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Very solid base for a comedy game done well

  • Irog
  • 03/01/2017 03:07 AM
Just Doing My Job
- How every RPG hero retires -

This game takes some of the most used systems and player behaviors and turn them in great comedy elements.

The story is as simple as it can be. This fits the game theme very well and avoid a lengthy intro to tell a long useless story.

Mapping in this game is good. The use of RTP reinforce the idea that our hero is the hero of a lot of standard "RTP worlds".

Quests are the key elements of the game. The designer made sure that each one represents an aspect of a generic side quest and present its silliness. Discussions with the guards tells about how generic their dialogues are. The collect-quests help the villains in town.

You start the game equipped with an item that reduces your stats. As every RPG player you want to optimize your stats with equipment so you remove this item. A bit later, you're forced to equip it. This points out to how hard-wired we, as players, have become. Players with a self-deprecating ability like this humor. By the way, the "Optimize" command doesn't remove said item. The habit of interacting with every pot, rock or barrel is also turn into a satire.

The developer also brilliantly use elements that are visible to the player but are out of sight for the hero character.

In the town there is a gambler girl who challenges the hero at a very basic luck game. There is no check to assess that you own the amount you bet. With an empty wallet, you can bet 999 and play until you win. Then secure your gains by going to the shop to buy goods. I would normally consider this exploit as game breaking but I laughed when I found it. Infinite cash has such limited impact in the game that the exploit turns out to be a well crafted comic element.

Fighting the slimes as a level 99 hero is extremely boring. But the slime area is small so the game actually makes fun of how boring fights around early towns becomes as hero had leveled up in RPGs. I wanted to push the satire by making the hero take a sleeping pill during such fight. Unfortunately the sleeping pill did nothing. All items can be consumed by the combat "item" command but only the potions actually work. I noticed this by accidentally consuming the Chaos Emerald, fortunately after I completed the corresponding quest. The Chaos Emerald should be non-consumable prior to the associated quest completion. After that the hero can prevent the end of the world by eating it.

"Fighting the slimes was so boring that I took the sleeping pill." - The hero

At the end of the game, the pillar mentioned I had 1 quest left to complete so I looked around. This was somewhat frustrating and I stopped searching to discover it auto-competed; probably not the best way to end a comedy game.

At he very end, the game manages to ask fundamental questions about why we like RPGs.
Was it worth your time? Yes

Just Doing My Job_v0.4a is a very solid base for a comedy game done well. I give the current version a solid 3.5 starts. As future developments are planned, I leave the rating blank to not hamper the score of the final version.


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Jack of Most Trades
Irog, thank you very much for the review!
A lot of the stuff you addressed require semi-spoilery responses, so to anyone else reading, spoilers ahead.

The item somewhat serves a story purpose. There are a few parts of the game that hint at some larger plot, such as:

If you tell the narrator that the math doesn't add up in the intro, and question why the hero is retiring from the army when he is only 18, the narrator responds with:
His mother found his abilities a bit... shall we say, hard to handle? and shipped him off to join the King's Corps.

If you, during the part where Guard 1 gives you equipment and asks you why you were re-assigned, say "I have an idea...", you can give the reason "I was too good...", to which the guard replies,
Guard 1: Now you're just making stuff up. Why the heck would the King discharge someone for being too good at their job?

When the Prince is kidnapped, and you ask why someone of such high importance is in your hometown, the guard tells you:
Guard 1: The King thought... well, he thought that with you stationed here, that the Prince would be safest in this town.

The medal that reduces your stats is named "Do No Harm", decreases your ATK/MATK/Max MP values, and is described:
5th virtue- Compassion. A hero's burden. Awarded by the king to the strongest in the nation.

Couple that with the hero's ridiculously OP skills with high mana costs that couldn't be used unless the medal is removed:
Fury - Deal 1000x ATK damage to a single enemy that ignores defense, repeats 9 times, and can crit.
Firestorm - Deal 5000x MATK fire damage to all enemies. Ignores defense, applies Burn.
Cure - Restores HP/MP of all party members and removes all status ailments by MATK * 750.

Do you think that these hints are too subtle? I plan on adding some more stuff later on in the hero's old house to flesh out this plot, but I don't want to hit the player over the head with it xD

Even with "Do No Harm" equipped (as long as you don't power-up the villains) you should be able to beat everything with just basic attacks.

