A vast improvement! The approach of pixel-style sprites/tiles with HD UI elements has really grown on me overall and I think it's perfect for this game. Excited to see more of Chapter 1 (and beyond)!
Recent community posts
Thanks for giving the game a second play through Human. Also, congrats on finding/defeating Reid! (he's tougher on Dark Path IMO, so hats off to your skills)
I'm still humbled by the reception this project received. Can't wait to see what the next jam may bring.
May the Harold be with you - always.
These are great! I have a related question:
I'm using your Pixel Style battlers in an upcoming game and need an Angel type enemy, then saw that there's a silhouette Dark Angel battler in this one. Is there by chance a standard, or pixel-style, Dark/Angel battler in one of your other packs? I can use the silhouette version if that's all you offer but I also wasn't sure if it was in another pack and I just missed it.
Thank you very much Crossbow! I appreciate the great feedback you've provided.
With any luck this game will be completed by the end of 2022, but I am committed to releasing it regardless of the timeline.
Hi there - thanks for playing and for your interest in the game. I'm hoping to get this one done by end of 2022! (wish me luck)
New Game+ lets you bring in any upgrades you may have purchased from the special vendor in Area6, and it also brings over any Champion's Medals (the main upgrade currency) from that save file, so that if you're working towards a bigger upgrade you don't have to collect all the medals in a single run.
There are other ways to earn upgrades but most of them are through the special merchant for the moment.
I hope that helps!
A well-crafted jrpg featuring a classic aesthetic but with many modern sensibilities and tons of customization.
Great story, great characters, great battle system, and an absolute ton of secrets and side content to dig into.
Highly recommend folks give this game a try.
Yeah the FF part of the holodeck was badass, and I'm glad I had time to at least do a partial replay.
The balance was kinda wonky and the roles shifted a bit versus expectations, as Black Mage with Healstaff became my primary healer (except when Limit was on) and my Red Mage became single target healer + Protect dispenser with tertiary melee, while White Mage was Thor Hammer spam until Miracle was needed. Fighter gonna fight though (thankfully Provoke was OK, but the bosses were a biiiiit too AoE heavy I think).
Satisfying, big budget special effects for the spells and skills was good.
Definitely one of the more memey fun moments of the jam and the battle music was epic (I noticed certain parts were ripped directly from the core FF games right down to the soundfont).
Had the same issues with trying to do the item chain as pointed out previously and eventually gave up/ran out of time.
Ending 2 was fun at least.
Thanks for playing Human! Was eager to see what you thought of this one compared to my previous jam submissions.
Honestly there were a few points during the dev cycle I was thinking "am I the only person that's going to find this fun?" and I had to make a choice whether to stay the course or pull back a bit. (the difficulty slider was my 11th hour compromise)
You're probably completely correct about that optimal strategy; while I was able to support at least a few different playstyles, some are objectively better than others. I don't know if that's a problem that can/should be solved per se, but it's still always on my mind.
By the way, since I'm assuming you completed the game, which route did you go? Also if you're looking for an extra challenge that is very difficult to turtle against, there may or may not be a hidden boss from another RPG maker engine lurking somewhere...
Thank you for the excellent feedback Charlotte.
I wasn't sure how well the free exploration and non-linearity would be received but it seems like that's resonated fairly well with most players. In retrospect I do wish that I had made the initial story hook more prominent as most of the real backstory is gated behind the post-boss cutscenes and I appreciate the folks that have pointed out the need for a more compelling intro.
Regarding the aesthetic, I surprisingly couldn't find any RMMZ conversions of the 2k3 tile set and ended up making my own, which was time consuming (especially those blasted autotiles as they work differently in 2k3). It was very worth it in my opinion however. And I am very glad the overall vibe and atmosphere seems to have come through as intended.
It was a joy to make and a it's been a joy to see people's responses to the game.
There's some great insight here, and it actually reminded me that I mis-read of the lines immediately before the final stretch (where it says you can take all 6 members) as something more akin to FFX where you could mid-battle switch. Sucks to hear of the bug with VS Party swapping and how that impacted the game; I do appreciate knowing a little bit behind the scenes in that regard.
And yeah, technical issues of all sorts are "real" and I totally get it :)
Truth be told, I started my playthrough a week ago and only got a couple battles in before getting overwhelmed; had to pick it back up after a palate cleanser of sorts, but very glad I did.
Hoo boy, a lot to unpack here.
Let me first say: overall, very solid in pretty much every area.
