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A short game that does what it sets out to do.

  • Fidchell
  • 12/29/2020 07:04 AM
  • 126 views
"Summoning" Review by Fidchell

Summoning is a little horror game that pits you against a killer that has raided a sleepover held by three teenage girls following the usage of a Ouija board. The main character, Ashley, is faced with danger as she attempts to subdue the killer, as she is trapped within the house.

Graphics

- Tilesets (Score: Good)
  • Tileset graphics work well enough and are pleasant to look at. I'm not certain how much of it is RTP, but they are used competently. There is an interior tileset as well as one for the outdoors that serves as the backyard area.


- Character Sets (Score: Good)
  • Character sets are done well and fit the overall aesthetic and style. It seems some of them if not all of them were modified in some way, but nothing was jarring.

  • Custom assets were made, such as blood stains and a car.


- Pictures (Score: Good)
  • Custom "faceset" graphics were provided that shows a good portion of the characters' bodies.

  • The art style of these facesets are a bit jarring in comparison with the aesthetics of the character sets themselves as well as the tilesets in that they are rather simple, but the effort put behind them and their implementation in certain scenes are very much appreciated.

  • Overall, they are a welcome addition and fit where they need to.


- User Interface (Score: Good)
  • The interface graphics in Summoning are very simple. The entire system is rather minimalistic and works for the simple nature of the game.

  • That being said, I think a decent score would fit for the main UI because of the simplicity. Some work could have been done to make the menus a little more interesting to look at.

  • Despite this, the title screen is custom made and is good-looking, also serving as an appropriate foresight into what the game is about.


Gameplay

- Navigation (Score: Good)
  • The menus, as stated before, are very simple and thus easy to use and navigate.

  • I enjoyed the feature of the cursor being on the same item as previously selected on the inventory menu when accessing it again.

  • You are allowed 8-directional movement and are given the option to run.


- Cleanliness (Score: Decent)
  • The game has a fair share of bugs. Firstly, sometimes a game-breaking error pops up that crashes the game when loading a save file, speaking of an issue with the light mapping system.

  • The killer appears right beside you as you are running away from them and teleporting to another room, instantly getting you a game over. I've only noticed this at the beginning

  • You don't have to go through the process of cutting the board and getting salt water, as once you get the shovel, you can immediately bury "pieces" of it in the backyard even if you didn't break the board yet.

  • Mixing salt with the bottled water doesn't get rid of the salt item, though I'm not certain this was intentional.


- Game Design (Score: Decent)
  • The game is simple to understand and play, and even reveals the key bindings of RPG Maker for those who are not familiar.

  • Movement is simple, navigating menus is no problem, and figuring things out is easy to do.

  • I only got stuck in one spot when lights stopped showing up to point out I had to interact with an object, but I wasn't stuck for too long.

  • Progression in the game is peculiar. To go further, you will need to interact with special points or have certain events occur, then you have to scour the house for another glowing spot and get an item that the main character just happened to not notice or wish to interact with beforehand. This type of game design is rather arbitrary, and more work could have been done to have all the points of interest have a unique trait that allows the player to think and return to them once they find a related item.

  • Escaping from the killer is rather worry-free if you can figure out the provided hiding places as well as juking them and outwitting the follow AI. It seems that hiding places cannot be used more than once, rather than being dependent on RNG like the Hiding note hinted towards.


Story

- Writing (Score: Decent)
  • There are some typos and words that are cut off by the message box limit.

  • Grammar is mainly good and I have noticed no other errors aside from typos.

  • Dialogue is appropriate, aside from a point listed below the "Characters" section up ahead.

  • A lot of exposition is given at the end against a black screen, leaving things up to the imagination.

  • Despite this, there are scenes that are shown as pictures, which is much preferable to fall in line with the "show don't tell" rule.


- Characters (Score: Decent)
  • Ashley, the main character, is rather inconsistent with her relationship with her friends. Some monologues that pop up upon inspecting items are questionable because they refer to a freshly killed friend as if they were still alive and well, would makes her very unlikeable if intentional.

