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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 However, some screenshots may be slightly out of date--only in the minor details.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 Itch.IO Release

Hey, folks!

I've put Last Word up on Itch.IO for those who prefer to download the game in non-Steam-related scenarios! Long overdue!

As an added perk, I've dropped the price a couple bucks, too. Just a heads up!

  • Completed
  • Merlandese
  • RPG Maker XP
  • RPG
  • 07/06/2014 07:41 PM
  • 05/27/2022 02:22 PM
  • 06/30/2014
  • 154092
  • 51
  • 2990

Tags

Posts

author=Merlandese
crafted in the what sense, Last Word dwells consistently on the how

That is actually a very fair point, that my suggestion misses entirely.

I guess one cause of ambiguity (at least in my case) is that the "what" seems at first to be part of the design, since the Key Topic thing looks like a game system. It isn't really, it's more a certain way of representing the textual side of exploration.

So instead of doing what I suggested and tying them better together, you could move in the opposite direction entirely and make the "what" even less gamey and more exploratory, perhaps in a very concrete sense (spatializing it somehow?). I do think that it can be done better than the current talk to everyone again and again solution, although if that's not your priority I certainly won't argue about it! A layer of fresh paint over well-worn mechanics is often enough to allow the player to focus on what is more interesting to you.*

* Edit: by the way, it is slightly strange that having to talk to the same NPCs over and over again can feel more boring that having to talk to new NPCs that would say the exact same things. I guess perhaps the only part that is really unfun about talking to the same people repeatedly is when one ends up spending a lot of time rereading things they have already said, so that could be the problem to solve to make the "what" part entirely satisfying.

In any case it was very clear from the start that we're not at all competing to make the same game (which is great since I might wish to play other games than my own from time to time, especially when they are that much fun)
I would totally enjoy seeing Last Word 2: Even Laster delve deeper into the subtleties of inflection, while leaving other people to deal about more complex semantics if they so wish.
author=Merlandese
crafted in the what sense, Last Word dwells consistently on the how


You realize that immediately, and while I don't mind reflecting on the how, the tactic basically is the exact same for any discourse. Disruptive, Submissive, Aggressive - whilst playing rock paper scissors. And more aggressive to finish it off. And that is definitely not the most effective way in real life. But hey.

There's a reason I did not immediately jump on, and I kinda hat a feeling I would not like it (I've got rather good intuition for knowing what I'll enjoy and what not). So that's fine.
It's just not exactly my cup of tea.
Hey, no worries! I appreciate that you tried it out and gave me your honest feedback. :)
So, finished it. It got better as I suspected, but aside from some banter nothing to be had for me. I don't see the real catch.

The details surrounding the family are quite interesting, but it does come down to simple gossip above anything else. The core story remains vague and unappealing. It is a nice idea, yes, but it had no impact on me whatsover. Not to mention that this ability is more what you could achieve without a supernatural power.
Making discourse military and supernatural effect-worthy is a nice train of thought, but it does not make that much sense in the context.

I also assumed by the context "winning power over another" that these families actually had their own objective, which is often the case during these high-class gatherings. None of that, though. It did mean that interactions were a lot friendlier.
The mysterious last guest does not add up, either. It's nice to be able to make a few guesses, but not contributing much, either.

I already mentioned the discourse-system. It is very simplistic and comes down to a multi-layer rock paper scissor.
Wow, you finished it! XD That's definitely a nice gesture. Thanks. :)

The only issue I feel like defending is your continuous insistence that it comes down to Rock Paper Scissors.

RPS is a game of pure chance. The Tones used in the Discourse System are circular in nature, just like RPS, but it aligns more with an Elemental system than RPS in that there is informed strategy. Discourse may be too simple for your liking, and I really have no problems with matters of taste in the slightest, but the system itself comes from the abstract strategy genre: no luck, no hidden information (until later on when you don't know what Skills your opponent has equipped, which makes only minor, inconsequential hidden information).

In an Elemental system, you still have one element that defeats another in the circular RPS way, but coming across a Fire enemy and using Water spells is hardly the same as picking a spell at random and seeing if the enemy randomly chooses the weaker element to defend with. Likewise, the Tones are 100% informed decisions. And to make the system even less like RPS, once you choose to produce your "element," you take on the affinity of it; your strength this turn becomes your weakness the next.

Like I said, there's no arguing taste and I won't assert that you're in any way wrong in disliking the system or finding it too simple. But I do want to squash any implications that the system is somehow a matter of luck when it definitely isn't. By saying it's a multi-facted RPS you are (possibly unintentionally) saying the system is glorified luck, and that's a point I can't agree with.

Sorry if that sounded edgy. My voice sounds a bit challenging when I'm riding my High Horse of Justice! XD
I formulated it badly in lack of a better term, I apologize. I did not mean to say it relied solely on luck. Just the rock beats scissor-formula. You do see what has been used, so that takes out the randomness. And any thinking, which is my complaint.
I do disagree that there is no luck at all involved, as characters will often power up tact/power when they could easily play aggressive and finish you off. But certainly not enough to get frustrated in any way.

So do not take offense in that. It is by no means any more simple than your usual RPG. It's not worse, but I found it to be a little bit disappointing when the whole game is about the act of discourse.
The story focuses on finding a way to an absolute winning tactic/procedure, so does your frame of character interaction, and given that there is not much action in there aside from that, it stands out even more.

Don't worry, you'll have a hard time angering me. It's always nice to have the thoughts behind. Not to mention that probably 90% of all conflicts are based on simple misunderstanding, so it's good to have that out of the way. But I really didn't have any neat term for it at hand : D

And sure, if it's a short game, you gotta finish it. If you want to leave feedback of any kind even more so. It seemed to get better anyhow.
Me not enjoying it thoroughly does not make it a bad game. It's interesting to see what it is about.
author=Kylaila
I do disagree that there is no luck at all involved, as characters will often power up tact/power when they could easily play aggressive and finish you off. But certainly not enough to get frustrated in any way.


