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A jam entry

Juho's Firefighter AdventuresView game page »

A labour of love
Submitted by StefanosM with 1 day, 13 hours before the deadline

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Engine
RPG Maker VX Ace LITE

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Comments

Reivew:

Quick thoughts: Considering this game was made in VX Ace Lite, it was an enjoyable game. It needs a lot of polish, but has some interesting and fun concepts, and with an expanded version with some more customization, it could be a lot of fun.

Pros:

  • The themes of fire safety are rather neat. Since the game is made for children I thought that was a rather nice inclusion.
  • The H20 system is very simple, but nice. I like the concept. With some tweaking it can improve greatly.
  • Considering the target audience, the game will prove to be fun for children without being too difficult.


Cons:

  • Some of the map design is a bit off. For example, in the firehouse, the tables in the hallway are actually on the wall, rather than on the floor. Another example is the secondary character in the room on the left that you can add to your party doesn't disappear after adding him.
  • Also, if there are more than 4 people in the party, the game gives no indication that the formation must be changed for the 5th character to be available.
  • There was a point in the game where I couldn't advance. After locking all the robbers in prison, I was left with no real idea of what to do from there. There needs to be more clarification about where to go. Also, returning to the prison returns the events to being outside of their prison cells. Maybe have a switch that keeps them there?

In the end, I had fun with it. With some polish this could be a rather fun game for kids to discover things about fire safety.


Developer (Edited 1 time) (+1)

Indeed for children playing on easy mode and unfamiliar with the RPG Maker, there will need to be something pointing out what to do with the 5th party member (if the easy mode additional character is not outright removed upon acquiring Minerva with the optional Lorent in the party, which I am also considering).

The inferior doppelgΓ€nger was meant facetiously anyway, but I suppose it would have looked more polished to remove that event once easy mode is enabled. Alternatively, I could have placed this event in the mirror from which easy mode could be enabled, if I had thought of it earlier.

I am not sure what you mean by the map design of the firehouse. As far as I remember, I only made slight adjustments to a premade sample map ("desert house" this one was called). Are you referring to the green carpet?

If you did not make it to Sunday (day 7, the end of the game), on what day did you leave off? Did you redeem your prize at the black market for completing the prisoner side quest? Did you figure out on your own to pursue this side quest, or did you act off the mayor's hint available on Friday and Saturday (days 5 and 6)?

PRISON BREAK! I know. I could not figure out what to do about that for some reason. At least after putting them in their cells the first time, I have it so you can just dash around to bowl them over like bowling pins as a way of saying, "Recess is over! Back to your cells!".

The map design in the firehouse was where you have tables in the hallway, but they're on the wall tile rather than on the floor.

I did finish the black market quest and had him arrested, but didn't know where to go afterwards to save Minerva.

Developer(+1)

That part looks to me the same as it was in the sample map, so perhaps that is the creator's fault?

I gave the mayor and his wife dialogue that indicates the corn warehouse as a place worth checking, among other things. The warehouse is conveniently closed on Friday, though, so Saturday is the day to go.

(Edited 3 times)

Juho's Fire Adventures, A Review (Updated)

The Short: The game has some interesting principles, but needs a lot of polish. Most glaring, I was unable to complete it due to a broken map (after the developer clarified that there is a hidden moving event which you need to stumble upon I was able to continue).

Pros:

  • Consequences to choices. Bringing a kid to a fire seemed like a bad idea, and it was.
  • Some nice incorporation of foreign language (French) as a game play element (although I never found the dictionary needed to translate it in game). I also liked the PSA about emergency numbers.
  •  The battle gimmick of expending H20 (mp) to fight fires feels consistent with the theme (although this could be much more developed and difficulty could be increased).
  • A couple puzzles, which were not particularly challenging, but diversified the gameplay.

Cons:

  • Unbeatable - at least based on my single play through. On day 3 of the game, the characters see a thief, and then are teleported after him into an abandoned house. After thoroughly exploring the small house, I could find no way out of it and nothing to do in it. So either I missed something, or the event is broken. In any case,  I quit at that point.
  • Needs a lot of polish. For instance, trying to enter a room in the firehouse triggers an untranslated Finnish text. Or, during the tour of the town, there is a skipped sequence. The image for the dirty dishes shows its background layer, instead of being transparent.  On the firehouse map , a duplicate of the firehouse can be seen at the edge of the screen (presumably the night version of the station, which for some reason shares the same map).  A number of NPCs can be talked with infinitely, giving items/etc. There are lots of little things along these lines, which ultimately
  • Characters are rather undeveloped and the city is pretty lifeless.  Anyone who is in authority in the game demand that the player respect them and be impressed by them, which seems like a poor leadership trait... Although maybe this is a critique of a certain current leader.
  • Really easy combat, with the exception of the first boss encounter, which seemed like a major difficulty spike. Also it would be nice to have some way to clear blindness (or maybe I missed it?), since this effect is used by almost all enemies, and makes battles more tedious, with no way to clear it.

It's a game with some heart, but needs a lot of work still.

Developer

Thank you for your review! Now for some answers to what left you wondering:

The dictionary is found early in day 4.

