GAMES PLAYED COUNTER: 26 >The full YouTube playlist is over HERE< It’s that time of the year again! Time to tackle some Indie Game Maker Contest 2018 games! This year I did not participate myself so I can’t plug my own game here this time As the theme of the contest was "Prototypes", most of the games are in an unfinished or very rough state, so we'll try to keep that in mind. I will be streaming the games on twitch most evenings (abound 18-19 in UTC+1 time) most days whenever I can. I make no promises because I have a day job and a (small amount of) life. You can follow my twitch account over here if you prefer. NO RULES! I’ll do as I like. I’m NOT a judge, I don’t need to be impartial and I’ll be as biased as I want. My opinion is purely mine and doesn’t matter if you want to ignore me. It's entirely within your rights to disagree with me. You CAN request any game and I will take a look. I do NOT have a minimum required playtime. I'll stop whenever if the game doesn't engage me. Considering the problems they gave me on previous years, I won’t be doing any detailed written feedback at all unless I feel like it. I’ll just put some general notes and if I recommend the game or not. PLEASE be mindful when requesting your game: I AM NOT VERY NICE. I am grumpy and sometimes mean and I do not censor myself at all. If you are not up to having your game torn to bits please stay away. (It’s perfectly fine for you to ignore me if my style is not your thing). Just a heads up that I will probably not be playing any shooter or brawler type game since they are simply not my thing. The official game entry list is over HERE. Remember to rate any games you like! You can rate them on a scale of 1-5 stars. Here are the games I personally recommend so far: Magical Disaster X (Friggin hilarious, sad it ends so suddenly). Dia : Dol (Made by MakioKuta, so OBVIOUSLY it’s great.) Momo Bomber (A promising RPG/Plataformer. Controls are still iffy, but promising) AUI (A platformer with a solid mechanic. A+ art and level design, lacks feedback and polish yet) Jailbirds (As proof of concept it's solid, but really needs some spicy extra content) Rising Saga: Origins (A very anime-ish JRPG, still very rough, but shows promise.) Full game list with notes (same as regular posts). Spoiler 00 – Introduction and Entry List Some commentary before starting and browsing through the list. Don’t panic at the vid's length, only the first 15 minutes are important and the rest is trawling through the entries to pick likely choices. Don’t be too sad if I skipped yours at a glance, there are just WAY TOO MANY to do any detailed search, feel free to request. 01 - Everbloom (by HikaruRen, Exsomni, SmallCritter, Cloudkourin) Some good bust art and sketchy backgrounds sadly got lost in it being way, WAY too unwieldy and cumbersome. I get it's a prototype but I can't glean much enjoyment out of it. Maybe when it gets polished and the control isn't so horribly awkward we'll have the will to enjoy it, but as it is it's pretty shoddy. Some good art pieces don't make it any less dull or bad to play. Recommended? Not in its current state. 02 - Magical Disaster X [RECOMMENDED] (by @AtlasAtrium, Floramy) VERY fun dialog and comedy, correct gameplay (I'm not very good at judging game balance myself). The navigation is fine, as a prototype it obviously is a bit lacking in the polish of the maps and maybe some polish for clarity in combat, but nothing that couldn't be fixed with polish (I will keep saying polish during these entries because that's the whole BANE of a contest about prototypes, get used to it). Its biggest detractors are the prototype's abrupt end (you get locked in a room with no exit without warning); and the size of the graphics, which at the native ACE resolution make them small and hard to see well. Happily that's all stuff that can be fixed, so looking forward to it! Recommended? If you like comedy, YES. 03 - Dia : Dol [RECOMMENDED] (by @Makio-Kuta, @Yato) It's a game by MakioKuta, I don't know what you expect me to say. OBVIOUSLY it's good, as they always are. A visual novel about becoming an idol in a game show with a twist. The art is great (DUH) even in a prototype stage. Writing is cool, thought it does need a proper editing phase, all expected from a prototype build. Characters are charming (some more than others) and have that particular Maki Quality(tm). The game is cut short a bit over two chapters at a nice spot so it's a cliffhanger but I'd argue a good one, rather than an abrupt stop. Estimated game time in current build is about 1 and a half hours, but what with the commentary it took me two and a half (oops). I will definitely keep an eye out for the finished version. Recommended? ABSOLUTELY. (unless you really hate visual novels) 04 - Chronicles of Espiria (by @JacobM ) Solid presentation and decent gameplay within the contraints of the engine (which is known for being quite rigid and less than complex), but lacks a proper hook. The story isn't anything too engaging and the gameplay has no real highs, so overall it feels dull. Not bad, but not really good either. Recommended? Not really, but I would not try to stop you either. 