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Welcome to the shallow end of the blood pool

  • Dragnfly
  • 05/23/2016 01:23 AM
  • 3479 views
TL;DR - A passable first attempt and 100x better than most of the other first attempts I've played recently. It's not that it's lazy, it's just entirely unambitious. It actually feels more like an above-average event entry than a first game.

Version played: 1.0.1

The Good:
-Custom sprites (I think) look nice.
-Good room layout
-Non-obtrusive Easter eggs.
-Custom menu

The Bad:
-Story
-Characters
-Multiple Endings... sort of.
-Bug
-Tile use
-Puzzles/Gameplay
-Poorly implemented instadeaths
-You can (and most likely will) die before you get to a save point

Unsure:
-Possible odd punctuation. I'm still waiting to hear back about that.
-Tutorial

I'm going to start out by saying that I absolutely love the yandere archetype. They're likely my 2nd favourite of any of the common anime archetypes and it's usually instant bonus points when one is involved.

We play as Nishiki, a token insert guy who's mountain vacation with his new girlfriend goes horribly wrong due to multi-yandere intervention so Nishiki goes to a nearby mansion to look for shelter and help. And that's that. The main story pretty much ends there. There is a side story about the mansion's dark past that is far more interesting but it doesn't really do much beyond confirm that this mansion has a history since it's not proven that anything that the supernatural elements are a result of the mansion's history. One (I'm assuming) supernatural event actually doesn't take place in the mansion at all.

As for my beloved yandere element, I can only see multiple yandere together for a very short time either as rivals or with intent to "share" (parts, that is), which would likely be a short-term situation. Any other situation there's no way they wouldn't go at each other first. As we don't know anything about these girls from the game proper it's even unclear if they were a stalking yandere quartet or if the supernatural forces made them that way.

I also question the use of yandere itself. For those who don't know the word the word is composed of the Japanese yanderu (emotionally ill) and deredere (love-struck). But if you skip the tutorial and go only by the game proper then the girls don't really have a deredere mode. They're just psycho.

There are some grammar issues. Even in the tutorial checking a some things say "try to interact with as much objects as you can." and "try to read every notes and letters you can find." The thing that I'm wondering most about though is the abundant use of double-periods. I asked a comrade of mine who is a professional but haven't heard back from them yet. However from all the searching I did online it doesn't seem like a double period is even a valid thing and is just a product of the online era. It's in almost every line of dialogue but not all so I was confused.

Speaking of the tutorial if you skip it then you are still fine because the game gives you a control and function tutorial anyway. This makes the tutorial kind of pointless. Sure, it is also the place where you can view character bios but since the characters don't get any fleshing out in the actual game it's kind of moot. I classed this as "other" because I do always applaud the inclusion of an optional tutorial with flavour but I'm a bit on the fence with if it's low validity should count against it.

The mapping is going in the right direction but also has a lot of problems. Shadows and tiles are often messed up in places and used improperly but none of the maps are wasting space and surfaces are abundantly decorated. The artistic skill is there while the technical still isn't, which actually bodes well for the dev's future projects. Technical skill can always be acquired. I'm not a fan of tree walls when regular trees are shown because it makes the tree walls seem skyscraper tall, only adding to the RTP's wonky size ratios. But I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority with that since a lot of popular games use them.

Some of the orientation is weird too. At the first branching path in the forest if you go left or right twice you will enter the start area from the south. I understand it's a loop but a better option would be to not even have that 2nd left or right. Also in the mansion there is a place with a double door to get into a room but the way back is three tiles wide. That makes no sense. And speaking of doors they animate really weird. Depending on how and where you enter/exit rooms you can end up with open doors closing and then you walk through them.

The gameplay itself is likely the biggest drawback. You wander the mansion checking things for notes and keys. That's not a plus or a negative to me unless that's all there is to do and no logical hints are given. I only remember two puzzles. One is a combination lock with no extra thought needed and the other is a locating puzzle with no extra thought needed. You don't need to deduce the combination or anything. It's blatantly there for all to see. In fact if I wrote a combination or password like that at my previous job I'd be hauled into the office and, depending on what the code was for, I'd be fired on the spot. Considering the person leaving them was trying to be discreet it just dumbs the puzzle difficulty down to child levels. Though the "book" one was good because it plays off the player's assumptions. Again, there's promise here which makes me really look forward to the dev's future projects.

There are chases but they're limited to the room they begin in. Leaving the room seems to be enough to give your murky pursuer the slip. I don't like chases anyway but I found these were horribly uninspired. You don't even need to avoid obstacles in them. There is at least one related bug the dev is aware and gave the steps to avoid it, so that's better than we usually get.

The other gameplay element is the biggest problem. Instadeath. Now mind you I don't mind instadeath. My own game that I'm developing has LOADS of it and I'm a huge fan of The Witch's House, Misao, Corpse Party and the whole old PC adventure game genre which were all filled with it. But in this game's case they're completely uncalled for and worst-of-all completely unimaginative. Story-wise it's not even clear what they are. Gameplay-wise they pop up in the exact same manner as if you're getting a new item or reading a new note. That being the entire structure of the gameplay, so what you're doing all the time, makes it pretty annoying. The killer can pop up in places that make absolutely no sense, like a bookshelf. If this game had box art it'd be the cover of the movie Ghoulies with Hatsune Miku's face photoshopped over the little green bugger.

