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A significant technical achievement in RPG Maker 2000.

  • Decky
  • 01/31/2014 01:17 PM
Every one in a while, a game comes along like Neubulus: a well made shooter in an RPG Maker program that gets fairly little attention.

The question is: why?

And more importantly: why doesn't this game have a review yet?

This is a great technical achievement and, more important, an enjoyable game (despite a few flaws). Moreover, it is a beautiful game: it's not just someone's experimentation in eventing. This is a complete package.

Some **** is gonna go down...

There was one unfortunate thing. I have an issue with my keyboard, and it started acting up after a few levels. Therefore, I was unable to complete the game (my characters kept moving up and it was just impossible to go anywhere). I still think I was able to play enough of this game to provide a confident score.

The premise is pretty neat. You're a sea creature in a land under da sea, as it were. Your friends get abducted and you have to go rescue them in a cute blue submarine. Also, your grandfather is quite the douchebag.

This was a cute and funny intro!

In short, the story is lighthearted, funny, and amusing. It's augmented by the wonder graphics, which add a serious visual element to the story. Animations, facial expressions, even the effects that make the water RIPPLE in cutscenes are fantastic. If this was a visual novel it would already be a major technical achievement in 2k.

But it's also a game!

A game that's visually appealing.

As you can see above (and if you look at the game's plethora of screenshots), this is no ordinary 2k game. I'd argue that it's just as beautiful as some of the best games on VX Ace! Everything is colorful and the levels are beyond atmospheric (also thanks to the great, if ripped, music selection). The octopus antagonist kind of looked a little out-of-style compared to the cartoony nature of the other characters, but that's a minor gripe.

Next up is the gameplay. It's a side-scrolling shoot 'em up in which you blast enemies, collect items, and avoid running into walls and falling debris. Think of it as a lighthearted, fairer version of Life Force/Gradius. The game is merciful; you don't have to do the whole game because you lose your lives, and they are restocked at 3 at the start of the level. There are also checkpoints: a huge plus.

Overall, the levels that I was able to play were fun and somewhat challenging: sort of a cross in difficulty between Star Fox (easy) and Life Force (hard). There are a ton of collectibles, including jewels, captured friends, and 1-ups. The placement of these collectibles are great thanks to the multiple paths presented in the game.

This level was particularly interesting due to all the paths and shootable blocks.

The great design of these levels will make you want to replay them to try and get everything they have to offer! You'll also need to scour these levels for keys to unlock the challenging boss levels: good luck facing these mofos!

Every you collect is tracked via the main menu, and there are achievements and rare monsters to boot. While I didn't get to dive too much into this optional content, such "progressive" game elements help make this game feel complete and intricate. Not a single stone was left unturned; instead of 50 bare-bones levels, you're presented with 15 well designed zones that are packed with goodies. Good design choice: quality usually trumps quantity in games like this.

With all that said, I do have some criticism to offer. The controls feel a little sluggish; moving that submarine around can be really tedious at times, and this kind of goes against the level design, which demands a lot of twisting and turning and even backtracking a bit (if you can). Secondly, the hit boxes feel a little off. I have to get to the direct center of the powerups to acquire them, which is kind of frustrating; and then when I get near an enemy, I'll die without even touching them! Like I said, though, this is still a technical achievement for 2k, and there's only so much you can do. This wasn't a game-breaking issue, especially because the game is forgiving. It is an issue nonetheless.

I also wasn't a huge fan of the firing rate; it felt kind of slow, and I wanted a few more options on offense. Lastly, I experienced some pretty nasty slowdown in the Temple level - slowdown that cost me a life or two because my system was lagging as I was attempting to shoot blocks. I'm not sure this is my computer or the game itself, but it was nevertheless worth pointing out.

Despite these flaws, I had a good time with the few levels I was able to play. This game shows a lot of promise, and if a few of those technical issues can be remedied, this will truly be one of the top games on the site.


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The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
Erm... You used the same bikini screenshot twice in this review. xD
I'm a dog pirate
Haha, whoops. Fixed.
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