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May takes a while to get use to, otherwise can be fun.

  • boos405
  • 08/25/2018 05:29 PM
  • 651 views
Alright I'm rewriting this whole review because Milennin, the developer, pointed out I wasn't playing the game entirely right before, so that's the main reason for the update.

First, I'd like to say I think it's cool there is a download for Mac and Android as well as Windows, as RPG Maker MV has that new possibility and it's nice to see a short game take it.

Second, I was playing v3.01 of the game, which at the time of this review is the latest version that's available.

Anyway, onto the actual review!

Story

No story is told to you, but a simple story is shown to you. It's simple but nice and effective.

You begin the game as a random character out of 9 possible options, each with there own class, and you begin in a room. You walk out of that room and find the town being attacked by ghosts. All the other heroes are in the town somewhere being beaten up by the ghosts.

You can then choose which ghosts to attack. Depending on your choice, the character being beaten up by that particular ghost will join your party and you will start a battle against the ghosts. However, only two characters in total can join the party and it will always be the first two you pick that joins you. So keep a note of that.

If you manage to get through those battles, you continue on through a pathway that soon takes you to a dungeon where some NPC's from the town are being held as prisoners. There you fight the final boss, you save the day and the game ends.

The paths you go through can also change with each playthrough and the final boss is picked from 1 to 4 at random.

Some narrative will also play when interacting with many of the objects, and you do get told your a hero here to save the prisoners if you try interacting with them near the end of the game, but other then that that's the entire story.

Naturally this is a game that focuses on gameplay over story, but I still can't help feeling it could've done with some dialogue other than narrative. I know it can be hard to accomplish a lot of it when you have so many different possibilities as to who is in your party, but just some slight dialogue here and there, and maybe at the end too would've been nice.

Let's just quickly take Wine and Roses, a features game here, on RMN, for comparison. Similarly its focus is on gameplay over story, but there is still some interacting between characters and dialogue along the way and then also with the final boss and it does add more to the experience. Granted this game has 3 characters that remain the same, but a little dialogue per character or having random characters say a bit of dialogue could've been done here in RTP. As well as that, the ghosts could've said something and perhaps the final boss and climax ending too.

Still, I don't want to be too critical of the story as it's enjoyable as it is.

I also am pleased you can interact with objects and get a narrator giving some dialogue to them. That was nice to see and have.

Characters

I'm going to talk about the characters in gameplay section, as, as it is, there is no story relating to the characters. They don't ever say anything or interact with each other themselves, either other party members or bosses. As I said in the story section it can be improved a bit, but at the same time more than a few bits of dialogue may be too much for this game, so getting the right balance may have been challenging.

Gameplay

Right. So there are no items and no equipment. Just 3 characters with different classes out of 9 possible ones. First class and character is chosen randomly, the other two you can pick as long as you know what each actor sprite class is. If you're playing the game for the first time, you probably won't guess all these classes right, but during my playthroughs for the game some of the classes I'd guess I'd get with the sprites I could see were right, however more weren't then were.

I think I would have preferred it if I was given a description of each character and then class when selecting them and then a choice to help them out in the fight or not, as I would've preferred knowing in advance what class I'm getting each time and being able to choose them.

As stated already, you can interact with a lot of objects in the game, you don't get any rewards for doing so but it is still a nice feature to see and I enjoyed finding out what the narrative would say with each object.

Now, I have to be clear, I lost the game four times before I was able to beat it and even then I struggled with certain class combinations finding them complex and confusing to begin with. You may be luck and pick a combination that works well for you and get through the game the first time, or you may be unlucky and pick more complicated classes and not quite know which skills to use with which, like I did at the beginning. I don't know for certain what another players experience would be, so I can only say what I know and experienced.

Milennin did give me better advice afterwards and made clear to me that the second skill for every character can be used once and then it'll be replaced with an additional skill until that skill is used and then it'll turn back to the first skill. I think that's an interesting game mechanic to have, but really needs to be told to the player and explained to them somehow. Just adding it to the manual would do, but then I would add in a text box recommending players to read the manual too.

The second additional skill you gain will also recovers a good amount of HP for all the characters, and 50% HP for most of them. After knowing this, I realized that actually is enough though my initial thoughts were it wouldn't be, but I was wrong there.

One thing I really didn't like much about the game was a lack of save feature. I was playing on Windows and would like to have had the option to return to it later instead of having to play it all in one go.

The game though is quite short. For me the first playthrough in which I was able to beat the game, my fifth playthrough, lasted about an hour 20 minutes. But after taking some of Milennin advice and trying the game today with a different combination I was able to beat it in the earliest 40 minutes, but I lost the exact count of how long it took me.

It is also possible to beat the game in 30 minutes if you know quite well what you're doing.

I felt there was a good use of events in this game, having heroes being beat up at the beginning and then watching NPC's and other heroes escape from the dungeon and being all cheerful on-screen at the ending was quite fun. I don't think balloon icons were used however, and that may have been interesting to see.

Once you beat the game you get a congratulations screen that tells you how well you did in all sorts of areas of the game, such as if you used good skills and if you beat the game in a quick amount of time. These are sort of achievements, quite a nice feature to have.

Each class differs from the other and they are all interesting and unique in there own way. I'd like that the Cleric class had a powerful combat skill, something you don't otherwise often see in RPGs unless they're a Paladin class instead.

There are also some very good skills that work together with other skills on over half of the class combinations, so pros to Milennin on achieving that too.

In fact the theory and ideas behind a lot of the skills are wonderful, I feel they were all thought-out well and very fitting in the game. I really enjoyed seeing that here.

Game does require heavy concentration and strategy to beat though. You can't button mash which is a good thing, but you have to be careful which skills you use every single turn. As long as you get used to the controls and skills and know what you're doing it's beatable.

