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Hopefully just a tech demo - Lost Story Review

In lieu of the Remastered Announcement, I'm removing my star count for now.

Plot Summary
Lost Story is a short RPG Adventure game about a boy and a girl. They appear to live in a present day society as right off the bat you see a car in the background. Apparently you two are planning to write a Story for some reason and end up venturing into a building which houses a strange book. Upon reading the book you are transported to a fantasy land name Lost where you're tasked to restore the pages of said strange book in order to return home. Thus begins your short journey filled with fetch quests and slime killing.

Graphics


Might as well start here, because it's what got me interested in the game. The graphics are very pretty and there is a nice use of lighting throughout. However, once you're placed into the game itself, the graphics aren't all they cracked up to be. Once you're walking around the game world, there is an instant blocky feeling to the map. There are countless invisible walls and clipping errors for both you and other tiles, which makes the environments feel very "pasted" in. Traversing the world does not feel Natural and I believe that's due to the way the maps and tiles themselves were structured. The tiles don't all work together like they should, creating awkward passibility errors throughout the game.
Here's a fairly good example of what I mean. I should have edited the image to show where you can and cannot walk, but hopefully this will show what I'm referring to on its own.



Gameplay
Technically I'm spoiling events in the game here, but they really have no impact on the little story this game has

Once you're officially in the world of Lost, your first assignment is to escort some fellow back to his village. There are slimes and chests along the road on your way to this village. Somehow you're granted the ability to cast magic spells, and the characters have literally no reaction to this fact. But I won't go into Combat right now. Once you're in the Village, you're told to find some amount of pages to fix the book you brought along so that you can return to your own world.

The process in which you gather these pages is by doing tedious quests for the villagers. The quests are the following: Find a Woman's Lost Children, Find the Ninja that wants to play Hide and Seek with you, Count the amount of Birds in the Forest, Find the Blacksmith's missing items, Kill 100 Slimes (This last one may be a spoiler, but its a bit obvious anyway). Now to rant a bit. Finding the lost children is fine, you end up exploring the whole area anyway so it doesn't take you out of your way, that also goes for the Blacksmith quest. The Hide and Seek mission is just a plain chore, you find him, he disappears then you find him again, you do that at least 5 times. It was a slightly fun the first time, that's it.

Now onto the Slimes. You are tasked to kill 100 Slimes, battles aren't too hard (again, I'll get to it later) however there is no sign of how many you've killed. Slimes can give you either 50G or 100G you can run into 1 or 2 in the field, and 1-2-3 in the Cave (as in 3 in a single battle). So what you have to do is count how far you've come based on the amount of money you have, assuming you kill at least 2 per battle, that means you'll have around 5000G. The bad thing is, Slimes give 50G and Metal Slimes give 100G, and Slimes can change forms (either basic or metal) whenever they want, so whatever form its killed in determines how much money you get, which screws up the calculation. On top of that, you can only check how much gold you have if you go to the Town and enter the shop (which happens to sell 1 item, an Herb, which you will never run out of or need to buy, is capped at 15 in the inventory and you restore all HP after each fight - also you can't open your Menu screen, you just can't).

Now for the worst quest, counting the birds in the forest. When I first picked up the quest, I assumed, alright I'll keep a count in my head while I explore the entire forest, so I did that, then returned, turns out once you return to her she will ask "How many Blue birds are there." So I just went back out and reluctantly recounted them since I wasn't keeping track of their color. You start to see various colored birds, you don't know what to keep track of, the Blue birds don't all look Blue (I marked a couple down as Green), the Yellows look Orange sometimes, which is a HUGE problem, and here's why. I returned with my bird notes and tried again. I got Blue birds wrong again. I'm going to skip ahead in the process a bit so that you understand my frustration. It turns out, she will ask for Blue birds, when you get that right, how many Yellow birds, and after that, how many Orange birds. Now, how would I have known what exactly I should be marking down for the types of birds out there, I should have been told the colors I should be checking for before taking random notes. Due to the game's lighting I ended up marking some Blues as "Green Birds" some Orange Birds were Yellow, I even had a category writted down called "Parrot." When I go to collect my reward after this hard work it turns out half these birds didn't exist. So I decided to guess the whole way through. But, if you get one bird count wrong, the quest giver vanishes for NO logical reason, and you have to leave the village then come back to retry. That's how I finished the Bird quest, guessing.