I get what you mean here. But in that sense, every game that has an opposition has "luck" in that you never know what your opponent will choose. The opponent is AI, so you can definitely say the game as a whole has luck because you're not actually fighting a human element (Seymour, by the way, doesn't actually have "AI" and only attacks by picking at random), but I wouldn't say that checkers has luck just because I don't know if my opponent can calculate the optimal move or not. The luck in that instance is something I'd attribute to the opposition, not the game itself. But there's an almost invisible line there when you fight AI because AI is part of the game, so I can concede to that point for sure.

author=Kylaila
The story focuses on finding a way to an absolute winning tactic/procedure, so does your frame of character interaction, and given that there is not much action in there aside from that, it stands out even more.


Yeah, I agree with you there. And as awful as it might sound, a lot of small decisions were made to appeal to the judges who only have a small time frame to play within. The Key Topic System, for example, is a heavily simplified version of the Point of Interest/Gossip System I made in Fleuret Blanc several years ago. I think the Key Topic system is worse in every way, but to implement Fleuret Blanc's system into a game that will likely only get judged within an hour would be like building it directly into a coffin. XD

The Skills also add to what you're talking about in how it's all about basically mastering the one tactic. (Common "solutions" for that are the addition of controlled randomness and asymmetrical battles, but I opted for symmetrical abstract strategy). At the beginning of the game, you might not be familiar enough with the system, but you'll get good quickly. Skills make you capable of using what you're quickly learning even if you start Discourse at a level disadvantage. You end up knowing how to play well enough to be defeating people under-leveled, and that's definitely the intention. I didn't want to make a game about grinding when I have to think about judges. Using a system that can be learned to success and still upgrades within the game is a satisfying idea to me, and hopefully it'll pay off in the hour-long testing phase of the contest. (There's also thematic intent, but that's not entirely as relevant.)

And again, thanks for all the feedback. It's good to hear what's wrong with everything just as much as what's right. :)
I got an error right after defeating the final battle saying "Common event call limit has been reached", crashing the game. The worst feeling in the world at the end :(.(I didn't save before hand... I have a lot to do to catch up to where I left off)

Other then that, loved it! You'll be getting a review soon.
Awesome, thanks for playing!

And ouch at the error. The only other time I've heard of that happening is when someone made a port of it to Mac. Since I hadn't heard of others, I assumed it was a Mac thing. I'll get to working on a solution!
Congratulations on nabbing both 2nd place and the Celebrity Judge awards in the IGMC. You did a great job on the game and it really shows!
Thanks a lot, Liberty! Ed's three-sentence blurb really made my day.
Oh wow! I was sure you'd at least be in that top, but double-congrats on your double-hit combo and being singled out by Ed freaking Greenwood!
nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
Well done, and Ed certainly summed up what a lot of us feel about this great game. No resting on your laurels now, though. :)
I'll agree to that! He did a good job pointing out just what made this game different from a lot of the others. Ya dun good~
I was so happy it won Celeb's choice award too. Libby and I were fangirling about it during judging and was hoping it get the recognition it deserves <3
You guys... :,)

Glad you enjoyed it!
NeverSilent
Got any Dexreth amulets?
6133
I finally took the time to play Last Word and I can say it's definitely an unusual game in the most positive sense of the word. The somewhat surreal setup initially made it a bit difficult for me to immerse myself into the story, but I highly commend the approach at world-building you have taken. Slowly puzzling together the background story over the (dis)course of the game made me feel much more involved once I got the hang of the controls and mechanics.
At first, I had to get used to the art style, but I can now safely say I found it very beautiful and fitting, especially the combat interface. The music was nice, too, though constantly hearing the same music in the mansion did make it lose some of its charm after a while. What I actually really liked were the funny dialogue sounds characters make. They express a lot and are very unspecific at the same time, thus perfectly fit the "faceless" character art design.
Discourse/combat is simple and enjoyable yet requires quite a bit of strategic thinking, even though I felt some skills were decidedly more useful than others. I had to "grind" a bit at one point in the story, but not so much that it would have become boring, and it was further mitigated by the fact that bows can be purchased.
I will admit I didn't fully understand the ending, but that could also be due to the fact that I haven't accessed all extra content yet. I plan on playing the game again some time and finding the secrets I missed.

In short, while it has a few weaker points, I think Last Word is a very cleverly designed game with a powerful premise, and definitely worth the player's time. The recognition you received for it was absolutely justified.
Thanks for making this project happen.
Thanks a lot, NeverSilent! That means a lot to me!

The game as it is (made for the contest) has some blank spots. And the ending is vague because I didn't get the time I need to flesh out the whole thing.

The Boasting bit is a little rushed, and the idea was that the whole sequence would expand based on what you collected/knew by the end, like an Ending+ situation. So there's no need to go back in this version just yet, because the missing components are things that I missed, not you.

Glad you liked it!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20691
I gave this game a whirl. I was a bit confused with the combat engine at first, but, I eventually got it sorted out. I dunno. I guess I would have preferred the tutorial with Saymore first than be introduced to the engine via Prattle, then get the tutorial.

I like how conversations are unlocked with Chatter/Gossip. I sometimes think that there should be information hidden behind Discourse (as opposed to the forced story-related fights that are already in the game), but, for a contest entry, it works plenty fine!

As a side-note...

I can't help but to be intrigued that the so-called "Last Word" generally involves keeping silent and making no response. I may be focusing too much on the near-end-of-game scene with Prattle, though.