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Archive for the ‘RPG Maker XP’ Category

Twilight Dance

This RPG Maker XP demo starts with a custom title screen and some non-RTP music. The introduction consisted of scrolling text that I had to restart once because I lost track and the text had already scrolled off the screen. It’s not written that well and there is a lack of commas and at least one spelling mistake. There was also a white glow around the edges of the screen, cutting off many of the words. The story seems to be that there was a demon that possessed people, one day he possessed a Twilight Spirit, who took control of him and locked him and her away. People wanted to free her, because they loved her (seemingly ignoring whatever the reason was that she locked herself away), however, they couldn’t free her without freeing the demon, so they ensured that they were both sealed away.

“You would think a long introduction would at least be spell checked.”

Kyohaku and Hakumei were startled by an unknown person dressed in black, Hakumei ran off. The unknown person asked for it, but Hakumei wouldn’t hand it over, so the person killed her. A unknown voice was then heard. Kyohaku caught up with Hakumei. Kyohaku, who was unarmed, managed to beat up the unknown person, who had a sword. There is an overuse in ellipses, they occur frequently and are more “……” than “…”, and are often inconsistent in number.

Time skips to two years later. A scene with a outer space background plays. Kyohaku hears something and then an unknown girl tells him to run away.  Then, a unknown voice says, and I quote, “The seeds…. Kyohaku, you must….. Future……. Careful……”. Kyohaku wakes up, and the last scene seems to have been a dream. He mentions the seeds to his mother who then said, “Could it be……? No, he wouldn’t know about that…..”. He then gets told to take some flowers to Hakumei’s grave. In contrast to the poor dialogue, the mapping isn’t bad.

“Why is the gravestone so big?”

Kyohaku finds an orb (I think the girl refers to it as a crystal), or something, that he picks up. A girl then runs to him and says that he has to escape before it’s too late, and that “they’re here”. Two dark swordsmen attack Kyohaku, but then the girl beats them up. Another scene plays, with a outer space background, where four slimes attack the girl. Then we see, Kyohaku leave home (still with a outer space background). The next scene sees Kyohaku wake up in an inn, and we see the unknown girl leave the inn. I leave the inn and go into a church, where I see the girl light some candles and go through a hole in the floor. I light the candles in the same order and follow her through the hole. The girl is surrounded by slimes, we work together to defeat them. After, she says that the cave holds the Twilight Spirit’s power and she’s protecting it. Kyohaku asks to help, saying the place feels familar. The girl questions this but then thinks about the seed, and so accepts his help. She introduces herself as Hakumei. Does this mean that the entire first few minutes was part of the dream? Including the scene before the “two years later”… I really don’t get this. The monsters are quite tough, and although you can heal, you can only do so from items, and you cannot easily revive. There are a lot of monsters, many of which you simply have to avoid. However, your HP and SP are fully restored upon getting a level up, so you are able to use your attacking skills frequently, making the battles easier. The music in the game seems to be the RTP, and so isn’t noteworthy.

I continue to make my way through the cave, there is text cut off in text boxes. This, combined with the level of difficult of constant monster battles, gives the impression that the game hasn’t really been tested. There are some puzzles to break up the battles of the cave, however during the platform puzzle, you can walk on blank tiles. Going back to the puzzles, they don’t all make sense. I put a boulder on a switch, which made some rock (that was blocking a path) shatter. I had to feed a slime (a monster I have battled multiple times) to get it to move. It seems that the food for the slime comes from a different coloured slime, I didn’t know this, but fought it by pure chance. The overall puzzle is to find four orbs throughout the cave. I have found three, I have to read the game thread to find the fourth. You have to use a skill “X Slash” on a wall that has X on it. It is only established that you can use skills outside of battle via a side quest that I missed, and the cave is so dark  that you’ll probably miss the X. There are lots of passability errors. After collecting the four orbs, and putting them in place, another rock blocking an exit shatters. I can’t use the exit however, so I decide to stop.

“What now?”