Battle/Combat


Combat is very dull and honestly not needed. You're given 4 (technically) options in Combat: Attack, Magic, Item, and Limit. Let's get this out of the way; Limit does nothing, and you can never use it. I already said this, but the only Item in the game are Herbs, they're only usable in battle (since you can't access a Menu) and heal you to full. There's a large amount of them in the World and dropped from enemies, you should never die. Slimes are the only enemy in the game, they have the ability to switch forms, they can be either the base "Slime" or "Metal Slime."

The battle system is ATB, so you wait for the bar to refill before you can act, the same goes for enemies. The Slime may use their turn to change forms, or attack you. Slimes are ONLY hurt by Attacks and Metal Slimes are ONLY hurt by magic. For some reason Slimes have the ability to Disarm you, or something of that effect, where your Attack is disabled and you have to use Magic. When there are a group of normal Slimes while you're Disarmed you just take an Herb, because there's nothing else to do and you can't Defend (Why was Defend taken OUT and Limit which does nothing ever, put INTO the game?). Also there is no Silence that Slimes use, its only the Disarm. The combat is already dry and repetitive, if Slimes could disable both Magic and Attack there could be slightly more thought in combat.

When you aren't disarmed, you just check what form the Slime is in, and Attack or use Magic on them until they die. Actually, if a Slime uses their turn to change forms, that is ALWAYS beneficial to you, and in no way to them, because they have to wait for a whole other turn to attack, and you get the chance to attack them without getting hit. I've seen a Slime switch form 4 times in a row due to the randomness of it, he never attacked, just sat in the back changing colors. When it comes to damage, that is also random, one turn you deal a single strike sending the enemy to an inch of his life bar, and the next you do next to no damage, and the same goes for Slimes. The girl in your party sometimes says "Don't get cocky" when you take an Herb, which is fitting because you never know when a Slime is going to kill you out of nowhere because you can't judge its damage. I guess you can write this down as criticals and such, but since there are no combat numbers, stats or leveling up, or equipment, I can't really tell. Combat could have been left out completely from this game and it would be the same, maybe better.

Aesthetics/Design
This could probably have been said under Graphics, but I'll put it here anyway. During the battle scene, you see the Girl and the Boy together fighting, where the Boy does the Attacking and the Girl casts spells with Magic. This is very cool, I really like that, if you went more into the combat of the game, you could have done something really great with it. I was hoping the useless Limit skill would be a sweet combination attack of the two characters. Onto something different, there are 2 save locations in the game and if you run into an unfortunate events in between the 2 you may lose some progress and possibly be deterred to ever turn this game back on, since there really isn't much that draws you in after 10 minutes of it.

In the Town it took me a while to realize that I could enter the Blacksmith's shop since it is not all that apparent. I think that's it. An overlying problem for much of the game's design is that it feels as if it was made for yourself. Meaning that there wasn't much consideration to what goes on in the player's head. This is especially clear with the design of the Bird counting quest, the player doesn't know the criteria that you want him to count the birds. This also applies to the final riddles in the end of the game.
>Actual Spoilers (Ranting Spoilers)
The final two riddles are "I reside both land and sea" with a 5 space input area (for the answer), and "My appearance has change but I am still wood" with a 7 space input area. Obvious grammar errors aside, I can't be the only one that sees the problem with this scenario. Getting a riddle incorrect resulted in a battle with 3 Slimes, great. Long story short, I could never decipher either riddle and had to ask the creator the answers. For the first riddle, I received this reply:
The hints:
1. The Worry Mother Quotes: "The fish are the iconic symbol of our village. Passed down from our ancestors!"