Milennin claims it's beatable in any and all class combinations including ones that aren't as good, and I know at least five combinations I've tried works, but otherwise I can't prove that one way or other so I'll just assume that's accurate.

I still feel what I felt before, that with some classes and there weaker skills they could have been a little bit more powerful. I felt for example the Assassin Slice skill by itself is quite weak, but I admit it does help charge up the Assassin for his stronger Opportunist skill.

They didn't have to be increase in damage output by much, but just slightly I personally would've preferred it.

The game would've definitely been slightly easier if that happened but I just still think it'd been good idea personally.

Battles for me did take a while to complete, all of the ones I participated in with all combinations I tried. So they can be quite lengthy for some players, but it's possible to get through them a lot quicker than I did.

I'd say the Alchemist is probably the easiest and most useful class for a beginning, there is a luck factor to there damage output but for those who don't otherwise know what they're doing Alchemist can quickly recharge MP.

Warrior is another good class as they can block out some of the damage and deal a heavy combat skill once in a while.

Mage's are also useful for beginners since they have good damage output when charged up against all enemies.

I'm not saying you have to use all three of these combinations but just one or two of them can help a lot.

I also admit, while I found the game quite frustrating at the beginning, I'm glad he game overs I go were still near the beginning of the game against the other ghosts instead of later in the last dungeon or on the boss itself.

I've not lost a game over at all at those points during any of my playthroughs and always got 3 stars in survival bonus each time which I guess is good. I never got any stars in speed however, and still after playing it again couldn't. So I may just be slower than some other player would be.

While you do heal a percentage of HP and MP in each battle, I think it would've also been nice to have a full recovery at the end of each battle. When I used the combination of Warrior, Assassin and Cleric in my last playthrough today they had almost been at full recovery at the start of each battle, because of the skills I choice to use in combat, and I felt it was more enjoyable because of that. If all the class combinations could start at full HP and MP each battle I think it would've been great.

I also felt the final bosses could've done with a couple more different skills as I felt during all my beaten playthroughs and the one today, that they became a bit repetitive near the end of the fight. Something else to make them a bit more challenging, without overpowering them, could've been cool. But I guess the easiest way to do that is to add more skills and Milennin purposely wanted only 5 skills per class in the game.

Passive states are also very handy and can aid the gameplay experience a lot, but if I am right the passive states you get are random. Some are more useful than others so this can change the difficulty curve of the game at complete random for players. I'd preferred if the player had a choice on difficulty setting then changing it at random.7

I also felt I missed the 4th party member. I know the game damage output would need to be redone if that was now added, but 4 party members by default in this type of game would've helped me enjoy it further. I kept thinking and hoping they'd be 4 instead of 3 with each battle I did.

Of course if the Imp minion was summoned that would then be 5 party members.

It's still ok with just three though.

There are no random encounters in the game either, I actual liked that a lot here. You also have a choice whether to battle the enemies or not, and I recommend fighting through all the ghosts at the beginning to level up then at least a couple of enemies along the way.

To start a battle you don't get touched by the enemy, you actually have to press a button once you touch them, for this game and Milennin's ideas I think that works really well here.

I did enjoy reading through a lot of the skillsets for different classes and in the end I did have a bit of fun with it on my fifth playthrough, but I was in a mode after having a lot of frustration thinking that combination I had might be the only way to beat the game, which took away from my experience. But yes, during my latest and last playthrough of the game I had the most fun with it, and you need to know what your doing and have that tip about the second skill, but with all that you can have a lot of fun with the game as it is.

Pros to Milennin for accomplishing that.

Game design on maps is good, with each playthrough you end up exploring different areas as it's a bit random which path you go done. I really enjoyed the mapping from a game design purpose here though, but I'd keep hoping I could get a few treasure chests with item rewards at least or something good and couldn't of course.

With the exception to the town, you can't go back to previous maps when you move forward either, but other than the enemy encounters in those areas you don't miss anything from that. My advice would be to fight all the encounters right away if you want to do that though, since you can't backtrack later.

Mapping & Graphics

Maps are mostly quite basic but they all have a good amount of detail to them. Everything in RTP here and was purposely done, I believe the RTP has enough to make a good game alone though, so that's fine.

You can argue that there were some custom graphics since certain characters don't have default sv enemies, I think it's a shame it doesn't by default, but yeah the character generator was clearly used here to help make them all possible in this game. I count the character generator as RTP though, so to me it is 100% RTP but you can argue it's about 95%-98% RTP, somewhere along those lines if you want to.

I do visually like the mapping here.

It's also random but you can end up on a darker tinted screen, to me I felt it didn't have to be as dark and I felt it'd been better being slightly less dark, but I was still able to see the pathways and all the objects and encounters fine, and there is an option in the menu to make the character glow if the tint is dark I think, but I haven't tried it out myself.

Audio/Music

All the audio seemed to be RTP to me, I didn't notice anything else. This is fine though and I felt fitted the purpose of this game very well.

Sound effects, battle music, background music all of it was good as it is.

Originality

This game definitely scores points here with Milennin's ideas. I thought Milennin did a really good job when coming up with skillsets and classes, and that many of them work well together, but I would recommend weaker skills doing a little more damage. For me game was more lengthy because of it, waiting to be able to use stronger skills again.

There also some neat little ideas here and there, and as I said earlier I enjoyed the eventing on NPC's, on-screen ghost fights, and heroes a lot.

Definitely have to say well done and good job on originality here.

As for the story though, I haven't seen an RPG Maker game have NPC's get kidnapped by ghosts before, but other than that the other elements are common. This is no a con or complaint though, as sometimes common plot elements can work and I feel they fit quite well here.

