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Dungeon Crawling? I fetch my ten-foot pole and enter the cave...

  • Muninn
  • 07/18/2012 07:26 PM
Pixel Brady: The Dungeon Crawler is an RPGMaker VX Ace game by Brady. The game is an experiment in randomised dungeon layouts, among other things.

Go into the cave. Go deeper into the cave. Repeat.

Story: Not even an Excuse Plot
Some games have masterfully-woven narratives detailing why the player is performing every action that occurs throughout the game. Some games provide an excuse plot, with just a short mention of the dragon menacing the countryside before the player sets out to fight slimes. Pixel Brady provides even less information than that. Why are you fighting slimes to get to the bottom of the cave? Who knows.

This isn't really a bad thing, actually. Narrative is nice, but the premise of a hero fighting his way through monsters in a cave is plenty sensible and could have any number of underlying reasons, to the point that it becomes unnecessary for the game to provide one.

Presentation: Nice Enough, Mostly
The graphics and music in Pixel Brady are mostly (if not entirely) RTP-based, if I'm not mistaken. There's not really much to say on this front.

Gameplay: A decent idea, but with several unfortunate flaws
Combat in Pixel Brady occurs on the maps themselves. Your character (Either a dual-wielding warrior or a sword-and-board knight) moves around the map, attacking enemies who are close before they can attack you. (This is accomplished with the "A" button, which I discovered after three unsuccessful first attempts at playing that ended after being trapped by a slime and beaten to death). There is also an MP gauge that implies that the player can also cast spells, but I never found out how to do so. (A tutorial at the beginning of this game would be quite the nice addition)

Unfortunately, combat still has a few kinks that aren't worked out. You have an attack range of "Practically Zero". This is the same as that of the enemies, which means that combat is easy against early-game slimes who seem to have a delay before they attack (Since attacks also have a bit of knockback, it is trivial to clear the first map without ever taking damage), but impossible to master against later-game enemies who attack as soon as they are in range. (As a point of comparison, the 2D Zelda games give you an attack range of roughly half a tile, giving a margin of error for attacking enemies).

Damage calculations are a bit wonky. By the end of the first level, when I had picked up a full set of the worst armour, I was impervious to damage from slimes, and this was with me playing the damage-oriented character class. A few levels later, the game introduced fireball traps that were already reduced to doing 1 damage in the first instance they appeared, and quickly became pointless in the following levels.

These fireball traps also caused the game to run slightly (but still perceptably) slower. This was fine on its own, until later when they were combined with a level where the level is dark except for a circle around the player. This combination of effects resulted in the game slowing to a crawl. (Granted, I was playing this on my netbook).

The final point of game balance is in gold distribution: Upon reaching the first shop, I had enough gold (or sellable equipment) to purchase a full set of the best equipment. I then turned to buying potions and discovered that any potion above the basic level is pointless: The best value-per-gp is found in the weakest potion, and potions are something that take no time to use (as they are activated through the menu). The same calculation applies to MP-restoratives, although I bought none of these since I hadn't yet found any way to use my MP.

Final Verdict: I'd like to see some work on this
Pixel Brady is a rather interesting concept piece. Towards the end of my playthough, I was finding enemies with different attack types, as well as various additional challenges such as the fireball traps and the lights-out levels. It still needs work, though, and I'm not sure that I can really find much to justify recommending the game in the current form.


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The title of this review is outstanding.
Boy... I wonder why this game got so much attention by reviewers? It seems the games that got the most reviews for NAGADEMO were the ones that were most easily completed, which says nothing about quality >.< But oh well.
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