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Thank you for the review! To answer your question about the character Eremiel, I gender swapped the character from make to female for story purposes. 

Sorry you had difficulty with challenge level. Easy mode comes with save/heal points in both shops and before the bosses. Normal only supplies heal/save in the shops and Insane mode is mostly just to give me a challenge. The save points don't heal so you've got to make due with power ups to restore health.

As for the cover art, it actually does have a significant tie in with the story, one that isn't realized until you see all of the story and even then is easily missed.

Thanks again for playing my game. Hope you enjoyed what you got to see!

Thank you so much for the review!  It, along with the other information that you provided, has helped me out tremendously.  Pretty much all of the improvements for version 1.5 were due to your assistance.  It is a better game because of your help.  You rock!

Thanks! I feel like it's in a good state but I know that there's more I can do to make it better. I'll keep a look out for your update. 

In case you are still interested, I have an updated version of Eremiel in the forums.  The dash bar is implemented and it I think it improves the game play a lot.  Thank you for the idea, or at least for your input that inspired that idea.  I'm still clinging on to the pixel movement but I think/hope that the new dashing mechanic mitigates some of the issues.  Hit detection is still an issue that I haven't resolved yet but that burst of speed when you need it usually lets you get away from danger and mop up the enemies before they get back over to you.  I think I toned down the enemy spawns a bit too.  I listed most of the improvements on the forum page if you're interested.  Either way, thanks again for playing my game and I look forward to seeing how yours progresses.  I like what you've got so far!

I've been meaning to get around to playing this one since you played mine as part of the Secret Santa thing we have going on in the forums.  To start, you have a really great intro.  It's a little tropey but hey, most of the best stuff is tropes done well and it seems like you're on the right track here.  The mapping looks wonderful, very good use of lighting and fog effects, and it seem like you have a solid structure in place as far as mechanics are concerned.  The music has a nice retro feel to it and suits the setting well.

There's not a lot of actual game-play in this early version so I don't have a lot to work with as far as offering suggestions but here's a few.  Odds are, you've already tweaked some numbers and fixed some things so I don't know how helpful this will be but here it goes.

  • Once I entered the swamp, I couldn't get back to town.  It just kept sending me back to the swamp when I transferred to the town map from that direction.
  • There was a couple of tileset issues.  Nothing major.  For instance, if I am all the way at the bottom of the inside of one of the houses, I can walk in front of the shelf on the wall.  If I'm one square up, I'm behind it like I should be.
  • The bees just seemed like they had way too many HPs.  Thankfully, they missed most of the time.
  • I couldn't open one of the treasure chests.  It said I had to open it from the front but there didn't appear to be any way to get to the front of it.

Like I said, minor stuff.  Very easily fixed if not fixed already.  I like what you've got so far.  I think your game is off to a really good start.

To start off, thank you very much for your review.  I'm actually very close to having an updated version of Eremiel ready to post in the forums and your feedback is very helpful.

All of the characters are indeed pulled from biblical sources, although mostly from apocrypha, not canonical.  None of them, including Eremiel, have much if any lore written about them that I could find.  I chose lesser-known figures on purpose so I'd have more of a blank slate to work with and to keep the story more personal and small scale.  In a single hour, when most of your time is running around blasting monsters, there's just not enough time to develop more than a couple characters so I focused on the main two.

As far as the things you didn't like about the game, I'm working on improving as much as I can in those areas, especially with pacing, balancing and bringing more humanity to the lost souls you rescue.  I also appreciate the complements on the things you did like.  It's always good to know the things I got right, too.

My inspiration for cutscene character movement is a little tricky to pin down.  I just kind of did it naturally but just about everything we do draws inspiration from other sources.  I'd have to put credit in a couple of places.  When I first started messing with RPG Maker about a year and a half ago, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to learn everything I could about the program.  One source was Echo607.  I distinctly remember her talking about having your characters move around during cutscenes to break up the monotony of just reading text back and forth as your characters talk.  The other big influence was probably Final Fantasy 6.  It's one of my favorite RPGs of all time and the characters do a lot of the things you mention (pacing back and forth, turning away etc).  I wished for, and I believe even asked for, more character poses from the generator like sitting, kneeling, raising your arms in the air and such and FF6 was specifically in my mind when doing so.  The characters do a lot of these kinds of things in that game and it makes the cutscenes in that game a joy to watch.