Conclusion

Scoring this game is difficult for me. Before I knew what I was doing I found it very frustrating, then after very lengthy. But I did have some fun on my fifth playthrough, and a lot more fun on my last/latest.

For that reason I'll give it just slight above average.

Lastly I'm going to sum up ways I think this game could be improved.

1. Save feature. Most definitely. I'm told by Milennin this works well on mobile as you can turn the phone off or pause the screen and return to it later, ok great. But for Windows and Mac? You can't stop the game without quitting it here and I strongly feel this should change and be addressed. Saving on maps I'd say would be good, I don't see any reason or anyway this game loses it's charm from not having the option to save in it.
2. Let the player choose all three classes they get, or give them that option. Let them choose if they want one random class, three random classes or three classes they can pick. I think more players enjoy picking there own classes than having random ones, but if there any that do, have both features available for the player.
3. I'd also have some recommendations for classes to pick for beginners, just so they don't have to keep experiencing game overs if they were like me.
4. Add the notes about the second skill swapping out for another once used and on the second skill that's swapped out it'll heal a good amount of HP to the actor, or in the case of the Cleric 33% HP to all actors. I'd recommend putting this in the game manual and at the start of the game strongly recommend that players read the manual.
5. Items in the game. I think the game would've been neat with some of them, and they don't have to be obtainable through a shop event, but you could do that too if you balance a gold output. I'm more thinking here a few chests on a single map in each area maybe and then they can add a bit of a boost to the character in the game. I personally don't see a balance issue with this, if they do little things then they could be used a small boosts in the game, and I think that'd be rewarding and fun for players. Add them into treasure chests would've been a nice feature to have as well.
6. This one would require rebalancing the whole game so I understand fully a reason as to why not add it, but I'd say if we could have had some equipment for the characters, and a choice between different equipment that has different advantages for the player to pick from, it'd been interesting. If handled well, it could be a really fun feature.
7. A little character dialogue to the game, a little dialogue on bosses and a little on ghosts. Not sure about NPCs but possibly so. I know it can be hard to do when your checking over 9 possible characters, and you wanted the game to be short and quick and repayable, but that is why I say just a little, extreme measures of it are not necessary.
8. This would require chests, but perhaps a secret special area on certain maps that could be found? Or a bit more exploring along the way? It would require a bit more backtracking to be available, but you could still prevent the player going backwards a whole area if you wanted. So out of the town would be it for the town, out of the pathway to the dungeon is it for that, and to the final boss is it before the final boss with an extra warning your about to enter the final area of the game would you like to proceed yes or no? These are just little things that can make a difference to a game.
9. I would recommend adding in a tutorial where the player can easily learn the best ways to play the game. Just some hints, tips, advice and easier tutorial enemies. I know the just one ghost and two ghost fight is easy, but then it becomes more complex to beat the battle from that point on. Tutorial at the beginning could help players overcome that barrier a lot more in my opinion.

I do recommend looking at this game for it's ideas if you have the extra time on your hands to check out the different classes. They are all creative and interesting and I think you'd like them.

I do recommend trying different class combinations to find one that suits you as well, if you have the time.

If you want to play it once quickly, well there is definitely fun to be have, but you have to learn what each skill does with the classes you pick carefully to enjoy it to it's full potential. Sorry to say it, but you may find it a little more complex to just get through it the first time if your experience and first impression is anything like mine.

So I do recommend giving the game I try, but I don't recommend you try and be quick with it.

As for beginner classes, I already gave my recommendation on three I think are good above.

Hope this review can still help both people and the developer out.

Posts

Pages: 1
There's a lot here, so I'm going over some of these:

I'll start with what's good and then go into the rest. Sadly what's bad has ruined the whole experience of this game for me, and I imagine others may feel the same way if they pick a bad class combination from the get-go.
There are very few "bad class combinations", and even the worst possible combinations are able to clear the game (yes, I've tried, and no, not just in isolated playtests).

Now the ideas behind these skills are wonderful as they encourage strategy and thought in battles, yet it doesn't work well in the game because they are under-balanced a lot. The only useful combat skill in that example above is skill 4 and it costs too much MP to use it every turn. Attack deals so little damage that it's useless leaving you with a character that just isn't that good or worth having.
So, I'm going to go ahead and guess you've not used Retribution? Because not only has it the potential to hit higher than Wrath for half the MP cost, it also deals defence-ignoring damage (plus it heals the Paladin).

The other problem is, a lot more than just 1 class is like this where there combat skills are very weak.
Every class has at least 1 strong combat skill, and some have 2 or even 3, so I'd like to hear from you which classes you found having weak combat skills.

Second problem. Health doesn't restore in enough HP. Because they have low HP values 10% HP is almost nothing, it'd definitely not enough for the characters. I felt also for the Cleric that can restore 20% HP instead, even that was too low a number against 3 powerful ghost enemies.
You do know every class has a 50% self-heal on skill 2, right? (Cleric being the exception, with her skill healing the whole party for 33%HP.)

I also felt the characters HP and MP didn't heal enough per battle. I think full recovery would've work better, just that and the game would have more balance to it.
The reason there is no full recovery, because it would put the player in a repeating gameplay loop once they find out the most efficient way to open a fight. It also removes the reward of players who did well in an encounter.

The Warlock class can also summon a Minion Imp, but it can die in 2-3 turns and be very underpowered as well.
And so, using 4 MP, that minion just shielded your party for 20+HP, much more even if you utilise it's Immortality skill before it dies. It is, in fact, one of the best and most MP-efficient ways of protecting the party from damage in the game. It never was meant to last entire battles (though it certainly can if it's not getting focused on by enemies).

The Mage is a much more useful class then most, where it can charge for a turn and then dealt roughly 45%-65% damage to all the enemies at once. Somewhere between that amount.
The Mage is very easy to play, so there's that. It's a good beginner's class, but nowhere near "much more useful" than other classes.

