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The 4th game I'm making using rm2k, and also promising to be the last (for that engine, at least). Returning to the location explored in the first game of the series, it hopes to succeed in places where the past episodes failed. Even with the slew of updated methods and ideas, it still plays similarly to its cousins, so here is a list of things you can expect carried over from the others:

Although the game bears 'Pokémon' in the title, you should know that this is not a normal Pokémon game. You're not out to 'catch 'em all' and it doesn't emulate the commercial games in any way. Instead, it is designed more like a regular medieval RPG. You grab your swords and bows, explore dungeons, find treasures, and fend off Pokémon as enemies instead. If you took out the Pokémon and replaced them with the usual mythological monsters you see in other games, it'd pretty much be a regular RPG.

Equipment Drops: Equipment isn't obtained from random treasure chests lying around (a trope I never really cared for). Instead, you'll only find new equipment from two sources: shops and enemies. The game's shops update their inventory based on your dungeon progress, and the enemies in each area always drop weapons and armor you can use for upgrades. As such is the case, fighting is mostly the only way to get stronger, be it for experience or better equipment.

Enemy Skills: The heroes only learn a handful of skills on their own. Most of their special abilities come from finding skill books scattered around the dungeons (in retrospect, this is pretty much the same as random treasure chests). The skills you find in each area are those used by the monsters in that area. So, if you fight Charmanders using Ember in the cave, then the book that teaches Ember will be somewhere around there. In the field, books resemble the Pokémon that uses the skill they teach. Some skills are certainly more useful than others, but you won't know which are which until you find them anyway. All of them are hidden somewhere in the dungeons, and some are quite hard to find. Boss books only appear after the boss that uses those skills is defeated.

Enemy Evolution: Pokémon you're fighting may evolve in battle at any time! This makes them marginally more difficult and gives you a shot at finding a rare item. Each evolution has its own unique item to drop, but the chances of finding it are only 1/50. The odds are relatively low because you could just stall in battle and wait for things to evolve (which improves your chances greatly). Even if you're not actively seeking them, you'll probably find three or four by the game's end. There are also a few rare items dropped by a recurring miniboss, but you would find these no matter what, so they aren't rare at all.

Outside of battle, there are plenty of things to do besides wander around stupid newbie RTP land.

Puzzles Galore: Every dungeon in the game is stuffed with puzzles. And by 'stuffed' I mean 'they have about two each'. Some are the usual rock-pushing and switch-flipping you'd expect, while others are a bit more innovative. There's always something to keep you on your toes.

Side Trips: Who doesn't love a good distraction from the main quest? Most of these open up after the 4th dungeon is completed, but there are quite a bunch of side missions for you to explore. Each one has its own rewards, both strength and story-wise. They also beef up the play time.

At the end of the demo, you'll get a completion percentage based on how many books you found and sidetrips you completed. In the final version, 100% completion will get you New Game + and Classic Mode. JOY!

But wait! Those are just the things that haven't changed. Here are the things that have!

Remastered Elements: The elements have always been a part of the series, but they never played much of a role in the past, mostly due to bad design choices and poor implementation. But not anymore! Now, elements that strike a weakness do 2 times as much damage, as opposed to 1.5 in the previous games. Resistances cut damage in half, instead of .75. Finally, monsters now have weaknesses and resistances that make sense (and sometimes more than one of each!). Throwing random elemental attacks into your enemies won't work nearly as well as it did. You'll especially want to think twice about how you fight bosses, as they only take one quarter of the damage from an attack they're resistant to! Depending on how you strategize, things could be very easy...or much, much harder.

Remastered Status Problems: As with elements, these have always been present in the series. But now they've been redesigned to make them more useful! Effect rates have increased and vary depending on the type of status problem and the enemy they're being used against. Bosses are no longer immune to them, so use this new vulnerability to your advantage!

Party Options: This episode features a great deal more heroes than the previous ones. Your main hero is Tom, but he's the only human you control. The rest are all the Pokémon he trains. There are six you can choose from, but your party is limited to four, so you can bring three Pokémon with you anywhere you go. You should carefully consider which ones to bring so you can use their elemental abilities to your advantage. But even if you do pick the wrong ones, it's not so bad, because the game also has...

Beast Whistle: Using this item calls Tom's Pokémon to him, allowing you to change your party almost anywhere. This lets you change your party on the fly as new or unexpected threats emerge. You can't use it during battle, though, so you'll have to plan ahead for fights.

