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The Miracle of Patience

  • Marrend
  • 04/04/2015 01:39 AM
Game Title: Miraculo Island
Engine: RPG Maker VX Ace
Status at review: Demo/In progress

Being a request-post in the review request thread, I pretty much went into this game blind. From the game's description, I expected some kind of survival horror game. How did it turn out? Read on!

I really like the mapping this game has. I'm not sure what tiles were all used, but the forest area took my breath away. The character art that is used for the textboxes feels familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The backgrounds that the game uses for some of it's cut-scenes are a bit inconsistent, though. Some were really nice looking while other were pretty basic.

I fear I can't recall too many tunes that stood out. Though, to be fair, I wasn't paying too much attention to the audio to begin with. Going through the Audio/BGM directory (I know, I'm terrible), I like the "Lost" track, and I could almost swear that I've heard the "Illix Town" track... somewhere before. Which sorta brings up the pet peeve of mine of devs renaming tracks, and don't give proper credits as to the original source. Though, the game at least has a text-file that lists the creators of the tracks used in the game, so that limits the possibilities of where it could come from.

Six high-school students have been selected for a field trip to the titular island. The exact purpose behind this trip is one of self-discovery, as the students must leave modern civilization, and most of it's conveniences, behind. However, the activities that the teacher has the students do would suggest something more of an extended recess.

Regardless of the motives behind the trip, Nicolas (the player character) was selected to be on this trip as part of a rehabilitation program. For a bit of context, he was in an accident (the game doesn't specify beyond this) that caused a two-year coma.

Playing the game:
The bulk of the gameplay has players explore various maps while interacting with objects and/or characters to move the game forward. Though, I feel like I should point out the overworld map in this game. While there's only a few areas that players can visit, from what I can tell, it only handles mouse input. Though, that's not actually issue, because there's no pathfinding involved. The character teleports to the area selected. Not being able to use the keyboard for input was a little awkward at first, but, I thought it was pretty neat.

Let me touch on the various conversations, and the options they sometimes present. I didn't feel like the choices presented in these options actually mattered. For example, there is a scene when the protagonist is drowning. The options presented lead to the exact same sequence of regaining consciousness, even though at least one, if not both, highly suggest a GAME OVER. I dunno, maybe this is one of the things that is being worked on.

Though, saying that, I'm pretty well-attached to these characters, and their quirks. I'm not a big fan of Amber, or Franco, but, the rest of the cast are decent characters. It is unfortunate that grammar errors, and weird sentence structure pops up every now and again.

Of course, before one even gets to any of this, there is the introduction to go through. It's a narration (read: wall-of-text) by the protagonist explaining something that is obviously meant to be mysterious/foreshadowing. After that, players see the protagonist wake up, and suffers yet another wall-of-text that explains his condition, and why he's on the island.

With a sub-theme of exploration, one might think that the game wants you to have fun exploring the maps. It kinda isn't, as the walk-speed is pretty slow to begin with, and running is outright disabled indoors. Thankfully, the game has a system where searchable objects are marked, so you don't have to search absolutely everywhere. Not that the game is particularly search-heavy, but, it might be nice to be able to spread out the backstory of this game in searchable objects rather than having a huge blat in the introduction.

General Observations:
The menu seems to lag when you exit from it, but not when you call it up. I'm not sure what script/processing is being used, so I cannot make any suggestions about that.

I'm a pretty big sucker for breaking the fourth wall. This game does it twice, from what I saw. One is in a casual conversation with a character (Janet, I think.) and the other occurs when the teacher asks the protagonist how he feels about the trip so far.

This isn't an action game, nor does it want to be. However, it can feel a bit on the slow side, and that takes away from the otherwise enjoyable experience.



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Hey, Marrend, thanks for the review :D!

I understand what you're saying. Some people say the game is slow, some others say it's just the right pace.
Being inspired mostly by visual novels I've played. I strongly believe this is the correct approach for these kinds of stories. Else it will feel rushed and you won't feel attached enough.
Don't expect murderous ghosts to pop out of nowhere!

About some others points you addressed:
- Audio: I didn't rename the soundtrack :p I imported them into the maker using the same name they came with from the composer site (with due permission, of course).
- Story: Everything will be revealed in time. Believe me when I say there is more to it than a 'self-discovery' trip. You just have to be patience (lol) and try to get used to the island/characters in the meantime because they will be your only escape out.
- Gameplay: Choices matter in the long run. Think of it like a hidden Social Link you have with each character. If you don't meet certain criteria by certain date, then you will get your bloody game over :)
- Gameplay: Hopefully, I can address more grammar issues before the final release :/ Sorry! English is not my first language >.<
- Gameplay: Exploration is something that will be improved for the final release. I'll throw more Collectibles and mini-events into the island to encourage the player (did you know if you beat the dog it will drop its tag with its name on it :p?).
I received a few complains about those walls of text. I wanted the player to understand what and why are they doing there and to, somehow, relate with Nicholas from the go.
Keep in mind this is a visual novel. Nicholas likes to think a lot so you will have to get used to it. If you don't like it, then maybe this is not your kind of game :/
I tried to adjust the movement speed/size of the map accordingly. I want your stay in the island to feel natural and not some roller-coaster run.
- Issues: Exit menu lags (especially in the cabin). I honestly don't know how to fix this at the moment :/

Worry not, even though this is a visual novel kinda game, I intend to implement chase events and other some kind of mini-games for the following days :)

Again, thanks for your input :)! It definitely helps :D I hope you enjoyed it and are interested in seeing how it ends xD!
Guardian of the Description Thread
I wouldn't say that this game isn't for me on account of being a visual novel. I like visual novels, especially if they are also, *forced cough*, date-sims. Though, you could, probably, argue that this game isn't for me on account of being a horror game.

Though, to the game's benefit, I kinda want to see what the choice of wish the player makes does to the game. Given that I enjoy date-sims...
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