Cleric. Angel Strike is an awesome skill idea, as they heal a lot it's naturally fits well in the game. This skill increase damage output each time the Cleric heals an actor. But at the cost of 8MP it's too limited.
It's limited, because it's their strongest skill, and not meant to be spammed every turn.

Assassin. Slice may make the foe Bleed for a few turns, but is it useful? Yes with Opportunist and the Warlock guy it can deal a good amount of damage, but against 3 foes that consumes way too much MP and then when your left with Slice alone, it deals no damage to the enemy in and of itself and the Bleed status effects it adds, the degen of it, is hardly anything.
Overall, Slice deals more damage than a regular, unboosted Attack would, plus restores Assassin's MP. When used against bosses, it gains even more effectiveness because it deals damage in percentages. For a skill that costs no MP to cast, that seems fair, no?

1. Save feature please. Let us save on the maps. If you strongly insist on it, then an autosave feature in it's play. Just let players be able to walk away from the game and come back to it later if nothing else. Even for a game that's only about an hour a 20 minutes long.
2. Most important balance. Check everything in the database to do with damage formulas and healing. It definitely could do with a lot of work.
3. Let the player choose all three classes they get, let them know what they are. Don't give them a random class each time.
4. Add items in the game, and add chests to get them in and through events by clicking on objects. Since there is a purpose to in this game it would have been fun to have had this feature as well.
5. Same as items but with equipment. Would've been fun.
6. Add character dialogue to the game, but I know it can be hard when your checking over 9 possible characters. Just a little would've been good, you wouldn't have to go to extreme measures with it.
7. Dialogue on the ghosts and bosses! Would've been fun to have it.
8. More party combination skills. For example the Warlock and Assassin skills worked well together. They could both potential cast the Bleed state and then deal more damage on enemies with that state. Perhaps have other states with similar effects for other classes as well? Of course though, without balancing it, it won't be much fun but this improvement is good in theory otherwise.

1. Actually, the game is meant to be no longer than 15-30 minutes, once you've gotten the hang of things. It was meant to not give any attachment to a current session. The only save I'd put in is a autosave, if I knew how because it's not a feature of MV. Anyway, I won't further defend of not having save.
2. I've played through my own game hundreds of times, with all possible class combinations, against all bosses. I've seen other players get through the game no problem. At this point, each class works as intended, but some are harder to use effectively than others.
3. It's meant to take players out of their comfort zone and try new things. The game was designed to remove all barriers that would keep the player from playing the game (travelling, battling). Adding in choices at the start would add one such barrier. Not to mention, new players can't make an informed decision about a game they've never played before to begin with anyway, so I don't see how this would really work in their favour. If you really do not like your starting class, you can simply hit F5 and start again (this is why there is no intro cutscene or dialogue).
4. I set out to make a game that would not have any items or treasures. It's part of the design. Adding more stuff to a game does not make it better anyhow.
5. Same as above.
6. Again, it would only increase the number of barriers. Fluff that might be fun the first two playthroughs, but gets tedious the more you play it. I considered dialogue, of course, but in the end, it didn't fit the type of game I was making.
7. Same as above.
8. A lot of classes have synergy with each other, and there are more classes capable of inflicting Bleed to combo with either Assassin or Warlock. There are many other combinations that work well, though not as directly as those (Warrior + Cleric to name a classic set up). The reason why there is not more cross-class interaction with different states is because:
-classes only have 4 skills each.
-classes need not be reliant on cross-class interaction to be effective.
-decreases chances of getting a party that can use skill effects efficiently.
The reason most synergy between classes is soft synergy is because it's not reliant on setting up certain states, but rather revolves around styles of play. This is why a class like Warrior plays well with classes that need to set up to be effective (such as Berserker), while a Mage works better in an aggressive party because she fuels MP easily (Alchemist likes her).

I just noticed a lot of your points address things that I had done intentionally, by choice of design, so I felt like I had to respond to that.

Anyway, thanks for the lengthy review. :D
author=Milennin
....

Hey Milennin, thank you very much for responding, sharing your advice your views and everything else. I'm going to try a be a lot clearer with my opinion in my response to you.

My issues was more with the balance of the game with many combinations of different classes I tried. By balance I mean the damage formulas of healing, of combat skills and damage output they did, and of the amount of damage they'd receive from the enemies.

And I based that based on the visual HP gauges I saw and HP bars on the actors. I didn't check exact numbers but could tell roughly it was not balanced with those formulas.

That was the main issue I had. I understand you want each battle to be challenging and it's own fight, forgot to mention that in the review, but that idea is fine and would work well with the short type of game you have, if it was not for those balance issues again.

You said even with bad combinations you can clear the game? Well can you in the way I tried, where I purposely kept fighting more ghosts in the town? Or skipping that, then purposely fighting the next bunch of enemies in the grassy areas? Because I couldn't see a way during my first four playthroughs with v3.01.

In my first playthrough, picking classes at random 2 different times resulted in a game over if I tried to fight a ghost of three twice. 2 times when I thought I was picking better strategy (Assassin, Warrior, Cleric) and (Assassin, Warlock, Mage) I still couldn't beat the game trying to fight three ghosts twice. I then picked similar combinations and skipped the first lot of ghosts then tried the ones in the grassy area and still got game over.

You said the Warrior and Cleric is a good combination? Yes, I admit it is a lot better when you have the Alchemist and those two, as that was even the combination I had when I first beat the game, but otherwise just the Warrior and Cleric with let's say the Assassin, or perhaps the Warlock? I don't see a way it's still good with those two? Yes the Warrior can counter attack a turn while the Cleric keeps focus on healing, and in theory again it's a good combination, but it's not enough against two battles of three ghosts in a row if the third party member can't restore the MP enough. I remember that's how I felt at the time.

