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some of the best use of rpg maker for presentation i have seen.. wonderful visuals

we are all powerless before the huge worm

i loved the physicality of riding the toys/weiners, the way your movement would slow down to work past the thicker parts of each shape.. super hot concept and brain genius execution

super cool game! i thought it captured some of my favorite things about dragon quest while having a strong, unique character of its own. first, i loved the spritework and especially the environment design, nes dq opened my eyes how gorgeous 8-bit tiles can be but the spaces in this game take it even farther, some of my favorite village building interiors in any game and some really fabulous looking dungeons two. second, the world map had this great lonely vibe, especially in the quiet corners of continents or along the seacoast, i found really evocative and wonder-inducing (shoutout to the bgm here, too). that feeling that there could be anything lying across the ocean - it could even be go on forever... it worked well on me. one thing i enjoyed that was a bit newer to me was the brisk clip of the game and its dungeons, i was really impressed by how many diverse locations and how robust and complete a full-scale rpg experience it offered in just 8 hours. at the same time i wish i had gotten to spend a bit more time inhabiting these places, which often vanished into the rear view before i could really savor their beauty and their atmosphere. they're fantastic spaces, but i found the concise, streamlined experiences i had with them a bit at odds with my personal desire to inhabit them and breathe them in. still, this is one small personal gripe in an overall very satisfying package, and i'm coming away from exony delighted with the time i spent with it. i look forward to checking out monochrome kingdom (long overdue) and pandemony (my friend says good things) soon! thanks for putting exony out into the world and best of luck with whatever comes next!

thanks a bunch for playing kastel! and congrats on the excellent finishing time

blind battalia slaps also

woohoo! stuff's looking good, good luck with the next stages!

whoops, good catch! not sure how that one happened - i'll fix it right away. thanks for letting us know! ps, i'm touched you to see the ending enough to edit your way in there : )

my favorite part was tabbing out and back in after beating the game and getting blasted with 8 CRONKs at once

i'd agree with narf's assessment. i would say there are definitely parts that are tense, creepy, or uncomfortable, but nothing that's explicitly intended to cause fear or shock you while you're feeling vulnerable. i suspect it'll be okay, but without knowing you i can't make any guarantees, so exercise a little caution

hard as fuck, combat took some patience and some trial and error but ultimately i really liked how much sense and understanding they demanded of me. good use of enemies attacking in patterns, something i can find unpleasantly artificial in some games was used to great effect here, making me feel like a consummate professional killer whenever i managed to get through a hard battle. of course, everything else about the game made me feel like that was kind of a nauseating thing to be... excellent style, atmosphere, sounds, plenty of confidence and vision, great stuff all around!

whoops! thanks for letting me know. it should be back up now - let me know if there are any further issues.

very cool rpg!! my read: deliberately balanced in and out of battle to evoke a very specific mood. dungeon crawling is messy, brutal work, none of us are here because we want to be. but by being diligent and methodical, we can constrain the danger, the unpredictability, the gloomy quiet of the dungeon to something manageable. take it one room at a time, walk back to camp and rest when you need to, don't count on things getting much easier, make sure you've brought what you need, make every drop of mana count, make sure to save up money and supplies for future catastrophes. despite the weight of the job there was a lot of warmth in the experience - it felt like the game was generally on my side, rewarded my patience and curiosity and showed no interest in punishing me unduly. the dungeon isn't cruel or indifferent, just demanding. navigating it felt like three people putting their heads down and getting to work on a long, messy job, doing what they need to do. professionals

i appreciate sealed fortress for having a unique and specific vision and realizing it robustly across all elements of its design: combat, exploration, presentation, narrative and all. i'm on board! curious to see how it develops from here, thanks for the memorable experience

very cool, tons of fun, generously illustrated and tightly designed little exploration of a mechanic set with a lot of possibilities. super satisfying once i got the hang of it. thanks for making it!

yesss you totally should!!! it was super quick and easy, one of the funnest, densest game making experiences i've had!

need a hint? try using "sword" on "homieboon"

super inspiring game, absolutely love this passionate diy energy, a real labor of love that made me feel like i could (and should) be hand-making my own OC eroge and ys 3-likes. there were a couple difficulty-related hiccups that tried my patience but they didn't stop me from having a complete and rewarding experience (in fact, i beat the final boss twice to see two different endings). bravo!!!

press the 'close tab' button at just the right moment

masterful. made me very scared and sad

hi there! this is a cool game you've made, i like the concept a lot and i particularly like the mechanic of assembling different combinations of flowers for each customer. since you asked for gameplay feedback in the description, i hope you won't mind if i share a couple of quick thoughts from my experience. please take them with a grain of salt, i'm certainly no expert - but regardless i hope they can be of use to you one way or another.

