A Standard Indie RPG Affair

I went into The Out Casts with high hopes. This was going to be my first review for RMN, and I was really wanting it to be positive and sprinkled with praises and accolades, but I'm sad to say that I was let down by this title. There are several issues I had with the game in several different categories, so lets break this down and really dig into the meaty core of the troubles this game presented to me.

(ADDENDUM: I did not finish this game. I may have missed some monumentally badass moment, but I doubt it would change this review. My reasoning will be presented below)

Gameplay:

For me, gameplay has always been the deciding factor when deciding whether a game is noteworthy, and The Out Casts gave me very little to work with. Battles were standard "Mash the attack button" events, only occasionally broken up by using a heal spell. Enemies had very little variety, and the main difference between the usual wasp/slime/bat monotony was that wasps can use a weak poison effect on one member of your party. The first boss (who you encounter just kinda hanging around a cave entrance until you saunter up and speak to him) has only a basic attack and is more-or-less and powered up basic enemy.
The characters themselves did little to make the game more fun to play, as the main character learns a heal spell rather early on, making his sister irrelevant, and Sakura never was basically a less powerful version of the main character. This made me wish several times that I only had the main character in the party so I could get through all the tedious battles with just a little less attack spamming.
I only encountered two instances of map interactivity in my 30 mins of playing, one of which was flipping a switch to open a door that was two steps from said switch. The other, also a switch event, caused a bridge to appear a few spaces away from the switch, so it did nothing to redeem the only other time I was able to interact in some way with the environment.
One thing that stuck out to me was the introduction to the save feature, which is done through crystals you find floating in the world. The explanation is completely breaks the fourth wall, telling you that you the menu's save function has been disabled and that you will have to use the crystals that the author has put on the map. This, along with many other things, completely broke the illusion for me.
Summary: I found myself usually running from battles despite desperately needing to level up because I just HATED having to do them, and that, at least for me, made the game nearly unplayable. If your game's mechanics (or lack thereof) makes me hate it, then I think that is an issue.

Gameplay Score: 2/5

Music/Atmosphere:

The games music, while not bad, was bland and unvaried, not differing from map to map in many cases. The music and sound effects were all exactly what you would expect from a par for the course RPGMaker game: Mostly (if not all) RTP chiptunes and unaltered attack effects that anchored the game's sound firmly in the "Average" category.
Summary: Not really a whole lot to say here other than I was not impressed, but not entirely let down.

Music/Atmosphere Score: 2.5/5

Writing:

And now we come to the most damning issue I had with the game: Grammar and Story. A recurring theme for The Out Casts was TERRIBLE grammar & spelling:

Quite honestly I almost quit a couple times just because I was having so much trouble deciphering exactly what some people were saying and it frustrated me to no end on many, many occasions. In addition to the bad grammar making things difficult, many of the sentences would run off of the text box causing some words to just not be there at all.
Secondary to this was the story line, which was itself bad, but was the normal, over done, over played story that comes out of rpgmaker games. It goes thusly (As far as I can tell):

Your village, who are out casts for using magic are attacked by an evil empire whose leader is using magic (ok?). The leader attacks your chief (it took me a while to figure this one out as it is spell cheff) and throws the lot of you in jail. You and your sister escape through a large crack in the cell that seemed to have been overlooked by the evil genius who put you there, and you escape to try to find a way to save the village. After some time you come across a girl names Sakura who informs you that now you are going to be saving the world for some reason, and she joins you.

Summary: Really, this is as far as I actually consciously followed the story line, as, and I really, REALLY hate to be this negative, it is complete dreck.

Writing Summary: 1/5

Mapping:

Another thing that can really make or break a game, the mapping in this game actually was really decent at first. The village is well done and the layout of the houses, shops and inn make sense and fit well together. Unfortunately, after you escape from the prison scene all of that falls apart. When you escape through the crack you emerge into what I can only guess is an underground lake with some land running though it, but it also has walls in the middle of the land at places so I could be wrong. Not long after that you come across a vertical series of three maps, and they are identical. I'm not kidding, the only change is a single piece of scenery that sits in the same spot in each map but is different on each one. Here are two of the maps:


After the first section, you head out to the world map, which is spares and extremely unbelievable as an actual landmass, to head to a broken down castle that starts with a hedge maze. This is as far as I got into the game, as I was defeated by Death since I couldn't stand the random battles enough to level grind, and if I missed something amazing that would have changed my mind, I apologize.
Summary: I was really hopeful that this would be the section that I could use to really praise the author, but that is not the case. You see in the first bit that he CAN do good maps, but the few good ones are sorely overshadowed by all of the junk that comes later.

Mapping Score: 2.5/5

Constructive Criticisms:
-Work on keeping your mapping consistent, it seems to be your strong suit.
-Get a proofreader to go over your dialogue, fixing that will VASTLY improve the game.
-Play some other games to find gameplay mechanics that you think are fun. If you find something that you think would fit your game, then find a way to implement it!
-(This is speculation on my part since I don't have this particular maker program)
Find some resources that are outside of (what appears to be) the RTP. Music, characters and chipsets are what makes a game what it is; it is what you see, hear, and interact with. Making these things fit together and look nice and engaging, you can improve the players experience and attachment to the setting.

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Out of curiosity, how far did you get into the game in terms of gameplay? (ie. where were you when you stopped playing?) Lengthwise, I think the game took me about 2.5 hours to reach the end.
NOACCEPTANCE772
And the ability to summon the "Office Whores" to deal damage to the enemies.
560
Well,it was his first time ever.
Don't expect much.
we all remember our first games...>.>
I went back before the review was accepted and played about an hour and a half, but there were parts that I just couldn't bring myself to finish, so I figured that my earlier thoughts on the game were pretty spot on. I knew it was the author's first game, which is why I added in some stuff that he could do to make the game better, but I didn't want to sugarcoat it just because it WAS his first game; I know I wouldn't want it.

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