I also would like to point out now as well, during one of my playthroughs of the game I started the game with the Warrior locked in a cell. After getting out to the cell (Liked the eventing you did there, I mean how you had to get out, it was simple but a fun idea!) next to him was the Cleric, and the narrative dialogue I was given suggested it wasn't possible to get her out. I tried and couldn't see a way, so if I'm right there it's possible to start the game with the Warrior and have it impossible to add the Cleric to party.

If the Warrior and Cleric was always meant to be a good combination, it's not exactly good game design in my opinion that the player can sometimes not pick it.

Ah, well I didn't use Retribution the first time I had a Paladin. Have now since reading your comment. I did work out and realize some classes had skills that changed into other skills, but I never thought of using the one required on the Paladin. That first skill in and of itself did not look useful to me, increasing damage by 25% when I was already losing too much damage each turn. So I didn't use it. I suppose the Paladin does have an extra combat skill then, but it requires the Paladin to have a good amount of health left for it to have use and that's not always the case, you can start a second battle against three ghosts and not have enough to cope with 25% extra damage on top if it gets hit. At least that was what it was like for me. sometimes


Where I said "classes with weak combat skills", I could have written that better. I meant after using a powerful move, the other options are very weak. I'd agree that other skills should be less powerful than the strongest skill you get, of course, but here they are just too weak. Here are some examples that I found through my first few playthroughs.

1. The Mage has a strong water skill, add that with the Rock On buff and it does a good amount of damage. I don't see other combat skills here, though, and attack doesn't deal enough damage.
2. Paladin I've explained already. Retribution does make a huge difference though, but even then you can run into the problem I mentioned above, that if the Paladin isn't at a high amount of health it can get KO'd before using the other combat skill.
3. Cleric has a good skill that deals more damage after recovering self or other allies a bit, but otherwise I don't see other combat skills. I know the Cleric is a class that is meant to have less skills, but in this case healing needs to do a little more and some buffs might've been good. Halving the damage of the enemy sounds great, but that alone wasn't enough when you have another 2 enemies attacking with higher damage.
4. A powerful kill that kills the Berserker the next turn? How are you meant to revive him, or if not, why would the skill be good idea? Now he does have another skill that increases damage but it reduces the HP too much against the attacks it can get hit with. So again, a useful combat skill here without a disadvantage would be useful.
5. Assassin with Slice and Opportunist is good, so is Backstab. The problem is even with that combination it can possible KO a single ghost but then your stuck for a long while, as it costs 8MP to use Backstab, the other 6MP, and the first takes two turns to work as well. So you can't do much after your first KO and there are still two other enemies without Alchemist, Warrior or Mage.
6. Warlock. Bloodbath is useful, with Assassin it's great, but it's still not enough to take down the enemy. Again it's 8MP and you don't have other combat skills worth using while your waiting for MP to return.

My biggest problem here is 1. It takes too many turns for the KO of three ghosts against the MP pool the characters have, and on top trying to take out charge and the other state they do attacks.

2. Bleed and Poison do very little to the ghosts and the second bunch of enemies. I don't see the use of them, they are too weak as they are, again just a balance issue not an issue with these particular skills themselves, but they count as weak skills as they are at the moment.


About the 50% Heal.

I didn't realize properly that nearly every class had it on skill 2 specifically, but I did realize most classes could restore some HP with certain skills that they only gained when using other skills.

This wasn't explained in the manual though? I think? Is it explained somewhere in the game that I've missed? It would be very useful to tell the players there second skill can be used once and then it would change into a different second skill that can heal 50% HP. There is nothing in any of the second skill descriptions that even remotely suggest that is possible right now. You could add an icon or a word next to the skill for the player to know that's a skill that can be swapped with a 50% HP one.

Even with what you're telling me now though, the 50% HP healing would require 2 turns. Yes that is very useful, but if I went back to the game now knowing this and utilize it the best I could I'd guess it would still not be enough. Thinking here, not when you have to keep an eye on the two extra states the enemy gains that greatly increases it's damage output if you are not careful and able to take the stats off in time.

But yes, knowing that now is a bigger help. Was that stated in the game somewhere, because I didn't see it in the manual?

I said full recovery as an example because the amount between two three ghost fights in town was not enough with the first 4 class combinations I had. It just wasn't working.

I felt with the Warlock character, on two of the 4 playthroughs I had, that the Minion Imp was too weak. I did use Immortal Bones and found it was a little handy for me, but the Imp remained weak and would die the next turn. So I thought I might as well use it up to heal the Warlock that very next turn, if the Warlock isn't focused on other game mechanic changes. I remember when doing that the Warlock still died soon later and the game remained unbalanced for me during those 2 playthroughs.

I did though found Mage more useful that either Assassin or Warlock separately.

With the Angel Strike example, I just felt it was too limited. You don't want strong skills spammed every turn, yes, but they have no other combat skills and attack does nearly nothing. So in that situation being the only combat skill available for the Cleric it is too limited.

Actually Slice deals no damage the first turn while Attack in two turns can deal about 3-4 damage. In two turns the Bleed DoT effect is 3 damage from a ghost. So Attack can potential deal a little more than Slice. Both options are still very weak when you are fighting three ghosts twice in a row, and they're the only none-mp costing skills for the assassin. During my first few playthroughs I didn't find 3MP enough.

Now lastly, onto the list of things I said I think could improve the game.

1. Is it still meant to be 15-30 minutes if you decided to fight even a few of the other enemies in each area along the way? And what if you want to fight them all? I think both those options would make the game longer than 30 minutes.

I don't understand why not add a save option. That way anyone can pick up a game and come back to it later, even even even if it became 30 minutes I would still highly recommend a save feature.

