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Gotta fetch the melons!

  • Marrend
  • 07/10/2012 04:50 PM
  • 324 views
Game Title: Melon Journey
Engine: RPG Maker 2K3
Status at review: Complete

Background:
My motivation to make this review lies more in getting an achievement and bonus markerscore via the NaGaDeMo Review Drive than anything else. However, I did manage to perform a small amount of research on the game itself before just plunging into it. So, this review is not completely blind. Just mostly blind.

I had high hopes for this game, thanks, in part to edchy's review and the fact that the game had a "Hidden Gem" spotlight.


Graphics:
The game uses a monochrome-green aesthetic, or something very close to it. This, I believe, is a call-back to the original GameBoy.

The mapping was competent enough. My only complaint was that the town seemed a bit on the large side. It might not have been as much of an issue if the character's walk speed was not slowed down from the default speed. The sprites were equally serviceable, though I managed to confuse an NPC with a snowman.


Audio:
Searching the Music directory, as I am want to do, I heard music that sounded like they could come from an original GameBoy game. If I ever owned a physical copy of that system, I would suppose I would feel a sense of nostalgia from these songs. It fits the aesthetic the game wants to have to a "T", so I'll give points for consistency.


Story:
Away on a camping trip, the player character and his or her friend (Players choose the character's gender at the game's offset) spit up after deciding to set up camp. However, a storm raged, separating the two on a more permanent basis. The player is then tasked to seek out his/her friend. Thus, the game begins.


Playing the game:
After the story blat ended, I was dropped into a forest map. Fair enough. I checked to see that I could access the menu. I could! However, the only items on the menu were "Item" and "Quit"? I'm not that experienced with 2K3, so I must assume it's somehow possible to outright remove menu options. Like "Save", evidently. I wasn't quite ready to rage against the game yet, though.

Anyway, the next map was a town map. I wasn't expecting that, to be honest. I was expecting more forest maps, as I had this odd impression that the introduction story was talking about a place out in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. Though, a town should mean a save point, right? Right? The town proved larger than I thought, but I did manage to find it.

While looking for the save point, I noticed that a lot of NPCs in this game say that they wanted specific items, or otherwise indicate that they would like to be shown specific items. It was, like, Room 2 all over again, only it was a game-wide gimmick rather than a single map.

At some point, I decided it would be a good idea if I started to write down what I had, and what people said they wanted. At the point in the game I was at, I figured I needed to get a sewing machine. Before I got that, I needed money. I already had some, but not the right currency. There was a banker, but he was asleep. I searched everywhere I could think of, but I found nothing that would wake the banker up. I was kinda tired with wandering around the town (Stupid slow walk speed) and looking that way. So I bit the bullet, and cheated, opening up the game in the editor (Incoming hate expected). The answer was with an item I received from an earlier quest. The hint was supposed to be in the item's description, and if I bothered to check my inventory with more scrutiny, I might have figured it out on my own. Oh well.

Anyway, once that hurdle was overcome, the game was pretty smooth sailing. Though, that was mostly because I knew what the sequence was supposed to be from my peek in the editor. As it turned out, my notes from before more or less indicated what the sequence was, but I needed just a little push in the right direction. It is, perhaps, unfortunate that I chose to seek the push I needed by cheating rather than by going by the information the game decided to throw at me.


General Observations:
Once I got over the save conundrum, I was more or less happy with the game. I did hit some difficulty with what I was supposed to do. Perhaps a bit of logical thinking could have gotten me out of that hole, but, I did what I did.

Going from Area A to get Item B that Person C wants, who opens Area D, or a similar scenario, is classic adventure game material. It's nothing "new" to the genre. There's nothing wrong with that! However, getting from Point A to Point B is seriously annoying with the speed the player is given. I would suggest bringing it up to the default speed, at the very least.


Summary:
While it does have it's hiccups at times, this is solid adventure game, though-and-through.


BOTTOM LINE: 3/5


Side note on ratings (since there is/was/will be somewhat of a spate on what rating means what between each user):
1/5 -> Terrible. Forget about hitting an audience. The game is so bug-ridden, or otherwise unplayable, that what entertainment can be found in the game has a hard time coming to the surface.

2/5 -> Bad but playable. I had a poor experience with the game. When played by a player the game actually caters to, it would serve it's purpose.

3/5 -> Average. A solid experience, but snags somewhere along the line cause it to be held back from being "good".

4/5 -> Good. I enjoyed the experience, and have no qualms supporting it if was considered for a featured game (if it wasn't featured already).

5/5 -> Excellent. Among the paragons of gaming experiences, and instant feature material in my humble opinion (if it wasn't featured already).