I didn't get a lot of the story references to last year's jam either due to my poor memory or it was related to games I hadn't played, so trying to digest each wall of text was... let's say I appreciated the quality of the writing more than the quantity or details. Sometimes it felt like "jargon soup" during the expository scenes, which is unfortunate as the depth of world-building is impressive on the one hand but it pulls the audience out of the experience/ruins immersion to have so many WTF-is-happening moments. I don't know if there's any way of mitigating these issues while telling the story you wanted to tell, so take all this with a handful of salt. Other players may also be more in tune with the meta arc than I.
Music choices were good, seems like most SFX were RTP which is fine.
I kinda wish you weren't encouraged to pick a single team and double down on it. The relationship mechanic and how it impacted stats/skills was satisfying but it also meant I ignored characters for the whole playthrough. And, while I enjoyed the entire game, it was definitely too lengthy to do a second run just to see what other sidequests were there. (choice over-commitment and being unnecessarily long are criticisms I have about my own entry, so there's that...) I would have liked to see dialog branches or something interactive during story scenes; while the menu navigation was well done, structurally there wasn't much "gameplay" outside of battles and menuing.
Speaking of battles, I think 1-2 waves of jobbers could have been trimmed per "area". I get their utility as a chance to experiment with character skills and maybe drain some resources, but there came a point where I just started AoE-ing them down to get it over with. The fights vs. enemy contestants were much more mechanically interesting though it felt like giving them all Stimulants was kind of an artificial way of padding the fights out. Surprisingly the area bosses felt much easier than the 3-v-3 battles, and I usually cleared these in just a few rounds even with the auto-revive or other shenanigans. It seemed like each one had a cool gimmick at least.
The difficulty spike after the 3 main areas was curious. I had done all of the side dialog and was purchasing items like a madman so it didn't seem too daunting, but Buffet Harold in particular felt at times like his damage mitigation was unfair. (I also suspect, I should have remembered to hover my mouse over him to see what effects were modifying damage, but I forgot about that plugin until the following battle.) There might have actually been too many mechanics to keep track of. Like, it's great to see this level of complexity with a close-to-default battle system, and some of the synergies were just fantastic (Minotaur Harold's design was brilliant in particular), but there were also some things that felt like they should have interacted with one another that didn't; perhaps having a more uniform design with fewer unique gimmicks might have helped there. Side note, it doesn't look like any restorative items remove the DoT stacks from Dark spark type moves, even though the descriptors imply they should.
Final few fights were tricky, epic, and over-the-top. Ending was solid, and despite being out of the loop in many ways I found the wrap-up fulfilling. All in all, the character interactions were super well done once they really got underway.
Lastly, I wish I could award bonus points for this being such a love letter to Haroldness itself and a celebration of the community at large.
Wow, thanks DJ!
Glad you've enjoyed it so far, that means a lot.
I figured after last-placing the previous year's Harold Jam I was due for something other than a 5 minute meme game.
Admittedly most of the humor is buried in silly references and Easter Eggs. I think that and the writing are points that I can improve most* on overall.
Also, yeah I wish that janky overworld combat didn't randomly misfire!
Some QoL improvements and balancing would have gone a long, long way with this one.
It was cute, funny, and original, and had a pretty good soundtrack (some songs RTP-adjacent? but there was a lot of custom stuff too). Dialog was a bit uneven and needed editing for grammar/spelling etc., but it was also snappy at the right times and the humor was great. I appreciate the custom graphics though there was a mishmash of art styles (whatever it's a jam).
I have the same complaints mentioned below about the skill learning being awkward. I wish you'd stated on the item that it teaches the skills, as I also thought these were single use and didn't interact with the skill system until the greed fight.
Incidentally, greed is where I stopped playing. I think the story was good, but I basically knew more or less where it was going, and the gameplay just didn't work for me well enough to want to bash through the encounters. Battles are massively imbalanced with physical being dramatically more powerful than magic except for being susceptible to counters. Plus the prevalence of multi-hit enemy skills that do way too much burst damage, enemy healers that can revive, skills that underperform for various reasons (description says "great damage" but it does less than your starter arrow), all kind of made the difficulty feel padded and artificial rather than strategic, which is the worst kind of challenge. I would have been more likely to complete this game if it had no battle system instead, and from a combat focused player that's not a great sign.
My other, lesser issues: the repetitive transformation scene got old fast. Too much walking around that could have been shorter cut scene.
Ultimately I'd consider this a great effort and for a player that has enough patience to just RNG brute force their way through a couple bosses I am sure it would be much more satisfying.
There's a lot to like, and a lot of small issues that add up to make it difficult for me to play too much in one sitting. Full disclosure, I'm rating this based on what I've played, and if I finish it before the end of the ratings period, I might update.
