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Getting the Small Things Just Right

It has frequently been a goal of RPG Maker games, of any edition of the engine, to catch the eyes of players with system innovations and flashy graphics. While these are far from worthless goals, sometimes such high reaching expectations can wind up overshadowing, and sometimes even overwriting, the little things that really make a game enjoyable. The fancy systems can get tedious, and the graphics overly tended to over the arguably more important gameplay.

Enelysion takes a different approach. Instead of focusing on having the next big thing of note, it instead brings all of its attention to getting the little things just right. It may not be an explosion of crazy, new ideas, but it’s honestly, simply, and wonderfully fun.


As mentioned above, Enelysion does a great job with making its gameplay enjoyable.

First of all, it has no random battles. All battles are activated on touch with sprites on the map, which seem to come in just the right number to avoid being too common. I cannot properly stress how much this improves the quality of a game on its very own.

While the battle system is a relatively basic sideview, turn-based one, it does a very good job of balancing difficulty and holding strategy over tedium. The options in-battle follow the simple “Basic Attack, Skills, Guard, Items, Run” formula, the enemies have enough variety and structure to them to make every skill available to you consistently valuable. Furthermore, the game discourages skill spamming and button mashing by giving you extra rewards for the amount of technique variety you use within a battle. If you ever find yourself hitting the “Attack” option over and over again in hope to just beat the enemy silly, expect a really awful technique point turn out when you finally do finish the thing off.

Which leads me into the other thing that makes the simple battle system so pleasant: skill shopping. Each of your characters has a certain number of locked techniques available to them within the menu, which are unlockable through points earned after a battle. The points come in large enough amounts to give you the chance to buy these skills fairly often, but are generally held back enough to make them seem too cheap.

Outside of battle, the world of Enelysion is largely open to you for exploration from the very beginning. Instead of choosing to use a world map, or linear series of predetermined paths, the game takes place in an almost Zelda-like open map. Crystals are scattered here and there to use as teleportation between discovered areas, making exploration easy and worth doing, even if you’re not meant to go to a certain area as part of the story.

That said, as nice as the open world idea is, the chapter-by-chapter release of the game works pretty strongly against it. Several paths are still closed off due to them not being available in the first chapter, taking a good bit away from the freedom the open maps should give you.

On the same line, several side quests are offered to you around the world, but many of them are cut off past their introduction with the same “This is not available in chapter 1” note that the paths are. This is particularly irritating in that it directly pulls you out of the game in the middle of dialogue. In fact, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Dragon Age’s “You must purchase the DLC to start this quest” guy.

With those two things put aside, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the gameplay in just about every way. Sometimes, the simple things are the most important.

Score: 4.5/5


It was a little difficult to get a good grasp of Eleysion’s story from this first chapter. The game’s page promises a personal and character based approach to a fantasy RPG story, but there wasn’t all that much room within this relatively short intro chapter to show that. For the most part, the basics of the story seemed to follow pretty typical JRPG fare, with mentions of an old war and split alliances taking the center stage, complete with a MacGuffin, in the form of a strange orb, for the main characters to focus their attention on, presumably to get them involved in whatever is happening in the world.

It is well written however, despite its lack of a particularly notable hook. No typos or grammatical flaws caught my eye, and, for the most part, the dialogue is believable.

I’ll hold out for the promised character focus in later chapters, but this first one was admittedly a little underwhelming.

Score: 2.5/5


There are really only two characters you get to know well in this first chapter: Laine, a laid-back female mercenary with the occasional burst of anger to her name, and Rolf, a quiet, sickly, male white mage.

This reversal of roles certainly pleased me in its idea, though at times I felt like the writing got a bit too caught up in making a point with Laine’s strength and Rolf’s frailty. It never drifted into the realms of shallow storytelling, but it did occasionally feel a little thin.

Rolf’s constant claims of “I don’t want to fight” and other such things, mostly after battle, also started to get a little grating after a while. When you first meet up with him, he seems to mostly want to join Laine in her mercenary duties to help her out as a friend, but with his frequent after-battle whining against exactly what he volunteered to do, he wound up coming off as more irritating than anything.

Otherwise, the characters came off as fairly likable, and I trust further chapters to shed a little more light on their actions and personality.

