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A wonderfully executed homage to the old days

Assuming you didn't come here by accident, you're probably a fan of RPGs, and have most likely at least heard of the classics on 8-bit game systems of the past. I've played more than my fair share, and this game appealed to me partially because of that and partially because it was made for RMN's 10th birthday, meaning it was put together in only 10 days. I went in with fairly decent but not ultra high expectations.

Graphics: 4/5
They may not be original, but they fit pretty well with each other without clashing too much, helped by the fact that they were all converted to grayscale. Graphics are generally used well, mapping is decent but not outstanding due to the limited tileset, but animations are actually a bit more than I expected from the Game Boy-era assets being used.

Sound: 4/5
Outside of not being original, I didn't have any issues with the sound. Music fits its usages quite well, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear some songs I actually recognized. Sound effects were well-chosen as well, albeit not as memorable.

Story: 5/5
While it's a very short and simple story, I have to give it high marks just for going out of its way to imiatate GB-era writing for maximum immersion, complete with nobody being allowed to talk about demons, hell, death, and the like. It may be generic, but as a homage to RPGs of old, I can't think of any ways it could have been executed better.

Gameplay: 3.5/5
It's a standard JRPG through and through, although it does mix up things a bit by having on-screen encounters, a thing which distinctly disturbs the retro feeling for the better. Enemy groups are numerous enough to keep your resources challenged and your levels up to par, but never felt like too much until the final dungeon of the game, for reasons I'll cover later. You'll be stuck with a party of four characters, but you'll gain a total of six throughout the game and can switch them in and out at any time, which helps with them each having their own strengths and weaknesses.

Combat felt well-balanced for the most part, although difficulty typically remained low even with minimal grinding. Using the debuff and buffs you're given helps immensely in combat and made a lot of otherwise tough fights much easier to swallow. It both helps and hurts that the leveling pace is fast enough to easily keep up with the challenges you're given - it helps since it makes sure grinding isn't in your future, but hurts when you find out the level cap is 20. There's enough guaranteed EXP that you'll hit that mark easily before the end boss unless you intentionally avoid enemy encounters, and it makes any fights after your team hits the level cap feel like a useless drain on resources. I feel like it should have been 25 - stats would remain within reasonable levels to avoid issues with the HUD and balance, but later fights would also feel worthwhile to put all the EXP you'll receive to use.

Dungeons were well-designed, with some of them having small gimmicks like the coal mine having skeleton enemy groups disguised as inanimate piles of bone on the floor and the Ashen Swamp having alligators rush out of the water at you when you get too close to their hiding spots. Outside of different enemy groups and graphics, though, dungeons all had a very similar feeling to them, and not much beyond chests to explore for besides shrines and a couple of events in the final dungeon.

Overall, gameplay was executed well for a game with a 10-day development time, but it had some balance and other issues that would have been nice to work out beforehand, and was the weakest element overall in the entire package, although not by much.

Overall Rating: 4/5
As a game developed in 10 days, it's fantastic, and the fact that it does so well at imitating the games of old like it sets out to do is what made the entire experience for me. The biggest issues the game had were the low level cap and the game's short overall length, but give it a try if you're a fan of games of this type. It's short enough that even if it's not your thing, it's bound to hold your attention long enough for you to finish it.

Posts

Pages: 1
Illy
Professional Amateur
4291
Thanks for the review! I was considering increasing the level cap a tiny bit at the end for the same reasons, I'll be sure to add it to my notes for if I need to release an updated version. Glad you enjoyed the game!
author=Illy
Thanks for the review! I was considering increasing the level cap a tiny bit at the end for the same reasons, I'll be sure to add it to my notes for if I need to release an updated version. Glad you enjoyed the game!


Thanks for responding. It feels nice when I write something and the developer reads it and responds. I was just impressed at how fun it managed to be for being a retro-styled RPG put together in 10 days.
Illy
Professional Amateur
4291
It wasn't just 10 days, I had the demo out by then. Then I piddled around on it for another 10 months or so, and then when I entered it in for the next birthday event, I managed to finish it. So it was really about a year of work, off and on!
author=Illy
It wasn't just 10 days, I had the demo out by then. Then I piddled around on it for another 10 months or so, and then when I entered it in for the next birthday event, I managed to finish it. So it was really about a year of work, off and on!


Even with that in mind, I still liked it for a game released during a birthday event, since I'm assuming it got a couple of hours every so often for development anyway. Thanks for the extra detail, though. Might take a look at other stuff you've got on here.
Pages: 1