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Smashing Pumpkins

  • nhubi
  • 05/27/2014 03:26 PM
Pumpkins is a short RPG in which a group of friends are suddenly and inexplicably transported from their home town on Halloween night and turned into, respectively, a pumpkin-head, an actual pumpkin and a floating red balloon.

Right so now we've established this game doesn't take itself too seriously, let's continue.

There are a few small spelling issues; jack-o-lanturn should be jack-o'-lantern for example.

The graphics, with the exception of the changed characters sprites are all RTP. However in relation to those sprites the face-sets don't change to match the new forms, it's disconcerting seeing a ginger swordsman talk when the sprite is a pumpkin.

Really? Because you don't look like a pumpkin.

Music is good in some places, especially in Cobweb Creak (which may be a spelling error but is also not a bad pun), and the 'overworld' and yes I do recognise the Nightmare before Christmas main theme, still it works given the premise. However the somewhat jaunty upbeat theme in the dank caves clashes somewhat.

The mapping is fine, nothing to write home about but nothing full of errors either and the developer has given some thought to placement and suitability of objects. Rooms are neither too cluttered nor too empty, dungeons are relatively straightforward with a few side areas to go into to find a hidden chest or two, and the fact that the some of the chests within the dank cave are actually covered in a layer of corrosion or growth making them hard to spot in the gloomy space is a nice touch and well designed.

I'm not sure the level of humour in this game is intentional, but there were some literal laugh out loud moments for me, like this one.

Err...have you looked at what you are talking to?

Most of the sprites you would normally consider to be monsters are actually the residents of this odd little world so you don't get to battle them, though talking to them is a good idea. The developer has got around this automatic 'bad guy' instinct by making combat touch based and with floating cloud-like entities in the dungeons. So you know it's safe to have a conversation with a wandering werewolf in the town without being worried about having your face ripped off.

The combat system is pretty much the standard turn-based but with a few tweaks to make it a bit more informative. HP indicators and bouncing damage are fine, but it becomes a little too busy with each monster indicating what XP and money you get from them as they expire at the same time as you are getting damage indicators for the next monster you are attacking. Still it is a plus to the standard so worth noting.

You can interact with a great many inanimate ( and sometime not) objects in the game. Some interactions on the maps are highlighted with sparkles, but others are not, though there is logic to it. Plaques and carvings generally have messages and some pumpkins talk to you, but you've already been given a heads-up about that.

There are a few custom scripts used in this game, I understand the developer wanting to mix it up a little but I don't think they work too well as implemented.

The visible cursor isn't a good choice. Even if it worked properly, which it doesn't, it's just jarring and out of place. The menu and items you have chosen highlight or move anyway to show you what you are selecting so you don't need the cursor as well.

So the hand is pointing at items but the Save bar is extended, which one have I selected again?

The pop up treasure menu is a nice touch but it needs to be reduced to two or three items, I think it's currently set to 10, or at least that looked like the maximum that showed for me. I understand the novelty factor but it actually doesn't work that well because the larger it gets the harder it is to work out what you just found in the chest. Did you find one item or three, is it the item at the top or the bottom I found? Unless you can remember what you found in the last chest you opened you won't know what you found in this one.

So did I just get the sparkling water and the fur hat, or the super soda, wait when did I lose a token? Oh I'll just go look in my inventory.

This one is a pet peeve of mine, please don't make shops where you can't sell things. I understand that an item shop may not have a trade-in policy, but a weapons and armour smithy where you are aiming to upgrade should.

The save anywhere option is on, which is a plus in my book, but given the fact that my last save before the final battle clocked in at 1h 10 m I could probably have played the whole game without saving. Still I appreciate it being available.

There are no side quests in this game, but given its brevity there really isn't room for any. You are basically going from point A to D via B and C to get out of this place and hopefully regain your original bodies along the way, and as a side note find out why the malicious Mummy sent you here in the first place.

The game accomplishes that simple goal relatively well, and by the time you get to the end you do have some sense of purpose, and the answers to the questions you seek.

One odd graphical error that turns up, after your party separates and then reunites Klaus's sprite goes back to being the standard for the character, not the Pumpkin-head. So either he's regained his body and forgot to be excited about it, or it's a glitch.

One of these things is not like the other ones.

None of the issues are game breaking; they are either an odd aesthetic choice which is personal or spelling and glitches which do need to be corrected. However none of that stops you playing and enjoying a relatively light-hearted romp through a Halloween world.


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I thought I was never going to come back to this game, but this review has kind of prompted me to fix some stuff! Thanks nhubi!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
No problem, it was a fun little hour. If you do an update, let me know and I'll revisit the review.
Great game and great review. I agree with all that was said here. For the item pop-up, I never did understand why that was. I only care about the immediate item I'm finding or losing.

In any case, it's still a decent and fun game in spite of the flaws mentioned.
I'm guessing Nhubi didn't manage to stumble into the game breaking bugs I found in this game.
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