05 - Sagrada (by @Kyuukon) Good and polished presentation, obtuse, player unfriendly and surrealistically demanding gameplay. Complete lack of player communication means there is very little to do, and even that is badly parsed. Effects are not explained, tactics are not shown properly before you die, and there is a ridiculously small margin of error, on top of a single playable character, no real upgrades (at least in the early game). I could go on but honestly just watch the video. It made me tired and angry and in a way I feel that's what the dev wants, so I rather not. If you want any sort of reasonably communicated gameplay, stay away. Recommended? Geez, NO. 06 - Mirror Mirror (by @BlackRoseMii and....jackal-something. Sorry I know you were there but I can't find your handle on the game page) Decent premise bogged down by too many rough parts and repetition, as well as some eventing errors and unfinished concepts. The whole cafe section seems completely useless right now. Overall it needs some serious streamlining and editing, but I like the fact that there's a core and INTENT to the game. Too many times I get dull, aimless games that exist for no real reason. Recommended? Neither here nor there. Needs streamlining. 07 - Rise of the Pharaoh (by @Tome571) I am sad to report a bug prevented me from advanced quite early into the game. While there were some basic polish issues (font, maps too cluttered, lack of tactics in combat) the "straight to gameplay" bit was nice and effective, and the small puzzle in every room was fine so far. A glitch in a map transfer let me stuck and I was just not up to doing a new game just to pick another dungeon first. Pretty sure eventually I would run into the same bug and be stuck. Recommended? Not in current build due to bug. 08 - Umbral (by @Kato-A ) I guess the technical name for this would be an adventure game? Puzzle-adventure? Whatever the genre is supposed to be, it didn't draw me much. There is no denying there was a lot of care in the graphics and they were solid, but execution had some iffy parts. The mapping and conveyance of where to go or what to do had some issues, and gameplay experience was hurt by the engine. The RpgMaker engines have never been ideal for precise collision needed in puzzles as displayed, so it hampers the game a lot and often turned simple actions into annoying trawls. I can't really blame the game or dev for this, but it definitely harms the fun factor. Overall it was okay, and I'm sure people who are more into this sort of thing are liking it, but it was just okay to me, not a standout in its current state, though the graphic work put into it is very good. Recommended? If you’re into this sort of puzzlerish thing. 09 - Entrenched (by @CMS ) Interesting. A survival sort of game set into a backdrop of WWII...but badly. There is no denying the game is UGLY. What it's going for is not necessarily bad, playing with rough textures, but everything is so mismatched and put together badly (and the mapping is extremely crude) so it loses a lot of points there. Mechanics are not necessarily bad but rough and barebones, with randomness being king, which is never much of a good thing to me. In the end of the vid we discussed a whole bunch of factors that we feel could help improve it if you're interested. Overall, it's a very rough start and definitely needs a lot of smoothing over. Recommended? Only as proof of concept. It needs at LEAST passable graphics. 10 - Dungeon Busters (by @KayZaman ) A mixed interesting experience. On one side, it shows how very simple concepts can be spiced up into fun experiences with only a few elements (some extra options for leveling, simple but effective character dynamics). On the OTHER hand, it's a pity the game is so barebones and lacking in so many areas. Mapping is nearly non-existent. Combat is extremely simplistic and lacks any sort of real strategy. Each character gets ONE magic spell. No real exploration or side content. Also I assume the dev is not English native because the text was VERY rough, but that can be easily fixed, and so can the graphics. Overall it wasn't an unpleasant experience, but the lack of content and polish really let it down on the long run. I hope this develops into a nice little game, it has the base for it. Recommended? Probably not AS IS. Needs polish and expansion. 