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Saving Vanaria!

Hello generals!
Here I am after playing Quest of Vanaria, an rpg adventure game made with RPG Maker MV by Mahdianto (or, better, Mahdianto Production, since it's a group that includes people that worked on sprites, battlers, music and so on). The page here was created in 2015, the game was published on itch.io in 2021, but the version that I played, the one I found here, was made in 2023, because there was also a work to fix some areas and some bugs. Oh the game took me less that two hours from the beginning to the end, let's say 1 hour and 35/40 minutes, no more. And for the most part it was pretty easy, but maybe I'm pretty good at these games eheh.

The game includes a place where you can find the developer, beta testers, sprites and music creators for this game. And it's not even hidden nor near the end!

The adventure starts with the two generals of Vanaria, Mahdi (that's what I consider the protagonist since we start playing as him) and Edrik fighting an attack of some monstrous creatures. Ok, their soldiers are obviously useless and they will have to do all the job because they're really powerful. I'm not joking, this is not a game about a villagers tha goes "zero to hero", while they will still level up during the adventure (they start at level 50 and in the end they were at level 57, while the other two party members at 55 and 54), all characters here start pretty strong. So our heroes learn that the King of Darkness is spreading destruction on earth, so after saving Vanaria and enlisting the help of Princess VAnira (skilled healer and magician) they leave to search for the five crystals of power before the warriors of darkness destroy them.

The game is a classic jrpg that includes random battles on the main map, random battles on the normal maps (the dungeons) and boss battles, anyway despite the extreme power of our heroes, forget using the normal attack (I tried using it in the VERY FIRST minor boss battle and I died! Also you do not need all the best gear to win), because all you need is using skills (and against some enemies I saw many attacks): all characters have healing abilities, all have strong area attacks, all use both MPs and TPs, so bring some mana potions, but remember that TP attacks are still a option and sometimes they're a very good option: there are in fact some parts where our heroes (except the last addition) will have to face some trials against entities that once defeated will become summonable, effectively granting a powerful low-TP cost attack (these are probably the hardest parts, since the single characters will be separated from the rest of the group, and 1-1 rpgmaker battles are never too easy!).

Besides the lack of balance (characters are very tough, enemies including bosses are weak and their only upgrade is that they multiattack a lot later in the game, still not for much damage) and the useless normal attacks/standart weapons, I also noticed an error concerning an ability that only Vanira and Venus possess: I cannot remember the name (starts with "E") but it's basically a skill that should heal party members of all afflictions... pity that it does not work! Outside of combat it does nothing, in combat it makes you target the opponents and not the allies! Weird.

Ok man, you look a little creepy, but this is a nice offer since in this area it's almost impossible to avoid battles... it's cheap isn't it? Or even free?

WAIT, WHAT????? Nah it's better resting at one of the Pipu's camps! They're 100% free!

Now the exploration: the game takes part on "region maps" that fill the whole screen and contains various points of interest. We start from Vanaria, but later we'll visit other reigns like the Desert Region, and each location has a couple of small dungeons, a town and... a Pipu camp. Wait, what are Pipu camps? These are little (cramped) locations where you can rest for free and buy consumables and gear, and the inhabitants are Pipus, some tiny chocobos. Unfortunately I noticed that in Pipu camps sometimes the characters walk over the walls so exit and re-enter if that happens! Concerning loot the game is VERY generous, even if not EXTREMELY generous like other games, for example Nightmare of the Elven World. What else? Oh yes, the game is linear (but you can backtrack to the previous areas) and you can save anywhere. You can also run away from battles but near the end the probability is almost zero!

Nod the graphics: the game uses a mix of RTPs, some edits and some custom made sprites and battlers. The result is pretty good even if there is some kind of "style dissonance" if you compare some monsters (there are cartoonish ones and more realistic ones, see the pic below) and some minor error, for example Mahdi has his peculiar "samurai bun" only on normal maps (and on the portrait of course) and no when on the world map. I don't remember any other graphic issues.
Maps are... pretty much ok! Most of them are compact and filled with little details, not really bad but maybe a bit too small.
Music and sounds are also a mix of Rtps and original themes and as a selection it's pretty good I think.

The story is ok. Very linear and simple, quite predictable to be honest. Not that I expected anything really new from the premise, this is a classic party based RPG Maker MV game. Writing is ok, there are some typos and dialogues are immediate and straight to the point, almost bare bones. For example the last party member, Venus, arrives with little introduction and dialogues, and becomes a last addition for just... 20 minutes? Pity because aestetically it's a cool character but has very little in terms of background and story, not that the others have a lot to say, since this is a simple Good VS Evil game.

Oh yeah we got Venus our last party member, and the end of the game is near so let's write the...

Final Verdict
Quest of Vanaria is a pretty nice little adventure with some good aspect and others that are not so good. It's a very simple and compact story, not very original or new, but not really bad either. I did not find any serious error or bugs aside for the ones mentioned, and the wors one is probably the ability that doesn't work as intended. But no game breaking issues. So, if you like this kind of games this is an ok one that will take you less than two hours, if you are looking for something more complex, puzzles and more... well this is not the game for you.