Thank you again for your review!  I really appreciate it.  I'm certainly not expecting it but if you'd like to help me continue to improve this game in the future, look for my updated version in the forums very soon.  I had a lot of fun making this one and hope to nail down this type of action mechanic as best I can to make it a fun experience throughout the entire game.  Take care.

I was glad to get this one to do a secret Santa review on as I saw that I had already downloaded it and  had planned to play it either way. It's a neat game that has what appears to be custom characters and tilesets and they look really good. The music is great too and fits the theme perfectly plus it's scoped well to fit into the "under one hour" suggestion for IGMC contest. 

The game play is straightforward. You run around and find items that help you progress towards your goal. The unique feature here is that you independently control three different characters who each have their own special ability or two. You have to figure out how to utilize each one in order to either find items or to help the other characters gain access to areas of the map that they normally wouldn't be able to get to. There even appears to be multiple solutions to accomplish many of the various tasks which is really nice and allows for different experiences if you play through more than once. 

The game provides a lot of helpful hints if you interact with the people and objects so I didn't get stuck or have to think too hard about how to move the story along which is often the bane of games like this. Kudos for that. There's also some interesting characters you interact with but unfortunately, due to the scope of the game required for IGMC, you don't get to spend enough time with most of them to really get to know them. 

There's really only two negative things I can say about The Rosewood Masquerade and they're both very minor. The first is that, for a masquerade ball, there didn't seem to be a lot of people in attendance. Perhaps your characters got there early before most of the guests arrived. More likely, because of the custom art, the time crunch of the IGMC competition required that several guests be cut. Given more time, I'd suspect that the party would seem more lively.

The other one would be that it seemed to lack a certain wow factor. This is probably a personal bias, though. I wrote a game not too long ago that had a very similar character switching mechanic and required you have your characters work together to solve puzzles so that probably desensitized me to the central game play element. If I had to guess, I'd think that anyone who hasn't played many games like this, or hasn't spent a ton of time creating, testing and debugging game play similar to this, would find that wow factor switching between the three characters and figuring out how to use them to progress through the story. It is a really cool idea which is precisely why I did something similar before. 

All in all, this is a very well done and enjoyable game. It's fun, has a unique plot and setting, is bug-free as far as I can tell and is pretty much solid all around. It's definitely worth checking out. I liked it a lot. Great job! 

Moop is an adorable little game with custom graphics designed to look like it was made for the original Nintendo Gameboy, complete with the green tint (a retro-style I personally love). The game is fantastic. Cute and fun characters, interesting puzzles that aren't really meant to be overly challenging, good humor and even a serious life lesson or two makes this a must play. It's fantastic! 

While there's no way I'll be able to play all of the IGMC games, I'd be shocked if Moop doesn't take one of the four contest prizes. It's that well done and doesn't appear to have any deficiencies. Great job! 

Fantastic artwork, funny jokes and naughty innuendos make Quidget a really fun experience and most likely a lock for one of the four contest prizes. It's a short game and there's not a ton of game play elements involved but it's fun and beautiful and definitely worth checking out. 

Great boobz ... err, I mean job. Great job! 

I'm assuming that you have a lot more planned for this title based of that beautiful world map, right? 

I know what you mean. 

You're probably right. Maybe it was just the tactical nature of your skill system and the large party size, and of course the aesthetics, that made me think more WRPG than JRPG. Overall, though, it was a good game. Better than most and definitely had more crunch than any other I've tried out. 

By the way, how far in the story/game can you get in this version? 

Dear Edwin is an absolutely gorgeous game if you're a fan of pixel art (as I am). The animations and cutscenes are wonderfully intricate. The music is good too and fits well with the theme. The story and dialog are good and fit the Sherlock Holmes type setting very well. 