Score: 3/5


The music in Enelysion is mostly made up of celtic-style, high quality MP3s from obscure enough sources for me to not be able to recognize any of them. Short story short, the music is awesome.

Some of the songs did have the somewhat amusing small flaw of being, perhaps, a bit too dramatic for their usage. Just walking through the town garden felt like an epic adventure, which seemed a little silly when I put any thought to it.

Really, though, that’s not a big deal. The music is good.

Score: 4.5/5


The graphics, while not bad, came off as a little unimpressive for a couple reasons. While the game did a decent job at making VX’s RTP and blocky mapping pleasant enough, the style still came off as a bit too squishy and happy for the tone of the story.

Also, while the maps are elaborate, and that fact occasionally works in the game’s favor, at times they felt a bit too cluttered and rough, making them a little hard on the eyes at times.

I was also put off a little by the use of Fire Emblem character portraits for the main characters, mostly because I’ve played the games they came from, and it was rather difficult to not associate their faces with the character they were originally attached to. The characters would probably feel much more unique if the hand drawn portraits in the game page were used.

Those things aside though, the graphics were nice enough, and never took too much away from the overall experience.


Final score:


While not the most memorable title I’ve ever played, Enelysion was enjoyable to play, probably more so than most other RPG Maker titles I’ve seen and that alone is an accomplishment worth something. I strongly look forward to any future chapters in the series.


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Thank you very much for the review, ganonfrog! Funny, you know. I always thought gameplay was my weakest point when it came to making RM games. As for the general storyline, yes. I probably was a bit too vague in giving off any details, for fear of spoilers for future chapters. Maybe when I do a combined release of both Chapters One and Two, I'll elaborate a little more on it.

As for the artwork, yes. I mentioned that in my most recent blog post. I am replacing the FE mugshots. Since you played FE9, you probably saw Lucia instead of Laine, and Rhys instead of Rolf. ^^ But that will change in due time. As for the graphics, I do agree with you on the fact that the graphics used at times are a little too happy, as you put it, especially given the game's serious storyline. A while ago, I though of parallax mapping everything to get rid of VX's 'blockiness', and by making more use of overlays and screen tints for atmosphere. I should probably try to draw inspiration from Amulet of Athos. The revamp there looks pretty amazing.

I'm glad you enjoyed the music as well. I always prided myself in having a good hear for it. :)

But in short, seriously, thank you. Hopefully I can make the next release even better. :)
Awww, this was a lovely review! ;w; Very nicely written, and full of wonderful things~

That said, I actually quite like how squishy Enelysion is! I've always felt like it's one of the few games that makes really good use of RTP style graphics while still looking...well, not like every other RTP game! While it's true that adorable chibi sprites and blocky maps might not be the best way to show off a serious storyline, I'm totally able to forgive it, given that I grew up with plenty of serious games that were far more square and squishy than this. (NES and SNES Final Fantasies and the Fire Emblem series, anyone?)

I like the graphics as is, and I think, Luchi, that your time would be better spent moving forward in the game. I WANT CILLIAN AND SIGLUD IN MY PARTY~ XD
@Yuna21: I actually like your art. I think you're a little too hard on it. Didn't you just say that you thought you were bad at Gameplay? Clearly that was wrong, so maybe you shouldn't trust your gut's tendency to doubt you. XP

I'm really glad that the review was able to be of some help, as well! Thank you so much, and, seriously, don't be so hard on your own work. I really enjoyed playing it.

@emmych: Thank you!

I probably wouldn't take too much issue to Yuna keeping the RTP style graphics, since they're at least well made. Really, the only places where I feel graphics changes would help a lot would be in decluttering some of the maps, and making the original portraits.
@ganonfrog: I am notoriously hard on myself, most people have told me this while I was over rpgmakervx.net. I'm my own worst critic, you know. It just gives me a reason to better my work ( or at least, live up to the ridiculously high standards I set for myself ^^ ). As for my maps, yeah, that's one of my trademarks. Crazily detailed, but sometimes I go a bit overboard. :D

@Emmy: Heh, don't worry. Cillian and Siglud will be joining you very soon when I get Chapter Two out for beta-testing. ^^ It's a long way away, though...
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