- the economy of this game seems very unforgiving. a sunflower seed costs 35 gold, and i can make about 50 per objective doing the level 0 "get customers" and "get monies" objectives, once or twice - but doing the level 0 time trial or anything in level 1 it's difficult to recoup my losses. it's pretty easy to wind up in a situation where i can't afford to grow any more flowers, so i've had to reset a few times, and i've haven't yet managed to accumulate enough money to try level 2. sure, running a flower shop is a difficult business. but the current balance makes it feel a little hopeless. at the very least, i'd like to be able to charge more when i'm selling bushes  and cactuses - they cost so much more to grow, but they still only make me 1 money per sale. (of course, i might be missing something, and i admit that my profits might be a little lower than expected because i'm playing on a trackpad today.)

- in theory i like the variety implied by the three objectives "get customers", "get money" and "time trial", but in practice they all play very similarly - i don't do anything different in each one, i just try to sell flowers as fast as i can. this might be a good place to be a little more minimalistic and only offer one objective per level. that might be a little better for game flow, i worry the game might get a bit long and repetitive if i could play farther into it. (of course, i couldn't play the whole way through, so i'm merely speculating.)

- a couple scattered things that bother me. i wish there were a confirmation prompt on the 'reset values' button, as it's easy to click it by accident and lose all my progress. similarly, i think the uncloseable "good bye" dialogue when i press escape is problematic, because it's sometimes instinctual to press escape when i can't figure out how to go back or close a window, and i can't forcing me to refresh the page to keep playing. in general, i wish there were fewer "got it" prompts - it makes sense for the tutorials, but it's a hassle to have to close a popup every time i plant a seed, harvest a flower, or add an item to my shop. i'd like to see you find another way to communicate these things.

- anywhere there's a green bar that increases or decreases in time (customer patience meters, sales mode progress bar) i can increase or decrease it by clicking it. this seems like it might be a bug! (apart from that, the game seems very stable)

- don't worry about the graphics, everything's clear and legible and that's what's most important. be proud of the spritework you've done! i thought the sunflower was particularly pretty. 🌻🌞😎

importantly, i think you've captured something really important about the business of floristry, which is how demanding and precarious it is! thanks for the interesting experience, i'm glad i had it even if it was a little bumpy for me. i look forward to seeing what you make next - keep it up!

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can always count on you for a good jrpg deconstruction. this was an intense emotional journey in a tight timeframe, very affecting, great use of the tools of the medium - and some of my favorite artwork. the mc's portrait is just devastating

really cool game, it was super rewarding to tease apart the tensions of the slime system, figure out which of the many unusual verbs could help me stretch my slime a little further, and plot out a winning run across 8 or 9 attempts. proud to say i eventually managed to finish with virginia safe and unpoofed, just by the skin of my teeth. snappy, full of personality, loved the tunes and the secret of mana(?) sound effects. thanks for the terrific experience (i liked the comic, too!)

i did, after i finished the game! it was illuminating, there was lots of stuff i never quite put together on my own, like what power actually did (lol). i don't have xp myself but i'll keep my eye out for a sale, i wouldn't mind taking a closer look at the math xD

really enjoyed this! i love how much heavy lifting the names, values and functions of stats do in telling the story, it's a great application of rpg mechanics and really brilliantly tailored to the subject matter too. i love unusual names for stats on principle and appreciated that it wasn't just for show but a site of storytelling and subversion: seeing power and resilience in the top two slots, i assumed they were straightforwardly like attack and defense. learning the truth about them was a little story in itself that i think says a ton (resilience inhibiting recovery is especially cutting) while also feeding into combat strategy and reinforcing the themes of the larger narrative. and i really got to (indeed, had to) engage with these stats since every boss was so long and dangerous and dependent on understanding what my stats were doing (which also made them really satisfying to win, too). overall a really elegantly designed rpg experience in service of a wonderful story, i'm really glad i got to play this. every time i look at a status screen from now on, i'll think of fiora and her massive resolve stat

it was a good game because it made me aware of many feelings that have been in me for a long while i had not been attentive to

sweet, i sent you a message there!