Overall, a couple of the puzzles lacked direction, and due to respawning monsters, I found myself running from battle after battle, in order to complete the puzzles. I have no idea what is going on with the story. It is not being told well and is just confusing. As such, I don’t really know anything about the characters. The various tile and passability errors really need to be fixed, as do the spelling and grammar mistakes. ¾*

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Odyssey

I usually mention the first thing I see upon playing a game, because it usually sets the tone for the whole game. Now, this RPG Maker XP game started off with a rather cool start-ups. It has some pretty cool music too. This demo is an action adventure RPG and starts with an introduction introducing the main character as a cartographer. A storm wrecks the character’s ship and he is on an unknown island. I find my backpack and a knife, allowing me to chop down long grass and find items.

The mapping varies in quality but is generally okay, although it isn’t anything special. The environmental sound effects really draw you into the game. Exploring the maps, there were some things of note, but I think they were to come back to later. The game would perhaps benefit from some kind of map system, so that the player can see where they’ve been. There was at least one spelling mistake, and I found some of the battling to be difficult, and I died a few times. There was an autosave feature though, so you resumed progress from when you entered whichever room you died in. There were occasions, sometimes, where I just seemed to get stuck next to a monster.

“I seemed to leave many puzzles unsolved.”

In a cave, I came across a puzzle where you had to use your shield to protect yourself against cannon balls being thrown at you. I did not figure this out myself, I had just read someone mention the puzzle. I had found the shield too awkward to use in battles, and so just forgot about it. If an item spawns underneath you (after defeating a monster, for example), you have to walk away from and then over the item to pick it up. It’s something that can be annoying.

I eventually came to a spider boss who I had to hit with flaming arrows. The fight was difficult, and I died many times. You can only really hit the spider in one particular place, and sometimes he doesn’t go there often, making each attempt take a long time. You have to ensure the torch says lit whilst not getting hit by a ranged attack. Even if you do that, when the spider moves into place, you could run out of mana (as firing arrows from your bow consumes mana), he could then lay spider eggs, which would then hatch and could attack you. After the spider loses around 50% of its health, the battle speeds up. The battle felt untested and was far too difficult. Eventually I kill the spider and complete the demo. My rank is Oblivious, so it seems I didn’t explore the maps enough. I did some back exploring to see what I missed, but aside from finding another heart for my life, I didn’t accomplish much.

“Am I ready to die again? …I guess.”

There isn’t much of a story here, sadly. We don’t learn much about the character at all. Looking at the gameplay, I simply grew frustrated with many of the monster fights and the boss fight. *

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The Sword of Heroes

This RPG Maker XP game demo starts with a cool title screen and a nice theme. I click start and I play an unknown character, there is no direction. You need to walk right to activate a cutscene, if you walk left, you just end up in a village. A bird is chasing a girl called Stefie. A guy called Davo says that we should attack the bird. However the next battle screen is just the unknown girl and Stefie, no sign of Davo. I die. Stefie has a cure spell, but for some reason, I can’t use it. It seems to be disabled. I don’t understand how the developer didn’t notice this during testing. I die again, I have no idea what I’m doing wrong seeing as I can only attack. I’m going to go left instead, to see if the town has anything I could use. A quick note about the mapping. Although the exterior mapping is okay, the interior maps are large and can seem empty. There are also some spelling and grammatical errors. Some of the words on the status screen are in another language.

“And yet the straw roof didn’t catch fire?”

I go left of the town, where I find some easy random encounters. There are lots of birds roaming the map, however they’re set to the same level as the player, whereas they should be set to above the player. I level up, and then realise that I can’t get back to the town from the screen I’m on. I choose to instead work through the forest I’m in. A strange cut-scene plays where the character doesn’t know where they are or who they are. I find myself at another town where another cutscene plays, and a guy called Davo joins my party. Maybe this is what I was supposed to do in the first place. So, this girl wants to get her memory back, and Davo wants to help me. I try to go back the way I came, and I seem to be able to do it this time, not sure why I couldn’t before. I walk all the way back to the original fight that I kept losing. This time I have three party members and healing items. I’d be interested in hearing if the developer actually tested this fight at all. We eventually win. For some unknown reason, Stefie joins the party. This doesn’t make any sense. We visit Stefie’s grandpa where some cutscene plays. The main character who was named Huntress by Davo, as she didn’t remember her name, went by Angelie in this cutscene. It doesn’t make any sense. There’s no direction of what to do or where to go next.

