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If the pen is mightier than the sword, the mouth is mightier yet!


One-Sentence Story: In a society where having the last word means having power over others, a small party is disrupted by a gentleman who politely issues orders via one-way intercom.

Genre: JRPG

Description: Photographer Whitty Gawship attends a prestigious get-together at the residence of the impressive Professor Chet Chatters. Members of the party are veteran conversationalists, each trying to gain subtle power over one-another. The mood shifts when Whitty and the others discover that the professor can get the last word in every conversation via his miraculous invention. Dastardly!

But what are the professor's motives? And why invite a commoner?

Last Word is an unconventional JRPG. Battle sophisticated guests using words as weapons. Collect topics by gossiping to unlock mysteries. Drink wine. The night is young and no one can leave until the devious Professor Chatters says so! Can Whitty and Seymour overcome the power of the professor's amazing machine? Or will they succumb to the saucy banter of the motley aristocrats around them? Don't hesitate in getting the Last Word.

Last Word was created in 30 days for the Indie Game Maker Contest 2014. It is currently free to play, but, one day, in the distant future, it may be enhanced and made to sell. Any and all downloads from this page are and will continue to be separate from the potential, horrifying capitalistic future.

Check out LAST WORD here! I hope you like it!



FEATURES

- Unique battle system! Fight with the subtle nuances of conversation.
- Custom art and music! Experience a custom look and feel.
- Vocal SFX! Each character has their own awe-inducing sound. Listen to the quality of that throat clearing!
- Key Topic System! Gather gossip and use them like keys... for treasure!?
- Engaging storytelling! Get whisked away by a narrative brimming with character! And fun!
- Bow Ties! Learn skills and equip them using snazzy Bow Tie Points!



This game was submitted to the Indie Game Maker Contest 2014. The game is complete and playable. However, some screenshots may be slightly out of date--only in the minor details. One of these has a typo, and I think another is missing a fireplace or something...

Latest Blog

Last Word Steam Release

Last Word is done baking. It is being cooled so we can all eat it without burning our mouths. Yay!


The art alone renders you speechless.


There have been a lot of changes since the contest version. Whitty's an alien from the planet Ord, and Seymour, as Earth's Envoy of Linguistic Multitude, must welcome Whitty in her own language while minimizing the damage she incurs via her miraculous Death Mouth. Banter still serves wine.

But seriously, the game is coming along great and I'm super proud (a cardinal sin!). Last Word should release on Steam May 8th, 2015! At a discount: 20% off! That's (approaching) infinitely more than people paid for the contest version, but it's also (approaching) infinitely more incrediblity! That's a word now!


Boasting is no less fat in the new version.


I'll try to keep the site updated: Twelve Tiles - Last Word

May 8th! Or, Meigtth!

  • Completed
  • Merlandese
  • RPG Maker XP
  • RPG
  • 07/06/2014 07:41 PM
  • 05/30/2016 07:44 PM
  • 06/30/2014
  • 81947
  • 47
  • 2676

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I will say I like the concept of these kinda games, but I've always hated the executions. I will give this one a try, though.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
Nice to see it here! But I'd suggest removing the 'commercial' tag. Just being part of the contest doesn't mean you need to have it as commercial, unless you're planing to sell it after the contest that is.

Oh and I'd put the download in the download section makes it easier to find, you can link to the twelvetiles or drop box source, it doesn't need to be uploaded here.
Awesome, thanks, Nhubi! I'll do that. I may sell it at some later date (not entirely likely), but if I do I can just as easily switch it back to Commercial.

And looking forward to hearing what you think, Kylaila!
...Okay so I've played maybe 10 minutes of this and I'm planning on playing more tomorrow, but can I just say: I AM ALREADY SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS? This is a really cool idea (TALKING RPGS <3) and I'm really digging how you've set this up! The characters are really engaging and fun already, and I haven't even met the professor!

Basically I AM VERY EXCITED FOR YOUR GAME (like "I already want to draw fanart and talk about my feelings about it" excited) and I just thought you should know that.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
emmych, you've got a treat in store. I finished it about an hour ago, and it was so much fun.

Just have to get composed enough to finish a review for it now.
Oh, this was lovely! The gameplay was rather simplistic, but the game was short enough that it didn't get too stale. The characters and gossiping mechanics and everything were lovely too. (Few grammar errors, though - you use apostrophes for plurals a lot, and you don't capitalize "father" or "mother" when using them as proper nouns. Also, anti-social means sociopath, I believe you meant asocial.)

I'm baffled as to where Seymour learned the phrase "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me" when that's patently false in his world. Is his mother just screwing with him? Is he supposed to be a trans-dimensional traveler from our world or something???