Autosave works too, I know there used to be a plugin for it in MV but I don't think it still works on the newer version of MV. If you can't have autosave though, I would recommend save. I don't see any cons against it.

2. I don't think all new players would find it easy to beat the way it is right now, depending what class combinations they end up with. And I say that from my experience.

For some, sure it could be easy if you end up with Warrior, Mage and Alchemist for example, as that can be a great help, in fact Alchemist probably is the best of them alone for it's MP ability.

I guess I can say when you have Alchemist it balances a lot better but when you don't it doesn't. So I can see a lot of players picking bad combinations at random and some of them getting game over with the game in it's current state. My opinion on that then remains the same, that it could do with more balance.

3. If you gave them a bit of a description of what each class can do, like the profile description you have after you add one, then it can make a difference to the players. I do strongly recommend letting them pick and choose classes. But, if the first remained random, you do give the option to let the player pick the second two, so making it easier for them to know which class is which would remove a unknown factor from the game. I still think having the player pick there own classes over having random ones is better, I think more players would enjoy that then having to be forced to go a certain route, so I personally still view this as a note worthy way to improve the game further.

4. Ah ok. I do agree with you that just adding the items won't make the game better. But I think with little effort a few treasure chests would be fun and some items that have advantages to be used would make it more fun, definitely. It can always been fun to find items or gain them as rewards and then they can aid and help out more in some battles, making some of them a bit easier but as a result of gaining a reward. That can leave a great feeling to the player when handled right. Of course you don't want to overdo it either.

5. I will edit my review and make it clearer what I was trying to say. Anyway similar to number 4 here, but with the default designs as they are right now it would require a few changed in stats and formulas for the equipment to work, but it could be fun equipping different parts to different characters and having a choice variety with what they equip. Since the game essentially only has 3 dungeons I'd imagine this be quite easy to balance out.

6 & 7. Ok I can agree here that more then a few pieces of dialogue can become tiresome for the player in a game you want them to be able to replay over and over. You could still do a bit of randomized dialogue, where one of the characters in the party says something after defeating the boss or getting to the final dungeon and other moments like this. It can still be randomized who ends up speaking, making it different during different playthroughs, and then with the ghosts and boss they an only have one or two quick dialogue messages. I don't think that would get tiresome.

8. I was thinking of the current balance when I said this, if those issue I had were resolves, then I do see a lot more classes would naturally combine well together with the setups you've done, so I do agree with you here and in fact think you did a very good job with them (if it weren't for that main issue of balance that I keep saying), so I will delete this point from the review.

Hope this time everything I have said is clearer for you Milennin. I will replay the game a second time purposely picking all sorts of random combinations to see if I can actually beat the game under your new advice, and depending on my experience I will edit this review accordingly and try to make each of my points clearer.

But even so, a player like myself shouldn't have the type of experience I had when starting the game for the first time, and I did still check skills descriptions carefully the first 4 times I played.

You are welcome about the review. :)
You said even with bad combinations you can clear the game? Well can you in the way I tried, where I purposely kept fighting more ghosts in the town? Or skipping that, then purposely fighting the next bunch of enemies in the grassy areas? Because I couldn't see a way during my first four playthroughs with v3.01.

I've recorded 2 playthroughs, using the team compositions you mentioned in your post, since I figured it would be easier to show than to write down. Each playthrough clears the entire town, and then takes on some additional enemies on the field and the dungeon, before beating the boss.

In actuality, clearing all enemies is the easier path, because each victory level-ups your party, so even if you might struggle a little in the first few fights, eventually you come out stronger than if you fought the bare minimum of encounters. Beating the 3x-Ghost encounters is a matter of finding the right balance between playing aggressively and defensively, but it also might depend a lot on your party. So, to add a bit of commentary to the 2 videos I provided (no need to watch the whole thing, but you can check on a few encounters and see how I clear them):

-The first party is the basic tank 'n spank composition. Warrior sets itself up as a wall. Cleric makes sure the wall continues to stand, while the Assassin gets to take free shots at the enemy. You can play this as safe as you want to minimise risk, or go more aggressively if you get bored quickly.

-The second party is a lot more offensive-focused. Because you don't have a reliable wall to hide behind, you need to get out there and take out weakened targets fast. It struggles a bit in the beginning with survivability, but once it gets rolling, it does just as well.

The Assassin was present in both runs, and it's the class that's built around taking advantage of the situation. Target is bleeding? BAM, Opportunist for extra damage. Target is charging? BAM, Backstab for tons of damage. Once you've got his extra passive unlocked, you can use him to attack enemies and hope to get lucky to take them out in a single hit (not as reliable, but it's fun, lol).

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I also would like to point out now as well, during one of my playthroughs of the game I started the game with the Warrior locked in a cell. After getting out to the cell (Liked the eventing you did there, I mean how you had to get out, it was simple but a fun idea!) next to him was the Cleric, and the narrative dialogue I was given suggested it wasn't possible to get her out. I tried and couldn't see a way, so if I'm right there it's possible to start the game with the Warrior and have it impossible to add the Cleric to party.

If the Warrior and Cleric was always meant to be a good combination, it's not exactly good game design in my opinion that the player can sometimes not pick it.


Yes, that is what I meant by taking players out of their comfort zone. So, say a player beat the game first using Warrior + Cleric combo, but in the next playthrough finds themselves without being able to use that same combo again. They're made to use something different, and in turn they learn more about the game. Maybe they find a new combo they really like. It's not like Warrior must be paired with Cleric to be functional, though he might have to be used in a different way if no support is available to keep healing him every turn.