To echo what's been said below, the game is pretty big and open. I was surprised and impressed by the scope and at the same time, gosh I wish there was a freaking quest journal to track it all, since you're introducing new tasks and plot threads before we close existing ones.
The characters have distinct voices to a degree, and I think the overall writing and humor is decent, it definitely needs a couple of passes from an editor though - the typos and wrong word choices were just enough to pull me out of being focused on the game itself.
Don't like the map combat (but hey my game's map combat was janky too! it's a jam game) and the RPG fights seem underwhelming so far. However, I do like the on-map destructible objects and the cool secrets and map interactions. So, gameplay is strongest in the non-traditional-RPG stuff and I suppose that's fine.
I should also add, good job at capturing the fun and whimsical feeling of Haroldness.
Thanks den for sitting through that wall of text I wrote haha. I could tell you put a lot of effort into this project, and many of the things I didn't care for needed tuning / rebalancing rather than a complete overhaul, so I think you're on the right track conceptually.
Exactly, jams are the best opportunity for that and it's great you were able to come in with that perspective.
I'd still call the project a success even if it ain't my thing. I'd also add that my opinions generally run alongside a pretty small subset of potential players, so there's that.
The custom assets (battlers, chapter splash screens etc.), and general presentation are quite good. The writing is pretty good overall, though I think there's not a lot of tonal consistency or coherence - and if that's by design, it's probably more jarring than intended.
I know it's not a "serious" game given the whole anime intro song and whatnot but at the same time there's some deep / introspective dialog which would probably land better if the game had a more cohesive voice.
Gameplay-wise, there were a ton of features that I almost liked but almost every aspect of the combat in particular felt like an opportunity to do better.
The UI of the combo system took a while to get used to. I wish the Help box would just display whichever combo effect you were going to get (if any) as it was just information overload seeing all of the descriptions for the abilities themselves, plus having to wait for the combo state icons to flash back so you could remember which letter you'd already inflicted. I am aware part of the battle system is dealing with "tank" enemies, but at the same time that's super annoying because when you go to set up a combo on a solo target only to have 3 tanks drop out and disrupt your plan it's a big feel-bad. I think if you were to refine this combo system further, I'd consider making the A/B/C thing a global effect not a target-specific state, so at least you can't get randomly screwed by tank adds.
I'm unsure if Seal doesn't work properly, or if part of the intended design was to not lock out all AoEs but rather just specific ones. Either way, I found myself under-using Seal because I could never say for certain if it was working.
Enemies feel like bags of HP. Most fights drag on after a particular phase is "solved", but because there's no way to determine how many phases an enemy has you can't determine whether you need to conserve resources or not. I found myself getting frustrated very early not by the difficulty itself, but by how much of the difficulty is just due to the fact that the character abilities and interactions demand planning while the boss design precludes planning.
If you get the boss' HP bar down to 33% at the wrong time (low on resources) you're hosed. Whereas knowing that it's a 33% tipping point you could sandbag a bit and regain MP/Focus.
I think non-boss fights being skippable is somewhat at odds with the fact that grinding is encouraged and possibly even baked into the intended difficulty curve.
There are a ton of mechanics, and some of them are absolutely neat individually, but they don't all play nice together. Ultimately it felt like a choice between farming to power through, or bashing my head against every boss fight, and either of those was too much of a slog to commit to.
Very interesting concept.
The antics are quite Harold, and the use of MV3D to really bring that stage-play thing to life is impressive.
I'm not super sold on the gameplay. There's a lot of waiting for the dialog (I know it's synced with the music, and that's amazing don't get me wrong), and there's a lot of individual moments where you have choices, but too many I think fall into illusion of choice from a functional perspective.
For example when fighting a certain slime, you can Slash for 0 damage or Spark for some damage. Playing without foreknowledge, the enemy just gets a free hit on you for using Slash and wasting that turn, and it feels kinda cheap. At the same time, you're instructed to preserve PP, but for that particular battle, you can't avoid using PP. I didn't try Defend strats as that fight is before the one where it makes it pretty obvious that you're not supposed to attack the opponent.
It also felt weird that I couldn't avoid that battle (or at least the dialog tree to do so was unintuitive).
I think the presentation, music, and technical wizardry behind this are all spectacular. And, it's entertaining in the sense that watching a short musical or something might be. My problem is - and this is something that cutscene heavy games have always run afoul of IMO - that I don't want to be entertained passively, I want to have fun actively by doing. This is what separates gaming from other types of media and by no means is this game worse in that respect than a visual novel, just to be clear.
That all said, and knowing I am not the target audience for this type of experience, it's a very high quality game that I think everyone should try.
