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Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.
The graphics used were RTP, which is fine in and of itself. The issue was that the use of them (mostly the mapping) had a lot of new developer mistakes - walls were inconsistent heights, maps were large and very empty and bland, there were tiles used weirdly (for example roof tiles used as walls), items that didn't fit in houses (bookshelves that are 2 tiles high being used in rooms that were 1 tile high, for example) and over-all you could tell that the mapper of this game was new to using the tiles and had a limited understanding of how to use them.
The writing was pretty well done. There were a few minor grammar and punctuation issues but they were very few and far between. The story was presented well and I enjoyed what was there - the two main characters were well-written for what they were (a little cliche but not in a super obvious way).
The story itself was pretty light on the ground but it worked for what it was - a simple tale of youth finally going out and doing things for themselves, learning what does and doesn't work in life.
The sound use was pretty default, and the music was RTP tunes, but used appropriately. Nothing stood out too much in either sense, and what was used fit the scenes and areas well enough.
Gameplay consisted of battling, board-game world map mechanics and interacting with NPCs.
The battles found a good balance between being manageable and being a little challenging. You had to pay attention to what you were fighting and enemies had different ways of being dealt with. Thought went into how the player was supposed to act in battle and while there were set ways that gave you a leg up, you could still manage battles without doing so (though it made them more difficult).
The world map was interesting in that you had a choice of 1-3 movements per 'turn' and you had a day/night cycle which would count up for a personal challenge how many days it took to defeat the bounties, around which the game revolved. I would have liked to have seen some extra stuff like more of x monster during x time of day or moving camps over days (to make it a bit more a case of "will I reach them in time") and day amounts having consequences to the story in some ways.
There was no item collecting on-map (bar one treasure chest) and so the environments were made even more boring by lack of any kind of interaction.
What interactions were there were weird - in some places you had to confirm on the edge of an area map in order to leave, whilst on others it was based on-touch (with a choice for leaving added as well). Some NPCs required interacting to talk to whilst others you just walked in to. It was weird and should have been kept one way or the other, not both.
There was also an issue when it came to loading a save - the game seemed to expect you to save on the area maps and when you load those saves you cannot move. You can check your menu and interact with NPCs that come next to you, but you're ultimately stuck in one spot unless you found a way to save on the world map. It was incredibly bizarre and I think it came about from the world-map movement event. Switches are your friends, dev-chan, and you should use them to turn that event off when it's not being used so it doesn't mess up the game. Otherwise you have to start the game all over again.
The game made you think you had a few ways to go about defeating the bounties, and while you did have two choices for the last one, you really didn't have much choice despite the game pretending you did. For example, you had to have a silver weapon to even get to the werewolf, however the game made you think there were a few ways to get that weapon when there really wasn't - just the one way existed to get it, so you were forced into that path. The illusion of choice was annoying once you realised that you didn't really have much of a choice in the game. It would have been nice to have had expanded choices a little more.
That said, I rather enjoyed the simplicity of it. You walk around the world map, search for the bits you needed and piece together the puzzle in order to make the whole. Battles were engaging and short, and you weren't overloaded with them and knew how to deal with them as long as you talked to the few NPCs who shared information with you.
Having to seek out information on the monsters made it easier to figure out how to deal with the other monsters you came across and you really did get the feel of a newbie adventurer learning how to be better over time. I quite enjoyed that.
The theme of the game seemed to be about growth - about how youth gets better over time and about stretching your wings and going your own way. It wasn't blatant about shoving this theme in your face and you could miss it easily if you didn't really think about it, but it was there and it was rather well presented.
This aspect was well represented as you played the part of a new bounty hunter learning over time how to handle different enemies in order to piece together information and equipment to deal with bigger threats. Both the mechanics and story direction helped with this, leading you into learning more about enemies but also presenting you as a new hunter with no skills and equipment, building up a repertoire over time.
Unfortunately, one of the bigger aspects of being out from under the guiding wing of your parent is making choices for yourself and the game pretended that you got to choose specific things to do, however bar one choice at the end of the game, you really didn't. This was the one aspect that I think let down the theme portion, sadly. A little more choice in how to deal with the bigger enemies would have helped represent the theme much better.
Bounty is a stupid bounty hunter that knows their line of work is dangerous and can cost lives but charges like a stupid kid anyway. How old is this kid again?
The overworld system is trite and has a lot weird gameplay flaws. It doesn’t make sense why the player has to move all across the map in a loop instead of the direction where it’s the nearest. Instead it instigates useless time waste and grind on an otherwise unremarkable battle system. The game freezes when I load a saved game since I misunderstood the point of snake flute and I didn’t want to waste any of my supplies. Forcing me to start all over again from the beginning.
The game also tells you that events can happen based on how many days you get to areas, but so far when I tried to experiment with this and see if there could be any interesting events by taking it slow vs. going really fast, all I was greeted by are random encounters.
However there are some commendable parts about it like how you have to research your enemies and do some investigating like a real bounty hunter. It’s just the way exploration works that’s a major turn off.
The map are bland and boring. The game is already pretty minimalistic in terms of combat and gameplay, some polish visually would’ve helped a lot. Another thing is that I don’t understand if this game is comedy or what.
The overworld system needs a rehaul. The maps need a rehaul. The game should’ve checked if saving/loading works because I don’t want to redo and watch all those scenes again.
Total – 18/80
Erick Kusnadi, Taylor Fitzhugh, Marqui Simmons
RPG Maker MV
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