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Flawed, but Shows Potential

  • amerk
  • 08/23/2014 06:16 AM
So having read through and not quite understanding hiromu656’s review, I decided to finally play this game myself. On the premise, based on nothing more than eyeballing the game page, I wanted nothing more than the opportunity to play this game. I was led astray by the screenshots, which seemed quite appealing from a cursory glance and led me to believe this would be similar to the style of Sunset Over Imdahl.

Having actually played this… well, that’s another thing entirely, and I now feel I should probably eat some of my words from before. To be fair, I did admit at the time I needed to play this in order to judge it properly, and I honestly think that only by playing it do you realize why it’s so flawed. I don’t think it’s entirely beyond redemption, just that it needs a lot of work in order to make it appealing.

If I’m not mistaken, this game was made as part of the recent contest, and if that’s true then it would make sense. A contest where a game must really stand out in terms of quality, game play, and story and be completed within a set timeframe, but also kept within an hour’s game play time at most is no easy feat even for veteran developers.

Also, it appears that the developer has decided to redo the game and fix the problems that existed. And that being the case, I don’t think it would be fair for me to chuck this out of the park entirely, but rather to consider it as a sort of work in progress.

For that reason, I’ve decided to forgo any scores at this time.

Now, I want to make it known – I did not finish the game. I stopped somewhere after the halfway point because I lost complete interest in it; and sadly, I was just bored of it right from the beginning.

There really isn’t any specific game mechanic to write home about, because the game opts out of using any real traditional method. Instead, the mechanics aim to do things outside of the box, mainly for no reason at all.

You don’t have access to a menu, for example. Any items you collect is not viewable at all. Even in battle, when you need to use an herb to heal, you only see the option for herbs and nothing else you’ve collected only if you actually have an herb to use, and even then you don’t know how many you have in stock.

So how many herbs will I have remaining if I use one?

While not having access to the menu keeps the player focused more on the game and what bit of story there is, it also presents another problem. The game is primarily a fetch quest of sorts and has you reaching out to help the villagers with all their problems. But not having access to a menu or a journal to see what quests you were given or what items you’ve collected makes it hard to remember who you’ve talked to, what remains to be done, and how close to resolving a quest you are, especially if you can’t remember what you’ve collected.

Saving is handled via a save point, however, unlike most games, saving and loading is done automatically with the press of a button. When you save, it auto saves to a single file the player never access, and the same with loading the game. In an impractical sense, it’s kind of interesting, but it really seems pointless.

And finally, the battles. You have two characters in your party, but they play out as a single party member. In battle, you only have two options if you’re not escaping or using an herb. And that is to attack physically or attacking magically. By magically, I don’t mean the typical way of choosing your skill. There is nothing to choose, so you can liken it to having one skill that never takes MP. You select the skill option, and the game automatically goes to work.

Your enemies are slimes, and they come in single, double, and triple troops. You don’t get stats (fighting only seems to lead to gold, of which I never bothered to care what gold is used for), so this makes fighting anything more than 2 slimes at a time a gamble. Again, your two-person party plays out as a single party member, meaning you only have one ATB and one Life Bar to share. A troop of 3 slimes can easily pound the stuffing out of you before you’ve had a chance to react, especially if you have no herbs remaining. Trying to run in this case is a hit and miss, and the risk for a game over increases.

How you decide what to use (physical or skill) is based upon the color of the slime, which indicates their resistance. If blue, then use physical attacks. If gray, use skill attacks.

Like the reviewer before me, I began wondering why even have the battle system in the first place, outside of gold, and the fact that one of your villagers makes a comment that she killed 99 slimes once; which means the player will then have to get into anywhere from 34 to 100 battles (depending on if you’re lucky enough to get a troop of 2 or more slimes in a given battle) in order to best her.

I can't speak for others, but engaging in these many battles against slimes is quite the turn-off for me. Then again, I suppose it can be a cure for insomnia. After all, why count sheep when you can count the number of slimes you’ve killed.

This might have been the highlight of the game if the developer had followed through with it. The prologue started out okay, almost poetic. Without giving too much away, the premise of the story is that your main characters (a girl and boy – I can’t recall their names) are looking for a story to study. Presumably this is a homework assignment, and naturally the girl character is much more strict and disciplined, while the male lead is a bit more carefree. Long story short, they find a book with blank pages, get sucked into the story, and then must find the missing pages in order to return home.

I don’t know what (if any) of the story would have been revealed had I played all the way through, but once you get pulled into the book (which all takes place at the intro before you can even control your character) the story seems to go on the wayside, and you’re then commissioned with assisting the villagers in order to get the pages.

So here is where I find the story falling apart:

1. The word “susurrate” used in the prologue caused a brief debate in the previous review. It is indeed a real word (I looked it up in Google myself), and generally means to make a soft rustling sound, whisper, or murmur. But why choose such an unknown word? If the player has to stop in order to look up a word they have no idea what it means, it breaks the immersion. Why not just use the word “murmur” in the first place, which works so much better?

2. What started off as being an interesting story is quickly reduced to a fetch quest with very little going for it. After you meet the elder and the game opens up, I quickly started losing interest, which is a shame since the game really is only supposed to be an hour long.

3. There are notable grammar mistakes throughout the game. This can be forgiven and overlooked if it happens once in awhile, but it’s all over the place. The elder you come across early on is the worst offender, as every other line is oddly written:

"I cannot express my humbles wishes enough..."
"The villagers has been affected..."
"Once you have help the village..."

Hide-and-Seek find me?... Fine, but remember, bases are not allowed. All your base are belong to us.

If ever there was a divide, it’s here. This was why I couldn’t quite grasp hiromu656’s review, and why I felt compelled to try the game myself. Looking at the game page, the images actually look appealing. As I mentioned in the onset, it led me to believing I was going to experience a game that was at least similar in style (graphically speaking) to Sunset Over Imdahl. But click on any of the images to see it in full view and you’ll begin to realize how horribly flawed the effects are.

I’ll post a screenshot here from my own playthrough and I think you’ll see why it’s a mess:

Everything clashes. Nothing is pleasing to the eye. The house and cars have a very nice painted look, but the sprites don’t quite match and have their own noticeable style. But then the snow and blue stones really makes this hard to look at and ruins what could have been a fairly decent map. Even the message box seems to be a style of its own, while animation sequences seem to be from the default.

A little better than the map previous, but again an entirely different style. It does clash with the sprites much worse, though, but at least the ground tiles seem to be consistent with the rest.

This is probably the nicest of the three maps. While the sprites do have a different style, they seem to blend in much better here than the previous two maps.

The problem is that there is just no consistency with the style of art within the screens themselves, and from one screen to the next. Everything clashes and it's a bit painful to look at for too long.

I will at least commend the developer on his choice of audio. It was pleasant if not entirely memorable.

My final verdict is the game is not at all enjoyable in its current form. But that doesn’t mean it’s entirely without merit, either. It showcases the developer’s potential as well as the ambition for creating something different, even if the execution has all but failed. Hopefully the remake will see to a lot of these issues so that players can give it a fair chance.


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You're magical to me.
A well-done review that covers the demo very thoroughly. Good work!
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