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A cool, sexy game for people with large vocabularies.

Nearly everyone in the indie gaming community has probably entertained ideas about making a game that's really different. Maybe it'll have some groundbreaking new combat system, or put a wild twist on a familiar plot, or explore some little-touched genre. And most of these ideas, when implemented, turn out terribly. It's much easier to be creative than to be legitimately entertaining.

This is what makes The Logomancer so exceptional. It's not merely an original game, it's a truly refined work of creativity, with a premise, setting, cast and mechanics all artfully crafted to suit the character of the game. The Logomancer is beautifully written, stylishly devised, and compellingly designed.

One thing The Logomancer is not, however, is a game with mass appeal. The tone of the game is refined and erudite, and if you have to look up what that means, you're probably going to be spending a whole lot of the game confused. On the other hand, if you've ever found yourself wishing for a game starring mature, intelligent adults who navigate conflicts with refined reasoning abilities, you should definitely give this game a try.

Story and setting:
The Logomancer takes place in a world where dreams take place in a shared metaphysical environment shaped by people's thoughts. Even apart from this, the setting is clearly a world of its own, with history, religion, and geography distinct from anything we're familiar with. However, information on all these matters is given out in measured doses, and much of it is left tantalizingly out of reach. The author shows rather than tells the audience the qualities which flesh out the setting, and knows when to leave things to the players' imagination rather than filling in every possible blank.

The plot starts out simply and with low stakes, and the tension remains low for most of the game, but the central conflict is foreshadowed from the very beginning, and the various, seemingly innocuous sidequests all weave back into that central conflict, tying together nearly all the protagonists' activities leading up to the climax of the game.

This is not to say that everything is done perfectly. In the end, I think the author goes too far with his tendency to withhold information from the audience, and as a consequence, while the main conflict is consistently foreshadowed and its elements introduced over the course of the game, the player is left without a clear sense of what the greater significance of the events in the game is, and exactly what has been resolved, giving the game a less satisfying conclusion than it might have had. Also, the cartography interlude left me with the impression that the world in which the game takes place was extremely sparse and probably much smaller compared to our own, both geographically and politically, which would have been an easy thing for the author to avoid since so little of the world map or politics actually needed to be developed over the course of the game.


The core cast of The Logomancer is as distinct from that of conventional JRPGs as is its premise. Nearly all the central characters of the game are not just mature adults, but refined and sophisticated individuals. In fact, the cast is possibly urbane to a fault, and there were times that I felt that the game could have used some other less intellectual characters to act as foils to the main protagonists, but at least the author appears to be playing to his strengths; the characters are consistently well written, with fleshed out personalities and excellent dialogue.

Sound and Graphics:

Logomancer features an entirely original soundtrack, and fully unique graphics. The art style of the game is, to be frank, somewhat amateurish. Characters have odd proportions, and the environment appears strangely flat. However, I find it hard to hold these things against it. While I've seen many works which attempt to make a virtue of necessity by evoking a style that suits their creators' limited artistic abilities, I've rarely been favorably impressed, but The Logomancer stands as a notable exception. The game presents an offbeat but coherent aesthetic which superbly suits the overall tone.

Compared to the art, the music is clearly more expertly developed. It's beautiful, atmospheric, and expertly used. The song choices are always apropos, and the transitions fluid and effective. But sometimes, the greatest impact comes from the effective use of silence. All in all, the game is absolutely graced by the quality of the soundtrack.

Even beside its music and art, the game is full of subtle elements which enhance the tone and atmosphere of the game, from the modulations in speed of text presentation, which evoke the characters' patterns of speech, to the ways that the game conveys body language even with only simple animations, the game contains a stunning level of artistic presentation.


As the game's description on the main page will tell you, all "combat" in The Logomancer is actually discourse and argumentation. This is not just a gimmick, it's a design characteristic which is reflected consistently throughout both gameplay and story. Combat in The Logomancer might not be much like being in a real life debate, but it's substantially distinct from most RPGs. Fights in this game absolutely force the player to strategize. Status effects (and The Logomancer has some truly interesting ones, with many of the effects, and all of the names, being unique to this game) are absolutely fundamental in combat. Dealing significant damage requires the player not just to spam their most powerful attacks (or rather, their strongest arguments,) but to mix status buffs and manipulate enemy weaknesses for massive coordinated attacks. Combat is well balanced, and character growth is calibrated so that grinding is neither necessary nor especially helpful.

There is, however, an exploit which makes it possible to permanently boost your characters' attack power to arbitrarily high levels along an exponential growth curve (especially devastating since the game has no damage cap.) I can't really criticize this in game balance terms, since it's only practical to take advantage of it once you're already able to beat the bonus boss which is the most powerful enemy in the game, and I have some suspicion that it might even be deliberate, as a way for players who have already effectively solved the challenge of the game's combat system to avoid tediousness in further battles.

