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Ranked 36th with 6 votes
|People's Choice Vote||#36||6|
Judge feedback is anonymous.
Visually, most of the game is custom graphics. There's a lot of nice little bits (like the slack rope vs the taut rope) that add a bit extra to scenes but for the most part the graphics work quite well. What RTP there was is used interestingly, off the grid and at angles or clumped into groupings. It also fit the custom graphics quite well despite being two different styles.
Lighting and fog effects are pretty well done and lend a lot to the atmosphere of the game. There are some times when the fog isn't shown until a few seconds after a fade in to the next screen, which isn't likely to be intended.
Writing is, sadly, the biggest let down of this game as it is incredibly obvious that the writer is not English. Thus there are a lot of stilted sentences, grammatical issues and words out of place. That said, it does get across the intended information, even if it has a negative impact on the emotions that the story tries to sell you on.
The story itself seems interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of it. The characters are pretty basic - a generic family going on a camping trip. They don't really expand much beyond that point (or as far as I could see before I got stuck.)
Sound is quite well done. There's background noise which works well in the forested setting, and the music that does play works to enhance the atmosphere, being peaceful but mysterious.
Gameplay consists of walking around, talking with the other characters, collecting items and using them, searching on-map areas and making choices. There was also a lost maze type area where a flame gave you hints as to which path you needed to take.
You cannot grab items before you need them which is mildly annoying. The items are also easy to tell when they're collectables.
The puzzles have issues when it comes to being able to figure them out. Some are better than others, but a few of them seem broken due to the eventing messing up. The biggest example of this would be the father event, which I explain a bit more in Engagement.
Some of the passability is weird, since the game adheres to grid but has background that doesn't, meaning that walking close to certain map areas are weirdly blocked and it does make it a bit annoying at times to run around.
Reloading saves is never fun when it's a puzzle that causes you to have to do so. The puzzle in the house ended up ending my playthrough due to the impossibility of figuring out what you were supposed to do. I tried the choices over and over again, searched the house over and over in case I missed something and still could not get the right combination (if there even was one). My wire broke, my spoon dropped, my water ran out and the bottle was still impossible to get. At one point I was just wishing I could punch or kick the vase over. The fact is that it should have been easy to just reach in and grab the dumb bottle since I'd been able to do so in the past with rope and wood, and in this case it was floating on water and should have been even easier to pick up. It led to a lot of frustration.
In fact, most of the puzzles were frustrating in their own different ways. The lost forest puzzle is never fun, though funnily enough it was the least frustrating of the puzzles since you at least got a hint of some kind to let you know which direction to go to.
The father in a hole puzzle was incredibly frustrating due to father asking after healing herbs when he wanted another leave instead... leading to my collecting a ton of the herbs to give to him (yes, he'd take them every time, then ask for even more). I was incredibly close to just counting that as a bug until I accidentally found the hard-to-spot area I needed to go in order to get another leaf.
Also, waiting for father after that was tricky because you could keep going back and waiting for him didn't seem to do anything. I'd get the choice to wait or go (and choose wait because I'm not mean... but it was getting close to my just up and going after a while) and then go south to see if he turned up. After a while I'd go to the southern exit hoping that waiting made a new map teleport instead of putting me back at the top of the same map. I did finally find out I could go forward by just going north after saying I'd wait, but it was still annoying.
Since I couldn't finish the game, I'm basically left guessing what the game is about based on what it started as. What story and characterisation I've seen so far has led me to believe the game overall theme is about responsibility and growing out of the cocoon of childhood into an adult. The missing sister, the loss of parents and having to find your own way forward points to this. The name of the game as well as the cocoon that was shown in the game hints at this as well.
Mechanics-wise, the story focuses on interacting and putting puzzles together, focussing on intelligence and thought over over aspects. That said, it's very confusingly done and requires you to go in a very specific order, making it a bit hard for the player to jump ahead in logic (for example, there's a box and a ladder that is off the ground. You think right away that you should need the box but you have to first interact with a locked door and the ladder before you can do anything with the box. Same with a lot of puzzles at the very start where you need to know that you want the items before you're allowed to pick them up).
This forces the player to be dependant on the game to do what is needed, actually working against the theme of independence a bit. There's more of this in the puzzle of the lost forest where hints are given to allow you to move forward, or waiting for your father to tell you what is needed before you can give it properly.
With a bit of tweaking, though, the mechanics could definitely reflect the theme a bit better, allowing for the taking of items before their needed (independence in the way of planning ahead) and being able to give items to father that you think will help (and phrasing it like that - "Dad, here's some sticks. I remember in first aid class you need to support a broken leg. They should help!")
RPG Maker VX ACE
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