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ToasterovenX

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A member registered Oct 27, 2017 · View creator page →

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Review for the Secret Santa forum. (Oh hey cool, you got our game this round and I got yours.)

To start this off, I'd like to say that I played this a day or two ago. I wasn't able to write out the review until now, so please forgive me if my memory makes any mistakes.

Allusion - I'll admit that I haven't looked into the background of all the characters, but I know that Eremiel is a real biblical angel, (though a different version of her name is more popular.) And your game is based off of biblical themes, like heaven and hell, what the angel did, the Christian God. It gives everyone a chance to know more about the story by knowing about the bible or get a chance to research it, so that's pretty cool.

Pixel Movement - I think it's good and bad. For movement it works really well for an action game, but the collision system suffers because of it. I understand that it's mainly a problem with RPG Maker, but a developer should be careful of what his tools can and can't do.

Movement speed - To start, I don't actually know if you can fine tune the movement speed for RPGM MV. I'm personally in the mindset that the walking speed is too slow, but I see the argument that sprinting is too fast. One of the biggest problems I had with movement speed is how it forced me to play the game. Every time there was an enemy with more than one health, or even a swarm of enemies, if I wanted to fight them I'd have to constantly run away and turn around for a second to take a quick shot and keep running away. When you factor in the range of the shots, the time between every shot and that it's easy to be swarmed by enemies that can take a few hits you don't have much choice but to keep your distance. And because the enemies move only slightly slower than you, it often turns into you constantly running away because you can't make enough distance. The speed, felt a lot more balanced and appropriate for boss fights, but wasn't quite right for the random enemy spawns.

Zoom in - I really like this.  Zooming in during cut scenes and inside shops gets rid of all the negative space. Well done.

Maps - Your individual rooms are well designed. Your large caves and rooms have good aesthetics to them. The artistic design is good here. On the other side of the coin, the map layout isn't super great. The large open areas don't offer a reason to explore beyond the spirits, and the route to the actual path is obscure and you're just as likely to find the exit as a dead end. Without any variation the cave or ice theme looks identical between every room, bringing into question why you need more than one room. Especially when considering the walking speed and the size of the maps, you can take 3 minutes to walk all the way back to a boss, and that's only after you've memorised the route.

Power Ups - These are great, they really help to keep the game from going stale, all in all I really like this feature.

Random Spawn - Mostly not great. They can help to keep things fresh if you need to cross an area more than once, but the enemies can really stack up. Sometimes while going after a boss I'll get blocked by 6 enemies who can take plenty of hits and after cornering me they'll drop me to a quarter health all at once leaving the boss fight significantly harder than a run where almost no enemies block me. 

Save Points - The system is sort of cool, but the 3 minute hike back to a boss fight was not. 

Boss fights - These were of course the highlight of the game. On average they were pretty good, though they can be pretty tedious if you don't position yourself to avoid the projectiles, because you won't be able to dodge them with the slow walking speed. I enjoyed most of the boss fights, though the teleporting one was the least fun. I could only get a few shots off at best or miss entirely before he teleported which made the fight very slow. Some of the fights had a small amount of scrolling, which was jarring when you crossed over the middle of the room as the screen shifted. The last fight was okay, as all of it scrolled, but it then made finding the power ups hard as they didn't always spawn on screen. Though I found that some boss fights could have been easier with certain upgrades, but you don't know which ones you'll need until the fight comes up, like projectile speed being almost useless until the second last boss.

Cutscene Character Movement - This is my all time favourite part of the game. Having the characters move deliberately during conversations brings out their emotions. Pacing back and forth, turning away, all that; it's great. It's not a common thing to see done, let alone done so well. I'd love to know what your inspiration was for this.

Overall I liked the bossfights, but didn't enjoy travelling between them or walking from my last save to the boss fight. It's good but those parts really took away from my experience. I hope this review is helpful.

Hey there, thanks for commenting. Thankfully, "too short" is great feedback. It let's us know that the original game is good enough for players to want more and that there's at least a small audience who'd play it again if we expand the game.

Working on this game in the future is a possibility, but right now our next project is up in the air.

"I should respond to his nice response."

*looks left*

*looks right*

"I do not know what to say..."

*closes tab*

"I could at least 'like' his response"

*panics*

*returns*

*likes*

Sent here to do a Secret Santa Review from the similarly-named forum on the RPG Maker website.

The game overall is really good. Personally I'm not a fan of turn based combat though I enjoyed the gameplay in this one. Though, I did end up feeling a tad over powered for later parts of the game. (This may have something to do with the fact that I did all those 9 extra battles right off the hop, instead of waiting to do them later. lol)

PROS

The atmosphere - The game starts out raining and grim,  and it holds the grim tone for the whole event. The weather, the art style, and the way the characters talk, all really strengthen your immersion. You have peasants who talk informally and nobles who speak with a rich vocabulary. You have dark caves, misty forests and rain soaked towns. The colour palette is subdued and often grey. Every single part of the game belongs together, to strengthen the emotion that plot pulls out. Speaking of which...

The plot - I really got pulled into the plot of the game. No spoilers here, but I really liked the theme of "We were once friends, but our duty forces us to fight."

The setting - I'm a fan of Tolkien and other fantasy epics, and this reminded me of them. You've created a cool world. I like it.

