, the combat is absolutely no different mechanically from a conversation. As in, you walk over to a static villager and press space to see a horrible textbox pop up with their inanities. At the end of the game, you walk over to a few static goblins, and press space to see them say “Agh!” and disappear. This is literally all the gameplay it has.



Conclusion



This is what happens if you do try to go for the "Unknown" class, which rather fits the rest of the game.

The Demo is so awful, and so utterly pointless, I’m not quite sure how it got onto RMN in the first place. It’s not even in the entertainingly broken category of games on RMN, so there’s absolutely no reason to play it.