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Ah, well I didn't use Retribution the first time I had a Paladin. Have now since reading your comment. I did work out and realize some classes had skills that changed into other skills, but I never thought of using the one required on the Paladin. That first skill in and of itself did not look useful to me, increasing damage by 25% when I was already losing too much damage each turn. So I didn't use it. I suppose the Paladin does have an extra combat skill then, but it requires the Paladin to have a good amount of health left for it to have use and that's not always the case, you can start a second battle against three ghosts and not have enough to cope with 25% extra damage on top if it gets hit. At least that was what it was like for me. sometimes

Right, and I'd say Paladin is probably the most difficult class to play well, because it requires knowing how far you go with her Martyr (as well as being able to deal with unlucky scenarios in which she gets focused).
The point with Paladin was to create a high-reward, high-risk character, that when used well, pays off greatly. But at the same time punishes bad planning ahead. If your Paladin is at low health, without option to heal, she can still be used to cast Wrath or to protect the party using Shelter.
In a way, it is part of choosing your own difficulty. Of course, this requires some knowledge of the game, so it's very well possible that a new player chooses some of the hardest classes to play. In the worst case, they fail and retry with another set of characters they might like more. For people familiar with the game, they can use it to decide how difficult they want their run to be. For a greater challenge, you might go with a Paladin + Berserker combo. While if you want a more laid back playthrough, Warrior + Cleric works very well.

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1. The Mage has a strong water skill, add that with the Rock On buff and it does a good amount of damage. I don't see other combat skills here, though, and attack doesn't deal enough damage.
4. A powerful kill that kills the Berserker the next turn? How are you meant to revive him, or if not, why would the skill be good idea? Now he does have another skill that increases damage but it reduces the HP too much against the attacks it can get hit with. So again, a useful combat skill here without a disadvantage would be useful.
5. Assassin with Slice and Opportunist is good, so is Backstab. The problem is even with that combination it can possible KO a single ghost but then your stuck for a long while, as it costs 8MP to use Backstab, the other 6MP, and the first takes two turns to work as well. So you can't do much after your first KO and there are still two other enemies without Alchemist, Warrior or Mage.
6. Warlock. Bloodbath is useful, with Assassin it's great, but it's still not enough to take down the enemy. Again it's 8MP and you don't have other combat skills worth using while your waiting for MP to return.


1. Charge Shock? Yes, its main use is to stun a charging enemy, but it still deals good damage for its cost to a single target. If it lets you finish off an enemy a turn earlier, Charge Shock a pretty good option.
4. Berserker's Dragon Fury is made to be a finisher move. Either to clear the last enemy in an encounter, or as a boss slayer. With enough set up, it can one-shot a boss from full health. But this image should sum it up just fine (sorry, couldn't resist):

5. Not a guaranteed result, but in some games, you might end up with On A Roll passive on Assassin, basically halving the cost of those skills when used correctly.
6. Reaper of Rage can be a good option when followed up with Attack if you managed to steal Enrage off of an enemy.
But looking at your list, you can still name at least one combat skill you find good or useful for each class. Not every class is made to be a killing machine either (like, Cleric), but at the same time, all of them have at least one good option to contribute to dealing damage. Just not every turn.

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This wasn't explained in the manual though? I think? Is it explained somewhere in the game that I've missed? It would be very useful to tell the players there second skill can be used once and then it would change into a different second skill that can heal 50% HP. There is nothing in any of the second skill descriptions that even remotely suggest that is possible right now. You could add an icon or a word next to the skill for the player to know that's a skill that can be swapped with a 50% HP one.

Yeah, this one didn't go as well as planned. When I made the game, I wanted to make something with minimum amounts of hand-holding, so I decided on not having tutorials. I thought players would figure it out on their own, but when the game was done and I saw people playing it, most didn't notice the second skill switching out for another skill that provided a self heal. At this point, I don't really know how I could make it obvious for people how to use their 2nd skill without pushing it in their face. I'll just take the lesson, and make sure to work on it better in my next project. (You'd think the manual would solve it, but most people don't even read that, lol.)

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1. Is it still meant to be 15-30 minutes if you decided to fight even a few of the other enemies in each area along the way? And what if you want to fight them all? I think both those options would make the game longer than 30 minutes.

I don't understand why not add a save option. That way anyone can pick up a game and come back to it later, even even even if it became 30 minutes I would still highly recommend a save feature.

Autosave works too, I know there used to be a plugin for it in MV but I don't think it still works on the newer version of MV. If you can't have autosave though, I would recommend save. I don't see any cons against it.


The 15-30 minutes estimate is with skipping of optional encounters in mind. Okay, so I'm not going to defend not having save, because I know it's the greatest unholy sin in gamemaking that you can commit, but I will explain why it's not there (warning: could get long):

So, before I started on this game, I made a list of things that I wanted to try out. MV was not released yet, and this game would be my learning experience with the program. At the same time, I knew I wanted to make something small and manageable. So, this about sums up what my list included:
-1 town
-1 field
-1 dungeon
-1 boss (at least per playthrough)
-9 playable classes (3 per playthrough)
-4 skills per class (switch skill excluded)
-No story
-No dialogue
-No tutorials
-No items
-No save
-No longer than 30 minutes in playtime
The only thing I was going to spend time on was making maps, some basic eventing, but for the most part working out a turn-based combat system that would have a sense of depth, and relies on player skill, rather than adding up numbers like most RPGs revolve around.

Why I went with no save is because it was ultimately to be made playable on mobile. Like, play a round while on the bus, or during break at work. If you can't finish in one go, you can turn the device on sleep and continue later. Even if you do lose progress, there is no attachment because you don't build up anything. Playthroughs don't last long, and starting over is made as painless as possible due to the lack of dialogue and cutscenes. The random nature of the game also makes restarting more fun, because every new game will feel a little different. Even if you didn't finish, you might have learned a new trick or strategy that you can use in the next attempt.

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2. I don't think all new players would find it easy to beat the way it is right now, depending what class combinations they end up with. And I say that from my experience.

