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Surrealism. And pianos.

  • Acra
  • 12/29/2011 04:07 AM
To me, surrealism is code for 'a bunch of random shit with no substance'. What really pisses me off though is that the majority of people say they love surrealist junk and think it's all super-deep and stuff, so they think they'll look smart and sophisticated or something. So yeah, I don't have the highest opinion of surrealism. This extends well beyond this game. I can say for certain I wouldn't have even downloaded this if it wasn't for the Secret Santa event, let alone review it.

I think first, for clarity's sake, I should mention that this game was made in a month for an event. It apparently got third place. I'm far from an expert on RPGMaker tiles (or anything at all about RPGMaker 2003, for that matter), but I gather that most of this stuff is rips or defaults. Just with a few minor edits to remove faces and the like. I know that the event's rules frowned upon it, but that's what it looks like to me. Correct me if I'm wrong. For what it's worth, the boards themselves look to make pretty good use of the tiles.

Here's pretty much a complete summary of the entire 'game':
Walk around a forest and pick up some fruit.
Go to a beach. I'm not sure if I was supposed to do something there, because I didn't.
Solve a nonsense piano riddle by a train.
Try to mimic violin notes with a piano.
Answer random questions in school. Again, following up with a piano.
A house in spaaaaaaace.

As you can see, there's not a lot of content here. Like, under ten minutes. If you had the clairvoyance to understand the piano bits. As NewBlack said about one of his screenshots, if you just look at them, you've pretty much already played the entire thing. So, forgive me if this review is a bit brief, but I don't have a ton to talk about here.

I never would have gotten any of the three piano puzzles if I didn't just look up the answers. Maybe I would've gotten the third one, but I must have missed how a Streetcar named Desire correlates to A#. By the way, what's the point of 'improvise' with the piano? It seems to me that the keys still sound the same, it's just that you won't 'solve' the puzzle if you're in improvise mode, not 'perform'.

Pretty much all the text was effectively nonsense. Presumably quotes from songs or something, because music seems to be the theme here. Also an emphasis on repetition. Par for the course for a 'surreal' game, really. I'm not even going to pretend they come together to make anything resembling a coherent story. I liked the title screen, at least. It's not the first time I've seen something like it, but it works pretty well as a segue into the surrealist muck.

I'm going to completely cop out here and not give it a real score. It was made for a very particular purpose in a short amount of time, so I suppose it would be unfair to judge it by any classical standards, and I've already mentioned that I'm biased against anything trying to wear the hat of surrealism. Make no mistake, for a surrealist game, it does that part well enough. It's just, that's not exactly a very high bar to aim for, if you ask me.


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To be fair considering you had to review this as part of Secret Santa 2011 I think you've been pretty fair. I mean, there is a story of sorts and there is a "hidden deep meaning" but I guess I wouldn't expect everyone to be into that whole deal. Like you say yourself, you wouldn't even bother playing a game like this of your own volition. To be fair I think your comments are pretty on-point, all things considered.

Just to clarify a couple things, though. The tiles aren't defaults or rips but freely available sets of resources that were made by other people (the sets I used are commonly known as REFMAP/"Mack & Blue" and "Theodore's"). The default RTP is a lot less pretty than those resources and I just wouldn't use rips because... They're rips.

The improvise function was implemented so people could mess about on the piano for fun if they wanted to (after narcodis built such a nice piano system for this I wanted it to be open-ended and playable just for messing about reasons too) without accidentally solving the puzzle and triggering a cutscene. I used to love messing with the ocarina on zelda games (they even included sharp and flat modifiers which are never even used in the entire game for a real reason) but hated when I accidentally triggered a song when I was trying to play something else. So "improvise" was included in the same spirit.

As for the Streetcar named Desire thing.. Every time you complete the task in the classroom successfully the teacher will alter what's on the chalk board leaving the correct note in red.. if you successfully "solve" that classroom the teacher leaves the "A" from "A streetcar named desire" not crossed out and marked with a # symbol.

But yeah, overall I can understand where you're coming from entirely, it was an experiment for me making it too. Thanks for taking the time to play it through and do this review.

PS: You're lucky... I was going to submit this for Secret Santa.
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