Hey Aesica! Thanks for the feedback and sorry to hear you ran into those bugs.
I had in fact received some input on major bug #1 on your behalf; un/fortunately, it only occurs when the Red dungeon is completed exactly second, which I missed during testing. Apologies for that, I would have understood if it ended your run but was glad to hear you were able to hack through it.
I hadn't heard about the fairy fountain bug previously - any chance you can recall whatever the first item you upgraded was? I should also mention, the VS Crafting system expects any items you're trying to use as materials to be in inventory rather than equipped; I've noticed that has tripped up some players as well (not sure if it's what you experienced or if you mean it literally wouldn't launch the crafting menu after the first time).
For better or worse, Defend was horribly OP in this game and probably just about mandatory to conserving HP/MP/AP and stashing Brave Points, which was the "meta".
One thing I love about designing battle systems: you never know how the player is going to interact with them.
One thing I hate about designing battle systems: you never know how the player is going to interact with them.
I'll definitely take your experience into consideration for future endeavors. I intended there to be a lot of "correct" solutions to combat - and for the most part hit my goal - but the fact that there are still "un-fun"/slog play patterns is something I'd like to address.
I appreciate your feedback and am glad you enjoyed the game!
There was supposed to be a "push any button to skip" for both the intro splash screen and the title fade-in, but... I couldn't get it to work consistently for some reason.
Relieved that the buggy map combat wasn't too bad as well :)
A great submission - very strong indeed!
Battles are good, though there may be too many skills given the relatively short run time and few encounters. I still like being able to experiment with stuff and the Follow-Up system is interesting.
Dialog was good, with some humorous references and a bit of very Harold-like goofy irreverence.
Pretty easy, but that's fine for a jam.
Puzzle section was a bit weird and jarring though that was part of the joke. Functionally the puzzles played OK and provided a change of pace.
Gotta agree this is the best use of those dang 3d assets I've seen in a completed project.
Edit: I forgot to mention that I really liked the "multiverse" approach taken, it was well done.
My biggest issue was that the autosave would occasionally cause the game to crash (twice in my playthrough). Barring that, very enjoyable experience with this one.
Utterly floored by this entry.
This is art: a simple but elegantly-told story that evoked an entire spectrum of emotions, ranging from cold despondency to fierce determination.
A tragic but complex set of protagonists, each surprisingly well fleshed out given the game's relatively brief runtime. Minus a few spelling/word choice errors, the dialog was extraordinary: compelling and solemn without straying into the melodramatic, completely eschewing the typical "meme-y" themes we see with many of these characters.
Beautiful presentation, an expertly curated score that subtly enhanced the emotional context of each scene, and the visuals were just unparalleled (particularly those hand-drawn cut scenes).
Puzzles were extraneous, but "fine". There were a few collision errors in the maps but nothing broke per se, and the environments were so well-illustrated I frankly didn't care about minor pathing issues.
I was crushed when this ended so abruptly.
Hoping we get more in 2023.
I wasn't able to get too far on this due to the control scheme, but it's a neat idea and aside from accessibility concerns I think it was executed decently well.
Wish there was a desktop version with controller compatibility.
Not a whole lot to add beyond prior comments except that skipping the Fight/Escape menu for games like this, or disabling Escape entirely, would be a good upgrade.
I accidentally went too fast, forgetting that that menu comes up every turn in vanilla RM, and Escaped from the "multiple waves" battle when I was down to... the last enemy.
I appreciate the feedback Kazuki!
Front-loading the story more would have been good in hindsight; I liked the idea of just being dumped into the Dark World as a LoZ tribute though it wasn't the best narrative choice. Glad the other parts of the game were enjoyable :)
There's a hidden Relic that mitigates Dark damage (their strongest attacks) and provides a pretty good stat boost. You need all 3 of the dungeon treasures to find it, and the entrance is within 1 screen of the starting area.
Otherwise, the big bad is weak to Holy damage but likes to increase his defensive stats, so finding the right time to use those Light Arrows (which remove certain buffs) is important.
If you took the "light" path after each of the 3 bosses, you can unlock a special power by casting all 3 Summon skills in the same turn using Brave.
"Dark" characters will probably need to keep Steady and Reforge on for as much of the battle as possible, using Resurgence to heal as needed. Blast also removes defensive buffs, if you have it.
Unfortunately I ran into a softlock when some Knight guy tried to sing at me.
The premise was funny, but I got the joke early enough to where that bug probably just saved me some wandering around an anonymous maze spamming Fire2.
Like others have said, with some refinement coulda been quite interesting.