Mass Level Up: This behind-the-scenes feature will save you a lot of pointless grinding. Through mass level up, all the playable characters share the same experience (even the ones you aren't using). At the end of each day and night (see below), the amount of experience you gained as each hero is tallied, divided, and distributed to all the characters available for that time period (the heroes are divided between day and night). This way, the levels of the heroes stay similar to each other with no extra effort from the player. Of course, it doesn't work if you don't fight anything.

Day & Night System: This feature is returning from the 3rd episode, but with a few tweaks to it. Each day is now just one hour long, and the midday warning comes between each half hour. Also, the night aspect of the game is more significant. During the day, you play as Tom on his adventure. During the night, you play as Splinter, the Rattata that belongs to Tom's close friend. Splinter and the other Pokémon have their own separate quest that takes place only at night. Night works exactly the same as day; one hour to explore with a midnight warning after half an hour. You alternate between the two storylines as each day and night ends. The events in one story can affect the other to a certain extent, but they both work toward the same goal (though the methods used to reach it are completely different).

Axe Swap: Exploiting weaknesses and avoiding resistances can make fighting much easier, but you never have full access to all of the game's 7 elements at once. This is where the Axe Swap system helps. Through a side trip, you can acquire Swap Books that teach Tom how to add an element to his axe. The skill costs very little to use, and the axe will remain the element it is given throughout the battle (and returns to normal when the battle ends). If you accidentally give it the wrong element, you can change it with a different swap skill. Eventually, Tom can wield any element with his axe at will. You don't get quite that far in this demo, but I hope you can see what this means.

While yet unfinished, I hope the improvements I've made will show and carry this episode further than its predecessors could ever hope to reach. This will be what the others should have been all along! Assuming I ever get around to finishing it, of course.

Latest Blog

PH4: Demo Update!

I updated the demo that's available. It doesn't have any new content, but it does have better, non-RTP battle music. It also fixes the three elements I renamed, though there are probably still some places where they're listed as they were.

Some more significant changes include that the mass level up system now works all the time rather than just at the end of a day or night. That means you can switch your party members on the fly without fear of them being too low level to do any good. It's also a little easier to level up now. Less grinding is always a good thing, right?
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RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Hmm. I kinda get what you're saying, as Magneton is indeed very difficult to beat. But you don't need to grind to a massive level to overcome him; you just need a little better strategy.

Head back into the lava cave and hunt down some Electrodes. They drop Yellow Bands, which you can equip for resistance against Magneton's attacks. They make all the difference in the world. With Yellow Bands on your whole party and the three Earth beasts, you should have a much easier time. You might also consider giving Splinter a Beast All+ or two. She's one of the weakest party members.
I did try fighting Magneton with Yellow Bands but that wasn't where I went wrong. I loaded an earlier save and discovered the training exercises sidequest, tried giving Splinter some Beast All+ and tried the fight again and discovered Magneton could be stunned, which made the battle play out much smoother. I had time for item use and such. Splinter redeemed herself with Mirror Move which was useful in that battle and I managed to pull through.

In the end it was probably my own fault for not exploring around enough for solutions.
Oh and sorry about my last comment if it sounded a bit harsh.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Harsh? Not at all. At least, not the way I read it.
Finally finished the whole demo. I'm impressed at its length and that I could still play more to find additional secrets and it wasn't an abrupt "end of demo, Game Over" screen, thanks to the day/night cycles.

The rest of the demo aside from the boulder puzzles in the Cave portion of the game (see earlier comment about that) were great and you had a healthy portion of side quests to complete. Unfortunately, one of these quests was almost a necessity in order to pull through the game in one piece: the beast training. If you overlook it, your stats will fall dangerously short of what's considered reasonable for boss battles like Magneton.

Once I figured out how your game balance, it became much simpler and the Mass EXP system kept me from having to worry about dead party members. A great implementation considering they like to die a lot.

Hopefully you can finish this project somewhere down the line. Perhaps I'll go play the other Pokemon Hunter games now.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Ah, good. I stand by my prior statement that the previous episodes ain't that great.

I'd also like to see this game finished! We'll see what real life has to say about it, I guess!
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Really? Glad to hear it! Progress has been slow, as it's been. Always so much else going on! But I have 7 of the game's 18 areas completed, as well as decent progress on a number of its sidetrips. I'll do my best to get back into making it after RMN Bros. 2 is finished and not terrible.
Can't believe the very first line in your game is telling your player how to quit it... that's so... you. :O
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Yeah, I'm kinda dumb sometimes. Could you tell?!
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