2. Soldier Quotes: "...Our ancestors knew what they were doing building this place (Cave)."

3. The obvious hint, is fishes are everywhere within the cave and the village.

In conclusion to this theory, the answer would only be FISH. As they reside on both land, as pets, and sea, in natural habitat.


Fish. It was Fish.
Maybe I went too far putting that into the review, hopefully not. Anyway, none of what I was "supposed" to think was obvious. When I played the game I actually don't remember them saying any of those things, nor do I remember anything that any of the characters had said. Because the game was in a way training me to believe none of them really mattered (if the main characters can't even talk, why should I take heed of what these 2 random npcs had said at one particular time). Of course, as the developer you can call these clues obvious, but as a player, I couldn't have figured that out.

Now that's just the first riddle, now for the Second one. The answer is Books. That is all. (I wasn't told any rationale for that one)
Now, am I just dumb or is there something wrong here?

With all this ranting I forgot the biggest problem with these riddle designs, I'm sure whoever is reading this also noticed it. Fish is not 5 letters long, and Books is not 7 letters long, what gives? Well, after you're told the riddle, you're given a black screen where you're shown the numbering for each letter where A=1, B=2 C=3 and so on. So, some letters end up being represented by 2 numbers. Now that's another layer of ridiculousness on an already ridiculous riddle. Not to sound harsh, but maybe you should stop relying so much on found graphics and scripts and look at the actual editor, there is name input built into Ace, a number input system for words is a pain in the ass, especially when you're given a pick of every single letter in the alphabet.


Conclusion
Lost Story really feels like that game we all made to test run the RPG Maker software. Except before thinking about what exactly you wanted to do with the game, you gathered a bunch of pretty graphics and called it a day. There is no Story, the synopsis alone is the story and plot of this game. The ending is boring and expected, actually nothing unexpected ever happens. That's why I compare it to our first test run with the software, there is no character progression, in fact, once you get to Lost and run the basic "Where are we?" conversation, the main characters do not talk at all (besides "We have X amount of pages to go") until you finish the game and return to your world. Combat is pointless, the quests are all dull time-sinks, the story is uninteresting and the characters are lifeless. There is not a single instance in this game where I really felt like I was having fun, or cared about anything that was happening. I feel like I wasted a lot of my time playing Lost Story, but it wouldn't sit right for me to review a game I hadn't completed. I wanted to quit so many times.

Very disappointed with this game. Hopefully it's just a teaser for what may come.

Posts

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I'd have to play this myself, but just looking at some of the features and graphics, I'm surprised you gave it a 1-star rating.

If you can't find one redeeming quality in a game like this to give it a boost in rating, you may as well stop playing RPG Maker games now, because having seen thousands of RM games (and having played hundreds myself), I can tell you that the majority of those games don't come close (aesthetically, anyways) to this. Most RM games use stock and/or blocky resources, dull combat, and standard features.

Like I said, though, I'll have to play this myself to judge the quality, and I agree with poor game mechanics (100 slimes seems overkill). It's only about an hour, if I recall hearing, so I may tackle this in the next few days.
author=amerk
I'd have to play this myself, but just looking at some of the features and graphics, I'm surprised you gave it a 1-star rating.

If you can't find one redeeming quality in a game like this to give it a boost in rating, you may as well stop playing RPG Maker games now, because having seen thousands of RM games (and having played hundreds myself), I can tell you that the majority of those games don't come close (aesthetically, anyways) to this. Most RM games use stock and/or blocky resources, dull combat, and standard features.

Like I said, though, I'll have to play this myself to judge the quality, and I agree with poor game mechanics (100 slimes seems overkill). It's only about an hour, if I recall hearing, so I may tackle this in the next few days.


