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Progress, wherefore art thou?

  • Liberty
  • 04/15/2015 09:33 PM
Ruselan 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 a mix of different edits, resources and RTP. It all works well together and the mapping is great. There are one or two little errors that were missed (bookshelves on the wall) and there are some bare bits here and there, but a lot of work has gone into the mapping and it shows.

Sound is a mix of original and RTP, as is music. The original songs really fit the mood of the game and plot but the RTP is a bit too chipper. Both are pretty standard in use.

The writing is pretty solid. Characterisation is pretty well done, with care taken to provide extra interactions with various NPCs. The story itself is interesting and the air of mystery is apparent.

Gameplay consists of following the trail of mystery by talking to NPCs, doing some small side-quests and defeating monsters. The interaction with NPCs can't really be done wrong - choosing different answers doesn't mess anything up. The quests are quite simplistic in nature - fetch quests and kill quests mainly.

Battles are a bit on the challenging side. I had yet to gain an ally within the hour so I couldn't explore too far into the forest - the plants almost killed me a lot of times. This could have been avoided if I'd been given armour upgrades but bar an accessory shop (which cost a hefty amount!) there was nothing. Indeed, apart from items that you could find in cabinets (a la Breath of Fire series) or purchase, there was none.

Items restored a mid-low amount of Health which didn't help too much when enemies started taking off around the same amounts (and more than one enemy in the party, faster than you... you get the idea). I assume I'm supposed to get another party member to help out with that, though. The early monsters are easily dispatched by playing to elemental weaknesses.

Enemies were on-map encounters but they moved pretty fast in close quarters so there wasn't much chance of avoiding them, especially when there were more than two around.

Really could have done with more money...

Fun factor
What I managed to play of the game was pretty fun. I like an air of mystery and trying to find the secrets the town was hiding appealed to my inner detective.

Unfortunately, not as much progress was made as could have been as enemy difficulty ramped up quite a bit so that I was lucky if I didn't die straight out and being swamped by enemies during scenes or when I tried to dodge them to get back to town because poison is a killer and I'd ran out of antidotes was a bother.

For the IGMC I rated it a solid 50 out of 60. On RMN I've given it 3.5 stars. It's decent but the lack of progress really hampered my enjoyment.