Disappointingly, I never maxed photography, and I appear to be missing one wine. I never reached a high enough level to fight Mr. Boasting either. (I didn't see much point in level grinding in general, honestly.) These little secrets are so tantalizing.

I was wondering if it's theoretically possible to win against Mrs. Prattle in the opening? I presume not, but I managed to only barely lose, as opposed to that other doomed encounter.

I'm also a bit confused by the ending:

So Mr. Boasting has his own Last Word? Are there multiple ones? Where did he get it? Why did he put one on Mew? Is he Mr. Seymour or something and faked his death? Is this supposed to be a hook for a future game, or something that can be figured out from this one?


And, have you heard of The Logomancer by any chance? It's a similar premise, though it takes a more typical fantasy-RPG approach to things.
Wow, glad you enjoyed it! There are quite a few grammar issues in there, I think. I'm still picking through it, but hopefully it's not too jarring.

author=argh
I'm baffled as to where Seymour learned the phrase "sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me" when that's patently false in his world.


Whitty didn't know the phrase and assumed he made it up... probably also assuming he's a bit of a crazy person. XD I'd say that he likely developed that line himself in his ignorance, maybe to make himself feel better. It's another aspect of how little he really knows.

Disappointingly, I never maxed photography, and I appear to be missing one wine. I never reached a high enough level to fight Mr. Boasting either. (I didn't see much point in level grinding in general, honestly.) These little secrets are so tantalizing.


I didn't have enough time in the contest to flesh out the Key Topic: Photography. My update will have it, but for the contest it was unnecessary to prioritize. Also, the ending that you saw with Mr. Boasting was originally only going to unlock if you were able to beat him sometime before finishing, but not only did that ask a bit too much from the player at the time, but the ending is "fuller" with him in it.

I was wondering if it's theoretically possible to win against Mrs. Prattle in the opening? I presume not, but I managed to only barely lose, as opposed to that other doomed encounter.


I've tried and tried, but the only way for you to really win is if her AI hits a lot of unlikely choices in a row. There is, however, a set of dialogue in case you do win, but it's rare anyone will ever see it.

I'm also a bit confused by the ending:

So Mr. Boasting has his own Last Word? Are there multiple ones? Where did he get it? Why did he put one on Mew? Is he Mr. Seymour or something and faked his death? Is this supposed to be a hook for a future game, or something that can be figured out from this one?



A lot of questions in there! Haha! This would probably have had more clues if I had more time, but it's basically the backstory that, albeit unnecessary for this adventure, helped hold it together. It hinges on several things that never get mentioned (and why would they?). But there's a lot of reading to really understand. XD

I almost wrote it all out here, but maybe I shouldn't. I've been thinking of making an indirect sequel that might expand on some key points a bit. I didn't leave that thread untied as a hook for future games, but more because I lacked the time and ability to expand on those points.

But I can say that yes, Mr. Boasting has the Last Word and that unlike Whitty he has the "real" one--that is, the one written on the stone the professor talked about. He didn't show up to the party with it, but he left with it. He also drank most of the wine before leaving. Classic Boasting.


And, have you heard of The Logomancer by any chance? It's a similar premise, though it takes a more typical fantasy-RPG approach to things.


Someone mentioned it in the Contest forums saying that games that use talking were showing up all over the place. XD I'll have to check the game out. Looks good. Luckily for me it doesn't look like my method of discourse compares to The Logomancer's method of argumentation.
I'd say that he likely developed that line himself in his ignorance, maybe to make himself feel better.

Okay. It's just a bit contrived that it's exactly the same as a saying in our world, is all.

There is, however, a set of dialogue in case you do win, but it's rare anyone will ever see it.

Oh, now I have to see it. XD

Interesting stuff about the cut content. I kept expecting photography to be a Chekhov's gun but it never came up again. I do agree that the ending makes more sense thematically as a reward for beating the optional superboss, but yeah, it's a bit much. (Personally, though, I found Sandhoff far more difficult since she's the only one with the "defensive" skills, which requires more strategy to deal with. With Boasting, you can just irritate and aggress and you're done, like with everyone else.) You have to do an incredible amount of level grinding to even engage him at all. The leveling aspect was largely unnecessary, I found - I spent most of the game at a very low level, because you can coast with good skills (and you can get bows without fighting). And of course, you don't actually need a high level for the final battle - is it even possible to lose that?

(And is there a level cap? I kind of wonder if it's possible for a sufficiently dedicated person to autowin the final battle...)

Luckily for me it doesn't look like my method of discourse compares to The Logomancer's method of argumentation.