The Logomancer is also filled with some really clever, well integrated puzzles. If you're tired of pushing around blocks and switches, and want some challenges that seriously engage your analytical skill, look no further. If you don't like puzzles and would rather avoid them entirely, look somewhere else, because they're integral to this game.

The game also does a very good job managing the party's various quests and making sure that the player always knows where to go and what to do, while allowing them to thoroughly exercise their brains in the course of doing it. Or rather, it does a good job making sure the player knows where to go and what to do, with one significant and unfortunate exception near the end of the game, where in order to find one plot significant item, the player is effectively forced to play the "scour the landscape to uncover anything you could possibly have missed" game. This is one really substantial oversight, and the source of the majority of the frustration the game has to offer. The rest of the time, it's firm but fair.


The Logomancer is a brilliant concept with an artful execution. There were times when I wanted to damn the flaws and award the game full marks on the basis of its strengths. But ultimately, there are still points which offer significant room for improvement. Don't go into it expecting perfection. But if you're looking for a game which is original, thought provoking, and piercingly clever, then I highly recommend this one.


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What exploit are you referring to? The

epiphany shop in the secret area? Or just the fact that you can grind epiphanies off the Final Horizon?

To be honest you don't even really need those to break the game. Once you get Rift Isle Mysticism and Reinvention, you're pretty much unkillable already.

I agree with a lot of this, though my opinion slightly differs on the final conflict. I felt it was good on its own, but wasn't really foreshadowed at all and the attempt to tie it to all the other quests felt weak. I was also rather disappointed by the lack of female characters, even though the two we get are pretty good.

Nothing on all of the veiled artistic commentary, though? I thought those parts were really interesting, if a bit on-the-nose. I don't get why the developer apparently hates prequels so much, though.
The exploit I was referring to
does involve the fact that you can grind epiphanies off the Final Horizon, but I guess the shop in the secret area would work too, although I missed that. If you finish a battle with the Esprit D'escalier status effect on, it persists during the status screen between battles, and you can apply the epiphanies to your persuasion and elocution stats while the modifier is on. When you do this, the stats rise exponentially rather than linearly, and the bonuses remain when the Esprit D'escalier status effect is removed.

I'm surprised you didn't feel the final conflict was foreshadowed at all. I felt it was foreshadowed quite extensively, but never really elucidated. I could see that it was built up to in advance, but that didn't make it entirely clear what was going on when it happened.

The artistic commentary, I wouldn't really call veiled at all. It's direct and explicit commentary on writing, it just occurs in the context of a work of fiction. I honestly don't remember the context for any discussion of prequels, but I'm thinking maybe Ardus rejects the prospect of writing a prequel to his novel? I wouldn't take it for granted that all of Ardus's views are direct reflections of those of the author, but for Ardus's story in particular I think that any prequel would face major obstacles related to the foregone conclusion set up by the first book.
Ah. I didn't even consider using that skill that way. I presume you need to go into a battle, trigger it, and then escape? And the status will persist? I suppose I always assumed it disappeared after battle; I never used it much, anyway.

I'm surprised you didn't feel the final conflict was foreshadowed at all. I felt it was foreshadowed quite extensively, but never really elucidated. I could see that it was built up to in advance, but that didn't make it entirely clear what was going on when it happened.

Hm, how so? Maybe I'm just dense, but I had completely forgotten about it by the time I got the normal ending. The most foreshadowing you get other than the opening is some occasional offhand comments that some phenomena the party sees is unusual, but I just chalked that up to the mindscape being weird. And I actually felt like the situation itself was pretty clear, even if some of the stuff relating to the Composer was kept intentionally vague. (And I admit I am still curious as to what, precisely, is the difference between an "abyssal" creature and a regular "straw man" construct.)

The artistic commentary, I wouldn't really call veiled at all.

Ha, maybe I should have said thinly-veiled. But yes, it is pretty explicit. The prequel thing comes from the fact that all three characters (or maybe it was just Ardus and John?) condemn prequels as boring and trite when Ardus brings up the idea; "no one wants to read a story when they already know what's going to happen" is one of the lines used I think? It sounded to me like the author's own opinions peeking through rather than something specific to The Tower of Ideals.
You don't actually have to escape, if you finish a battle in the first turn, it stays between battles, and goes away at the beginning of the next battle.

The foreshadowing of the final conflict, I would say
related not just to the interlude with the composer at the beginning, but to the discussions about ancient logomancers which were sparked by the Soldier's Heirloom and Fill In the Blank subquests, and the idea of stuff they created persisting in the dreamscape, and to the Nicolus subquest, which was revealed on completion to have been sparked by an event in the distant past.
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