11 - Shine no More (by @KittyKitty ) To put it bluntly, this is a piece of an unfinished intro. Not even the CORE piece, since it doesn't really show us what the actual game is really going to be about. Overall it was okay presentation-wise, definitely can be improved here and there, some of the custom animations and eventing choreography were standout. But as it is the game is just not there yet, so I can't really judge it. It's an aimless bit of game where we still haven't found out what the game's about, and then it ends. The issue here is not so much polish (which it needs, if maybe not AS much as other entries which are prototypes) rather it needs CONTENT. Recommended? Nah. 12 - Welcome to Hell! Mei Ichikawa (by @Isabella Ava ) I am not very clear on what this game really is. There's a bunch of systems and some neat ideas and art in there, but also a very bad English text, ugly, mismatched art, bad mapping...overall it failed to hook me and hold me, and it especially has to smooth over the writing, because expecting an English audience to take the game seriously with such shaky text is a stretch. Recommended? Probably not. 13 - Out School (by @kenjivn14 ) I honestly could not register much of the actual game because the text was so, SO bad. I assume it was quickly ran through Google Translate and not checked. Game itself had some issues. Graphics and system stopped being impressive when we realised most of it was bought from packs or off other sources. It wasn't particularly impressive aside from that, and of course it's impossible to tell what the actual story was. Stay away until it has at LEAST a decent translation. Recommended? Definitely NOT while the text is so bad (unless you want a laugh). 14 - Marmoribus (by @firecat ) ...Well, what can I say? I'm sorry but this was bad. Nothing about the game feels good to play, and most elements are very clunky and hard to manipulate. Can't say I see myself enjoying this. Recommended? No. 15 - Monster Village (by @Chez ) Ding ding ding, bug detected! Aside from getting stuck, and even knowing the twist (not saying here for spoiler reasons) this still failed to grab me. Text-heavy games tend to suffer in livestreams, but even knowing what this game was going for I felt like this lacked a good hook. I liked some of the characters, but I feel like rather than gt a tiny bit with every character it should have focused on more content for each. I can definitely see other people enjoying this one, just didn't catch me much. Recommended? Eh. Maybe, if it's your thing. 16 - Momo Bomber [Recommended] (by @Marian Hurricane ) I’m always nervous when I see pretty games, because it’s often a trap meant to entice and draw in players and is often an excuse to have weak gameplay. Happily and despite its problems Momo Bomber is shaping up to be a cool and fun little game. Presentation is great, progression is fine, though some levels need fiddling at least while the control is so…icky. The RPG aspects needs some balancing but that is within the prototype build’s expectations. The controls are by far the worst of it as they turn an otherwise fun little hybrid RPG/platformer into a RPG/”Oh come ON!”platformer. The player is in a constant state of sliding on ice, so making precision jumps is annoying. I hope this game gets expanded and polished, it was fun, even in its rough state. Recommended? Yeah! Though it’s a bit rough. 17 - Ironblood (by @kovak ) I imagine this game was very heavily influenced by Bloodborne, but doesn’t get anywhere near it in quality. There are many problems with it (features not explained, uneven reward among party, bad dialog and conveyance, messy mapping) but by far the WORST and one I cannot forgive is how queasy the graphics made me. I assume this used a plugin to zoom into the map to have a closer camera, but the engine is clearly not prepared for it and everything wobbled and vibrated all over the place, making for a very uncomfortable experience, especially on the first maps. The general ambience if you don’t look too close has a cool rotting desolate feel, but if you pay any attention you notice a huge amount of mapping errors. I’d say trim it down, tighten it up, and polish, polish, polish. It could be neat, but having as many unexplained and loose features in such a short product makes it so none feel important or wanted. Could be neat with some work, but as is it’s disappointing. Recommended? Probably not. 18 - Let's Make a Game! (by @scitydreamer ) Game about the woes and tribulations of not managing to finish games. I think. I will give it this: it IS complete. While it was decent concepts it botches the execution a bit too much for me to feel strongly about it, but it may resonate better with you. Who knows? Recommended? No strong feelings one way or the other. Maybe try it if you feel down about dev. 19 - Judged for Crime (by @Tuomo L ) THIS WAS A REQUEST. Do not let it be said I did not warn people I would be biased and harsh, it’s right there on the opening post, bolded, even. I’ve never made a secret of disliking the games from this developer so I won’t bother arguing for unfairness. It’s not a HORRIBLE game but it’s dull and shoddy all over, with infuriatingly annoying design decisions all over the place. Recommended? No. A thousand other games do this better. 