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Beware of the Karma Police!

Hello! This will probably be my last review...
.
..
...
for this year, of course!

I decided to post a review of Karma Flow: the prototype, a game that I played at least four years ago. Despite being made with the good old 2k3, Karma Flow is not a Jrpg, but a stealth game similar to Grimorum (that I reviewed it in the past) with some added twists!

Florien Kealborn is our violet-haired protagonist, and she's an expert killer in a cyberpunk-ish city. As you can guess, her missions will be five different assassinations that won't be as easy as expected due to a bizarre twist (as I mentioned before): if you directly hurt someone the unseen Karma strikes back and wounds you ("eye for an eye!"), so the only good choice is killing the enemies with collateral damage. Or you can take the hit, sure, but do not expect to last for long!
Now you will probably want to know what is this Karma and why it hits you back in a non-metaphorical way, but... I won't tell you and I just suggest you to play the game for the story because it's mysterious, dark but also pretty good!

Another feature of this game is that performing well lets you earn more Karma points that are used to buy weapons (clearly you cannot cause collateral damage with a knife, you need firearms and explosives!), equipment and pay to recieve informations about the assassination target. The victims visit different locations, move and act in different ways, depending of the time of the day, so looking at the clock is also required to be a successful killer. Too hard? Well, don't forget that you can also choose your difficulty between four different levels.

Is this all? No, of course! There are also hidden secondary missions that are useful to get some useful extra Karma points! The different well mapped locations are in fact freely explorable, and you can complete each mission in many different ways.


Ok, these are our headquarters where you can buy items, infos and choose your mission. Oh and you can also chat with the guys!

I remember that this game was made for an italian making contest and used a resource pack of nice sprites, charsets and chipsets. While I liked a lot the resources used (especially the interiors taken from the great sci-fi rpg Albion) because they recreates well the urban futuristic streets of the city, I think that OldPat did a great job chosing to use some hand drawn portraits for the main characters, that look original and are very expressive! I especially love Florien Kealborn's killer stare (used often towards Marty Rivers!). Oh yes and besides the graphic there's also some nice jazz music that fits well the setting and the intermission background scenes, creating a suggestive dark futuristic enviroment and atmosphere!


BINGO! Florien just killed that goon with a deflected bullet! She looks so happy!

So... is really everything good? Well I admit that there are some choices that I did not like: the first is the use of a single savegame slot and the autosave. Sometimes I'd wished I could save manually, but... nevermind!

Then there are some aspects that are not perfected as others, like for example the lenght of some cutscenes. The game is also not very long as it consists of only five chapters/missions but this is really a minor issue since I found the game quite challenging even on normal difficulty (ok, ok, "git gud!", I know!), especially if you want to finish with a high score (and you want that S-rank, do not lie to me!). Oh and there are also some really difficult boss fights, so you are warned!

In the end the flaws are logically due to the really short time (about one month and a half, if I remember correctly) required for the contest, so the result is a game that it's not perfect but still impressive.

Verdict
This was Karma Flow... the prototype (in fact a direct sequel is in the works, that will probably answer to some questions left open at the end of this game), but it's a good one! Lots of effort went in this game and I cannot overlook the depth of details, the art, and the many features, as I said in the Grimorum review, 2k3 isn't exactly friendly when you have to create stealth/action games so kudos to you, Oldpat!

Karma Flow gets a 4, it's a classic that I liked playing also because that's a kind of gameplay you rarely see around here, so give it a try, you may or may not like it, in any case this is unlike most of the other games you will find here, and the concept is interesting and clever. That's good!

Posts

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OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
3472
Thank you so much for this review, RPGMakerAddict!^^
I'm really, really, really happy to know that you liked it!

And... damn, yeah.
Four years ago.
Almost five!
Damn. Time flies, uh? It seems like it was yesterday when I've released it for the first time...

Karma Flow is becoming *old*!
*Flo becomes a granny*

Can't wait to give a proper continuation and ending to Flo's (mis)adventures, soon!
More to come soon, hopefully!^^
author=OldPat
Thank you so much for this review, RPGMakerAddict!^^
I'm really, really, really happy to know that you liked it!

And... damn, yeah.
Four years ago.
Almost five!
Damn. Time flies, uh? It seems like it was yesterday when I've released it for the first time...


Hello, my fellow countryman!
Yes it was so much time ago I played it with many others of that contest, but hey it was REALLY good even at that time. The fact that his was made with Rmk2003 is noteworthy, stealth games are difficult to make.

author=OldPat
Can't wait to give a proper continuation and ending to Flo's (mis)adventures, soon! More to come soon, hopefully!^^


I hope so because the ending left me waiting for some answers! :D
OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
3472
author=TheRpgmakerAddict
author=OldPat
Thank you so much for this review, RPGMakerAddict!^^
I'm really, really, really happy to know that you liked it!

And... damn, yeah.
Four years ago.
Almost five!
Damn. Time flies, uh? It seems like it was yesterday when I've released it for the first time...
Hello, my fellow countryman!
Yes it was so much time ago I played it with many others of that contest, but hey it was REALLY good even at that time. The fact that his was made with Rmk2003 is noteworthy, stealth games are difficult to make.

author=OldPat
Can't wait to give a proper continuation and ending to Flo's (mis)adventures, soon! More to come soon, hopefully!^^


I hope so because the ending left me waiting for some answers! :D


Oooooh, a fellow countryman! I didn't know!

Always good to see more italian bros! :)

So you played all of the games from that contest, eh? Those were good times. So many quality games from our small italian community...
Were you an user of RPG2s?

It was indeed difficult to make this game, especially with the one month and a half deadline right there. But it proved to be immensely satisfying. This is still one of the projects I'm most proud of.

Anyway thank you for everything!
Look forward to the sequel!^^
I'm actually working on a little spinoff for the Season Event... :)

author=OldPat
Oooooh, a fellow countryman! I didn't know!

Always good to see more italian bros! :)

So you played all of the games from that contest, eh? Those were good times. So many quality games from our small italian community...
Were you an user of RPG2s?

It was indeed difficult to make this game, especially with the one month and a half deadline right there. But it proved to be immensely satisfying. This is still one of the projects I'm most proud of.

Well I went to that site a bit too late, anyway I was a player, not a maker (even if I am a basic Rmk2000/2003 user), but yes, I played many of these games AND those of the contest before that one (that instead was fantasy and not cyberpunk), I still have them all archived.
Those I remember were Alex Fs, VAL, Seraph Andrew, Seus, Uran & Lollo Rocket Diver. But I still follow the last two. :)

Oh yes there were lots of great games from long, huge completed projects to small demos that still look professional. I should find some time to translate one or two of the best ones because it's a pity they are largely unknown (as are some other non-english excellent rmk games I played).

But hey I think that these short games made for contests are the hardest to make, due to the short time.

author=OldPat
Anyway thank you for everything!
Look forward to the sequel!^^
I'm actually working on a little spinoff for the Season Event... :)


Very well, I'm curious to see (and play!) that.
Oh and I also played Acceptance but I'm still uncertain to review it. Even if I think someday I'll do that! :P
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