The Secret Santa Review of "fading remnants"!
With Hiddenone working on a game in a team with Babrelik, Futrchamp, and Plueschkatze, one would expect an exceptionally nice looking game. Between the four of them, there is years upon years of experience with RPGMaker. It shows, and does not disappoint. This short adventure game definitely has roots tied in with the adventure games produced in the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. While the story is all it’s own, someone who liked the SpaceQuest series or Beneath a Steel Sky will have a smile on their face while trying out this prototype. The story is delivered well, the art is fantastic, with very few hiccups in-between. This is a solid entry, and does the most important thing any game can do - it entertains.
The story, gives the background of a traumatized Earth, where something occurred to create upheaval and a reversion to a slightly less technological state. Zombie apocalypse? Nuclear war? Celestial impact? We don’t know, but what we do know is that Lia’s sister is missing, and peaches are tasty. The story is compressed a bit to just allow the player to play the game, but not big enough to fully explain anything. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as this is a snippet of a game - and this style of game usually has a story and background that is fed to the player in increments. However, in it’s current incarnation, the player does feel that they’re missing something from the narrative.
The artwork and mechanics are tied together at the hip, this is how things tend to work. This game is no exception to that. Each of the few maps are well drawn, colored, and balances that with clever puzzles and events. Not that there isn’t issues at all, the pipe puzzle could have used a little more work to fit the visual boundaries to the collision ones. All of the art, however, is spectacular, it all matches, and it’s easy to tell that great care was taken to fit all of the pieces together. The stylized choice of fonts, window borders, window backgrounds, etc - they all work together to build an experience that goes beyond what one would expect of an RPGMaker game.
Before I wrap this review up, I wouldn’t be doing the makers any favors without pointing out some hiccups. None of the following is game-breaking, but I would be amiss to not provide at least some points that could use improvement. Some of the characters, particularly within the party, look too clean for the world in which they live. The colors should be toned down a bit, as I really doubt anyone has time to use fabric softener and color-safe bleach. It doesn’t look bad as is, but the really vibrant colors take away from the world-view. Next, when the protagonist, Lia, has dialogue certain cut-scenes appears “off.” The maker took great care to dim the busts of the non-speaking participants, but Lia does not have a bust. Again, not game breaking, but it takes an extra moment to process who is speaking. I’m not sure how to address this, especially considering that the language and script is very natural otherwise.
In conclusion, I consider myself lucky to have drawn this gem from the pool of entries. This was a fun, albeit short, game prototype that was a joy from the moment I ran the executable to the moment it was closed. The music is complimentary, especially in that is provides atmosphere without becoming a detraction. The only real problems could be best described as hiccups rather than full on bugs or design flaws. I really enjoyed this entry, and I, for one, am looking to see this title completed. Bravo!
As a final note: I do not do numerical ratings when doing a review. If someone wants a one sentence encapsulation of my thoughts, it’s simply “download and play this game if you’ve ever enjoyed any adventure titles ever.”