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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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I've played the previous three so i'm gonna have to try out this one. Congratulations on getting this far in a game series.
I've played the previous three so i'm gonna have to try out this one. Congratulations on getting this far in a game series.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
If I can ever manage to finish the damn thing...
Pessimism like that is bad. It probably hurts development or something.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
I know...there have just been a lot of setbacks and downtime with this one. But I WILL finish it...someday...
Ah. Conflicting schedules screw up the creative process, as well as the pain in the ass it was to compile the beasts, create weaknesses, moves, and growth charts.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Actually...that was the easy part! I plan way ahead, so all that stuff is already in place. It's just a matter of making the actual content now, but there's a lot of it left to go.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
Hopefully sometime this year. I've been very lazy working on it, and that's something I'm trying to correct. Just gotta find the motivation! Although the demo of it that's up right now has a pretty decent chunk in it.
Why does "Grass, Bug and poison" = AIR??? None of them have anything to do with air...

And flying is part of the "Normal" type?

Change air to GRASS... otherwise its just wierd.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
I was kinda following the idea of the four basic elements: Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth. Air seemed to make more sense than Wind, but thinking on it more, it really doesn't make any sense at all. 'Grass' doesn't sound too elemental or whymsical, though, so I may come up with something else entirely.

And yes, Flying is a sub-part of Normal. It's really not that much of a stretch when you think about it.
And yes, Flying is a sub-part of Normal. It's really not that much of a stretch when you think about it.

I guess not, in the pokemon card game they use normal = flying anyway.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
from Idida1
in the pokemon card game they use normal = flying anyway.

Funny you should mention that...

from the Elements page
Pokémon Hunter doesn't use all the elements from the commercial Pokémon games. They instead borrow just the nine used in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
I've played up to the three trials area (Fire, Mind, Thunder) so far and most things seem to be working properly. There's a problem with the party swapper though, when you try to add a new member with a full party and you push Up when the selection menu comes up, the event stops functioning. I guess you might already be aware of that though.

Fun game overall and now I'm considering of checking out the earlier installments in this series while I wait for full release.
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
When you push Up, you say? Very strange! I'll look into it.

You can check out the previous iterations if you want, but be warned: they kinda suck!
Heh. I'll be the judge of that.
I don't know yet if your other games are like this but I feel like the balancing is a little flawed in this demo, in the latter portions of it. I finished the three trials now and fought Deodar. It was a really difficult fight and I had to grind up to Level 16+ to beat her, but I was alright with this after some trial and error and figuring out her weaknesses. However, I guess this next part of the game wasn't tested enough or anything, but the frustration level started to peak at that point, with Splinter's quest into the Cave.

You have areas that drop boulder puzzles on you which I thought was a great idea at the start, but I found myself getting repeatedly stuck and/or having to go all the way back to the entrance of the cave to reset the puzzle instead of having a simple reset function provided. I had to use the F9 debug menu to get through it without losing my sanity. The Lava Cave is well done, I'd keep it as it is. But the boss is another story. That dang Magneton. Splinter's stats are very poor and this is manageable for most of the game so thus far, but in this fight, it's pointless to even keep her alive since she's a one shot wonder and doesn't have any notable skills (unlike her companions). I'd replace her but she's required to be in the party as the acting MC for the beasts.

I could be executing a strategy for this fight incorrectly, but I swapped out my normal team in favor of Cranky, Gabon, and Rambi, so I can take advantage of its weakness to Earth since Nidra and Snippit weren't doing very well. The beasties are all around Level 15 and 16. Rambi is pretty well balanced in terms of enemy strength. Cranky and Gabon though, seem crucial to this fight but they suffer the same problems as Splinter: No survivability whatsoever.

I'm probably gonna have to cheat my way through the Magneton fight since it's pretty unbeatable at this point, unless I backtrack and grind to Level 25 or something.

Edit: I forgot to mention one other thing. The player can't keep up with the incoming damage if the healing item values don't exceed it. Perhaps you were going for difficulty but the party will be run down as the excessive damage gradually brings their HP to 0 despite constant healing (Wussy Heals for 50HP). This would be okay for a battle that doesn't last so long, but you prolong your battles and compounded with the above mentioned shortcomings places those boss fights somewhere in between miserably difficult to nearly impossible.

You provide the player with a limited supply of Beast Cures (250HP heal) but there's no way to obtain more if the player needs them. I know, they were probably meant to be used for those boss fights with Deodar or the aforementioned Magneton. But with the Magneton's extremely high agility rating, healing items don't have time to deliver when everyone but Rambi dies in a single hit. You can't expect the player to be psychic and predict what Magneton will do next when his attack pattern is randomized.

That's all for now.
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