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Grindy Deathtrap

  • Kylaila
  • 06/22/2015 01:21 PM
  • 1131 views
Trine and Trine was originally made for a 4 hour contest and the page even warns you about ruthless difficulty and other flaws, which with I can fully agree. The only addition I have to make that "difficulty" correlates to grind grind grind grind grind grind grind and grind grind grind with a little bit of luck and no strategy involved.
It will be patched up a bit, but I do not know what is in the works, nor what the plans are.

There are 16 floors to crawl - I must admit I gave up after travelling the 4th floor after about an hour. I required extensive grinding simply because in two floors out of the first 4, one of two enemy group can and will stun-lock you to your death. So long as you do not fully negate their damage.
Seeing the similarities of each enemy group, I must suspect the higher floors to folow the same formular, revolving highly around status effects applied by enemies. (unless you almost completely block out their damage - making you unsusceptible to it. or just the level difference making its way, I do not know)


First a few good things:
The soundtrack, although ripped, is pretty damn cool. Only the intro-middle bit of the battle theme is jarring, and seeing how this is the theme you will listen to the most, and seeing how short most battles are .. this is quite unfortunate.

The town is quite nicely done with a few humorous interactions, the ability to ask for advice and get some flavour text as well as different merchants for different items.
Your protagonist Megai is just a demon hunter .. and whether that is a good or a bad thing, you cannot tell.


What could you possibly have to offer for me?


There is a completely silly and hilarious early gameover.
The mapping is bare and getting bearer. Nonetheless, functional.


The bad things:

Everything revolving around battles, as well as some let-downs in the weapon/armor shop.

Items

As far as the shop goes, your only character can equip either two weapons or a two-handed weapon. But while you can buy shields, you cannot actually use them, which makes them a full waste of money.
The different weapons in the low price category have little differences, but give you a wide range of options of weapons worse or on par with your starting weapons. The two handed weapons are far too weak compared to wielding two one-handed ones and are therefore a waste of money, at least in the lower price category.

You will find only one chest per floor, which only ever is a small upgrade such as a weapon slightly better than your starter, a little bit of gold and similar things.

Whether you want to invest in healing items or not .. is something that is destroyed by how the battles pan out. You may opt for potions, but for the major part of the game you will be able to use your mp solely for healing.


Your Skills

Now what is good is the clarity of your spells and attacks.
What is bad is how little you can do with it.

Your basic attack is obsolete. Period.

You can use a double-hit (two basic attacks) with zero manacost, which could easily have replaced the attack command to be faster and easier to use.
I suspected this may be a difference between using two single-handed weapons, but it is not. You can always use it, and the doubled weapon give instead an extensive attack boost.

You can later learn a two-hit, which is basically the same but targets two random enemies instead of hitting one enemy twice. It could be used to finish two at once, but depending on the random selection, your second hit may simply disappear.
As you want to focus out enemies, it is only viable for very weak enemies.

You can learn some healing magic (with a tiered spell system, replacing the old with a stronger one), and early fire magic, which will deal less damage than one normal attack. There have not been any enemies weak to it so far, and even blinded, attacking is the better choice as you have more damage by default, twice or triple the damage even.

All of this kit is straightforward, there is nothing you can do but hack your way through enemies while healing yourself up. Nothing wrong with that, really.

The enemies

Here we see sine frustrating design choices.

On each floor there are two enemy groups. And one or both of them will apply status-effects on-hit.
The first floor has blinding bats and venomous insects.
The second one has stunning rats and venomous spiders.
The third one has paralyzing (stunning for multiple turns) and normal-hitting ones
The fourth one has blinding squids and venomous scorpions.

I see a trend coming.


That ain't no whisp. These are the lights of the reaper.

Here is the thing - you will get poisoned and blinded with every single hit, unless you are in a higher level range than the enemy (armor coming into play? I couldn't tell).
Which makes buying antidotes obsolete. Later on, perhaps, when the gold scaling up comes into play. But the stepping damage is only 1 and you will stay poisoned almost all the time while fighting enemies, unless you have grinded for a whole while.
The blind has little impact and just prolongs the fight a bit.

The stun-locks are where it gets ugly. Because these come into groups of three, and if a special attack or a normal attack from just one of these has a high chance of applying the stun, or even worse, long-lasting paralysis, guess what three of them do.
There is no counter, the only counter is to either try to avoid the enemies completey (which, with the high encounter rate and the low flee chance, you cannot)
Or you grind and gear up until they cannot harm you much even if they keep stunning you.

None of these status effects result into different playstyles, there is no good way to react to it other than to bear with it, and the sheer frustration of stun-locks should be obvious.

I cannot say whether there are more to come, but if there are two out of four floors, you can tell it is used as a common design. There are save points every now and then in the dungeon, but they do not help much to avoid the problem.


Grinding, some may argue, is never fun. Grinding to kill enemies actually has some fun in it. But grinding so you can survive stun-locks is no fun.

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Actually, the final floors are so much of a grind that I only beat it one time. And just to anger people more, right before you get to the top is a riddle that is answered by walking into a hallway with the correct answer, the wrong ones drop you to floor 1 and 8 respectively.

Also, the town people have a short list of random dialogue, the advice button rolls a die and responds accordingly. The hamster well death was just thrown in as a bad joke in between a friend and me. The guard makes a now dated reference to a certain preacher who claimed every year is the end of the world irl. Megai's name, Loki being the enemy is all a reference to Megami Tensei OVA, where the soundtrack came from.
Also, when you first enter the tower, there is supposed to be a random alignment given to you, which only changed the ending minimally.


I've been thinking about revisiting this project with a ASCII remake for a long time, completely gutting it, but every time I think about that, it reminds me of my goal in making this: A really grindy, basic engine with exploit abusing monsters dungeon crawl, like I used to play on GW in the old days.
And it's still 100% as terrible as always. This game is more of a curiosity, rather then a game. XD Don't play it, or rather, don't play it with the intention of winning. Just play for half a hour and say "Oh, that was neat" and move on.
Fair enough, that makes a lot of sense, hehe.
You certainly achieve what you wanted.

I am curious about the ending, though.
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