With that said, the dialog can come off as a bit dry. I tried to stay in character to get the most out of it but that's just kind of the nature of this genre. It's supposed to be. What this game needs to really be magical is good voice acting. If I could hear out loud the witty banter, the snide remarks, the various dialects and the subtle but important emotional shifts that are really easy to miss when just reading the text, I believe it would have that final missing piece that it needs. I do understand that this is a game jam entry and concessions do have to be made in order to get it done so I certainly won't fault it for that. 

The only real negative thing I can say about Dear Edwin is the few parts where timed button presses are implemented. As a dev, I understand that no mechanics or ideas will appeal to everyone and you just have to make the best overall choices for your game. I typically won't tell anyone to change their game as I'll usually just say it's not for me or suggest what I feel would work better. But in this case, I'll be blunt. Take this out. It doesn't fit. It doesn't work. You'd be much better off just asking the player how they want to story to go. After leisurely sitting back and just absorbing the story and the visuals, getting hit with, "Quick, press these buttons in this order before the time runs out" feels so jolting and out of place. With a different theme where action elements might make more sense, this could work. Not here, though. 

But that's a very minor gripe and doesn't detract from the overall experience. I will agree with others that more choice in how the story plays out would be a good thing to add in. There is a certain element missing as you are more watching a movie than you are playing a game and more choices would add to that experience and make it more fun. But again, game jam entry ... limited time frame ... can't be overly critical all things considered. 

Dear Edwin is a very impressive title that's definitely worth checking out unless you just really don't like visual novel type games. And even then, you might want to check it out anyway just for the visuals.

Great job! 

Yes, I believe that you are correct. Due to my decision to use pixel movement, you can be standing in the middle of two blocks but since the game has to pick a tile as your position, the event touch can and sometimes does trigger from what appears as too far away. It's a flaw, I admit. I just tried to compensate with some extra hit points as I didn't have time to seek out a more elegant solution. 

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Thanks! Fun is the most important aspect of a game in my opinion so if you thought it was fun, I'm more than  thrilled. I appreciate you trying my game out and glad you enjoyed it. 

Edit: Oh, I see you did Quidget. That's on my shortlist of games to check out soon. I'll let you know what I think. 

Thanks for taking the time to provide your point of view and ideas you feel would make it a better game. It is valuable information I can take in and play around with and see how it affects game play. As I said, I'm certainly not saying you're wrong or trying to argue with you or anything. Just stating why I made the design decisions that I did. Thanks again for your feedback and taking interest in this project. I hope you enjoy the rest of the contest entries as well. 

If I had designed a larger story and world around this game, I definitely would. But by the time I refactored everything to make it larger, I'd be pretty much starting at about the same point as I would be if I just made a whole new game with the same or similar base mechanics. I did enjoy working on this title so I wouldn't be surprised if I take another stab at this sort of action based game. 

Unsung Heroes is an unapologetically Western RPG. Most of you probably know but for those of you who aren't familiar with the genre, it was the OG of computer RPGs. They are traditionally low fantasy, highly technical games that often take place in a medieval Britain-like setting. These games were the computerized RPGs back in the 1980s until JRPGs like Final Fantasy stole the show. It's a niche genre that still has a dedicated fan base and if you fall into that target audience, you'll definitely want to check this game out. 

I myself am mixed on this genre. If I get into one of these games, it's extraordinarily rewarding. But it can often times be difficult to get there. Unsung Heroes thankfully falls a little on the lighter side. While it has all of the hallmarks of a classical Western RPG, it's not nearly as overly technical as some. You don't have to decide exactly what part of the body (head, arms, legs, torso etc) to attack and there isn't an overly complicated magic system that requires I have purchased or sought out 2 grams of sulfur and a salamander scale in order to cast a Burning Hands spell or something. I also don't have to go through overly tedious activities like ensure that I have food for the road, make sure all my weapons have their blades sharpened or keep tabs on my stock of arrows, crossbow darts and other projectiles I may need. 