For some, sure it could be easy if you end up with Warrior, Mage and Alchemist for example, as that can be a great help, in fact Alchemist probably is the best of them alone for it's MP ability.

I guess I can say when you have Alchemist it balances a lot better but when you don't it doesn't. So I can see a lot of players picking bad combinations at random and some of them getting game over with the game in it's current state. My opinion on that then remains the same, that it could do with more balance.


I also don't expect new players to clear the game on first time. It's not made for people who just want a one-and-done game experience. When you die in RTP, it's always to blame on the choices that you made. While luck can be a factor, it's never solely the reason why you got a game over. So, the game is made to encourage people to look at why they failed, and then think of ways they could do better next time. Maybe their party lacked synergy. Maybe they played too defensively. Maybe they only used 1 or 2 skills on their characters, but ignored the other options that they had. Maybe they did nothing to stop charging monsters from attacking.
There could be many different reasons, but you never died just out of nowhere for no reason.

I guess this game could appeal to people who like the tougher kind of games (Dark Souls as an example), that are punishing in nature, but reward learning from mistakes and finding solutions to overcome obstacles.

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4. Ah ok. I do agree with you that just adding the items won't make the game better. But I think with little effort a few treasure chests would be fun and some items that have advantages to be used would make it more fun, definitely. It can always been fun to find items or gain them as rewards and then they can aid and help out more in some battles, making some of them a bit easier but as a result of gaining a reward. That can leave a great feeling to the player when handled right. Of course you don't want to overdo it either.

This would be such a huge change in direction, it's not feasible without upsetting the entire balance of the game in its current state. It was built up from the ground with the idea of not having items whatsoever, so putting them in now would either do more harm than good, or require huge amounts of rework to be done for a low pay-off (and that is to assume people would even like the items).

The same pretty much goes for all the other points. I absolutely do get what you're saying, and I agree that I myself would prefer some of those things as well, but they don't fit this game in my eyes. Though, it's funny that pretty much all the things you find lacking in RTP, I am adding in my new game HERO (in progress, no demo yet). Which takes pointers from RTP's battle system, but has a full story, character dialogues, much more choice, items and equipment, also tutorials on a few of the trickier mechanics, lol.

I think that was about all the points that you made. If you do decide and go back to play some more, I hope you'll have a better time with the information you've got now. :D As a final note, I don't mind most points you raised in your first review (most of them seem points of conflicting preferences, which is fine), but I don't think you are correct when you state the balance of the game is off. As you can see in my recorded footage, both parties manage really well through the entirety of the game. Every party member plays their part and gets to contribute in a meaningful way. Would I say every character is equally good? No, but perfect balance across all characters is something you'll never achieve. What matters is that each and every class has their strong points, something they are good at. Some classes even excel at certain things, but they might lack in other aspects to make up for that. Other classes might not specialise as much in a fulfilling a certain role, but they also fit in easier with different party compositions.
There is not a single class that brings nothing to the table, that needs to be carried by the rest of the team. If you find them vastly underperforming, I'd strongly urge to take a closer look at their skills and see what they can do.
If there is any other party combo you'd like me to record a playthrough of in case you're still not convinced, I'll gladly provide it, as I'm absolutely confident in the balance of my game (this is actually the only thing I'm really confident about, lol :D)
Hey again Milennin, thank you for taking time to make and share both those videos.

I gave the game one more try and played with Warrior, Cleric and Assassin. I was able to beat it this time and I found it lengthy but much easier, the frustration element wasn't there this time around and I did have more fun with it then the last time I completed it where it still felt even lengthier and harder, so I updated my review to reflect that new experience.

Will reply to you properly later but need a break now.

Oh, but here are two screenshots I decided to take this time round that I thought you might be interested in. Forgot to do both of these last time round.

1.
(You can press cross, skip that message and play the game fine).

2.
Thanks, I just read the updated review and I'm glad to see you enjoyed your last playthrough a lot more. I can also see you did pretty well with getting full score on survival, so congrats. :D

What is the other screenshot, though? How and when did it show up, and what did it do?

Will be waiting for your full reply when you've got time.
author=Milennin
Thanks, I just read the updated review and I'm glad to see you enjoyed your last playthrough a lot more. I can also see you did pretty well with getting full score on survival, so congrats. :D

What is the other screenshot, though? How and when did it show up, and what did it do?

Will be waiting for your full reply when you've got time.


The first screenshot happened whenever I load the game from the application, I just click close however and it goes away and let's me play. I think it might be related to me using the latest version of MV Version 1.6.1 but I'm not certain.

As for everything else, I actually can't remember what I was going to say now, but almost everything I felt was really worth sharing is in the updated review.

Good luck with your future projects and Hero, I just read through it quickly and realized you want replayability in you next game too. I do agree and think giving the players many different choices in the root to go in replayable games, and you are good at providing that.

I guess all else I should say is, my first experience with RTP was fail > fail > fail > fail before getting further, and even then when I completed it the first time I struggled a lot, and I think there is a lot of lack of knowledge for the new player that the manual doesn't really explain either. So for that reason I stand by the thought of having a tutorial and the option to pick different classes being told either the advantages and disadvantages of them or being advice on how to play with them. Something like that, or if you had any other ideas that could work perhaps that too.
Yeah, I'm taking the things I learned from this game and use that to make my next game better. HERO will definitely be easier, at least early on, and there will be an (optional) tutorial to teach the basic mechanics of battle.
HERO is going to have the story and dialogue to give a more traditional RPG experience for people playing it the first time, but there'll be an option to auto-skip all of that if you want to replay it for the combat, since you won't get to play everything on a single playthrough.

Anyway, thanks again for the updated review, and for willing to try the game out for a good number of playthroughs.
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