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A grindfest, with triple the fest and a quarter the grind!

Hello, and welcome to my second review here at RMN! The first one in a whole two years! Yeah I should stop being so picky about my own reviews!

Alright! Epic Elf is a game created by spirit_young as I'm sure you know if you're reading this. The first time I played it was back when it was featured in the site (I think two years ago, as well) and, well, I got quite impressed. And still am, actually. This is a game that fully realizes itself, achieving everything it wants to be.

Epic Elf tells the story of the dark elf Dagree, as he loots the colorful and interesting island of Vitality. Let's go to the bullet points:

The tone of this game is spoofy. It is goofy. It is proud to be spgoofy! That's all it wants to be. And it should be a role model on how to build a spgoofy game! That being said, don't expect an incredible, 50 hour long epic that spans war dramas and generations, this game is not about that. It's about the polar opposite: Tiny characters and their relationships with eachother, and about fun! Man this game knows how to be fun!

The game's setting, the Island Of Vitality, is a bright and colorful place. Every NPC and every place is full of personality and individuality, no two NPCs are the same. The setting itself is simple and does it job -- it shows what it needs to show only, but what you see is very well represented.
The world is also very interestingly -- and intelligently -- built. Through the game a few locations change in very interesting ways, for instance. That was very well pulled off, and felt quite solid.

Mapping in this game uses only RTP, but uses it to a great effect. All maps are solid and intelligently designed, most dungeons had interesting gimmicks and it all felt overall very varied and fresh! Towns were very nicely mapped, as well. They were very simple, but in their simplicity they held a surprising amount of character(s)! All towns felt great to wander on, even being arrested was somewhat of a pleasure!

Battle gameplay in Epic Elf is the default rm2k DBS, and it doesn't bring anything new to the table. However, it is the single most polished and balanced rm2k DBS game I've ever played -- which is saying a lot considering i've been playing rm2k games since ~10 years ago! Very carefully crafted, all characters feel balanced, and all skills feel interesting and nice to use.
Some things ticked me off a slight bit, though -- for example, for a certain character you need to find beer bottles to raise her HP. I couldn't find more than 3, so she had something like 60% of the HP of any other party member.
Also, early skills could have had better scaling with Smarts, since in the end it wasn't a very effective stat at all. (this is partly rm2k's fault, though)
On a brighter side, striking first -- and thus Speed -- was very important here! Something that isn't always true when it comes to rm2k.

Gameplay out of battle was very fresh and innovative. Most maps feature places where characters with specific map auto-abilities can interact, making it a very fresh adventure. Most abilities were really nice, like the boulder pushing, statue animating, item-finding and etc.
Interestingly, some characters can find stat items outside of battle, such as the aforementioned beer bottles. The most common of them were the bookshelves, which raised your party's stats. It was really nice and made exploration even more rewarding! same thing applies to the little coins and so much else it won't fit if I write in here.
Last but not least early on you get the ability to swap your minion, Drip, for another one -- eventually upgrading them too! While I felt this whole system was a bit underused the monsters' lack of equipment and very interesting skillsets made that a lot of fun

Characters, oh lord. I could say they were the star of this game but this game had so many stars that I think I got stunned. Characters in this game are all very colorful and interesting -- as is the setting. and I'm not talking only about the plethora of playable characters, I also mean the villains and NPCs! not a single one can pass by unnoticed -- all have something interesting to say, and all are filled to the brim with personality.

Overall Epic Elf is a terribly fun game. It is not the most beautiful or technically advanced rm2k game there is, no -- but quite honestly? Even though it's not meant to be, it comes close! It is a solid experience that is very, very hard to find in games. I don't mean rm games, I mean games at all. You don't often feel that cohesion and confidence in a commercial, console game -- much less an indie freeware game.

For its solid, HIDEOUSLY FUN experience, I shall score Epic Elf a FIVE!

(god why am I submitting a review at 1am in the morning i'm pretty sure it's quite poorly written but what so ever)


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Thanks 4 the read! I didn't think anyone played these games anymore!
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