Yep, it's just a regular RPG with different coat of paint. A little disappointing, but I still found it fun.

(And a random aside - after Seymour was called "anti-social" I was actually half-expecting for that to be intentional and for it to turn out that he was the evil mastermind behind everything. XD That would be kind of cliche, though.)

Edit: Also, I've noticed sometimes it's possible to irritate people before they've made their opening statement. What causes/determines this?
author=argh
I'd say that he likely developed that line himself in his ignorance, maybe to make himself feel better.
Okay. It's just a bit contrived that it's exactly the same as a saying in our world, is all.


Oh, definitely. It's 100% contrived. XD Usually the "hero" of the story is the person who doesn't know what's happening, and we learn from playing as the ignorant character. But in this, Whitty knows the world and we have to use Seymour as the somewhat relate-able person. So his concepts and ideas--even his contrived saying at the end--are things that we can understand but don't make sense to anyone in that universe. Something that's a useful saying to us is just the ramblings of an ignorant person in that world, and Whitty's quick to point that out for him. XD Justifications aside, hopefully it didn't ruin the sequence. :)

Interesting stuff about the cut content. I kept expecting photography to be a Chekhov's gun but it never came up again. I do agree that the ending makes more sense thematically as a reward for beating the optional superboss, but yeah, it's a bit much. (Personally, though, I found Sandhoff far more difficult since she's the only one with the "defensive" skills, which requires more strategy to deal with. With Boasting, you can just irritate and aggress and you're done, like with everyone else.) You have to do an incredible amount of level grinding to even engage him at all. The leveling aspect was largely unnecessary, I found - I spent most of the game at a very low level, because you can coast with good skills (and you can get bows without fighting). And of course, you don't actually need a high level for the final battle - is it even possible to lose that?

(And is there a level cap? I kind of wonder if it's possible for a sufficiently dedicated person to autowin the final battle...)


You're right about Photography almost being a Chekhov's Gun. The instance she finds the portrait has her pondering her strengths in photography for half a second. It's not a strong Gun, but there was originally going to be a Photography Lock there. In the end, her career as a photographer is more world building than a narrative aid. Some could chalk that up to bad writing; and they'd be right. XD A better story would have made the finale hinge on that somehow, I think.

The game's built so that you don't have to match the opponents level-to-level, so that's a good thing. There's a bit of built-in designs meant so that the game can feel rewarding and not impossible within the time constraints of the contest. I didn't want there to be more grinding than there was learning. That said, the level difference may feel unnecessary, but it's important for the narrative. If I put you up against the AI of the enemy and told you they were stronger than you, you could prove me wrong every time. There has to be a reason why the professor, for example, is better at discourse than Mrs. Prattle, and that gets displayed mechanically by the inherent impact levels have. By being twelve levels higher than someone, you are automatically better at discourse than them. That's also why the professor is LV.40 by himself, but gains 60 levels when using The Mouth; that difference in level means nothing for the battle itself, but it means everything for the nature of the machine.

And yeah, Sandhoff's defensive skills make her harder. It's why I gave them to her, since, in a way, she's the penultimate boss. In the new version Boasting has every skill, just like the professor does, but there was no point in fine-tuning him as an optional character for the time restraints. XD Likewise, Seymour stops following your level (in the update) at LV.28, and Boasting will stop fighting you at LV.40. With no one else to fight, you max your level at 40.

That means you can win the first fight against the professor (and some people have), but the story doesn't change. The professor asks politely if Whitty will pretend that he just won for the sake of the story. XD

(And a random aside - after Seymour was called "anti-social" I was actually half-expecting for that to be intentional and for it to turn out that he was the evil mastermind behind everything. XD That would be kind of cliche, though.)


I'll definitely change the term there. No reason to give people the wrong ideas about Seymour... although I do worry sometimes. :P

I really appreciate all of this input! You've given me some good ideas for what I can do to make the update better. :) Thank you.
I totally get using levels as a narrative tool, it just didn't mesh with the gameplay too well. I did like how Seymour followed your level, but I suppose it would make sense for him to plateau. It's sort of weird for him to suddenly become an even better rhetorical genius than Boasting just because you've done a lot of level grinding. There's even an Order of the Stick comic lampooning that, actually.

That means you can win the first fight against the professor (and some people have), but the story doesn't change. The professor asks politely if Whitty will pretend that he just won for the sake of the story. XD

You can actually win that??? :O I was certain I was scripted to lose with the special shakey-cursor thing! Maybe I should give up on Mrs. Prattle (I tried fighting her a lot but she always seems to use an aggressive argument no matter what I do) and try for that instead. It's cool that you plan for all these contingencies.

