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My favourite RPG Maker game
- 11/02/2014 11:32 PM
- 1735 views
A green-drenched Gameboy-like game of wonder, and my favourite RPG Maker game of all time, Wither is the pinnacle of its genre and a prime example of how to tell a story through gaming that affects the heart, yet trying to explain why it resonated with me so much is like trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle - it just won't work. Very rarely does a game affect me so much emotionally that I am near tears - I am just not a very emotional person when it comes to these things. But what I will say is that despite its emotional connection that it fosters through brilliant storytelling and wonderful atmosphere crafting, I can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of this game to back up the point that at least it is a solid game. Even so, I'm giving the game a 5 star rating because, in my mind, it deserves it, if for the fact that no other RPG Maker game has affected me more.
A short non-linear exploration game by name, but much more than that in meaning. Do not expect an epic, but do not be deterred by its short runtime either.
The player is plonked in the shoes of the main protagonist, who's inherent mission is to find out who he is and how he got there - standard indie fare. Wither's compact brevity of language and all-capitals style, as well as its Gameboy aesthetic and minimalistic lilting theme, juxtapose with the dark themes in this game. This is not to say that the themes are dark-for-the-sake-of-dark, in fact the game wholly opposes this notion. It is Wither's unassuming yet brutal incision of visceral facts and dreams colliding that causes it to enter mature territory that few games can approach. The game strikes a fine balance between the unassuming and the macabre, and it is this tightrope act that the developer so masterfully traverses that makes every moment worthwhile.
Wither is methodical, revealing facts in turn with dreadful precision, whether through dream sequences, surreal real life anomalies, or dreadful plot realizations. It is a short game, but the economy of what the game includes leaves it as a complete package, lacking very little. The aim of the game is to collect 12 flowers scattered throughout the world. Along the way, the player discovers clues on who they are and what they are doing here.
The flat-out refusal to feed the player all the information they require in a pre-digested format for them to "solve" gives Wither its strength. Enough mystery to make the player think, but not so much that it seems even the developer has lost his own plot. If thought through carefully, one can come up with a theory that satisfies all or most of the evidence given. Gameplay consists of walking and talking, traversing and conversing. For players who don't mind if a game lacks "gameplay" in the traditional sense, they might enjoy this game.
With the increasing exposure of exploration games, and the constant development of such games in the mix, we can be reminded that a game with such simple graphics and sounds as Wither can provide a holistic experience that is consistent all-round. It does not suffer from misplaced ambition, in fact its ambitions are set low, but it proves to exceed those targets by a measurable distance. Wither is my favourite RPG Maker game, and I have tried to explain why.
But sometimes I get the feeling that I never can.