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A familiar setting (in a new medium)

  • Muninn
  • 07/08/2012 06:17 PM
  • 623 views
Uchioniko is an RPGMaker VX Ace game made by Marrend. The current release of the game is a demo, mainly focused on showcasing the setting, characters, high level (~50) play, and a single battle at level 1.

Summary
The story begins with Jun and Michi, a pair of mahou shoujo (Magical Girls), who are on their way to defeat the villain Kurobichi. They fight their way through his servants and do battle against the villain himself, only to find themselves outclassed.

At this point, the setting shifts to a high school in Japan, where Momotami Ruri has just arrived as a transfer student. Ruri's first day at her new school ends with her running outside and encountering her aunt, who provides her with an odd pendant. The next day, Ruri comes across a classmate being harassed by some punks, who Ruri chases off by transforming into a Magical Girl.

At this point, the demo ends.

Story: Not really present, yet
There's not really much to say in this area, as the story has yet to pick up by the time the demo ends. The opening of the game was quite well done, though, and I'd imagine that it would serve well as a sort of primer for what part of a "typical" magical girl story might look like for players who aren't familiar with the genre.

Presentation: Some well-compiled basic elements with nice touches added to them
Graphically and musically, I didn't really see anything in Uchioniko that struck me as outstanding, but there wasn't anything that I could call bad either. (My one complaint would be that there is a visible difference in the colour of Ruri's hair between her character portrait and on-map sprite).
The high-school thing was fairly well done. You can run around and talk to various students, who will chat about their club activities or classwork. Some of these students mention names of characters who may be important people, or who may just be additional names to fill out the setting.
The thing that probably left the greatest impression on me was a few little touches added to the battles. Upon entering battles and using their special abilities, the game displays short phrases at the top of the battle screen by the character in question. These go a long way towards making the game feel like a Magical Girl RPG, rather than just a regular RPG where all of the mages are female and wearing serafuku.

Gameplay: Some good, some less so.
Upon entering the first battle, I was amazed by how the game had given me a variety of battle options right from the start, couples with enemies that had the capability to take out a decent size of my character's HP by the time the battle was done. Not enough to kill my characters, but enough to wound them and make battling intelligently an activity that was rewarded.
I was significantly less impressed at the end of the first battle, when Jun and Michi were restored to full HP and MP. From this point on, battles just became an exercise in spamming my strongest mass-target skills, because I had enough MP to last me through one battle of such behaviour and I didn't have to worry about conserving resources for the next one. The only gameplay-related element that impressed me from that point on was Kurobichi, because he was strong enough to be a threat in a single battle.

Final Verdict: It's not quite there... but with a little work, I know it could be.
Uchioniko interests me. If the battles were made more difficult individually or (preferably) switched from the system of isolated battles to one where ending a battle with more or less resources actually mattered, I'd feel justified giving this game a 3.5-4 star rating right now, based on the promise displayed in the demo. As it stands right now, I'd put it around 2.5 stars: Decent gameplay ideas that are negated by other design decisions and a nice setting (but without the story to back it)
Play the game to enjoy the mahou shoujo atmosphere it provides, but don't expect any deep gameplay just yet. One way or another, though, I think good things can be expected of the next release.

Posts

Pages: 1
Marrend
Bludgeon of Inspiration, and Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
14550
Strange thing about this game and resources. Like Weird Dreams, I specifically removed item-use from this game. Rather than have players to visit a restoration point, I decided to experiment to see if I could do something interesting with TP. So, what I did was allow characters to regenerate HP and MP according to how much TP they had at the end of each fight. Perhaps the idea of having characters start each battle with an amount of TP equal to their level could be tossed though, I'm embarrassingly proud of myself for the code I used to make that happen.

Anyway, thanks for the review! I pray I will not disappoint with future releases!
Adon237
if i had an allowance, i would give it to rmn
1811
Oh my freaking god, are you serious? Did I get like, denied or something in this contest? I have most of a review ready for this. -.-
Marrend
Bludgeon of Inspiration, and Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
14550
author=Adon237
Oh my freaking god, are you serious? Did I get like, denied or something in this contest? I have most of a review ready for this. -.-


I just don't understand this attitude.
Adon237
if i had an allowance, i would give it to rmn
1811
Whatever Marrend. Expect a review once I am done burning everything already mentioned in this one.
author=Marrend
Rather than have players to visit a restoration point, I decided to experiment to see if I could do something interesting with TP. So, what I did was allow characters to regenerate HP and MP according to how much TP they had at the end of each fight.


That actually does sound like a really neat idea. I think I never noticed that because I didn't use the in-battle recovery skill (which, if I remember correctly, is the only TP-activated ability in the demo), so I was ending each battle with full (or close enough to full) TP. Starting the player with less TP (or making the stronger attack skills use small amounts of TP) might help to balance the mechanic a bit.
Marrend
Bludgeon of Inspiration, and Guardian Angel of the Description Thread
14550
By default, battlers seem to start with 1-10 TP. Perhaps I can use this idea, and have the characters start battle with about 1/10th of their level in TP rather than just their level?

It's a thought!
Pages: 1