It's a pity you had to streamline things so much for the contest, but them's the breaks.

Edit: Oh, and if you're looking for things to improve, it'd be nice to have a way to speed up the experience gain message. That kind of ticker thing is cool and all, but it can get tiring.

Edit edit: Just beat Chatters and oh man that was hilarious. Bravo.
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
argh, you should write a review, you've provided some excellent comments and critique but posts can get lost and slip from view, whilst a review is ever present.

I'm not really a review person I'm afraid. Most of the things I take interest in are specific elements rather than the big picture. If I wrote a review I'd have to cover stuff I don't have much to say on like art and presentation (it was good, by the way), and the whole thing would be pretty diluted. Maybe if I just talked about the specific points that interested me, but that would be a pretty weird review.

Besides, the developer's already seen my points so I don't really mind if they slip away. Although, one more thing:


I was mulling over it and thought that the resolution with Chatters was a bit lacking. I felt like what Whitty did (basically ruining his life) was disproportionate retribution. It was dickish of him to mindcontrol his guests, sure, but he wasn't just doing it for the lulz, there was a specific purpose he had to accomplish to ensure his own safety. It's likely he would use the Last Word for offensive as well as defensive purposes, and such a weapon is too dangerous in anyone's hands, but Whitty doesn't really discuss that, she's just like "Nope screw you I'm outta here." And it's rather self-serving of her to deny him the Last Word on the basis that it's too dangerous but keep it herself. I liked that you made Chatters more complex than a typical strawman mad scientist, but it feels like the plot treated him as if he was that shallow archetype anyway.


Also, I'm kind of curious why a one-way intercom is such a difficult invention. Surely a two-way intercom would be the one that requires additional work? I guess you could just say that things work differently in that universe.
author=argh

I was mulling over it and thought that the resolution with Chatters was a bit lacking. I felt like what Whitty did (basically ruining his life) was disproportionate retribution. It was dickish of him to mindcontrol his guests, sure, but he wasn't just doing it for the lulz, there was a specific purpose he had to accomplish to ensure his own safety. It's likely he would use the Last Word for offensive as well as defensive purposes, and such a weapon is too dangerous in anyone's hands, but Whitty doesn't really discuss that, she's just like "Nope screw you I'm outta here." And it's rather self-serving of her to deny him the Last Word on the basis that it's too dangerous but keep it herself. I liked that you made Chatters more complex than a typical strawman mad scientist, but it feels like the plot treated him as if he was that shallow archetype anyway.
Also, I'm kind of curious why a one-way intercom is such a difficult invention. Surely a two-way intercom would be the one that requires additional work? I guess you could just say that things work differently in that universe.


The whole final scene is a bit weaker than I would have liked, to be honest. I'm going to use that time crunch as my bulletproof shield here, but even with that excuse I can say that I agree with you. There should have and could have been more going on dynamically in the end sequence than Fight Final Boss-->Win The Day-->Credits.

It's also fair to note that unlike your average hero, Whitty isn't exactly on the side of "good." She's never made it appear like she has justice motives, and she was even raised in the same house as Chatters, so any self-serving motivation the two seemed to share isn't that unlikely. She's pragmatic, efficient, and no-nonsense, and the fact is that when she was given the chance to take power, she took it. If there's a "good" person, it's the weak and tame Master Saymore who simply wants to help bring his house back into good standing.

The nature of The Mouth gets touched on I think once by Seymour, seeing as how he's the only one desperately trying to make sense of things. He says that a mouth and hands are both "communication" parts, and The Mouth has no "receptive" parts, like eyes or ears. These bits built into the intercom are what makes The Mouth effective. (The top hat is because of the lulz.) The goal is to convince people that you're having a conversation with them, then make them realize they can't get the last word. In a world where the "magic" of this idea and the psychology of it rub against each other pretty hard, it's only slightly far-fetched to consider that if someone heard the voice from a regular one-way intercom they could just ignore it without engaging it in discourse. But to be convinced that the intercom is worth having discourse with only to be rendered helpless by its one-way nature is the admittedly silly, yet game-defining difference. XD

When making the premise, I tried to consider those aspects. Like, what if you write a letter? Or shout from a mountain? And the end idea is that it's just not going to work without being engaged in discourse. The Mouth can somehow accomplish that whereas a simple megaphone might not.
Great game! I finished it a moment ago and I enjoyed it very much. The battle system was a bit puzzling at first, but when I understood it I thought it is really clever, original and yet simple. The game could be longer, but I always say this when I finish a good one.
Btw, is there any way to rate game without writing a review?
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
author=Mngwa
Btw, is there any way to rate game without writing a review?