Battle system - Now this is where it really shines. Each and every character is unique, all with their own personalities, but also with move sets. Every basic attack is unique, some inflict a stagger effect, or heal the attacker, or whatever. And then alongside that, no special move is the same. Some do more damage based off all the debuffs the defender has, all the way to reviving dead allies, and no one shares these abilities on their lists. Every character is useful for their own reasons. Instead of having a "mana" bar, limiting the amount of moves you get per fight, the game uses cooldown, forcing you to choose whether now is a good time to attack, or to see if it's going to be more useful in a few turns. It alsos breaks apart the problem of mana/energy bars, where you only really have one good move, and all the other moves are backup. There's also two different bars that measure a character's health. There's your actual health bar, and then a bar called "protection" sort of like a second health bar, which opens up new possibilities for healing. no longer do you just say "Well I guess my party is under fifty percent health, so I'll just heal them for fifty percent," you now get to make a more active decision as most healing moves heal both health and protection. It turns into "is it worth recovering my protection or should I wait to lose some health first so I don't waste all that health that I could heal waiting for this cooldown?" And this isn't just the playable characters that have unique moves either. Every single enemy has unique moves that even you don't have access to, making you need to carefully watch your enemy and judge which is the biggest threat that you need to take out. All in all I was really immersed by the combat which isn't a normal thing for me and turn based fights.

CONS

I want more - You can consider this as not a con, since I actually want to see where you're going to take the rest of the game, but it's kind of a demo, a "first chapter". I want to know what happens next, gosh darn.

The buffs and debuffs - This is more of a personal complaint, as my vision is SUPER poor. I had a hard time reading what the text on the buffs and debuffs say on that very tiny font. I did play in fullscreen and still had that problem. This might not be a huge concern as most of your players won't be as blind as me, but you may want to consider visibility when you finish the rest of the story.

The prologue - I actually really enjoyed the prologue, I played through it twice and enjoyed it twice, and it really set the player up for the rest of the story. My one complaint about it, at least the first time around, was that it felt too fast. I was struggling to take in a LOT of information very quickly. There's five characters in the party at the beginning of the game and I had just barely gotten a grasp of who they are before the prologue ended. It was only when I was on my second playthrough that I realised that the main dude was even related to anyone from the prologue,

Some bugs here and there - First off, if you leave the first town and then immediately return to it, you just get a black screen, (but I reloaded a save from the menu, so I was safe.) The other thing was that it seemed that if I started training before I gathered my party, my dude would limp around at one health, but later on, you restore every battle. There was also a purchasable companion thing. It seemed that I could purchase multiple copies of them, but only one showed up in my retinue. And then there was this thing that I wouldn't call a glitch, but your lighting in the caves focused on the middle of the screen and not the character, so when the character was at the edge of the screen/cave, they were hidden in the dark. This made finding things in the dark a bit harder (though I am blind) but it would still look aesthetically better focused on the character instead of on the middle of the screen,

HOW I PLAYED

This one might be slightly spoiler-y, but I won't give away the ending. If you want a pure playthrough though, skip to the next section and play it for yourself, it's a pretty good game.

Alrighty. So the first thing I did was collect all the random loot in town. Then when I met up with my party, I went and sold it all and bought everyone higher ranking weapons and armour. After that I did all of the 9 bonus fights (the last one was kind of random, I kept using the same strategy of kill the weaker ones off first and then the strongest last, sometimes 4 out of 5 of my allies were dead before I got to go, and sometimes it just barely got me to the last enemy. Eventually I did win though. So I used the bonus currency to bump special attack and counter attack and some other thing that I forgot for all the characters. I was actually a bit too tough after I left town, and no fight was enough to wipe out my party, though a few fights early on were pretty close. I ended up giving most of the leveling orbs and power orbs to one guy, making him the most buff dude in our party, while the healer got all the hp, because all my healing was based on his HP. I found that the fight you had to last 5 rounds in kind of sucked because I easily lasted 5 rounds, I was THAT close to killing the last enemy, I could probably get the last enemy dead if I did another playthrough. But anyway, it was a real bummer that everyone was retreating because of plot reasons when I was actually doing pretty well in the fight. I might recommend having more reinforcements and maybe tougher attacks in the final round, so it doesn't feel like the player is "totally winning this fight" before suddenly being told that they basically lost.

IN CONCLUSION

I really liked playing this game and it's atmosphere in general. Even though it's still in its demo version I think it's worth playing in its current state. I'd really like to revisit this game once you've finished it, and I think everyone should give it a try as it's a pretty good entry.

Cheers, and good luck on the contest.

Gee whiz, it's a reply from Rhino herself! *swoons*

Speaking on behalf of the ToasterovenX-side of the team, I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed it. This was the first time either of us had created a full-blown game, let alone one with puzzles in it, so being able to provide something that's fun overall is an amazing feeling. Thanks  for the feedback!

I'd like to see the game in it's full glory if you guys release an update. Best of luck.

I seem to have run into an invisible wall now. This path opened up yet I can't walk into it at all.

Ohh boy, I sure feel silly for missing that. I seem to 

This is one of my favourites so far. I don't typically enjoy turn based combat as it usually feels like a repetitive soup of boredom, but you've turned it into a very precise deal of strategy, I bow to you for that. I also love the characters. I can't think of anything that might need improving outside what has been already been said.

Seems like it would make a very good game if it wasn't in it's demo version. Best of luck on that.

Is there a way to get past the first room? I'd like to experience the game, but I'm honestly stuck there, whether or not there's a way out.