oh man, i feel like i was just looking at this one, too, but i can't remember how i got there... thanks for this one, too!

visions and voices is the one craze game i have played, back when it was relatively new, although it didn't click with me then. looks like i've got a long overdue crazegame deep dive ahead of me. thanks for all the recs! (i'm a big slimes fan, too)

i'll take what you've said to heart, too, about puzzly tightness. i do appreciate it from time to time - what i think i'm really not interested in is trial and error solutions with a slim margin of error, and for me at least ocean OI dips into perilous guesswork more often than i'd like. i'm a little less interested in explicit reasoning than i am in building up intuition and managing risks, which feels really expressive to me in a way that i like. this is kinda what i arrived at after revisiting the 7th saga after atom OI and playing a bunch of nes DQ last year, both of which involve a lot of unpredictability and variation. cataphract moves a step toward embracing randomness (in kind of a 7th saga way, where things can always go south at the drop of a hat), but i'm hoping to more fully explore a sort of 'soft puzzle-solving' approach in a future title. (it occurs to me now that the piece where i try to dig into this a bit more isn't publicly visible right now, but if you're up for a long, messy read, check out this piece)

thanks for another great and generous comment - it's very rewarding to hear about your experiences with the OI games and especially with this one

re death sensitivity: guruntum takes a little look around before the action menu comes up if she expects an enemy to arrive in that room next turn. it plays a sound effect too, although it should be very quiet

re: the candle, it inhibits enemy healing - which in practice only applies to concourse

re: "OI", well, i think it started empty of particular meaning and it soaks up more over time. actually, from what you've shared with me, i'd say you understand pretty well

if you wind up doing some rpg making, i'd love to see the results, and if you use rm2k for it, you can call on me for help anytime

ty mariken! if i could change one thing about rpgmaker 2000 it'd be the way it communicates about status ailments, which at present is "barely at all, and there's nothing you can do about it".. for now you just have to imagine that keeping meticulous track of each enemy's position is part of the warrior's trade

excellent! craze was a big inspiration to me once upon a time, and wine and roses has been on my backlog forever.. time to bump it up! if you know anything else in this space you think i'd find interest please pass it along. thanks for your thoughts, and sorry for the delayed response

i appreciate the confidence of introducing complications in the very first puzzle, not wasting any time before making demands of me and trusting me to put together how everything works on my own. each stage felt like a little story the way my understanding would accumulate in layers, realizing precisely what constraints were acting on me, deducing how different objects or parts of level geometry did or did not fit into different parts of the equation.. each clear was hard earned, never falling into my lap without a fight (stage 9 i kinda fell into a solution while i was poking around before i really had a handle on the level, but i still had to prod pretty persistently to get there), nor did any level push me to the point of exhaustion or hopelessness. in short, just the right balance for me of having to pay attention and think about what i'm doing on the one hand and keeping a sense of momentum going on the other. good stuff! ps it never fails to surprise me how expressive a 5x5 puzzlescript sprite can be

hey! sorry for the delayed response. the final battle is a common point of confusion, i should probably write a boss guide just to be safe. there are a few pieces to the puzzle, but it sounds like the one you're missing is that you need to use Strike Formation to draw Concourse into the fray. it might take some persistence, but you can finish her off while she's building FV to set WHEEL back in motion. also, this might not be necessary to mention, but there's an optional item hidden behind a gold door that can make the fight a little easier, too

thanks a lot for playing & for sharing such kind words,  and good luck with the last stretch! i'm here if you have any other questions (i'll make sure to respond promptly)


hey, thanks for playing and especially for leaving such a thoughtful comment! it makes me feel really spoiled, of course i loved thinking about this stuff and trying to put it all into the game, so having so many of my specific choices acknowledged feels really validating (especially the fray stuff, which felt the most self-indulgent at the time), very pleased to hear so many things made enough of an impression to prompt comment from you

