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HP Lovecraft's Earthbound (Demo Review, Spoiler Free)

  • kumada
  • 04/26/2016 11:39 PM
  • 15577 views
And we begin on a personal note.

The very first review I ever gave was for five stars. It was immediately critiqued for being a five star review. So now when I give a five star review, a part of me flinches. In liking something that much, I've opened myself up to criticism.

And when I play a game like this, I find that I don't care.

Weird and Unfortunate Things is a gonzo modern-world RPG flavored heavily with a vast and formless spice-rack of weird fiction. It feels more Amanda Downum or Robert Bloch than HP Lovecraft, but the general trappings of his cosmic horror are all there in the fringes of the game. impossible forces are editing the reality around your characters. Without making a pact with similar powers, it is impossible to stop them.

Mechanics-wise, this means you and your buddies stand in a line facing some eldritch shug-beasties and play very violent Red Rover at each other until one side is very tired and has to all lie down for a while.

It's standard turn-based RPG fare with a few minor deviations from the formula, but those places where WaUT diverges are welcome ones. There are level-ups and skill acquisition, but powers are purchased using collectable currency off of a grid. There are battles with monsters, some of which are random, but each game area has a gauge to determine the ferocity of its monsters. Whittle the population of shoggoblins down enough and the gauge starts filling more slowly. These little nods to convenience and choice felt like a friendly handshake between the game and I. "We understand that you have things to do," it seemed to say, "so we set the walk-speed to always run. If you want to slow down for some reason, well, that's what God made the shift key for."

And in truth, the turn-based-modern-pastel-horror-rpg is really just a vehicle. It's a format to tell a story in, and that story being told is a good one. The characters are quirky and have a humor to them that melds with the hypnotic game music, but the situations they've been thrown into are often surreal, nightmarish, and deadly serious. The game balances these two extremes on the tip of a razor. Never once did I feel like grimness was entirely out of the question, but at the same time I breezed through the plot. It was fun. The gameworld was immersive and I wanted to be a part of it, even though it would likely eat me, leaving my ghost at this keyboard, unaware that its body had been devoured, composing this review as bait for when the game grew hungry again.

Anyway, there's some broader textual understanding that helps to get the most out of the game. There are some nods to weird fiction like "The Derleth Expanse" or to indie games (the main character has a "Deadly Premonition" at one point) where, if the player is in on the joke, it enriches the experience. However, I think I would recommend this to just about anyone. The Earthbound-esque feel will pull in the nostalgia crowd. The writing will draw the story-fiends. There's even a perfectly balanced Nightmare Mode available at start for the Souls/Darkest Dungeon crowd. For something so genre-specific, this has broad appeal.

And not once during my hour and a half of playtime did I feel like I was anything less than perfectly enraptured.

So: five stars. If you disagree, or if you feel there's an element of the game that this review missed, by all means use the comments section. Or, better yet, write another review.

Posts

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Welp, all the comments in this review were wiped out. It's as if the conversation here never happened!

Liberty's review too!
Ratty524
The 524 is for 524 Stone Crabs
12896
... And a piece of dramacore history has been lost.
It got stuck in the dramacore! That's what caused the server failure!
Kloe
I lost my arms in a tragic chibi accident
2236
Well I'll just say, this game is great and I agree with this review!
unity
You're magical to me.
12275
author=Liberty
It got stuck in the dramacore! That's what caused the server failure!


OH NO! WEIRD AND UNFORTUNATE SERVER DESTRUCTION!

author=Kloe
Well I'll just say, this game is great and I agree with this review!


Thanks very much, Kloe! :DDDDD
The discussion happened due to the disclaimer at the beginning and the end of the review. If we want to revive it, we could always make a review of kumada's disclaimer.

Anyway, this review did get me to decide to play this game (eventually) although "Earthbound" had a lot to do with it.
unity
You're magical to me.
12275
I hope it was enjoyable ^_^
Links to copies of previous Thread. I make so I don't use up redundant bandwidth. And convos are interesting.

Page 1: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_ZzOVhZ7xFmaTVmTW4yTjN6UG8/view?usp=sharing

Page 2: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_ZzOVhZ7xFmNHRoNkpYaHR4MWM
iddalai
RPG Maker 2k/2k3 for life, baby!!
2160
The drama lives on!
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
28444
But the game is still here, and that's all that matters. This wonderful, wonderful game is still here.
Hello, new thread for dramatic events of RM world for my next video.

p.s. review is still not fascinating to read. But the game is wonderful!
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20073
author=unity
OH NO! WEIRD AND UNFORTUNATE SERVER DESTRUCTION!


HAS ANYONE SEEN RMN?

PROTECT THE ANKYLOSAURUS!
unity
You're magical to me.
12275
author=pianotm
But the game is still here, and that's all that matters. This wonderful, wonderful game is still here.


author=Dragol
But the game is wonderful!


;_; Thank you both! :DDDDDD
ALL PRAISE UNIGAMS <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
one day we'll watch "unity reacts to kids reacts to unigams"
lol
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9219
what happen?
unity
You're magical to me.
12275
Before the server crash, there was a small bit of controversy over whether or not a game's tester was allowed to post a review. It turns out that it's fine and no rules were broken ^_^
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
28444
Yeah, I brought up the question, and the reason the question exists is because testers also get the makerscore from said review. That is to say, not only does the reviewer get the review MS, but also share in the MS the game gets.
Well, not only that, but it's a bit of a conflict of interest depending on how integral the tester is in the game. I still maintain that they should not be giving scored reviews, but welp. :shrug:
iddalai
RPG Maker 2k/2k3 for life, baby!!
2160
It's fine.

Fine.

Everything is fine.

:P
Yeah, there's lots of legitimate concerns when it comes to reviews. But good luck trying to get that discussion anywhere...

author=Malandy
Links to copies of previous Thread. I make so I don't use up redundant bandwidth. And convos are interesting.

Haha! So the dramacore choked on the old thread and this is what it spat back, a bunch of code? Ewww! But you know, it's kind of a chore to look for the actual posts in that mess. Someone should cut them out and paste them here... My favorite comment was Pizza's. Something about agreeing with me... Aww c'mon, I'm not THAT bad! xD
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