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An intense game of survival. - Jtrev23 Reviews

  • jtrev23
  • 12/18/2015 12:19 PM
  • 468 views
I have to say that this game has me in a state of flux. I’m going to say now that this game is not for everyone and whether you like it or not will depend on personal preference. In my case though, I thought the game was entirely frustrating but for some reason I couldn’t stop playing it. Also what was supposed to be a two hour long game took me 8 hours complete. There was no internal game clock (none that I saw anyway) and this time was split overall between two days but the total time was around if not more than 8 hours. I would also like ti mention that this game was originally made in only a week as part of the RM Venture event with 2-3 weeks of patches afterward according to the developer.

-INITIAL THOUGHTS-

There are a lot of great things that Engalia: The Wager does well and there is a lot things that I question as well. This dungeon crawler starts out great with a weird but understandable story and gives the player the ability to create their own party based upon pre-designed classes in the game. Once the game starts though, the play starts to realize what this game really is; an intense survival game made in RPG Maker. With no way to level up or escape from enemies, the player is forced to adapt quickly to the battle system and use the highest damaging moves to get rid of enemies quick as possible while preserving your items for boss battles. I mainly question this design choice as the game is supposed to be a dungeon crawler RPG which should allow the player to explore all areas effortlessly but the constant random battles hinders the player’s ability to focus on their surrounding and it becomes a game of “How long can I go without encountering an enemy”. Now this normally wouldn’t bother me so much since I’m fairly used to random battles at this point but Engalia is the first RPG I’ve played where the random battles are nearly everywhere. To explain further I’ll use the ice world as my example. Much like other RPGs, Engalia’s ice world has patches of ice that the character will slide on uncontrollably. In other RPGs the player is safe from random battles while sliding on the ice until they reach a walkable patch of snow but in Engalia that is not the case. It doesn’t matter whether or not the player is sliding across the ice or jumping over an obstacle, a random battle can occur at just about any moment. That’s why earlier I said this game would not be for everyone. Not to say that this game isn’t for anyone though. Engalia does a great job of showcasing the story and incorporating a huge variety of characters with different believable attitudes and characteristics in a short amount of time. I also would like to say that though I dislike the removal of the “escape” option, I rather enjoyed the battle system revolving around recovering mp in order to use an attack. Although I think there should be a default “attack” option as well in case a character loses or doesn’t want to use any mana that turn. The main elements of what makes this an RPG such as the story and characters are done really well, it is where we get into the dungeon crawling part is where this game starts to decline in my eyes.

-PRESENTATION-

Engalia: The Wager’s presentation is one of its greatest highlights. One of the first things to catch my eye was the chibi style artwork chosen for the characters of game. While the artwork isn’t original I still think it was nice design choice is definitely one factor that makes the game more memorable than others. The mapping of each map is done carefully and gracefully and shows the amount of detail put into the game. It actually surprised me how much detail was put into game with it only being made in a week. My chosen team consisted of a monk, thief, and a cleric who all represented their stereotypes in a believable way. Cut-scenes between bosses exchanged dialogue between the characters in their respective voices and each character felt very natural to me. The story itself is alright in my opinion. Rather than being hired for a job these “Sellswords” are told about a treasure and 1 sellsword bets another that they couldn’t get it and thus the gameplay starts. I did like the emotional journey that the main character goes through and the player themselves might learn some valuable lessons at the end of the game depending on who they choose to add to their party. The only thing that was lacking about the presentation in my opinion was the chosen music. I’ll be honest and state that I only listened to the music in the first dungeon until I decided to put on my own so I can’t say about the rest of the levels but the music in the first one was very lax in my opinion. Even the battle music seemed more laid back and less like battle music. That again is up to personal preference so I won’t go any further but other than that I had no other issues with Engalia’s presentation.

-ENGAGEMENT/GAMEPLAY-

Yet again, my primary source of engagement was the story. I’m just the type of person who wants to see the story to the end. Despite the sheer amount of random battles involved in the game, leaving the story unfinished was something I couldn’t do so I continued played and the game started to grow on me. Or rather, I figured out to easiest way for me to beat the enemies and wanted to continue to the end. This will vary depending on the party the player decides to pick so this could easily cause some balancing issues in the player doesn’t choose their party carefully. I have to say that while I understand that this game had a huge time constraint, I wished that the characters actually would level up, that would at least make fighting the battles seem worth it for me. Not having a level up system and only relying on random equipment really tears down the level of enjoyment for casual players. For players who love action games, the engagement might be the battles themselves as just about every battle is engaging. Fights with small troops can easily be dragged out if the player doesn’t know what the enemy is weak to or how their own attack works. The ATB battle system also ensures that the players stay motivated in battle and adds a layer of depth to the game’s overall battle system by actually being able to speed up the action bar based off of the players speed. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen an ATB style battle system but what make’s Engalia’s battle system unique is that it removes the default attack option and also adds the “Recharge” option for characters to recover their mp; which every character uses for all of their attacks/abilities. While I find this strange, it does force the player to adapt quickly and see how long they can preserve their mana before they have to recharge again and that’s why I consider Engalia to be a survival game. There is also the puzzle elements of the game which I almost forgot to mention. In addition to fighting a slew of enemies there are a variety of puzzles that the player has to solve I order to progress through the game. Now the puzzles themselves aren’t the easiest in the world but they aren’t the most difficult either. The factor that makes them more difficult again is the random battles which continue to be thrown at the player for some of the puzzles. Thankfully a good amount of the puzzles actually have the random battles turned off when solving them but that isn’t the case for all of the puzzles together. Again I’d like to mention how I find the detail in this game to be outstanding since it was originally created in a week. Having the puzzle definitely adds a layer of difficulty but I think the end card left by the developer almost makes it worth it to play it to the end.

-OVERALL-

Engalia: The Wager is an intense dungeon crawler/ survival RPG that I think some hardcore gamers should try. Though minimalistic, the story and the growth of the characters is also nice in my opinion so I recommend those who believe the story sounds interesting should give it a try. Whether or not Engalia was designed to be a survival RPG or not isn’t the case either, I say try the game if you like survival games, dungeon crawlers, or RPG games. A supposed two hour long game took me 8 hours to beat, maybe you can do better.

http://rpgmaker.net/games/6014/

Posts

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Sated
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5402
Well, I'm disappointed with the score because I'm a perfectionist but it sounds like the game did what I was intending it to do, so I can't be too disappointed. It's very much supposed to be a difficult, frustrating survival-based dungeon crawler, hence design choices like preventing the player from running from battles (which is also linked to the lack of levelling; there's no reason for people not to run from battles if they're not gaining anything from them!) and only allowing a limited number of items to be found around the dungeon. On the plus side, I'm really happy that you liked the cutscenes because trying to make each of the characters seem unique was a real challenge!

I should point out that you didn't pick the most balanced of parties to use, having chosen two healing classes (monk and cleric) and a support class (thief) to go with the main hero. I definitely think you would've had a less frustrating time (and wouldn't have taken so long to get through the dungeon) if you'd replaced one of your healing characters with a direct-damage character. I don't think the game needs many tweaks based on your review because it seems to have done what it's supposed to have done (despite the score), but one thing I could take away is that I could maybe tweak the character descriptions to make it clear which characters are support/healing/damage-dealing so the player has a better chance of picking a balanced party.

Thanks for the review!

:)
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