“When asked if he was a cowboy.”

Overall, there’s no real story here and there’s no direction at all. The whole thing seemed untested. Zero.

“You’d have been even more useful if you could actually heal.”

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This RPG Maker XP game demo starts with a horrible title screen. This is a good start. The demo starts with a conversation between Nuriko and an Orange Haired Knight. Nuriko feels like a dark cloud is coming for him. A guy called Tre then gives Nuriko a tiger. The kingdom or castle is under attack by sladeknights, and the Orange Haired Knight and Nuriko get told to run. The dialogue is really quite poor. There are mapping errors also. The Orange Haired Knight, Ralph, tells Nuriko to go on without him. Nuriko says he should make sure he stays alive, and then Ralph thinks to himself  “Nuriko…………I will come back alive………… But I can’t promise that it will really be me”. I have no idea what that means. I’m pretty sure that Ralph and Nuriko are different styles of sprite, they don’t look good together. There are a few grammatical and spelling errors. Nuriko runs outside, and then the leader of the sladeknights then tries to recruit Nuriko. A fight is about to take place, but then an audio file isn’t found and the game closes. Zero.

“As a general rule, try to ensure that all text is easily readable.”

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Road to Dy’Sidia

This RPG Maker XP game demo starts with a cutscene starts with a purple lady talking with a man. Apparently monsters have been seen attacking villages but the child is safe, and has a prophecy to fulfil. We jump to a palace, where Lord Marcus speaks of an inevitable war. The king does not want a war, and wants an alliance by marriage, however his daughter has gone missing. The main character, Gregory, is a priest. Gregory gets told by a senior priest that a professor is looking for students, and he is allowed to take the test that is being held in the library. There is an incentive to explore your environment, as you can learn abilities from interacting with bookcases. The mapping is fine, although it’s nothing special.

I walk into a library, where William, a thief, joins my party. To take the test, I need a letter of permission. William says I should talk to a girl in the corner of the room, when I do, she references a crystal that I have seen, and she joins the party so that I can show her. She says that it is a transport crystal. William and Gregory argue about something and then hit each other for a while. We teleport to some place full of monsters (ghosts and crazed chickens). The fights with the chickens are difficult. They can kill any character in two hits and they can paralyse you. None of the three characters have the ability to heal, and we haven’t got any healing items. I teleport back to the church, where I find an infinite stack of health potions, however, Gregory will only take a potion if he’s not already holding one. I heal and go back to the dungeon place. At one point, as I was getting to and opening a treasure chest, I was trapped by three encounters. The party survived through the first two battles, before getting paralysed and killed by two chickens.

“The books are either about one specific flower that you need for a quest or are not at all interesting.”

I speak to a women’s spirit, she asks for “something to help her rest”. I can’t see anything, so I choose the option to attack her. I win the battle against three ghosts, but she’s still there. I go to the library where I read about a flower that I can give her, and then I rescue some chickens to get a bone, to give to the dog, to get access to the graveyard where the flower grows, the flower asks me five questions before I can pick it. I give the flower to the ghost, who lets me have access to a book, who I give to a purple lady for a letter of permission. Gregory apparently fails to finish the test, and he thinks he has failed.

Gregory goes to sleep where he has a strange dream, he is told that he has potential. He wakes up, and the villages had been under attack by monsters. Gregory and William go to save children and kill monsters. I noticed the characters talking, and one of them was the girl who was in our party before, but isn’t at this moment in time. In the item shop, there is text in another language. There are some errors in passibility settings. Once you accept a quest, NPCs will still say the same thing, asking you to accept the quest again. There are a few of these kinds of eventing problems throughout the demo. We find an ogre, for a boss fight, and although he attacks rarely, he deals damage 2-4 times a character’s health, and he has three minions. So, I died at this point, unsure at how I’ll beat him, I decide to not try again.

Overall, I’m not sure what to make of the game so far. There seems to be some kind of story, although I’m not really sure what it is, just that monsters are attacking a village and kidnapping children. As I said, the mapping was fine, although in the forest, for example, it’s not at all clear where the teleporting event to the next part of the forest is. In the end, I couldn’t even complete the demo because of how broken the boss fight was. ¾*

“It seems like this battle wasn’t really tested.”