There's still a lot of crunch to sift through, though. Most skills, including your basic attacks, do several things and you'll spend a lot of time figuring out which skills to use when. The game starts out with a group of five characters that all have an attack and an extra skill or two and these skills are often complex. Add this buff, recover HP or defense, inflict this de-buff, raise such and such stats, do more damage depending in the state or level of health your enemies have etc. Unfortunately, these initial battles are just part of the story and you won't be keeping these characters for long. Then the true game starts and you'll soon get a brand new set of 5 characters which all have a new set of skills to learn. Like I said before, this type of game requires a higher level of investment on the part of the player. 

Now that's all well and good. I agreed to review this game as part of a Secret Santa thing we have going on in the forums so at the very least, I will spend an hour playing the game as that's the amount of time that the official judges of ICMC 2017 will spend during their own review process. 

To start out, I will list the positives from my time the game. First of all, it looks really nice. The choice of the Medieval tileset, characters and monsters are absolutely perfect for a Western RPG. The mapping and dialog are equally fitting and stay well within the theme. The world map is absolutely gorgeous. The battle system has some intriguing ideas in it. Your characters have a both a health bar and another bar that represents your defenses that usually have to be exhausted before you start losing health. Different skills tactically play into this mechanic. Say a skill allows you recover health, it won't do you any good to use it until your defenses are down and you've lost some actual health so you'll want to save those until later in the battle. 

Unfortunately, I ran into some issues that put a damper on the experience. Some of them were minor like how the NPCs didn't react to events that happened in-game. These NPCs in the first town guide you to the king and your squire and after doing this, they don't adjust. It's nowhere near game breaking but it's a relatively simple task to have NPCs not tell you that your squire wants to see you when he's currently standing right next to you or that the king needs to talk to you after you've already talked to him. It breaks immersion and that's an import thing for this genre. 

But I can forgive that especially considering the time constraints involved in a game jam. I hit some other problems that were worse. The first one was the battle tutorial in the starting town. A Knight who is training some squires or something offers to explain the battle system and offers a practice sparing match. This is kind of unnecessary as you have to fight 3 battles before you actually take the role of the main protagonist but I still read the explanations anyway and then tried out a test battle. I got absolutely murdered during the sparing match. The reason this happened is because the game apparently assumed that I would have my whole party together before doing this even though I'm guaranteed to come across this first. Thankfully, you don't actually die when you lose this battle but it does take you down to 0 defense and 1 HP, and there doesn't seem to be any way to rest or recover your lost health. I thought that maybe since there was no Inn and I couldn't rest in the bed I woke up in, that the game would just be nice and restore my health when I ventured out of town. It was not that forgiving. As soon as I left town, I was greeted with a set battle and my main character is rockin' 1 HP and 0 defense at the start of my first battle that matters. Surprisingly, I was still able to overcome this even though poor Sir Gaelin got struck down before ever getting a chance to draw his sword. 

I then search around the foggy forest and see another enemy. I try to run but get distracted by a shiny object nearby. I pick up said object but that gives my undead pursuers the chance to catch up to me while the message boxes are up and I fight another battle. I'm happy to see that my main character isn't on his deathbed any longer as the whole party seems to heal after encounters. Sweet! But after I win the battle, this enemy isn't removed from the map and it immediately fights me again ... and again ... and again. A costly little mistake that forces me to reload to a previous save. Avoid the eastern part of this first area. Head north towards the bridge. 

So I ended up reloading an earlier save and making sure I avoided this encounter. I get to a story driven encounter that introduces me to 3-4  new characters who all join my group. It goes a lot better after that as I continue on and end up with two more characters in my party in short order.

So I have about 10 people in my party now, am probably about an hour forty minutes in (not counting restarts) and don't really feel like I've gotten very far but again, that's par for the course for this type of game. Short of the previously mentioned oversights, which can be fixed very easily, it's not a bad game. I will keep tabs with the progress on this one and will probably come back to it at some point. I'd like to see how it develops because there is a lot of good stuff here and I am starting to get into it. But I have a feeling that a lot more work is going to go into this one and there's probably a point where it's going to cut off due to the short time frame required to make these IGMC games. As with most games in this genre, it's an odd choice for the short 1 hour format but would make for a really fun game if you're willing to spend 20-70 hours with it when completed. 