Sorry if the purpose of the dark house was unclear. The event was actually invisible, so one simply needed to move around the house until stumbling upon the thief, no action button required. The invisible thief (because it is dark) is set to move around the middle of the house randomly but slowly. So it should not have been broken by any means. FUTURE PLAYERS, PLEASE TAKE THIS INTO ACCOUNT! And if you, Rubescen, happen to have retained the game in your downloads after playing, maybe you would like to try that part again with this in mind? Again, really sorry about that. The third robber to catch, if you choose to pursue this side quest, actually works exactly the same way.

Now I do remember without looking what that Finnish text probably was. It was just Minerva telling you not to go into her room, so you missed nothing from that. I should have translated that, in any case.

I was trying to economise space and events given my RPG Maker platform, so some houses do share the same map, and I was limited in what events I could put in the cities to give more life. I also found out very late in the process that one can change the colours of the screen to make it look like night, so I probably should have just taken out those "night" counterparts.

I do hope someone at least makes it through the whole game in order to review all seven days of it! Now I admit I am concerned about that.

But thank you very much for what you could provide thus far!

Thanks for the clarification, I was able to finish playing (and I must have had really bad luck the first time around in the house, because I just never stumbled upon the thief).

Developer

As for that "I am your boss! Respect me!" stuff, I think that since I was writing for a kids' game I got into a child's mindset such that I wrote a bit like a kid at times, and it just sounded funny to me, so it stayed that way. And indeed akin to what you pointed out, these types could be seen as leaders despite whose questionable leadership traits the town continues to thrive, because of the dutiful civil servants holding everything together!

Developer (Edited 1 time)

You did not miss any cure for blindness, though perhaps I should have had something there for that. Though you must admit, curing blindness with eyedrops or something on the job would be a bit unrealistic. I thought of having equippable smoke-proof goggles, but I was not sure where I should put them. At least the smoke should have a low (5%) chance of causing blindness, though I forgot to reduce the (average?) duration.

I liked the graphic for the dirty dishes otherwise, but I have to agree that perhaps the background does not quite pass for a kitchen floor or wall when set against the battle background. Maybe I should replace it with a dirty car.

Did you have a thought to finish in your second bullet point under "Cons"? I believe Minerva can give you multiple copies of her letter to Lorent, and that you can obtain multiple pieces of rye bread from Mette after an interaction that takes long enough to make one question its worth, which I thought were relatively insignificant (not game-breaking, at least). Were there other instances of this?

Oh I did cut off there abruptly.  They're all pretty minor little things like that, but here are a few more that you could maybe fix if you think it needs them for an update: The thieves in the jail cells reset to the lobby, if you leave the room and return (touching them will immediately send them back to the cell).  You can use handcuffs on fire (this just seems a little weird). There is no exit from the ruins at the end of the game (before you use the key to fight the boss even (this may be intentional?). In the epilogue, if you explore the city, nothing has changed. This is mostly amusing, except for one major issue -- if you talk to the elder's wife again, she will trigger the sleep dialogue to embark on the final fight again. It may be possible to do this even before fighting the final boss as well.

I just thought the background on the dirty dishes was a mistake with the default photoshop background for transparencies (grey and white squares) showing up. Frankly, the combat was on the whole too easy/unvaried, and so blindness just felt like an annoyance dragging fights out longer, while I waited for it to wear off. The basic water usage mechanic is interesting, but maybe there are ways to expand on it to give more variance to combat, than mashing attack, over and over, and hoping not to get blinding.

Developer

I could not figure out how to make our robbers stay in their cells, so unless I figure that out, we could either buy into the conceit that even criminals need their recess until we call it off by running into them like bowling pins, or I could lock the jailhouse so players need not return after solving the puzzle.

Yes, you can indeed place fires under arrest for an instant K.O., which is why I had long wanted a way to distinguish between the two types of "death": "Arrest" for criminals and "extinguish" for fires. Unfortunately I could not figure out how to do that. Originally I wanted it such that robbers cannot be put down by firemen alone, but firemen's attacks can help increase the chance of a successful handcuffing (the only means of taking down a robber, which I originally thought would take place in battle). When I made fires immune to "death", however, it was not the "instant death" I initially thought it was; these fires would stay in my test battles even after copious amounts of damage, being impervious to "death", period. For now, let us just settle for the conceit that the constable has magic handcuffs capable of putting down fires!

Perhaps I should have made it more clear before the final meal that this would be the point of no return. And perhaps I should have seen if I could have made a more definitive ending than virtually starting day 7 over again with Minerva in tow.

Completing a side quest does give Juho and Kaj a new weapon that enables an attack on all enemies for double the cost of a regular attack, but perhaps one's water supply should be made to depend on an equippable water tank rather than on meals.

I absolutely agree that combat is exceedingly easy. When I asked what would suit a game for a 4-year-old, some said that it should not demand much more than to press the action button over and over again (For this reason, I wanted Lorent and Mette's default attacks to be based on their own weapons, the handcuffs, fire blanket, and handlamp, but that would have involved script editing which I cannot do on this engine.). What is also good about erring on the side of being too easy is that people are more likely to make it to the end.

Out of curiosity, when fighting "Mette on fire", did you put this fire down with your water attacks, or did she successfully get off her "stop, drop, and roll" move in which she instantly K.O.'s herself? I should have made it such that she regenerates HP too quickly to take her down normally, but the reason for her slow regen via "fanning herself" was that I originally had small numbers in mind for the very young audience I had mentioned in the above paragraph.