• Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Much Hope for Cope

Good day, my lovelies. I'll admit, I'm not the best of critics, nor have I completed many RPG Maker games that I've played. Nevertheless, this short-but-sweet game was one that I actually did finish, and I must say it's been a game for me to look up to in my own game-making endeavors. Without further ado, let's dive into the depths of Cope Island for my first review here, shall we?

Not much in the way of a story for this game, but given it's length, it's not the greatest necessity. As the game boots up, after selecting game mode, you're given a blank slate of a silent protagonist in robes and rags. As you walk throughout the isle's different haunts, you'll encounter various NPCs who reveal the nature of the strange locale, one that the player character had seemingly called out to in their own way.

The NPCs in this game... though their words are rather empty-feeling and seem to appeal to your protagonist's free will throughout their trip to Cope Island, it seems to work for me. These strange inhabitants almost remind me of the people of the utopia of Lois Lowry's "The Giver", and give a sense that there might be something a bit awry about the island.

Now onto the flow of the game itself. You'll wander the Island, trying to find three key items used to unlock the 'core' of sorts for the Island. There aren't random encounters, but enemy parties stand static in specific locations, often blocking the way. There are alternative routes around them sometimes, but I found defeating them usually awarded a better score. And yes, the Score value does matter in this game more than it would in, say, your typical platformer game -- used in place of currency in the engine, a higher Score can net you access to optional chests and side-areas for more exploration and goodies.

Game Mechanics
Here's where things really stand out. In most RPGs, you control a party; here you control only your genderless wanderer, and not even in one-on-one duels alone. That said, your avatar is no slouch. In battles, you'll be able to perform unarmed strikes that can heal your protagonist, swing weapons you find on the island, or even rest to recover more HP than you would going fisticuffs-style.

If you use your weapons, you'll accumulate ability points to use in the fight to perform special attacks. In fact, using a specific weapon type enough will net you new abilities to use with that type. In addition to this, the protagonist will also level up a small number of times, and gains the ability to perform extra actions each round of combat based on level!

On top of that, there's no real item system in the game for potions, poultices or what-not. After each battle, your health and ability points reset back to their defaults (max HP and no AP), so no need to grind for money to get supplies. Each battle is a test of your wits, not a matter of attrition and long-term resource management in the form of expendable items.

Not to say there's no equipment in game. Like the aforementioned weapons, you can also find armor pieces and accessories on Cope Island to add permanent stat boosts. Equipment isn't really equipped in this game; all armor bequeaths a passive bonus, and each weapon also acts like a skill in-game. Each item you gain in-game is drawn from random, based off the chests; some give only weapons, and others only armor pieces.

The game possesses two game modes, as advertised on the game's page here on RMN -- Standard and Rogue. Playing Standard mode means that, upon death, you'll be sent back and bit and lose some of your Score. To my best knowledge, you're given some leeway to the amount of Score you lose so that, unless you flub battles between saving much too much, you should still be able to access all the areas and bonus chests if you fight for the highest Score you can. This mode also possesses the strange NPCs I mentioned before, as well as save points. Rogue mode is a streamlined version where death is permanent -- no NPCs, no save points.

Overall Opinion
The game's a pretty casual one no matter which mode you play, and it's a delightful game with a good dash of depth. The RNG on items obtained gives good incentive to come back for more, and the combat itself is swift yet strategic. As enemies can inflict ailments upon you and often fight you three-to-one in many bouts, picking the right moves is a necessity more often that not.

There's one enemy in particular who's annoying to face due to higher Agility stats, and ended at least one of my Rogue runs when I fought them. Also, the last boss, though intimidating, didn't prove to be quite a challenge like I'd hoped; it could be that I fought to do everything I could on Cope Island before battling it, though.

Overall, the game's pretty dang good for a short, fun experience. In my opinion, it's best to try Standard mode to experience the loose story of the setting and to get acclimated to how the game works before trying Rogue, but that seems almost a given from Rogue's permadeath rules. The game's world isn't overly deep, but if you try out the game, you'll understand why from the Standard mode dialogue. Well, most of it, anyway.

Overall, if I had to pick just one game to recommend to a fellow game maker on how to handle one-player bouts in a turn-based game, I'd show them this in a heartbeat.
What's more, it would seem the game's creator, zDS, is working on a remake of this game. The last update at the time of this review was a few days into January 2016, so I have no idea how they're doing with it. Regardless, given the success of this project and the pleasure it was to play it, I can't help but have much hope for Cope.


Pages: 1
Thanks for the review! It was pretty well written, especially for a game as short as this one!

The new Cope Island has hit a bit of a rut. It's about 95% done? Maybe more? Maybe less? I have not worked on it much this year (for reasons I should not discuss, haha), but I'm really excited to go back and finish that 5%. I gave the new version much more attention and I tried my best to keep what made the original good in as well.

It is super motivating to me that this short game I made more than two years ago now is still getting praise. I feel you have a good grasp of what I went for in the game, and to me that is amazing.
Pages: 1