There's a lot of potential here for those who want that level of commitment. For those who just want to casually play a fun little game for an hour and get the whole experience, this isn't the title you're looking for. All and all, though, great work! This game is going to scratch an itch that few game do when you're finished with it. 

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Thank you very much for the review.  I'm glad that you mostly enjoyed my game. To address a few of your points:

I felt that an "anytime you want" dash option made combat too easy unless I made the monsters faster as well which made combat way too hectic. I know that disabling dash is a big no-no to many but the game just played better without it, in my opinion. Maybe a temporary dash with a stamina bar would be a good addition. I do wish RPG Maker gave us more control over the speed of characters and events. 

The pixel movement does indeed make lining up your shot a little more challenging. I did my best to compensate for that. Later on, you can get a weapon upgrade that makes it super easy to hit everything as its hit radius is much wider.

Rescuing souls is your primary source of money in the game. In the first area, yeah you only get 2 per rescued soul and 1 if an enemy drops a crystal. These numbers double each time you advance to a new area so if you want to acquire the cash for all of the weapon and armor upgrades, you'll want to do this. If not then you can charge straight through but you'll have a harder time. 

I know that the natural inclination for most RPG Maker games is to stick your hands in every crack and crevice in hopes of getting hidden loot. That it how many game utilize these cave features. The reason you see so many of these in Eremiel is because they are spawn point indicators. You generally want to keep a relatively safe distance from these as a monster could pop out of one at any time (unless you're standing right on it, I'm not that mean). 

I likely won't do too much more to this title besides polish up a few things that I didn't get a chance to before the deadline. The scope of this game was set to 1 hour. The story, game play and level design was all crafted around this desired play time. I may use the knowledge that I acquired from this project to design a different, much larger game in the future, though. 

Again, thank you for playing and for all of your valuable input. I believe that I have your game downloaded and will give it a shot as soon as I am able. 

No problem. You're off to a great start. This is exactly what I should have done for my first project. Instead, I'll probably never finish it. And you did it in a month even with the learning curve added in. 

The Deep, as described on the project page, is created by an old-school Dungeon Master (ala Dungeons & Dragons). Even if this wasn't stated upfront, it would be totally obvious after playing for just a couple minutes. 

The game starts out just like a new D&D campaign typically does. You are some random dude with a personality based off of a single trait, gruff in this case, and you find yourself shipwrecked and stranded on an island. Fortunately, there's a small village nearby and the first person you meet is like, "Hey, I'll join up with you" and you go to a nearby cave to defeat the creature that's been terrorizing the village. The Deep is very standard, default and straight to the point. 

Now it may sound like I'm bashing the game but I'm not. I'm also an old-ish-school D&D player and sometime Dungeon Master as well as an old-school JRPG fan. The Deep is a first project by the developer yet it avoids making the mistakes that many do when starting out. It's not trying throw in a crap-ton of extra systems and plug-ins. It's using RPG Maker out of the box and utilizing it for what it does best. Oddly, that actually makes this game stand out to some degree because almost no one seems to make the type of game that you can make with the default engine anymore. I too am guilty of this. 

So yeah, you're not going to be awestruck by the graphics or mapping. The game play isn't groundbreaking. The story and character development is pretty sparse. But it's fun and playable and doesn't have any overly glaring flaws.

This game is much better than you'll find from most first projects. I'm definitely going to keep tabs on this dev because when he has time to learn the RPG Maker engine more thoroughly, I have a feeling that some really cool games will come. 

Great job!

Thank you playing my game and for your comments. I will do my best to address your points. 

I am aware and would like to improve the responsiveness of picking up power ups. I had to choose between ones that stayed on the screen forever and ones that disappeared after a time but relied on checking over and over to see if you were standing on its square. I largely preferred the dynamic of having to choose to sometimes risk danger or even voluntarily take a hit in order to grab the power up that allows you to ward off a larger danger encroaching nearby. 