I agree, the graphics alone, should have been a two or a three. The scenery is attractive and the battle system is simple for a one hour game. I beat it in 49mins. And I don't know anyone education level but the puzzles were kinda easy to get. The Book was a struggle at first but my first guess was paper, though it didn't fit. However there were bugs and crashes. Though I doubt it consider the game itself a 1 star.
The graphics look bad. And it doesn't matter what other RM games are like. From the sounds of it this game deserves it's rating.
Graphics is also about the usage of it, not a beautiful picture in itself.
This game did not deserve a 1 star it seems to be the creators first works he didnt want to go all in gosh you guys are touchy I enjoyed the game Im glad I am not a designer the backlash would be severe for those who insulted my work. Off with their heads, but all of you guys do a great job.
author=Kylaila
Graphics is also about the usage of it, not a beautiful picture in itself.
There are crisp sprites walking around on blurry jpegs. That type of usage is the main reason I think they're bad. There's no graphical consistency. Some parts of some bg's are fine, but overall it's hodge podge. Add in passibility issues and it fails even harder.

This game did not deserve a 1 star it seems to be the creators first works he didnt want to go all in gosh you guys are touchy I enjoyed the game Im glad I am not a designer the backlash would be severe for those who insulted my work. Off with their heads, but all of you guys do a great job.
I'm glad you're not a designer, too ^.^ You'd get run out of town with that attitude haha Don't forget that different people will have different opinions. You can't seriously expect everyone to agree with you and getting mad at them for doing so is pretty lame.

Now I have to play this :/ Great...
The graphics were the only redeeming quality I found, but I talked about the graphics in my review and explained why I wasn't so impressed by them. The scenery is attractive when you aren't playing the game. I didn't know this was his first game, but I did say that it felt like one in my Conclusion section.
Maybe I was a bit harsh in giving it 1 star. Since I don't play through many RM Games I didn't have much of a basis to judge by so my thought process was if this game is not enjoyable, give it a low rating. If the 1 star is too shocking, just read why I gave it the rating and ignore how many stars there are.
author=Link_2112
author=Kylaila
Graphics is also about the usage of it, not a beautiful picture in itself.
There are crisp sprites walking around on blurry jpegs. That type of usage is the main reason I think they're bad. There's no graphical consistency. Some parts of some bg's are fine, but overall it's hodge podge. Add in passibility issues and it fails even harder.

This game did not deserve a 1 star it seems to be the creators first works he didnt want to go all in gosh you guys are touchy I enjoyed the game Im glad I am not a designer the backlash would be severe for those who insulted my work. Off with their heads, but all of you guys do a great job.

I'm glad you're not a designer, too ^.^ You'd get run out of town with that attitude haha Don't forget that different people will have different opinions. You can't seriously expect everyone to agree with you and getting mad at them for doing so is pretty lame.

Now I have to play this :/ Great...


This GUY, who claims graphics suck, yet makes 8-bit color lego games, has no say. Final Fantasy 8 and 9 had blurred rendered models on 3d backdrops yet they sold marvelously. madarahyga didn't get mad, he just defended the one hour game for having not deserve a 1-Star.
My dear friend, telling people they have no say is a very very bad course of action to take. We others have nothing to show and yet you rate us higher?

I'm serious here, you discredit both his works and his opinion by the worst standards and means possible. The difficulty in creating low-resultion content may not be the same, but it has its own challenge. Design- and creation-wise. Thinking that there are none involved and the implication that noone who cannot make it better himself has a right to say a thing alone will not discredit him, but you yourself. And I'm sure you're better than that.

If you feel the graphics are great and deserve a better rating alone, then that is fine. You could also go ahead and write an indepth review as to why the game as a whole deserves this, to give others your point of view - that is your opinion and your right.
A low rating or bad components do not mean that you can't enjoy the game, either, or the graphics used in the game. It just means that there is a lot of room for improvement, at least in one's opinion so.

