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Good Game. Poor Sample.

  • Dyhalto
  • 08/06/2016 01:07 AM
Mystical Sunrise isn't just some game. It's the official sample game for the recently localized RPG Maker 2003.
I'm reminded of Don Miguel's sample game when RPG Maker 2000 was released (illegitimately) to the English speaking world. It was a rinky dink little thing with a goofy sense of humor, but as showcasing the possibilities of the engine was concerned, it did an outstanding job.

So is Mystical Sunrise able to accomplish the same objective? Hmmm.... I'm not so sure.

Visual: 3/5
The graphics, for one thing, are both gorgeous and wholly unattainable.
That's what happens when two of the community's best and brightest combine their forces. Archeia_Nessiah and Ocean, renowned for their fabulous handiwork with the mighty pixel, have created a delightfully vivid 16-bit world. This is by no means a knock on their skills. It's just that if I played through this adorable little adventure, and then opened up the maker and saw the more mundane RTP character and tilesets available to me, I'd be justifiably bummed.

Regardless, it's a colorful game in it's own right, and what better source of inspiration for the aspiring gamedev than inspirational work itself?

Audio: 5/5
Sadly, the era of the midi is drawing to a close.
But they're not dead yet. Some parts of the world live under strict bandwidth limits and appreciate the smaller filesize appropriated by a midi soundtrack. This is still a lesson worth teaching and, thanks to the excellent talents of Cyber-Rainforce, a homely selection of music was provided to further this endeavor.

Storyline: 2.5/5
The storyline is simple and cute enough. A witch named Myra accidentally created a sentient, killer Orb that's going around causing trouble for the local wildlife. In order to pursue and put a stop to it, she's going to need assistance from a guide-cum-bodyguard. It comes in the form of a wandering gunman named Jigen Daisuke Gideon.

There's never been a more reliable partner.

Beyond the brief prologue, there's some "tell me your story" plus a minor altercation over the state of their partnership, but that's about it. Mystical Sunrise was never about telling a tale anyway. It has one job : Showcase the power of RPG Maker 2003.

Gameplay: 2/5
I have to say; while boasting impressive custom battle mechanics and stat development systems, the game falls awfully short of it's intended goal as a "sample game". The reason I say this is because very few of the RPG Maker 2003 systems are employed in their natural state. There is no equipment, the magic menu is for leveling, and items are used as magic. To someone whose never touched the maker before, this would only serve the purpose of confusion instead.

And then we're treated to a gargantuan infodump tutorial on how the system works delivered by dialogue box, the worst possible method. Scripting the first battle to serve as example would have done the player a great favor, but everything is still horribly awry for something meant to demonstrate the basics.

Do you seriously think anybody will remember all of this?

Overall: 3/5
If I were a snot-nosed newbie who received RPG Maker 2003 from his eccentric gamedev uncle for Christmas (shoes I intend to fill someday), the custom systems of Mystical Sunrise would have me scratching my head.
But it's still a short, fun little game in it's own right.