No, the system is set up so that you need to justify why you give a game the score that you do, a review allows that, a way of showing support is by subscribing to the game, which also allows you to see updates and posts made on the game-page.
Glad you enjoyed it, Mngwa! No need to write a review if you don't want to, but reviews are nice because I can take the positive and negative feedback and use it to make a better version of the game (such as making it longer).

Thanks for taking the time to download and play it!

And thanks for the extra support, Nhubi. :)
Finally gave this a go. I am somewhat underwhelmed. Mainly thanks to my dislike for formal parties and pointless talking. Pointlessness in general. The premise that discussion is all about winning and that winning alone makes the discussion is definitely putting me off.

The system is quite nice, but it feels more like rock paper scissors right now than anything else. I'll hopefully learn some more about the characters to keep me interested. Unlocking new secrets seems more like trial and error, but that might just seem like it right now.
Nevertheless, some nice ideas are there, so I will keep at it. Just not right now, I'm not in the right state of mind for this.
author=Kylaila
Unlocking new secrets seems more like trial and error, but that might just seem like it right now.

You do get some hints later on, but it's true that having a consistent way of guessing who might know about something, and perhaps making it preferable to avoid talking to some people about some things, would make that aspect more gamey.

Merlandese, I don't know how heavy the revisions that you're considering could be, but I feel that somehow tying the two phases together a bit more would help with most criticisms so far. I'm not sure of the best way of doing this, though.
I just talked to everyone about everything, simply because I wanted to hear what they had to say! There are some hints (like, if you "chatter" with one person or gossip with them about the important topic, they might say "Oh I don't know about this but so-and-so probably does"), but if you don't want to read random flavor text (for some reason) it might get a bit tiring, yes.
author=Hasvers
... I feel that somehow tying the two phases together a bit more would help with most criticisms so far. I'm not sure of the best way of doing this, though.


They could definitely be tied together better. The issue I seem to be coming across is more like a marketing one, or an expectation one. The game is about discourse, but unlike most games that try to tackle what's being said, this game is all about how it's said.

So if you come in thinking you're going to enjoy a well-crafted argument, you'll be surprised to find out that these people are all of the mindset that you are essentially repeating yourself over and over until one of you says "After you..." better than the other person. That's the entire premise; before each discourse you are shown what is being said, and then you each say "After you...", "No, after you...", in aggressive or subtle ways, or using polite smiles and precise inflections, until someone concedes. Because this universe doesn't care about any words that are said before the Last Word.

Unlike Exeunt Omnes and Goblin Noir that each have awesome conversations crafted in the what sense, Last Word dwells consistently on the how. If each discourse were hand-crafted to display exactly what was being said, you'd find out that the conversation looks exactly like the speech bubbles frequently shown over McCall and Boasting. (And those bubbles come up early and often to express the real point of the game--a tug of war between assertion and expression rather than content.)

But you still need a what to discourse about, and that's what the Key Topic System does. You search around to find the exact what, and then you talk about it over and over in a system of how.

I'm not going to pretend it's a perfect system by any means, but I think it accomplishes the theme of the game pretty well. Changing it is beneficial, especially with the critique, but in the case of Kylaila, I think she's perfectly fine in wanting a game more linguistically crafted like (the wonderful) Exeunt Omnes. Last Word doesn't scratch that same itch, and I can see how people are coming here looking for one thing and getting the other.

Which is great for a discussion between us in design, Hasvers, because when you think about how different our games are in approach, it's pretty cool. Your system of discussion starts with the last word, and you use the same basic tones to logically appeal to the opponent's different pathos, logos, or ethos. Last Word takes the stance of pompous society's insistence that whomever speaks last, speaks best, and each conversation is fueled by a fundamental mindset rather than a logical one. It's like we've taken the same topic and approached it from its antipodes.


author=Kylaila
Finally gave this a go. I am somewhat underwhelmed. Mainly thanks to my dislike for formal parties and pointless talking. Pointlessness in general. The premise that discussion is all about winning and that winning alone makes the discussion is definitely putting me off.

The system is quite nice, but it feels more like rock paper scissors right now than anything else. I'll hopefully learn some more about the characters to keep me interested. Unlocking new secrets seems more like trial and error, but that might just seem like it right now.
Nevertheless, some nice ideas are there, so I will keep at it. Just not right now, I'm not in the right state of mind for this.


Thanks for giving it a shot anyhow! I read your review on Exeunt Omnes and was like, "Oh no, she loves this game and it's nothing like mine." XD But that's cool, and hopefully you get some enjoyment out of Last Word in one way or another. :)
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