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A Phantasia of Fire and Fear

Mystery and Magic, Splendor and Awe, Whimsy and Wonder

Star Stealing Prince is a blindingly beautiful RPG Maker VX game that has gotten shockingly little attention on RMN. Considering how great the visuals are and how much people consistently like that kind of thing, I am sure it has received (more than?) its fair share of attention elsewhere, perhaps RPGMakerVX.net. Still, more people from RMN should really play this game, as it's actually quite amazing.

Would you like to read a hideously long and complicated sentence?

Then here one is for you!

I haven't played as much of this game as I wanted to before reviewing it--an odd statement to make--but I got stuck towards the end of the tower (Chapter Two; the demo is reasonably substantial, and by commerical demo standards is vast) and I didn't want to wait for the creator to get me unstuck because...I wanted to be the first one to review this largely undiscovered (again: on RMN) gem.


To be brief (ha ha), color me intrigued. This isn't just any kind of story, it is a faerie tale. It is a story of magic and whimsical childlike wonder, and like all the best faerie tales, no lack of terror and dread. It is a contrast that works beautifully, just like in the best faerie tales.

While I would need to play the full game to evaluate this category in fullness, it's off to a great start, and this score gives it every benefit of the doubt.

Oh, what's that? You want a synopsis? Fine.

You play a handsome lad named Snowe who has inherited the snow...y and isolated faerie tale kingdom of Sabine from his parents. Snowe is tellingly privileged and quite a bit spoiled, but I don't want to make him sound like a whiny brat or an obnoxious sociopath like Joffrey Baratheon. He is really quite likeable, both beloved by and kind to his people.

Not, really, that they have any choice but to love him. See, the introduction implies that the people of Sabine have a symbiotic relationship with their monarch, and that they feel his emotions. So when Snowe is sad, his subjects are sad, and so forth. It's actually a rather creepy concept, and I hope the game explores it further. So far it has been shown, but not really told, as Snowe was in a towering fury of anger at one point and no riots erupted.

Anyway, Snowe dutifully rules his blissful kingdom under the oversight of Richard, his well-meaning but doting-verging-on-smotheringly-overprotective regent. But his real passion seems to be on long sojourns exploring the farthest borders of his kingdom, borders which, for unexplained reasons, he has been told he must never cross.

One night, Snowe has a truly terrifying dream that reveals to him a dark secret about his parents' past. His investigation of this shadowy event sets him off on a quest that could change everything.

So there's your bloody synopsis, and that'll be $0.035 a word.

Anything bad to say, Max? Hmm...not much, actually. I guess maybe this, just for the sake of completeness. I haven't played far enough to know, but it is entirely possible that the game operates around a central plot conceit that is a direct rip off of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. (I ripped off the same idea for the first RPG Maker XP game I ever attempted. It was nowhere near as good as this.)

Extra points are awarded for (what I assume is) a primary antagonist that was truly creepy and menacing, particularly in a game that was otherwise so innocent and cute. I would love to see this creepy aspect pushed more and more as the game continues.

SCORE: 89/100


That last section wasn't all that brief so let me really pour on the brevity here.

Gameplay in Star Stealing Prince is pretty darn good. Battles are simple, well-balanced, and quite accessible; a very plentiful amount of healing items makes it pretty hard to lose for the most part. Still, I don't want to make it sound like this is one of those defanged systems where battles have been completely wimpified. If you don't pay careful attention to when to heal and when to press the attack and keep yourself well-healed between battles, enemies WILL fuck you up.

In fact, it is possible for the very first enemies in the game to stun-lock you and beat you to death before you can take a second action, a fact that

Dungeon design is really quite good, with lots of clever but simple exploration and puzzles. The dungeons aren't punishing brain benders like in Kinetic Cipher, but there is STUFF TO DO IN THEM besides just walk forward towards the exit battling monsters. On-touch encounters only sweeten the mix, because if you don't feel like fighting a battle, you can run away from a sprite instead.

The game suffers from a really obnoxious bug, where equipped items are supposed to teach you skills, but sometimes when you use the equip scene, that feature randomly fails, and you need to unequip and equip certain weapons to relearn the skills they're supposed to teach you. This was annoying, and the game does lose a few points for it, but minimally so. A helpful readme minimized the damage by warning me this would happen.

I also encountered a much more serious fatal crash bug upon trying to open the menu even after a combat--fortunately, SSP lets you save anywhere and I'd saved recently. I wasn't able to reproduce the bug unfortunately, but being a fatal error, it seems serious, and the creator may want to look into it. Fortunately, it never happened again.

More points were taken off for the point where I got stuck; suffice it to say that after a certain point in the second dungeon (the tower in Chapter 2) it became VERY, VERY unclear how to proceed. After soldiering on for quite some time, I finally quit in befuddlement. As soon as the developer tells me how to move on, though, I'd definitely like to pick this up again.

SCORE: 75/100


I'll be honest, as a developer of games people regard as "fun/good story but ugly" games, I am fairly easy to impress graphically. But anyone who wouldn't be impressed by Star Stealing Prince needs to have their freaking head examined. This is a game so great-looking that not even commercial-grade 3D visuals would improve it. It should stay exactly as it is, beautifully rendered 2D eye-candy.

The visuals of Star Stealing Prince are absolutely lush and gorgeous. The game depicts a visually rich fantasy wonderland. Tiles are awesome, mapping is awesome, characters appear to be original graphics in an own-style, every map is drenched in great-looking lighting and weather effects. Actually, it can all be a bit overwhelming on the eye candy level, and some maps look literally "drenched" in syrupy-sweet effects, but I'm not taking off points for this. Overall, this is a really really really really good looking game, even if it does occasionally overdo it.

What I liked even better than the mapping and lighting and weather effects was how internally-consistent the style and palate of the game's icons and menus were. Amazing job at making something really, really, really professional looking.

The only reason I'm not giving this the maximum score is to leave myself open to the remote possibility that I encounter a game even better looking some day, but I doubt it.

SCORE: 99/100


As is so often the case, I've saved the most brevity for this section, which always comes after I've expended the effort to write the others. Poor Audio! I always have so little to say about you. Anyway:

The sound design and music in Star Stealing Prince is really really good. Not the best I've ever heard, but still REALLY REALLY GOOD. There. Brief'd!

SCORE: 80/100


FINAL SCORE: 90/100 (Not An Average)
Star Stealing Prince is aesthetically beautiful, reasonably fun, and has a hauntingly lyrical faerie-tale story that I hope continues more and more darkly from the point where it's begun. I cannot recommend this game strongly enough, and I hope to be back to update this review for the final version.


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Good review, but I could've done without the self-asked questions.
Wow this is a surprisingly well written and well thought out review. And that speaks volumes for the game itself, will have to give this one a try.
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
I really enjoyed this review.

As did I.

Hell, Max is making me want to play games. The community might not be improving, but I can think of a few members that are!

More like Misao Stealing Prince
I think Max should come back and update his review! :O The game being finished now and not just a demo. <.<
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