And I would agree that graphic inconsistency is a very bad thing. However beautiful a picture of one may be. It is also something I noticed on the screens alone.
Also, other games doing similar mistakes does not render mistakes obsolete. It just goes to prove that enjoyment won't be nulled by single flaws.

This review is treated as though it is meant to be insulting, which is it not. As such, it is not a personal debate over insulting or defending the person behind this.
A review is also there to give hints and critique on how to make the most of a game. Where it shines and where it blows. However nit-picky that may be.
All reviewer I know would like to support the creator with their feedback, so please, let's calm down a bit.
Response aren't my forte because I care to sustain a manner of professionalism.
But with so many Notices concerning the work, an exception is always considered.
The game was not done on best scale, a 0.5/3 effort at most.
Truly I was testing the waters, as I underestimated my fans reaction when I disappointed
them with lazy production. As most enjoyed it, others did not. I apologized with this, and
will promise to deliver a 100% with the Remastered Edition.
With thought, if it's this publicized, imagine when it's completed. Featured Game I hope.

Note: Those who find it at odds with my graphics, please skip over the game.
As I'm sure their thousands on here. Whilst to be understood there's rights to opinion,
please keep in mind criticism and professional opinion entirely differs.
Thank you all, for your wise instructions taught me never to be lazy again,
even if it's my first game.
unity
You're magical to me.
11833
After playing this for myself, I have to agree with hiromu's points. At first, the game was drawing me in. The graphics have a non-RPG Maker feel, and there's been a ton of detail put into the aesthetics all around. The developer did pretty well here, but all the other elements don't stack up with the aesthetics.

The story, characters, and combat are very lacking. The writing and dialog is clunky and oddly worded, the characters only barely seem to have personalities. The way the dialog is colored for the two main characters makes it a little hard to read. Walking around feels weird because you can't walk in places where you think you should be able to, and combat is really lacking and underdeveloped.

There is a lot of promise here, and it looks like the developer is already working on retooling many aspects. If a lot of work is put into this, I think it could be great, but there are a lot of jarring problems at this stage. Best of luck, RavenSoft!
I'm not denying hiromu's points, just questioning the score.

I've always been under the impression that 1-star ratings were to be reserved for games that were practically beyond redemption: games that are full of bugs, an unplayable mess, not a single redeeming quality; the developer did nothing right.

And 2-star ratings were generally for games that still fell far below average, still a big mess, but there were some redeeming values, as well as potential for the developer to learn.

I'll take a dive at it this weekend and make my own judgment.
unity
You're magical to me.
11833
I don't disagree with you there, as I'd personally have given it 1.5 or 2 stars just based on the aesthetics alone. But that's purely a personal thing, and each reviewer has to make that decision themselves.

All I was saying is that the problems hiromu mentions are valid ones, and my experience with the game was very similar.
author=ProjectEternity
This GUY, who claims graphics suck, yet makes 8-bit color lego games, has no say. Final Fantasy 8 and 9 had blurred rendered models on 3d backdrops yet they sold marvelously. madarahyga didn't get mad, he just defended the one hour game for having not deserve a 1-Star.

This GUY, for being himself, has no say on anything about nuthin'. You should mind your manners.

I played this for a bit haha For someone who doesn't have a full grasp on the english language(it seems) you've shown me a new word. Susurrate. Firefox's spellcheck dictionary doesn't know it either heh

I can't stand to look at this game. I still think it deserves the low score because of the horrible way the graphics come across. Kudos for trying something like this, but he got what he deserves for the effort put in. Ripping graphics and placing them is not effort. Cleaning up the graphics before putting them in would be.

Did you even play test it? Half the words go outside the message window. There's clear tile misalignment, things are cut off. The resolution clashes are just too much. It's a bad example of how to make this kind of graphic style work.

