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  • Liberty
  • 04/15/2015 09:56 PM
Sacred Earth: Promise was one of the entries for the IGMC (Indie Game Making Contest) for 2014. As one of the judges for the RPG portion of the competition it is my pleasure to share my thoughts on the game. This review will basically just be the notes I took cleaned up. It will be based on the competition version of the game, so certain aspects of the game may have been changed.

Graphics are, I believe, fully custom. They are highly polished and everything fits together well... except the scene backgrounds, which are all highly-realistic furniture where-as the rest of the game consists of very cartoon-ish graphics. It's quite jarring.

Music is great, atmospheric and original as far as I can tell. The tunes fit the scenes well, too. Sounds are pretty standard, but what's there isn't default.

The writing is very polished. The story is interesting, and was well paced. There were a lot of characters and while they all got some dialogue and interaction, there being so many of them meant that they only had a little screen-time to show off their personality. Each were different from each other in dialogue, though there were some who looked familiar and were easy to mix up.

The huds were all very sleek and polished, giving off a professional feel. Good job!

The game is different from typical RPGs in the way that you interact with the world around you. There are no maps, per se. Instead there is a large area map that you choose various areas to visit. One is the city map which allows you to move around as a pointer and interact with other pointers (thus NPCs). Two others lead to houses - the entering of which will trigger scenes (basically just dialogue with facesets).

The other areas are dungeons, which consist of a grid-like dungeon where you go from one part to the next, opening more paths and interacting based on what you find there. You start with 100 points that enable you to interact in different ways. For example, if you find an enemy you can pass by it at the cost of 25 points. There are traps, enemies, scenes and random effects to be found.

Battles are the biggest part of the game and it's no wonder. They are challenging but interesting. Each character has three bars - health, energy and burst. Burst is gained as you battle, building up and unlocking skills at certain amounts. Energy allows skills to be used and health keeps you alive. The biggest thing about battles is that you can chain attacks by pressing buttons as you attack. Each chain attack costs 5 EN and when you run out of EN it takes your health instead. You can use certain skills without ending your turn while certain skills do. Some skills have a cool-down phase so you can't spam them.

Battles are fast paced and well-balanced with a lean towards challenging. Enemies have elemental weaknesses, as do allies, so paying attention helps.

You don't get healing items - in fact, you don't get any equipment either - but you do find boosts that apply in battle as 'treasure'.

Healing is done by using certain skills that don't waste a turn or using Focus, a skill that boosts HP, EN and defence but has a cool-down of a turn. Also, death isn't permanent. If you wait three turns any dead characters will be brought back to life with some EN and HP, but you have to have at least one character still alive in the battle.

You can save on the main hud scene.

Fun factor
The game is fun. There's a lot of humour, the character interaction just flows well and the battles, if a little hard in places, are fun to engage in. The story is interesting and the dungeons are different, but interesting.

I scored it a 54 out of 60 for the IGMC. On RMN I'm giving it 4.5 stars.