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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. *

Questing

This RPG Maker VX demo starts with the default title screen and some strange acoustic music. Larc and Doc are talking, they are looking for some treasure, but they don’t have Maria. There is some jazzy music in the background. The mapping is okay and the characters are all default sprites. Monsters are visible and are represented by a troll sprite. The battles are front view and fairly standard, Larc starts with the skill Roll the Dice, a physical attack with high variance, and  Doc starts out with Heal and Motor Mouth. If you use Motor Mouth, Doc starts to talk and this increases his spirit.

There is a switch and button puzzle. I manage to get stuck as a ladder disappears, some switches don’t seem to switch back, and trying to unpress buttons doesn’t seem to work, although one button does unpress for a split second if you interact with it.

“Unpossible to impress?”

The dialogue is is fast flowing and light hearted, however the fourth wall was broken a couple of times, which brought me out of the game a little. I also noticed that there were a couple of spelling mistakes. Larc and Doc get to the treasure to find Maria already waiting there. The next scene is at a house /office, someone explains that you can obtain missions from a notice board. When you accept a mission, the story jumps to that particular mission. So the notice board is really “out of game”, as your character would be accepting a mission based on things that haven’t occurred yet. I take on the mission of “A Mistaken Identity”, a cutscene plays out, and then the party head to a camp site. There, a man wants his horse to get better, and that he’d take the party anywhere if he was batter. The party recognise that they wouldn’t fit in the wagon that the horse is pulling. The horse and wagon are overworld sprites, and so are small that the sprites of the characters. Referencing this in-game doesn’t excuse the poorly chosen sprites. We enter a cave where we’re told to get some mushrooms for a man who is trying to cure an illness that his nephew has. The mapping isn’t bad at all, however, there are many passability errors. There are a few side quests like these; they are a good distraction. There is a cool “Objectives” section of the menu, explaining what you need to do, in case you forget.

“Doc is the main source of comic relief throughout the game.”

A potentially interesting battle mechanic is Maria’s MP. It starts at zero and is increased by Maria drinking alcohol. I can’t judge the usefulness of this, but it did take me two turns to just increase her strength, by which point, the monster was dead. You can equip sets of gear, which are visually shown on your character. It looks to be a very interesting feature. There are quite a few misses in battles, and these can become frustrating, as it’s not uncommon to have all of your characters in battle miss for one turn. The mission leads to the party having to kill a murderer. There are a a series of short battles, that end in a longer battle consisting of not much more than attacking and healing. The demo ends after the first mission.

Overall, the mapping is pretty good, especially in the city. The dialogue is humourous, and although it isn’t perfect, it’s not bad at all. I enjoyed much of the in-game music. Maria’s skills don’t seem to do enough damage, considering the preparation time. The game clearly isn’t without its faults, but I thought the mission was quite interesting, and the ending suggested that that particular story may not have been finished being told. **

AWESOME GAME!

This game starts with an awesome knight, sent to defeat the Awesome Huge Titan called Awesome. A lot of the text is just in block capitals. The mapping is awful. There are lots of spelling and grammatical mistakes. I work my way through a short dungeon before finding the boss. I’m given a specific skill to kill the boss with. After the battle, I have to fight him again. The tactic is just to use the only skill you have and then heal using an item when needed. After 17 uses of the skill and a few heals, the boss dies. The main character presses a red button and the world ends.

“If you like this kind of humour, you might enjoy the game.”

Overall, the game is just a mess. It seems that people think that if they are making a humourous game, that that is an excuse to make a bad game. I guess the only difference between this and games of a similar quality is that this game is “supposed to be” terrible. Zero.

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.”

Demon Dawn: The Last Demon

(As a warning, this review features screenshots containing profanity)

This RPG Maker VX game demo starts with a seemingly hand-drawn logo and heavy metal music. There is a spelling mistake before the game has even started. Some rock music plays as the main character utters his first line which happens to include profanity. I go downstairs where there is a conversation between the main character, Zack, and a girl, Alicia. There is a ton more swearing. The spelling and grammar is pretty bad.

“The profanity strikes me as slightly unnecessary.”

The two characters leave to go to the clan. The mapping is okay indoors, but not so good outdoors. For example, there are errors with the height of a cliff. There are encounters literally every three steps. I don’t think the developer tested the game, as the encounter rate is just annoying. It’s not quite clear where you have to go, but I find my way. As a warning, if you hold shift (to run), then it will make all text scroll really quickly. I don’t really understand why, but Gear challenged Zack to a fight. Oh, it seems that Gear wants to rid the world of its last demon, Zack. After attacking him four times, I win. Oh, and then a script error related to the levelling up screen. Overall, there is horrible dialogue, an unclear story and a very high encounter rate. Zero.

This RPG Maker VX game demo starts with a photo of a castle as its title screen. Some people are in a library, a bell rings, and then they have to go see one of their fathers. The boy, Alexander, is told by his father that he is being sent to settle a dispute. Alexander has never left the castle though. The king says that he wants someone to guard him in case his son is killed and they attack the castle. Alexander is to travel in disguise. The journey is described, and it is quite long. The scene then changes to the typical space / dream scene, where the controls are explained. The party of four consists of Alex (as he can’t go by Prince Alexander), Chloe, Victoria and Nikolas. We are warned to defend against piercing attacks. The RTP mapping is okay at best. The music is also RTP.

The dungeon has a short puzzle, where you have to find some black powder to blow up some boulders.  We go to a town where we stay at an inn and then enter a sewer for a sidequest (sidequests are obtained at a Guild House). The sewer contains an switch puzzle which leads to a Sahagin. The battle is quite hard, with the boss doing heavy damage even whilst guarded against water attacks. It’s especially hard as I’ve had to fight / run from a lot of battles. I’d run to the inn a few times. Despite that, Alex only has enough mana for seven casts of “guard”, and at least half of those were needed for the boss fight. Battles generally seem really frequent, and it can be hard to run away from battles, and I have died just trying to run away from fights. One example is encountering three Forest Pixies, who often use an attack that hits for a few hundred. If you attempt to run away, and fail, then you could easily have characters killed. Although it should be noted that the spell Breeze is highly effect against such enemies. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out which “Guard” spell to use.

“The town’s mapping is a little empty.”

I head to the next town. Some of the maps can seem really empty. For some reason, none of the buildings seem to have doors. The party can’t get a boat because of pirates and sea monsters. However, we don’t have enough “experience with trouble”, so we to have to deal with more problems in the previous town. Aside from some NPCs that have stated that they’ll pay me for bringing specific loot to them, there’s one quest lead, at a farm, but I can’t see anyone to talk to on the farm. So I’m really not too sure what to do.

Overall, the game has a pretty basic story. It sets up the game, without revealing too much about what is going to happen. Hopefully we’ll get to know the characters as we play the game. The guard tactics battle are, of course, refreshing. However, the battles do seem quite frequent, that combined with a low amount of “Guard” casts, means the player is in for a difficult time. There also seemed to be a lack of direction for the player. *¼

“Uh, hello?”