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Okiku's grumpy face is going to haunt my dreams.

  • Kel
  • 10/27/2014 04:02 AM
This cute little hour long game has enough things to keep it interesting the whole way through, and the time it takes to beat the game does it justice, as any longer and it may have changed my opinion.

Luckily, for Okiku, Star Apprentice, the main character's charm in everything she does keeps old mechanics fresh to the point where the repetition in her remarks largely went over my head.

The premise is pretty simple; basically you're ordered by the person you apprentice under, Ryoko, to obtain rare ingredients that Okiku rightly gets sarcastic about finding. It's just a coincidence that all the ingredients happen to be out and about, albeit attached to fearsome monsters.

Little else beyond that develops throughout the game, but there is in fact a point to getting the ingredients, which opens up the next and last major story event. Both of these events are skippable btw if you're so inclined.

But, in this game's case all of this is just fine, because dialogue comes in all different forms between hearing Akiku's thoughts when examining your surroundings, townspeople who deliver more than boring one-liners, and even in battle all the "Okiku attacks." changes to her banter before every use of a skill or normal attack. It adds a lot to the charm of the character I mentioned before, and surely saves it from not having an identity in the sea of RPG Maker games.

I have to point out that I found it weird that emphasized words were in red, instead of in italics like I'm used to.

What you'll be spending 90% of the game experiencing, all centered around encountering and disposing your enemies as efficiently as possible.

At the beginning of the game you're given a Teleport Orb and a Wand of Blasting. The orb lets you instantly warp between towns and dungeons that you've visited, while the wand can be used in a number of interesting ways.

Once used, the wand sends out a projectile that doesn't stop until it hits something. Predictably, the first thing I did was sling it at my master just to see if she would respond. I was pleasantly surprised when Ryoko responded, even if it wasn't in a way Okiku wanted. You can hit various townspeople with it as well, if you desire to see how they react to getting hit by a ball of fire.

The wand's main purpose though, is to hit switches you can't reach, and get the jump on enemy encounters. This includes the bosses, all of which can be seen on the map before encountering. I don't think there was a battle I got into that I didn't get a preemptive attack on. (Besides the only scripted boss fight) Interestingly, I could also open treasure chests with it.

As far as battles go, it's pretty generic and near impossible to die unless that's your goal. The one unique aspect that I enjoyed was skills that level up the more you use them. It's easily exploitable though, as I leveled up the heal, mp damage, and concentration(self mp heal) to the highest possible skill level by the second battle once I understood the mechanic.

By the time I defeated the first boss, I realized something else as well. Whether you hit an enemy in the same dungeon or just touch them, they'll instantly be defeated and you'll earn about 80% of the exp and some money. This can also obviously be abused, so by the time all my skills maxed out by the third dungeon, I just skipped all normal encounters and leveled up only after defeating the boss of the area. If you're looking for difficulty, then I'd suggest avoiding most of the enemies, and somehow resist the temptation not to abuse free level ups once that dungeon's boss is out of the picture.

I feel like I should also point out that the skill status effects work on any enemy, including bosses. I never got to see boss skills beyond the first one because I kept stunning them with Petrify. (the first attack based skill I leveled to max)

Okiku's face is the only face in the game, which actually helps increase her relative charm. Her expressions are fairly animated, and change just about every time a new window message with her dialogue occurs. But I'm sure anyone downloading the game notices this on the gamepage itself.

Everything else in the game is standard RTP with mapping most of the time slightly above the average stock of VX/ACE maps; they were never a detriment to my experience. Sometimes though I wanted to add more ground variety in my head during outside dungeons.

Hearing the wand of blasting...blast foes, added to the enjoyment of doing so. It even played a nifty sound effect when used to open chests, which made the lack of sound when opening a chest by hand very odd.

The music is all ripped from older games; noticing the games they came from while playing through this game made me nostalgic for them, especially Threads of Fate.
The music fit the scenes perfectly, however, even though they all faded out without looping.

Bugs for the Dev
♦ While spamming a skill in battle, you have to move the selection to another skill before the skill will update how many more uses until the next upgrade. This sorts itself out after battle is over though, and doesn't actually affect whether or not I get the next skill on time.

Stray Observations
♠ Sniping enemies from across the room with my wand kept me entertained longer than it probably should have.
♠ Any enemies that cause a status effect against you, usually also drops the healing item to cure it.
♠ First dungeon area enemies are always weak to magic, while second area enemies are always weak to physical attacks.
♠ One of the best Credits scene I've seen in a RM game.

As you could see from the above, I basically steamrolled through any enemy with a pulse. With the sparse plot and battles only saved by watching my skills level up, it comes as a surprise to me that I ended up enjoying myself as much as I did. This goes a long way towards how important a lead character is to a game's success; by giving her such an in-your-face personality, it turned an average game into something I'd recommend to anyone who wants to play a game simply to wind down while experiencing a fun character in Okiku.


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Guardian of the Description Thread
I'm not sure how to fix that weird lack-of-update in regards to number of uses.

Though, what I observed is that it updates after moving to a different skill. Though, I suppose it would be nice for it to update without any such shenanigans. Might look into it later.

But, hey, you obviously had a blast with it, so, the game generally served it's purpose!

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