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Suprise! It's a review!

  • Ilan14
  • 09/24/2014 05:10 PM

NOTE: This review only reflects my personal opinion, and people may differ from what I think of the game. Some people may think that this is the best game ever, some people may think that this is a piece of crap that must be burned to ashes immediately. If you, the developer, agree with the points in my review or not, it's up to you.

After navigating for a while in the RMN forums, planning and playing games, I decided to try something new and write a review of a game I recently played: Shindra Duel Adventures. But as I said, this is my first review, so I had to work in it for a while for it to reach the proper level of sophistication that is expected from a review. I hope I had done a good job...

Anyways, let's get started!

Trading Card Games. It's a genre that I'm quite fond of, mostly because this genre allows for a wide variety of strategies that can be used in order to win the battle, and for the addiction that implies trying to get all of the cards so you can build the perfect deck. So that's how I got interested in this game, but in contrast with other card games, the developer tried a different approach: Combining the mechanics of a card game with the RPG Maker VX default battle system. Did it succeed? We'll find out now...

WARNING: There are high chances of finding bad jokes in the screenshots below.

Since it won't take too long to analyze this, I'm going to start with the story. As most of the games with the posibility to explore the world of the game(altough I don't know how many of those may exist...), the story is pretty much straightfoward. You're a boy(or a girl, since you can choose the gender, hair and clothes of your character.) that is just starting with the Shindra duels, and everything is fine until you discover that an evil man named Zordan(I think that was his name...) reunited a group of minions to find a legendary card in order to become the best Shindra card player ever. So just like that, you became an accidental hero, and now is your duty to stop Zordan and his evil minions before they find the card. Your character doesn't talk, and the other NPC's have basic personalities, but the story is not what it matters in this game, so I'm not judging it in that aspect.

So these are, or evil minions, or an upgraded version of the Teletubbies.

What it matters in a card game is the Gameplay, so this is practically the determinant aspect of the review, so let's see what we got here. I'm not going to explain all the aspects of the card combat and adventure that the game can explain, so I'm going to try to sum it up the most I can. After creating your character, you get to choose your first card. And a few minutes later, you enter to the first duel, who works as a tutorial. The card system works like this:

During the adventure, you will collect cards of monsters that you will use to fight other cards of monsters. You can equip up to 4 cards to send into battle, but you better check the cards the enemy has before the battle and equip carefully the cards you're going to use, because each card has it's strenghts and weaknesses, a speciality(a stat that is built up more quicker than the others), and a set of skills that the monsters adquire by gaining experience in battles and leveling up, and despite that at the beggining it may not look like it, choosing well your cards will make the difference in combat. But unlike what it may look at first sight, what I'm describing is basically the default VX battle system, since in the end, the card battles of the game are just the plain ol' VX battles except for the add-on of a script that shows in the top of the screen the life and level of the enemies, and a script that reduces the opacity of the battle GUI when the commands are excecuted. The battles are well balanced and they have more or less the grade of strategy that a card game has, but since we have seen this default battle system in so many RMN games, it's kinda disappointing since the system is still good, but it had potential for more. Still, It's the developer's first game, so I guess he didn't wanted to make the game more complicated than what it is already.

When you're not doing card battles in the game, you're exploring the game world. There you can buy cards, items, clothes for your character, talk to NPC's which you can talk with, battle with them to get experience and Shin(the currency of the game), trade cards with them, and they can also give you sidequests that will get you some Shin as a reward. These sidequests are simple and they can be separated in five types:

- A NPC wants you to fight him in a card battle and win.
- A NPC wants you to fight someone else in a card battle and win.
- A NPC wants you to find an item they lost somewhere in the area.(Very frequent. Man, these people are very careless with their personal properties...)
- A NPC wants you to buy something for him.(Only happened twice.)
- A NPC makes you a quiz of three questions about the area you're exploring.

Also while exploring the main story path, you will also find puzzles that you have to beat in order to advance. These puzzles come in four types, which sometimes appear together:

- Use a system of teleport posts to advance to the Point A to the Point B. (Only in the cave at the beggining of the game)
- Walk trough a labyrinth of arrow tiles that force you into a fixed path.(Very frequent.)
- Activate switches that open a blocked path to the objective.
- Look for a password to enter a blocked room or area.(Only happened twice.)

These add-ons are simple, but they add variety to the experience. You can also explore the Event Park, that will give you access to some features that you can also access from the main menu. Between these features, you can find the EOC(Ever Online Center) in which you can battle card teams of other players that are stored in "profiles" in the game. Here you can also create your profile so you can show your team to other players, and this is also a good choice to gain extra experience and Shin. Another feature is the Fusion Center, that let's you fuse two cards into a new card that will start at level 20. And there's also the L.J. Ware Mode in which you can insert passwords that you can get from the website of the game to access to new cards and new events. I would mention more features, but I think I should let you discover the rest.(Also because I talked much more than what I said I would...)

I knew that someday this moment would come, my evil twin...

I'm not excactly expert in mapping or graphics, but I'll try to judge this aspect the best I can. The game uses mostly the RTP, except for many character edits and recolours including the clothes, hair and skin of the main character and the other NPC's we can interact with. There's also the card layers, the custom graphics for the main menu and the map HUD. The rest is RTP, but a well used RTP, the exterior maps are well crafted, and they feel very natural, just as the cave that we will explore for most of the story. The interior of the houses are also good, but some of them could use some work, because I found in a pair of occasions that a house just didn't had any furniture. But still the developer did a great job with the maps of the game. Altough yet I don't get where did those arrow tiles in some of the exterior maps came from...

Who the hell is the nutcase who put all of these arrows!?

The last aspect of the game(and the most short to analyze), is the music and sound. For the music, the game uses custom tracks that suit perfectly the spirit of the game and the different situations such as battles, towns, and puzzles. The rest of the sounds are RTP. Nothing new there. But the music is very good so I can ignore that easily.

In the end, Shindra Duel Adventures is very good for a first game, the combat is balanced and entertaining, the main story battles can get easy if you train your cards too much, but that's really normal in RPG's. The maps are beautiful and engaging just as the music, and the sidequests and puzzles give variety to the game, preventing the playtrough from getting boring. The story may be too simple, the combat system may be just the default VX battle system with a few add-ons and there may be few reasons to keep playing it after finishing the main story, but it's still a good choice to play, especially if you like card games and the strategy planning that this genre implies. Now if you wanted a more original combat system and a more developed story, you may have to look somewhere else.

And if you play this game, you're welcome to try to beat my team in the EOC Mode! ;)

You can try, but trust me, my team is not exactly a pushover...

- The battles are entertaining, and appeal to the use of different strategies to win the combat.
- The mapping is really great and the character edits add more to the regular RTP sprites.
- The music is good and fits well the athmosphere of the game.
- The sidequests and puzzles are a nice addittion to the game's variety.

- Despite how fun are the battles, in the end, all the combats are done in the same ol' default VX battle system.
- Once you finish the main story, even with the EOC Mode, the few remaining secrets to discover and the version updates, the life of the game feels quite low...

Final Rating: 3.5 Stars
(The additional 0.5 stars is for the addition of content to the game through future updates.)


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Self-proclaimed Puzzle Snob
Whoa I can't believe I didn't see this. This is one of the best-formatted reviews I've seen. Truly exceptional, Ilan.
Oh, thanks! I didn't thought it was that good... :P
Oh, thanks! I didn't thought it was that good... :P

Yes it was, you put a lot of work in this review, I appreciate it. :)
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