 

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Götterdämmerung RPG

This RPG Maker XP game demo starts with a nice title screen and some industrial music. The word Götterdämmerung can be translated into English as Twilight of the Gods. It is an erroneous mistranslation of the Old Norse phrase ragnarök (fate of the gods). Back to the game, I click start, select Normal difficulty and begin the tutorial. There is a cursor, so instead of using the keyboard, you can point and click, which is interesting. You can select your party leader, and NPCs react differently to different characters. The mapping is alright, it’s not full of detail though, and there is definitely room for improvement. Enemies roam the map, and you have to interact with them to start a battle. However, doing this with a mouse can be a little awkward. I find an assault rifle after the battle with the Marauder. The setting is a little confusing.

“The setting can seem a little confusing.”

After the tutorial, the real game starts, there is a scrolling introduction, that says how in March 2012, many severe storms ravaged European countries. Exactly 17 days later, several large earthquakes  destroyed vast parts of the United States. China were believed to have technology capable of this. Anti-Chinese sentiments began to emerge. Six days later, European and American cities were victims of terrorist attacks. They appear to be Chinese attacks. America declares war on China. Civilisation as we know it was detroyed by the nuclear holocaust that followed. A hundred years after the war, recently built empires in Europe, Asia and Africa live in a fragile peace. There has been no explanation for the natural disasters that preceded World War 3.

Marduk, a young farmboy in Africa, ponders his future. His dad found a strange metal object at the cabbage patch, I go to investigate, but first I have to find the key which takes a while. I now need to open a chest and trade the contents for the key. I can’t interact with any objects in the mechanic’s house (for instance, a pickaxe) that might be able to open the chest. I have a hammer, but he won’t even attempt to use it.  There is a rope in the item shop, I don’t know if that’s related, if it is, it cost $50 that I don’t have. I find $10 somewhere, so perhaps I need to find more. This is quite difficult, especially for a first puzzle as there’s very little guidance. I checked out the only place I hadn’t checked out, the desert, but I just got killed there. I’ll likely come back to the game when I know how to get past this part.

One cool thing about the game is that the quests section of the menu is handwritten like a “to do” list, it’s really a nice idea. The setting is a bit confusing, for example, they have cars but don’t believe in flying things or robots. Also, they talk of the “myth” of the founding of their village when it was less than 100 years ago. The mix of the RTP tilesets and things like cars is a little off-putting.  As a final note, the main character seems to be lacking in personality. ½*

“So you left your teddy bear in the jungle, but won’t go back and get it yourself?”

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Al’asuiga’ta

This RPG Maker XP game is a short RPG that starts at “the end” of the story, so the three bosses that you fight in the game, are the final three bosses.

The game opens with two female voice acted characters. The voice acting is pretty great, it draws you in more than just reading text. The voice actor of Jasmin, the main character, is simply outstanding. Kattis, the girl you (Jasmin) are talking to, joins the party. The mapping is otherworldly in style, but poor in quality. The music is interesting and works well in the background when the characters are speaking. You encounter a dragon that is really quite a difficult fight, this leads me to think that this battle hasn’t been tested much. As a side note, Mana is health, and Spirit is mana. It’s a little confusing. After a few attempts, I finally managed to kill the dragon by poisoning him and then somehow healing myself quickly enough so that neither character died.

“Genre savviness is hot.”

After a cutscene, I fight the first of three bosses. However, it’s really too difficult. The battles are fast and exciting, but ultimately staying on top of the healing whilst there are a barrage of attacking from the boss can is very difficult. I managed to defeat the boss thought. In the cut scene here, one voice actor’s audio quality is much worse than the others. The second boss took a couple of attempts. Then, I noticed that the final boss has similar attacks to the second boss, not sure why this is, they’re completely different people. The final boss seems nearly unbeatable though, so I decide to give up. Overall, as a test of the integration of voice acting in RMXP, it definitely succeeds, however, as a short RPG, I’m not so convinced. *

“A screen that is all too familiar.”

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