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Okiku, Star Game

Okiku, Star Apprentice review

Although you probably already knew that.

Ooh! A review! I like the sound of that! Ba-da-boom ba-da-boom ba-da-boom!


What Is It, Though?

Okiku, Star Apprentice is the kind of game that you want to play when you have a short coffee break and want to kill some monsties. It took me just over an hour to complete. Its ambition is not to shoot for the stars, but to create a fun little diversion with neat mechanics and a cute main character. If that's all you're looking for in a game, then you're all sorted downloading this title.

However, Okiku does not focus on character development or story as its main attributes. Some players may be turned off by its slightly repetitious gameplay or the storyline's lack of engagement. But for what Okiku lacks in technical zip, it makes up for in charm and simplicity. Lightheartedness rules, and if you don't take Okiku super seriously, then it will be a fun ride.



Story

"Ba-da-boom ba-da-boom ba-da-boom!" Okiku is the wizard Ryoko's apprentice who is on a fetch quest to retrieve many items from the lost corners of the world. Ryoko will use it in her mixing pot to create a useful recipe. The story is short, cute, and not too deep. I would have liked it if NPCs were more interesting, and there's a bit of fourth-wall breaking which may prove irritating if that kind of thing grinds your gears. The ending seems minorly underplanned, but that doesn't detract from the experience as a whole. The best scenes happen inside the pub/inn, but even then it doesn't give you much to think about story-wise. I found Okiku's chants during battle to be somewhat uplifting, with some lines that made me laugh out loud. But even though Okiku's optimism may be infectious to the sanguine, the melancholic such as myself can get "Okiku'd out" by the end of it all. Sometimes I don't want someone shouting cutely in my ear, that's all.

Hey, you don'tlikeit when I speak? What gives?


Oh, no no no! It's not that I don't like you. It's just... ah, never mind.

Oh, I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean to put you in an uncomfortable position.


Well, I-

Let's be best friends again! Pleeease?


OK alright, if you insist. ;)



Graphics/Audio

I will start with the positives. The music choice was wonderful. I liked the overworld theme, with its beautiful ascending riff. The facesets are cute and the game has a very kawaii feel to it. Exterior maps were detailed enough to be serviceable, but sometimes I felt they were a little bare and plain, lacking attention to detail, with ornaments that were scattered about too randomly. However, many maps were revised from the demo to the completed version, including the inn/pub area, which now looks fantastic. A little more time spent in this area might have returned major dividends.



Gameplay

Despite being full of charm and simplicity in nature, Okiku looks to stretch borders with its learn-as-you-use spell system. The more you execute moves, the stronger these moves become. Spells have several levels of intensity, and they level up as they are executed. This lent a depth to combat mechanics that could have been made deeper with proper balancing. There wasn't that much variety in battles either, since most encounters seemed to have straightforward strategies to beating them. However, the innovation of the learn-as-you-use skill system made there at least be a goal to which I can aspire to - full mastery of all skills. It almost reminds me of my Runescape days.

Runescape? Runes are more... Ryoko's thing...
I like the Wand of Blast-ing muuuch better!


I'm sure you do, Okiku.

Another neat design feature was the inclusion of a teleport orb which could let you "port" to any new places you visit. However a major design flaw was in letting the player be able to port from any position in the map. After you finish battling a monster, you could just teleport back to your bed at home and heal. This makes difficulty quite easy (as if it wasn't already). This can be solved by selectively enabling porting from certain locations so it makes it a bit more difficult and requires a strategy.

The use of the Wand of Blasting also imparted a unique quality to the game, although I reckon it could have been used in a great many more scenarios, such as puzzles and the like. The developer expressed an initial desire to create puzzles around this mechanic, and perhaps it would have spiced things up a little. The game did need a little variety in gameplay to combat its repetitiousness. Overall, the battles did provide solid entertainment for the first world, but beyond that I needed to listen to some particularly epic music to keep me going.



Conclusion
Okiku, Star Apprentice is a game with modest ambitions and a big heart. Despite its flaws and repetitious gameplay, Okiku has a sort of charm to it that prevents you from completely disliking it. Those who are into all things cute, light and airy may enjoy this game. Others may not. But it is certainly not a waste of time, and it provides light chuckles here and there. It is a comforting game that does not reach beyond its means, in an admirable sort of way.

Thanks for reading! Bye!

Posts

Pages: 1
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
21806
That is the correct title for an Okiku review!

Anyway, I'll look into limiting the teleportation functionality.

I suppose the best reason to disable it is to check to see if there is a boss present ("There is a strong force preventing the Teleport Orb from functioning!"). I can envision how I would code it too, so that's a step in the right direction.

Saying that, I don't know if this is the kind of game that would WANT this kind of thing to happen. It's SUPPOSED to be a simple, frustration-releasing game.

I could see myself doing it for Konae's Investigations, though. That seems like a better fit!

*Edit:
I don't quite see your opinion changing all THAT much if you do decide to review the now-complete version of the game.

Though, maybe I can surprise you? That would be cool!
CashmereCat
Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
11638
Hey Marrend. I completed the game and edited this review to suit. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed Okiku to help me review ^_^ It's not my best reviewing, but I tried my best. Thanks for letting me play this game! I hope to play any other games you wish me to play in the future, review or not.

Cash
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
21806
*snort*


*bursts out in laughter*


More seriously, I'm glad you enjoyed the game, despite it's faults. Ideas for puzzles just were not coming to me very easily (or at all), and I don't think ANYBODY could be really satisfied with that ending.


I dunno. I might have been able come up with something better eventually. I guess I was just super-excited with how things were generally panning out, wanted to slap a big ol' "completed" sign on this, and move on.
CashmereCat
Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
11638
And that you did. I hope one day I'll be as productive as you, to be honest. Even if it's just to complete a game no matter how good/bad it is. That, I believe, is a skill worth learning. And you have produced many games! :)
unity
You're magical to me.
12540
I strive to be like Marrend in that regard, too! Marrend, Maker of Games!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
21806
I'm no Craze, but I do my best with this Bludgeon of Inspiration of mine.

Pages: 1