Good for a first try but a low score seems to have given him the drive to make it better. So it sounds about right.
author=Link_2112
author=ProjectEternity
This GUY, who claims graphics suck, yet makes 8-bit color lego games, has no say. Final Fantasy 8 and 9 had blurred rendered models on 3d backdrops yet they sold marvelously. madarahyga didn't get mad, he just defended the one hour game for having not deserve a 1-Star.
This GUY, for being himself, has no say on anything about nuthin'. You should mind your manners.

I played this for a bit haha For someone who doesn't have a full grasp on the english language(it seems) you've shown me a new word. Susurrate. Firefox's spellcheck dictionary doesn't know it either heh

I can't stand to look at this game. I still think it deserves the low score because of the horrible way the graphics come across. Kudos for trying something like this, but he got what he deserves for the effort put in. Ripping graphics and placing them is not effort. Cleaning up the graphics before putting them in would be.

Did you even play test it? Half the words go outside the message window. There's clear tile misalignment, things are cut off. The resolution clashes are just too much. It's a bad example of how to make this kind of graphic style work.

Good for a first try but a low score seems to have given him the drive to make it better. So it sounds about right.


THIS GUY AGAIN??? I thought this kitty was done here, why do you keep pulling my tail? You have no respect in this litter-box to give you "manners"! And you're doing that sarcastic crap AGAIN, everywhere I go. Being the bigger person is not to reply, but I'm not, just a poor little kitty trying to get his reviews published. But hey, if you wanna give this paw a go, put em up!

JUST to prove you WRONG because I DON'T like you, yes I played the game - yes, I just Google Susurrate and it is a word (learn better English) - and to prove I played the game, the boxes goes off screen when the font isn't install (I fell for the same trick). You don't like the graphics because of the 8-bit color crap you make! Why did you reply after Kylalia addressed me? Because you're a dick and always want the last word. Meow.
User was warned for this post
unity
You're magical to me.
11833
We were having a serious discussion here and this "kitty" returns and piles on the insults just because someone disagreed with him. My advice is just to ignore ProjectEternity from here on until he can behave himself.
I've my own review pending now, but I'll say it here anyways. Having played it myself, this review makes much more sense, especially the issues with the visuals.
I don't think graphics are that big part of the game. Game is about gameplay and clearly the graphics and visuals actually make things more hard to tell rather than help visualize things, which is exactly the point why there's graphical interface to begin with, to help visualize things. Instead it seems the game kinda gets lost in its graphics with the bird counting and such.


Even if the game would look gorgeous but no one has desire to play it and there's no point to it, certainly it doesn't deserve more than 1,5 stars.



Though I can't honestly believe Shadow got bigger score than this, haha.
As I understand Hiromu656’s review, we both are on topic and same page.
With the announcement of the HD Remastered progression, I would deduce
it to end all scrabble about this “Tech Demo”. Clearly it has not, with great
disappointment. As my prior statement depicted, I was lazy with production.
This may be excuse in many eyes but it is truth when representing such vulgarism.

author=amerk

I've my own review pending now, but I'll say it here anyways. Having played it myself, this review makes much more sense, especially the issues with the visuals.



Despite this “game” irrelevance, posting reviews repeating Hiromu656’s junctions, will
only hurt the game’s page credibility for the Remastered Edition. I shall present
new development on Monday, and it should with hope, become the topic of
discussion.

author=Link_2112
Ripping graphics and placing them is not effort.


Note: Those who claim all graphics to be “ripped”, as I stated previously,
they’re not. Please refrain from such allegations.

Those who have suggestion on what should be featured in the game, please PM me, as
I would take it in consideration. Thank you all again, you've been a blessed help.
I don't believe so. Because it feels more like a work in progress and you're working on revamping it, I'm holding off scoring it, but feedback is feedback, and no single person reviews a game the same way.

However, as long as there is a download option, people are going to comment and/or review, regardless of how complete the game is or not. If you're concerned with people review the game while it's going through a revamp, you can always remove the current download.
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