The gambler girl bit is unintentional. I plan on fixing that bug later on when more things are going to become available in the shop. The hero's primary source of income was intended to be the Pension item that refills after 3-5 minutes and gives between 200-500 gold, which is plenty considering I don't plan on adding too many extra things that you could really buy to the game, and everything the shops sell is fairly cheap.

The storyline can actually change depending on whether or not you complete quests, or complete quests but then destroy the quest item. Notta Badgai, if you either eat/sell the Chaos Emerald, will be considerably weaker in the battle that follows. If you anger Elias (the kidnapper) by calling him a monster or evil, he will come at you with considerably more force.

Some of the quests were somewhat shoehorned in (especially the rock one) for deadline purposes, and will likely be either removed or re-implemented with better hints come the next update.

Adding a sleeping effect for the sleeping pill would be a good idea (originally it was just supposed to be a quest item).

Again, thank you very much for the review! I'm glad you had fun playing the game!
Actually, that's exactly what I did: I asked about the hero's age, told the guard I was too good, unequipped the "Do No Harm", exploited the gambler girl to buy a lot of mana potions, filled up my MP and used the OP skills, firestromed Notta Badgai while he was wielding the Chaos Emerald, ate the Chaos Emerald in front of the vampire and burned him too. I had a lot of fun. I really like to push game systems to their limit and explore game content. So if you need a tester, I'll be glad to help.

Your hints are excellent: neither too obvious, neither too subtle. I discovered the use of the Pension item very late because I had a far more enjoyable revenue source. I would leave the gambler exploit in to reward players who challenge the system. (The Pension item gives infinite cash anyway.) And to really reward the system challengers, I would add a line of text in the conclusion like "You exploited a gambler girl for 16983 gold. How does that makes you feel?". I think this is as perfect way to fill the negative possibility space created by the gambler exploit.

You have a great sens of humor and you're building a very funny game. Keep up the good work.
Jack of Most Trades
I remember seeing that Extra Credits video! Those are always really informative to watch (though I feel that the narrator's voice is a bit too high xD)

I usually playtest most of these games by myself, especially when they don't have a set end date. Playtesting by other people-- by playtesters-- serves as a sort of final quality control before the release of each new version.

You have good ideas for additional content that fit well with the overall tone of the game, so having your feedback would be invaluable. However, I'm not sure if I need a tester, in the sense of a bugtester or someone checks every line of dialogue to find typos. I do that stuff in my own testing (though some bugs might, and do, slip by).

What I need is someone who will leave detailed feedback, as you have, on player experience, on what was interesting or boring or frustrating, and possibly a few bugs that you might've stumbled over (no need to actively search for them) or suggestions on how to improve.

The next version might not appear until a month or more from now. If you are willing to one day suddenly get a PM from me asking for your help, then by all means, consider yourself part of the team. I'll add you as soon as you agree.
Yes, the Extra Credits (and Extra History) videos are very informative. This week they talk about what we do: make games non commercially. And the narrator high-pitched voice is the result of playing his recoding faster than it was recorded. They probably play a 10 minutes recoding over a 7 minutes video.

You have the same strategy as me about play-testing: hunting down bugs yourself before players experience the game. And at the same time, you need to know if the content you create is enjoyable.

I usually focus my reviews on how game mechanic and game content create good or bad play experiences. As I lack artistic and musical skills my reviews don't dig deep in those areas. If you need more of my feedback, I'll be happy to help when you need it.

Good ideas comes from discussion and experimentation. It's because you built (maybe by accident) the gambler exploit that I thought it was a good idea. To point out good idea you simply ask yourself: is this good or bad for the player?

Story time: I'm a hobbyist programmer and I once incorrectly programed the game quit function. I could not quit the game anymore or the game would quit without a quit request. Pretty bad, isn't it? At that time yes. But I wondered if it would always be so. In the development of H16 (renamed Red Balloon of Happiness thanks to Luiishu535) I reused the two "incorrect quit behaviors" as features because they fit some particular aspect of the game. It is always up to you, the developer, to decide if a particular game behavior contribute to the experience you want to create.
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