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Oracle of Askigaga Review

Story:

Two warring nations, the Askigaga and Hachisuka, were at a stalemate; because it seemed like the war would never end, the both of them decided to make peace by having their prince and princess marry each other. The prince of Askigaga now must travel to three different nation's (nation of Gojo as the third nation) temple to receive the blessing of the Goddess.

While playing the game, I don't think the game ever mentions why the two nations fought each other. If they had, then I must have missed it somehow and or over-read it in the main story, because I would have definitely remembered why two nations would go to war with each other if it was explained.

Characters:

Since this game is fairly short (Nearly an hour long), there isn't enough time to fully flesh out the characters in this game. The most detailed character would have to be the Oracle (Titled character! Except she's technically not the focus of the game) who has a past; is built upon it later in the game. The second most detailed character (in my personal opinion) is a supporting character, a princess of Gojo, who's in love with the prince who has to marry the princess of Hachisuka instead. The prince himself is really bland, all I know about him is that he's the prince of Askigaga; is a person who cares about his people, that's it.

Gameplay:

Everyone has two skills they can use, if you look at the skill's description, you'll notice something like this: 0/8. This is an indication to show how many times this particular skill needs to be used before evolving into a much more powerful skill with additional effects. The number of times the skill has been used already; the number needed to evolve it respectively. Once a skill has reached its maximum evolution, this (4/8 or whatever number depending on the skill) will be removed to indicate it so.

I really liked this idea; the fact that the developer took the time to let players know how many times they needed to use the skill to evolve it, instead of just letting them waste time figuring out whether a skill can still evolve or not like other rpg games that use skill evolution. However, I do want to make it clear that while it's amazing that characters can evolve their skills... They can't learn any additional skills. So players are stuck with two different skills: One to deal damage; the other for support. You might use the support skill just once in battle if the character isn't a healer; then you're just spamming the same attacking skill until the enemy dies.

The skill evolution is a mixed blessing, on one hand you can make your skills extremely powerful very early in the game since you just need to use it; the skill has to make contact with an enemy a number of times. On the other hand, the stamina required to use it can drastically increase as well; if you're still low leveled, then you can probably only use it once or can't use it at all if the requirement stamina exceeds your maximum stamina. Thankfully, guarding allows a character to restore a decent amount of stamina in battle if you ran out of items to restore stamina.

To be honest, I forgotten that items exists in this game because of two reasons: the fact guarding is so useful for reducing damage and to restore a moderate amount of stamina; also I needed to spam my healing spell to evolve it. You can't use your healing spell outside of battle (possibly to prevent evolving it even faster). So whenever I see a character that's not at full health, I'd rather use my healing spell, which can evolve into a stronger skill that will eventually be able to heal everyone at once, than to use a healing potion that can only heal a single person.

There are no random encounters in this game; most common enemies can be easily avoided (with the exception of monsters in the first temple who will block your way; will respawn every time you leave the area). Should you participate in a battle against common monsters, you will be greatly rewarded with plenty of money and exprience points. You barely have to grind in this game, for instance, I got from level 20 to level 50 in about 30 minutes, just by grinding in the final temple's common monsters.

A confusing puzzle...

In the last temple, you are tasked with finding an assassin among a small group of people, should you choose the wrong one, that innocent person will die along with another random person killed by the real assassin. I found this to be rather confusing because when you talk to everyone, they will have a name; will say a generic line, maybe even give you the option to shoot them or do nothing (which confuses me even further because when you choose the shoot option, a list of name will pop up and let's you mark the name with something). Two random people will give you this option; one of them, instead of saying "shoot" will have "scry." What's "scry?" is this just a horribly spelled "shoot" or "sorry?" Maybe it's an acronym for something? Only the developer knows...

Once you think you know who the assassin is, you will have a list of names to pick out from; honestly there's no penalty for choosing the wrong person and getting them killed as long as you eventually picked out the assassin; then you're free to move on. Now, first time this happened where I finally guessed the right person, there were only two people left that's alive while everyone else were dead in their coffins. Because I'm not a cold-hearted person, I loaded my last save file and picked the assassin correctly the first time so no innocent person died this time, so I don't know if there's any other penalty for choosing the wrong person other than them getting killed.

Bosses:

The first two bosses are pushovers. I was more concerned about whether the bosses had enough health to tank my skills that I needed to spam to evolve them instead of worrying about if I could win the fight or not. The second boss was even easier than the first because in that fight, you get to have a guest character who knows a spammable skill that drains the boss stamina which prevents her from using any skills. So here I am, chipping away at the 2nd boss health while she's just standing there trying to recover stamina, only to lose it again thanks to the over powered guest character.

The third and final boss of the game isn't the same as the first two. She only has one attack that can hit everyone; depending on your party's level (in my case, level 20, when I first fought her), can nearly one shot everyone. I had to grind 30 levels to where her only attacking skill only takes 1/3 of everyone's health. I didn't like the final boss since: it's so repetitive to see her only use one attack that can still take a decent chunk of everyone's health at once, two out of three support moves I have are utterly useless because the boss is immune to debuffs and can't be provoked to only attacking one character, making the fight even more repetitive than it already is.

This game has potential, and the developer obviously have the skills and ideas to make it so, if the game is expanded with the inclusion of more character backstory and more skills for both the playable characters and bosses, more items, and more details about the war, then this could be a really good game.

Posts

Pages: 1
Marrend
Guardian Gorgon of the Description Thread
18308
First, thanks for the review! I do somewhat apologize for the quantity of skills everyone gets. Though, wouldn't giving extra abilities later mean those abilities would also evolve? Maybe those skills wouldn't have as many evolution, but, I would still have to code for those evolution. Such might have been part of my thought-process in giving each character only two abilities ever.

Second, a small clarification on what "Scry" does. Suffice it to say, the intention of the "Scry" command is to access the ability of the Diviner (spoken of briefly in this blog) to peer into another person's heart, and learn their alignment. I may have gotten the term "scry" from my Magic: The Gathering background, but, I believe the idea of "discovering hidden secrets" falls under the definition of "scry".
I completely understand since coding can be pretty long and tedious; for that I applaud you for taking the time to code evolution for six abilities.

And thanks for clarifying "Scry" since I had no idea that was an actual word until now.
Dammit. I want to make a TvTropes page for this, even though I haven't played it, 'cause evolving skills is a easy trope... But too much effort...
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