Also adding to this is that it's the same image all the time. The artist swiped a Vocaloid fanart to use for it (I don't hold that against him since he credited as best he could and drawing is helluva tough) so if you know Miku then any fear is gone. He would've been better off using a misc image.

On that note there are Easter Eggs found in descriptive texts that nod to anime which feature yandere characters. I have no problem with that because it's non-obtrusive. People who don't know the names will just shrug and think nothing of it, whereas with the Miku pic people will wonder who that is.

There are some weird eventing and tile issues too. I got stuck at one point and couldn't find out how to progress so I checked a Let's Play only to find that the player was able to do something I couldn't. I restarted my game from scratch and magically was able to get my key so I'm assuming the switch just didn't take on the first try. For all it's awesome blessings (I'm using it too) MV has this problem every so often and the reason is unknown. A good way to spot this problem when testing is to intentionally do things out of order, then in order and see if they trigger properly.

The character art is great, using MV's fantastic face generator. Man I love that thing. 100x better than VXA's to be sure. None of the characters here look garish or bland. They look pretty normal like you'd see in any other modern school setting. The sprite art is pretty nice. They do break the scale of the RTP tiles but in my opinion that scale was broken the minute tree walls were used. I don't favour a realistic scale because then you loose too much screen real estate but I tend to aim for some sort of consistent ratio. It's really complex and I wouldn't expect a first game, using RTP no less, to factor that in so no points were docked on that. The sprites and faces do look really nice.

The music selection is good. The sound effects aren't so good. Nishiki screams like a girl, doors have a weird sound sometimes. I do appreciate the good audio used in an optional scare though.

The last topic for the review would be the "multiple" endings. While this isn't untrue and the game does indeed feature four endings there's no real difference to them. Spoiler time!
You die. In all of them. You only really control which girl/s kill you. If the characters were developed better then I'd be okay with having my favourite girl kill me and only be a little annoyed. I'm not saying a game needs to have a sunshine and rainbows ending but bad ends only work when there's at least a bittersweet one to make the player feel like they've accomplished something. Even with two weapons and a "secret" ending (secret in that it requires extra steps) and fortifying his determination right in the cutscene Nishiki couldn't get freedom. So in the end the mansion mystery is never resolved, the murder is never resolved and the girls aren't even resolved. The endings bring this game down harder than a sledgehammer into a writer's kneecaps.


First games usually suck because the dev overestimates their abilities. They aim too big and they fail. I've done this myself, racking up a gigantic debt very early in my life with nothing to show for it. But When Yanderes Cry doesn't have that problem. It's not over-reaching, it's under-reaching. It's clear by the tiny things that do shine that the dev has more in him than this and I look forward to it. But that's not going to let me give it a white card just because the dev was dipping his toes into the pool when he could've dipped a whole foot.

Posts

Pages: 1
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
18309
Nice review~
I completely agree with most of the stuff you pointed out. I actually thought rhe tutorial being there was actually somewhat necessary though, since if you skip it you probably don't even have any idea who the girls even are.
Thanks for the awesome review dude! I learned a lot from this. I'll do my best on the next games I'll make and learn from the mistakes this game had..(Which is a lot.. LOL!)
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
author=Frogge
Nice review~
I completely agree with most of the stuff you pointed out. I actually thought rhe tutorial being there was actually somewhat necessary though, since if you skip it you probably don't even have any idea who the girls even are.


The tutorial was necessary purely for that. So by my mentality if that development were in the game proper it would've been better. Hence why I put that under "other" and not "bad", because the info is there and it's better than when people only put the info on their blog and not in the actual game.

I suppose the tutorial also lets you learn where you can save. I don't think the main game one tells you that. It does tell you to check everything so by elimination you'll eventually find how to save. Sadly you'll likely find a Murder Miku first but it's not like the game has a long intro.
author=Dragnfly
The character art is great, using MV's fantastic face generator. Man I love that thing. 100x better than VXA's to be sure. None of the characters here look garish or bland. They look pretty normal like you'd see in any other modern school setting.
Eh, I wasn't fond of the bloodied faces though. Like the first two girls are understandable but why is the blue-haired girl also covered in the stuff if she had no part in the butchering? And you don't even meet the fourth one until way later in the mansion. Like, what was she doing that got her stained in blood?
author=HikiNeet
author=Dragnfly
The character art is great, using MV's fantastic face generator. Man I love that thing. 100x better than VXA's to be sure. None of the characters here look garish or bland. They look pretty normal like you'd see in any other modern school setting.
Eh, I wasn't fond of the bloodied faces though. Like the first two girls are understandable but why is the blue-haired girl also covered in the stuff if she had no part in the butchering? And you don't even meet the fourth one until way later in the mansion. Like, what was she doing that got her stained in blood?
Uhh... Don't mind the details? LOL.. Sorry, I didn't think it through.. She teleported.
Dragnfly
Beta testers!? No, this game needs a goddamn exorcist!
1809
I think I had the blue haired ones mixed up at some point.
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