  • Aside from this, the characters have their own personalities and express them well enough, but there is nothing much else of note, as the game is more reliant on the horror more than character development.


- Plot (Score: Decent)
  • The plot of the game is the opposite of complex and there is a minute amount of story.

  • There are few surprises to be had and little meandering. The story is straightforward, and the creator knew what they wanted to make and told the story competently with little padding.


Music/Sound

- Music (Score: Good)
  • The music of the game does its job well and nothing sounds inappropriate.

  • Musical pieces that play during moments of calm and tension are not overbearing and hit the mark in the mood they sought to communicate.


- Sound (Score: Good)
  • Sounds files are mix of custom assets and RTP assets, as far as I know.

  • Custom sounds such as screams and digging are included and don't have any noticeable difference in quality, maybe aside from the screams, but the difference is very minor and does not kill any particular scenes.


Extras

- Secrets
  • The game expects the player to inspect almost everything in the house. By doing so, they would eventually come across a password that can be used after the end credits.

  • This secret room that can be accessed when inputting the password displays a variety of notes from the developer about the development cycle of the game as well as some other neat little tidbits concerning assets.


- Advice to Players
  • You may get stuck at the start when you encounter your first chase scene. This isn't very well communicated by the game and it seems to discourage you from going anywhere. Try to head back into the place where you spotted them instead of running away.


Conclusion

The game looks good and hosts a variety of custom assets that show off the characters in greater detail. There is an admirable amount of them, and nothing goes against the mood the game attempts to relay. Aside from some bugs and errors/inconsistencies in writing, this little horror game should provide some spooky fun for its runtime of 30 or so minutes with its custom systems, including a Clock Tower-esque chase system and easy-to-navigate menu system that provides little frustrations. The game is easy to pick up and play, and tells its rather predictable story well enough to satisfy horror fans, but not those looking for something a little deeper.

Final Score: 3.5

Posts

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I am just over the moon right now from this review. I haven't looked at this game in years and haven't touched the attempt at it's remake in a year or so.

That being said, some of the bugs probably aren't going to be fixed for this rendition of the game. I still want to remake it and I will in due time to be better able to fix them ahead of time, and hopefully avoid making other bugs in the process.

I dunno what to say about the whole shovel thing. Must have had some bad tunnel vision and didn't include the variables and branches I should have to make it work in order. But that's something for the remake. xwx;

I definitely could have done better making it clearer what items you can come back to, and at the time I thought my descriptions were enough of a hint. That's because I didn't really have anyone playtest it for me to be sure it worked and just assumed it would. I had enough forethought to add the glows to the important things to make them more obvious, but I messed something up somewhere if that broke part way through. Well, broke or I forgot to add the effect one of the two. x.x;

The exposition dump at the end was me being tired of drawing everything, so I took the (comparitively) lazy route of typing it all out instead. It does clash a lot with the CGs I had made to the game prior, and I shouldn't have done that or at least added some later looking back.

The intent with her dialogue was more to have Ashley seem like she wsa in shock, and I apparently failed really bad at putting that across. It was not intentional for her to be unlikable so I'm gonna bear that in mind to either do it better, or just not have that until later (since running from the killer is important).

Again, signing in for the first time in a while seeing this review has just made me so happy. I thought that maybe the game was just bad and that people weren't playing it, and if they were they didn't for long. That or it left that little of an impression, and lets be real, I wasn't attempting to make some mindblowing story. It was just something quick to see if I could finally churn something out while working on other projects. So seeing "decent" tacked onto it just has me overjoyed. I only set out to be at least a little competent, so I'm glad to have gotten that. TTwTT

Thank you so much for the fair and constructive review. I'll be taking a lot of it to heart for my upcoming projects.



author=Quizicalgin
I am just over the moon right now from this review. I haven't looked at this game in years and haven't touched the attempt at it's remake in a year or so...


You're very welcome, keep up the good work!
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