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Here there be dragons!

Hello players, and welcome back!
This time I played RUSELAN, a game by Runic with RPG Maker VX Ace for the 2014 IGMC contest. And it's a short investigative fantasy rpg.

Thaena, also called agent Ruselan of the ROMMC (Royal Order of Magic and Monster Control) is our protagonist, sent to the village of Dire Creek to investigate the presence of a dragon. But when she arrives it seems that the problem is no more, and the village leader says that her talents are no longer required! What is going on? It's time to start investigating, my friend!

Here's why we are here! Anyway look at the panorama! It's really beautiful!

RUSELAN is, as we immediately learn, the name of the new agent, a 1st level witch sento to the village where the dragon was seen. As you can expect our heroine has to look for clues and find evidence, but also fight giant bees, giant spiders and slimes using the classic rpgmaker battle system. The game is pretty simple, and there is no quest log nor list, and the main activities are selecting the correct line of dialogue and using the right item from the inventory when talking with someone. The wrong choice apparently does not lead to anything bad (even if you can even insult some characters!) but you will hear a distinct sound when selecting the right options, that are honestly rather obvious!
There are also some obstacles that can be removed using a particular object (the axe needed to destroy bushes) or solving a lockpicking minigame. That's it!

Battles are pretty classic, enemies are visible and avoidable (they disappear when you escape but respawn re-entering a map)... in the beginning! Later it's possible to find ambushes and stronger enemies that are nearly impossible to avoid, and there are also some obligatory bosses. For this reason it will be necessary to level up a bit, maybe even grind a little to buy some accessories from the shop. Thaena is pretty weak with some good spells that cost Mana Points, anyway later she is joined by an ally with some powerful moves.

Dire Creek is infested by monsters! Look at the size of that spider, and we're inside a normal building!

Visually the game is beautiful: even if there isn't a lot of locations because the game isn't really long, and it's a mix of default graphics, edits and custom made sprites, but all are done in the same style and they fit well together. The world is colorful and vibrant, characters are nicely animated, the portraits are beautiful (especially the custom made ones) and the cutscenes are pretty good. The maps are also nice, even if the forest does not look as good as the village, but it's ok. Another problem are the monsters, that are the usual Rtp creatures already seen in one thousand other games.

Music is mostly default, with the addition of few tracks I've never heard before.
The writing is also quite good, the game has some seriuous elements but there is humor and it seems quite lighthearted, I liked it despite this is a pretty short and linear adventure, I just felt this was a sort of episode pilot of a series, but unfortunately there aren't other adventures of Thaena. Sigh.
I shall also mentioned that I found no issues nor bugs in my playthrough. That's it!

Heh, those peasants! Look how we calmly talk without panicking despite being surrounded by monsters!

Final Verdict
RUSELAN is a fun little game and it's also pretty simple, the only aspects I did not like were the battles since these are pretty average, enemies are the usual boring Rtp beasts, and there is not a lot of customization, moreover you will be forced to fight some battles otherwise you won't be able to progress (or get some useful items) and this is something that could be avoided by making battles easier. Or even removing them, why not? This is supposed tu be an investigative game, in any case it's still pretty good, and the visuals are surely the best aspect! Pretty good, 3.5/5!