20 - AUI [Recommended] (by @ProGM ) A platformer game with a good gimmick, switching from lava blob to rock for different interactions. It DEFINITELY needs polish, as it is it lacks a definite sense of feedback, little sound, a clue as to what coins even do, etc, but the art and the level design stand out. If I sounded bitter or annoyed it was in the way that I was trying to play this as a DONE and FINISHED game, which it is not. For a proof of concept prototype it is impressive. The art is very pretty, and I definitely love the design of the little magma blob and the intro lore scene murals. We got stuck in the second level with no way to advance we could find so adjusting the feedback is definitely vital. Definitely a standout for people into platformers. Recommended? Yes. Especially if you like platformers. 21 - Endless Green (by @FalseCitrine ) Neat setting not exploited enough to really shine. Too many aspects of the game are shoddy for me to be engaged, and lacks a strong hook. Gameplay is dull and clearly not very balanced, and explorative mapping is…irritatingly uneven. Needs polish, as the setting could be interesting, but as is I don’t see it as good. Recommended? Probably not. 22 - Rhuneworld (by @SmashArtist ) This game suffers the same problem that I had with Shine no more, but even worse: it’s only a small piece of the start of the game, and not even an interesting or telling piece. It fails as a prototype because it does not really show what the meat of the game is going to be like, nor does it work as a demo of the intro of the game because it’s so clearly unfinished and lacks any content. Some of the custom graphics clearly have love into them, but as is they don’t work to replace everything else. Recommended? Definitely not in its current build. 23 - Jailbirds [Recommended (as proof of concept)] (by @SeaPhoenix ) To be fair, I was expecting too much out of this game after liking the dev’s last year entry: Rock and the Rose. This is clearly a prototype which shows the core of the game well enough, yet as a prototype lacks content and polish, as expected (man I don’t like prototypes at all I want full games…) Taking care of the jailed animals is for now quite basic but perfectly functional, don’t think I came across any bugs. I don’t doubt some tricky eventing went into it. The menus are a standout. The tone in the writing is a tad off and the mapping passability is a pain and the townspeople all seem useless to bother talking to, but then again I assume it’s still too early to tell. Also, all the humans except the protagonist suck. Idyllic town my ass. Also, what sort of MONSTER gives me a pet command and punish me by lowering animal friendship? XD Recommended? Sure, but probably more when expanded. 24 - Princess Showdown (by miraclejester) A platformer still in its early stages. Design seems a tad bland and controls on keyboard are iffy. Platformers like this are not really my thing so after some frustration I just gave up, sorry u_u Recommended? No idea, platformers aren’t my jam. 25 - Dark Slayers (by @Rose Guardian ) This is…a mess. Lots of problems, very little to salvage in its current stage. The ideas aren’t necessarily bad, but the execution is poor. Needs a lot of work. Recommended? Nah. 26 - Rising Saga: Origins [Recommended once polished] (by @sephmon ) This game, for such an early project for the dev, has no right being this decent. There are definitely problems with it, for sure, but at the base it’s engaging, and exactly the type of game I tend to enjoy with lots of character interaction. We go in the video for a long time so I won’t repeat myself but yeah. Good job, I expect great polish and quality from this in the future. Recommended? Once polished, definitely, if you're into JRPGS. FOR REQUESTS: If possible include an estimate of how long the game is. I can go through very short games quickly but long games need their own sessions, so knowing ahead of time will help me. That’s all. Send me any requests you may have and I'll look at them.