Most of creatures attacks are based on RPG Maker's built in Event Touch trigger. With only a short time frame to make our games, exploring alternative collision detection methods just wasn't in the cards for this release. 

Save/heal points were placed in shops because they are pretty much the only safe areas. Grinding isn't required if you free the souls throughout the game unless you really want to get them early. I wasn't expecting anyone to do this in a game that designed to be completed in under an hour though. The direction I tried to lead players down was exploring the maps and freeing the souls to get money and pushing forward once you were done with each map. If you want to forgo a lot of the weapon and armor upgrades, you can push right through but the later areas and bosses will be more challenging (but not impossible). I also chose shops for the save points instead right in front of boss rooms because it makes you journey a distance and possibly be down some health before fighting the boss. That's were the fear of a game over was designed to happen. 

Certain terrain features signify where monsters spawn from... 

Slimes - small holes in the walls
Bats - Larger cracks
Skeletons - Human bones
Ghosts - Coffins

... etc. There are some places on the bottoms of maps where these visual queues aren't there. I tried to limit the number of those. 

Yes, randomness has its disadvantages at times. Some designers choose to remove it completely. I tend to favor it because it makes replayability more enjoyable and developers have to replay their games a lot. If I play my own game a bunch of times and know where everything is going to be and when everything is going to happen, I get bored and have a harder time assessing if my game is still fun (to me, at least). For me, fun is the most important aspect of a game and the thing I shoot for most. 

I understand that no one wants to run away from enemies but I believe that games like this need some challenge to be fun. There are lots of opportunities to just mow through hoards on monsters but then there's times that things heat up a bit too much and you need to reposition yourself on the battlefield. That was the balance I was aiming for. 

You are sending the souls to Heaven, where they would have gone by now if not trapped. That's what the pillar of light represents. The black tentacles meant that those beings just got sent to Hell. 

These responses are purely my points of view, design decisions and concessions made to save time. I went into this project knowing full well that it would difficult to create an action game with RPG Maker and knew that it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. I'm not saying that you are wrong or anything. I respect and honor your thoughts and opinions and am thankful you played my game and took the time to share them. 

And hey, for as many grievances you listed, I'm happy you still liked it enough that you played through all the way to the end. Thanks again and take care! 

This is a super cute game. Meet a lovable cast of "monsters" who live together in a little town and try to stay away from those awful "heroes" who just go around killing monsters for no reason. Get to know and lend a hand to your neighbors, all of whom have distinct and interesting personalities, and learn about a rare condition that affects the way you feel emotions. 

I enjoyed this game a lot. It's cute, funny, relaxing and at times, even a little sad. Great job, just1witness! 

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my game. Sorry that that door animation didn't behave for you for whatever reason. It's funny, I've run through that door 100 times and never had an issue with it. I'll look into it, though. As for dash, that was removed as it would have changed the dynamics of the game too much. My remove dash plug-in must not get rid of it from the keyboard config plug-in. Perhaps there's and option in there I can remove that with. 

There is a weird glitch where after you defeat a boss, the power up drops go as  little wonky and drop multiple of the same one more often for a short time. I didn't have much time to look into this one as it doesn't harm game play much. 

Yes, Holy is your default attack while Star is a power up and thus not affected by the upgrades. I must have got a little rushed and careless towards the end and not noticed the misnamed boxes. Thanks for catching that. 

As for the loading screen, I apologize for that. I actually almost left it off due to this issue as I created and testing my game on a very low powered computer and it happened to me at times too. The last thing I do on my project to is always to enable the MadeWithMV plug-in and for whatever reason, it's extremely un-optomized and runs really slow if RAM is low. I was hoping that most people would be playing on better hardware than I was using. I wanted to switch that out but was too afraid to try out a new plug in or event it in the final hours of the competition. 

Thank you for your review! I appreciate the feedback. 

Thanks! I appreciate you giving my game your time. I'm happy you enjoyed it. :)