your thought about encounter rewards was really interesting, i hadn't thought about it but there's definitely room for it. i didn't omit them for fear of players grinding or amassing power, it was just my belief at the time that the point of battle was the threat of death (imminent or by attrition), that the motivation for fighting is the possibility of it being the safest way past an obstacle, and that survival itself is the reward.. having material rewards for combat seemed to create conflicting incentives and undermine the message that violence isn't a game to win but a problem to solve. of course, weighing conflicting incentives makes for interesting decision-making - but by default i think most players' expectations in an rpg are that you're supposed to fight every battle, rather than pick your fights, so my hope was that by denying any material gain, i make it a little easier for folks to stop ask and ask "is this worth it? can i avoid this somehow?" guruntum's fragility fits into that picture, too. on top of everything else, i find people whose job it is to do violence with swords interesting, and i think part of that job is accepting the possibility that you can do everything right and still fail, or die.. the nature of battle is that it's sort of brutal and unrewarding, but the business of navigating it is a whole language with lots of interesting layers and expressive potential, and these two facts have to coexist with each other somehow

all that said, i still would've liked players to feel a little more empowered to avoid combat when they did decide it wasn't worth it. i'd love to explore a richer vocabulary for fleeing battle.. and there's one other feature i wanted to add: if you enter a room on the same turn that an enemy squad was set to leave it, if you could see them walking out at the same time as you walk in, so you know which way they're headed, and you can follow them around to see where they go. by the time i thought of that, though, it was too late to add such a complicated feature. maybe in a future game... by the way, were you able to make much use of death sensitivity? there are a couple tools for anticipating and avoiding battles as it is, but i wanted to leave them a little obscure. my hope was that the game's difficulty would make people feel like they were missing something and pay a little more attention, prod at the mechanics a bit more and surprise themselves with the discovery. but i think they went mostly undetected. that's just fine, you can beat the game just fine without them, anyway. but the lack of a clearer pathway to discovery still stands out as something i'd like to be different

anyway, that's how it all looks to me now, three months out from release. thanks for bringing up those points of critique, they're important ones to consider, and fun to chew on - like i said, i love getting to engage deeply with this stuff, so i hope you don't mind my seizing on an opportunity to think through some of this stuff out loud. thanks again for your comment, i look forward to sharing more with you in the future >:3

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oh! it's a delight to read that you had such a good time! thank you so much for coming back to share your thoughts, there's a fresh smile on my face as i write this reply. i'm happy that easyrpg player's looking good for you, too.

i can definitely think of a couple games you might like! if you especially like games without leveling systems, i'd start with facets by john thyer and fallen star by jetstorm4. my games ocean oi and atom oi are a bit shorter and purely focused on combat, but they fit the bill too. depending on your specific qualms with leveling, you might click with strife of cosmos by mythatelier and slimes by scitydreamer; both games implement leveling in a very controlled way and pair it with intentional, critical approaches to turn-based combat. finally, there are a couple other more general recommendations in the readme for cataphract oi you might find interesting - the ones i haven't mentioned yet might be longer or have more conventional approaches to character growth, but they're all wonderfully thoughtful responses to rpg traditions, so they might appeal to you on that level!

thanks for asking, 'cause most of these folks are my friends and community members (and often direct inspirations on my own work) and i love to plug their stuff xD

hey, thanks a bunch for playing! i'm really happy to hear you've enjoyed your time with it so far.

to answer your first question, you can save the game in any dead end room by picking the "rest" option.

regarding the second, i may not have any good news for you. rpg maker 2000's fullscreen is notoriously wonky on newer operating systems. if the fullscreen and resolution toggles (F4 and F5) don't give you any results you like, you might have better luck downloading the EasyRPG player, which has a much better fullscreen mode. the tradeoff is that there might be a few bugs or graphical errors since EasyRPG interprets the game code a little differently than the native player does - but it should still be fully playable. if this doesn't work for you, let me know and we can try to figure out something else.

late development from me, but i've recently learned about a 'stuck keys' problem that seems to be well attested in rm2k. someone (cherry, whose name i've known from rpg circles since the 00's) wrote a utility to reset them, so if you're still interested in playing the game and you're comfortable running .exe files off the internet, this might be your solution:

yoooo this ruled, what a cool journey putting it all together!