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(Demo) A bunch of things glued together without balance

*Note: I set a low-score on this game, and as I wanted to explain thoroughly why, most of it is on the spoiler tabs, sorry for that.



Character Background and Development (2.5/5)



I get that the protagonist have delusions, but that is hard to distinguish in a fantasy-setting world.

I don´t think this needs to be explained… but delusion is usually a reference to something that lacks reality; so in a world where monsters exists, a monster is not a far-fetched delusion…and hard to set apart from the other monsters.


A certain friend is quite the repellent character, that bothers the development of the protagonist, or at least, what we can see from him.


The protagonist´s village friend is psychologically troubled, full of problems as it was said by a girl next to the church, from my view at the very least, wants to utilize the protagonist for his own wishes (mostly as for not to be banned penniless from the village and get sex, as he himself said) During the game we get to see lots of dialogue from this guy, yet so little representation of the protagonist´s wishes.
We hear all the time what that repellent friend wants, yet the protagonist doesn´t speak, which makes us (me, at least) tend to believe he is just going along with that nasty guy because he doesn´t know, or dares go after, what he wants. I picked up the word repellent because he is not really caring about the protagonist´s wellbeing, as much as he wants to save himself from his problems (I think).

With mute protagonists, a way understand them is for them to act independently and see what they do (as the mansion-exploring viola from The Witch´s House, or the dreams-exploring Madotsuki from Yume Nikki) But since this guy is always with a friend, do he really do what he wants, or is he just tagging along? I don´t know.




Soundtrack - graphic design and concept of art (2/5)

First of all, the music and ost selection is improper, and the concept of art is unbalanced.


Improper because of choosing songs among the soundtracks (specifically with lyrics). It´s no good to include songs for various reasons;
Lyrics don´t allow the creation of an atmosphere and call your attention instead, especially if you know them. And they make you dizzy if you don´t really like them. For the battle inside the spaceship, rock you like a hurricane, it was ok the first minute but after that I got tired of listening to it while going around the spaces that reproduced that song. For the second song, when battling the green tiger, I didn´t even like that one, so it was irritating. Since it was reproduced for a little while after the battle ended, I didn´t even payed attention to the following dialogue.
For the final scene, dancing with masked klow, if having a background soundtrack instead I could have though about what happened to her, what were the protagonist´s feelings…but instead I started thinking about that song, “ah, yeah that´s the typical song for love scenes & stuff”
So that´s the problem; known songs take your attention away through the lyrics or your music tastes, becoming something like static noise and destroying the atmosphere. Middle-to-low volume ambience-like soundtracks, you pick them according to what kind of feeling/atmosphere you want to project allowing you to fully concentrate on the current scene, collaborating to said atmosphere.

The concept of art is unbalanced because there are different kinds of soundtracks during the game; the intro one is some pipe organ music (projecting solemnity, a serious situation…. maybe melancholy and sadness too) while after dancing we get to listen to rock you like a hurricane… so I don´t really get the creator´s intention.
To clarify; the game´s atmosphere I´m speaking about is a combination, synchronization you could say, of events & soundtrack in order to express and develop certain feelings or situations aligned together.
So for example, a psychological game will show deep, maybe even painful actions, accompanied by profound and mysterious music. A not-serious/ parody game will display ridiculous, maybe bizarre actions, etc. Accompanied by light-mood music.
But in this game we see deep, psychological actions, fighting actions and ridiculous actions, so I´m not getting if the creator wants to display an psychological, fighting or humor story, or a combination of them.




Interface and user interaction (3/5)

On the practical side, no problems, no bugs; I can travel around the intended world and exploring properly, It´s quite simple so it doesn´t needs tutorials or things like that.


You can save in goats, but you can also save anytime from the menu. It seems goats can heal you, but it´s not logical to have two ways to save, so I would suggest for the goat to choose one.


The adventuring aspect, battles I mean, are lackluster and repetitive.

In the mines there are opponents that die with one or two slashes, you don´t get to buy equipment (only potions & tonics), no skills (except for healing all the time)
So there are no strategies to apply to different enemies, only to attack, attack, heal, potion, attack, and so on.



Story and general world development (3/5)

This is ok. World and ongoing events are developed around a story, there are a variety of characters representing sides along that plot line and that also progresses with the game. NPC´s have their own traits and events too, and some of them are interesting to watch.

Krow´s mother I think she was? When she shows her infidelity right at the other side of the wall hahaha, that was funny and unexpected.
And that girl hiding in the barrel, saying “you meanie!” was cute.


However, a drawback is that there´s just too many NPCs to interact with sometimes.
at the tavern.
And about the story of the elements and the prior happenings written in the game´s sumary here at rmn, doesn´t appears in the game, or is hard to discern. (But that is understandable since it´s a demo)

By the way, this is an incongruence: the protagonist´s friend ask a girl (called big butt girl in the game) to take a picture of her in the village...so there are cameras on that village?
And also, to make a phone service inside a mine instead of in the city… why?? That fits a parody game, but not a psychological game (unless there´s a proper explanation… like this is a dream, an alternate dimension, etc)


Overall Score: 2.6

Posts

Pages: 1
StevieRayBones
I refuse to grind with monsters I've just met for money.
265
I believe this is a well written and fair assessment and thank you for taking your time to create it. I will respond point by point. Two things though off hand, this demo is the beginning of something; therefore it will raise more questions than give answers. Second all, because you can only judge it by its content and not what will be in future installments, I understand your conclusions.

Point 1: In a fantasy world it's hard to distinguish between a character's delusions and the world's fantasy elements. Both the character's mental illness and the universe will have it's own set of rules. But instead of explaining it in exposition, I am going to let it be shown through the story as the game progresses. While the demo raises the question which is which, the progression of the game will answer the question. This is the psychological aspect of the game. I believe as the player learns how the universe works, they will tell the difference between what's real and the character's hallucinations and delusions. If played twice, they will see some things in an entirely different way.

Point 2: The "sidekick" hinders the player's character development. The characters who surround the player will have limited time. For instance, party members will be changed as the party grows. They will in their time have faster progression than the player's character. The player's character will grow slowly over the course of the entire game. What we learn about him in the demo is he's used and abused by those around him. He's strong physically but weak mentally. The influence of his friend will cause him to do drugs which will worsen the symptoms of his illness. This gives him vulnerability and growth opportunity. Also, he's affectionate toward Krow. While his friend obstructs his wants, it's clear he want Krow. Some of the player's wants, due to his illness, are not appropriate to his surrounding. In the mines, even a weaver called out his dancing with Krow to be socailly damning.

Point 3: The music selection is unbalanced. I thought using songs would make the game different than using the same ol' rpgmaker sound track. This is something I will take into consideration. You have valid points in how they turn off a player that I have not heard yet. I would mention there is a time frame where the music for the dancing scene stops, before Rock you like a hurricane starts. This is during the time the game rises from anxious dancing to the action of the ship being invaded. Now the game is a combination of comedy and psychology. The game does not take itself too serious but there's a method and psychology that it goes back to.


Point 4: Two ways to save. This is an oversight on my end and something I will fix. I did not intend to have saving from the menu. It's automatically there and I overlooked it. I appreciate you bringing that up.

Point 5: The battle system is lack luster. This too is something I have been thinking of ways to improve and it's a fair and true point that I cannot disagree with.


Point 6: NPC's have their own traits and on goings and represent a side in the story. I appreciate some recognition here as each of them and each house in the town has a reason and every thing in the game hold a piece of the puzzle.

Point 7: There's an in-congruence. There is technology in this world but only a limited amount is shown in the demo. In the world, there will be versions of cameras, telephones, TV's, and vehicles, but they will not be as advanced as our world's modern day versions. And only a limited amount of people have those things. While cameras aren't shown. Its not something people have out at all times. But they do exist. There is one phone seen in the town. It's upstairs in Hammock's house. Also, if you obtain the phone book, you are able to call Chuck or Hammock. Chuck's house like the others' at the Tavern is not shown in the game. Still it's implied that Chuck has a phone. Each town has it's own phone book. Obtaining a phone book will allow the player to call NPC's from other locations.


Thanks for playing. I will definitely use some of this to improve the game.
Well, If you were going to develop so many aspects in the full version I think I get the pig picture. You´re doing something unconventional I would say, mixing fantasy, battle, psychological and comedy genres like that.

My advice considering your explanations would be:

Consider which would be the dominant(s) genre of the game. When I called it unbalanced, it was because there were so many different elements that I could not define which was the most important. I say this because a player usually focus on one aspect as for understand the game from that point of view. This is something related to how much "screen time" every genre gets. Because that directly affects the player´s focus and interest.

When playing the demo, what are the emotions you want the player to experience? Could be curiosity on understanding the fantasy setting, excitement for playing battles, deep though into the protagonist´s psychology, or laugh at the comedy present? All of them at the same time? Or some of them more rather than others? If so, which ones?

I understand that you want to make such a game that when playing again people will say aaaaahhhs I see now! But still, for a game that mixes so many genres, decide a dominant one and minimize the others. The others take memory space and focus after all.

When I remember this game, many things I remember are the herb (drugs) goat that I must listen to every time I save, the adultery woman, and the stupid sexual comments of the sidekick. Because of that, I would say the dominant genre is the parody and, you could even say satire.

I remember the bullying and sad atmosphere of the village, and the protagonist´s problems after that. So the comedy aspect may be making too much of an impression, it´s dominant if the player memorizes first rather than psychological or fantasy ones That´s my point of view at the very least.


Note: for the point 2 --> I maintain that you´re giving too much screen time to that sidekick. Of the abuse he goes under, like 80% goes from that guy alone, since the other villagers either tell him to mind his own business or don´t care about him, but it´s not like they want to use him, or his possessions, or his connections, the way that nasty sidekick does. He´s not being abused by others, he´s being abused by that guy in particular. Try thinking how would it be if he were another NPC to interact with instead of a party member.

Or to make it in such a way that many guys from the village treat in in a bad way, not only him.

Also, psychological games (with problems and main premise centered on the protagonist instead of a couple or group problems) usually have either a lone protagonist, or a protagonist that talks with NPC´s sometimes (but it´s not with them all the time) so that since we´re alone with the protagonist, we can focus on the actions he/she does and how he/she feels about it. So if you want to make a serious, deep psychological game, whose focus is on the protagonist´s mind and problems, it´s going to be quite hard to achieve a good result if your protagonist is always party members.

These are my opinions based on the psychological games I´ve played.
Oh also, sorry to speak like a know-it-all person! You should do whatevee you want, after all. Sorry for butting in too much.
StevieRayBones
I refuse to grind with monsters I've just met for money.
265
I very much appreciate all the feedback. It's hard to see things clearly when you're making a game..To better it, you rely on others honesty. I believe unity of effect is very important and I understand I'm doing something difficult. My initial goal was to marry the old school 2D RPG (which is usually fantasy and adventure) with the psychological thriller. In the humor, the characters, and all aspects I've tried to unite it with a dark weirdness. Still, uniting all those things may prove more difficult than I thought. But I will consider this feedback and I guarantee will have a better project for it.
StevieRayBones
I refuse to grind with monsters I've just met for money.
265
Will keep building
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