RMMV Lockdown at Lilac (No Travel Jam Entry)

Ceres-Eris

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About this game:
Like a lot of other people out there, I've been working on a long project that'll probably never be finished. But the world that I've built and written is something special to me now. So I'm glad this jam gave me the opportunity to create a short complete game in that same world. Despite taking place in the same world as my big project, I've made sure that this game is completely standalone and is completed. It's just a short one town one dungeon game (and the dungeon is technically inside the town).

Synopsis:
Monsters throughout the Valian Continent have suddenly become more violent. As such, in the interest of safety, it has been deemed by most major cities that only Knights, Adventurers of at least Iron Ranking, or civilians escorted by either of the two may leave city borders. Lower ranking adventurers may only attend to requests that are confined within the city borders. Doria and Janelle are Copper ranked adventurers and Doria none too pleased that their promotion quest has been postponed due to this.

Screenshots:
screenshot 4.pngscreenshot 3.pngscreenshot 1.png

Gameplay Video:

Browser Link
Download Link
Disclaimer: I used the built in "exclude unused files" button but that's not perfect as it also excludes files that are only used by plugins. I tried my best to make sure every file that's used is in there but if I missed anything, please tell me and I'll fix it as soon as possible.
Edit: I found a missing file and have now fixed it. The link has been updated.
Edit: I've updated the link again to fix an issue with one of the Skills. I've also updated the post to include gameplay video.
Edit: I've included a browser link so it can be played on the browser itself.

Credits:

Plugins

Yanfly
Hime
SumRndmDde
Sebastián Cámara
Graphics
REFMAP
hiddenone, Kadokawa, & Avery
Sythian Bard
sin
whtdragon
Sh
adowHawkDragon
Music
RMN Music Pack
 
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GoodSelf

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Oh, this looks nice! Can't wait to give it a run for the Play Jam!
 

ShadowDragon

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I can play a bit and see what I can find for you. (no promisses) to busy atm.
the game looks good.
 

dazed

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Alright! I had a blast playing this and I'm super excited to review it for you.

STORY
I have the memory of a goldfish, so when I started playing this, I didn't remember what you'd said about this being part of a larger project: but when I started playing it, I could tell immediately. I could really feel the love and effort that went into the worldbuilding. I really hope to see more from this world. I'll admit that it feels strange having so much world development in a short game, as a spin-off (or whatever it may be) from a larger project, it's really nice.

The characters also felt well-developed and I liked spending time with them. It was nice seeing other characters in the guild that they interacted with, too, and made the world feel richer and as if they lived in it.

I really enjoyed the sort of "fakeout ending" of finding the nest and I really felt the tension of the breach after!

GAMEPLAY
So the enemies at the beginning sewer felt a little bit all-over-the-place; their normal attacks didn't seem to do much, but the snake's dual claw attack did loads of damage and I'd have to heal immediately. The boss that Edsel is fighting felt a little bit easy, but I wasn't sure if this was a boss or a mini-boss, which might be on me. Later on, they felt harder to beat but still not super threatening. Even the bosses didn't feel like they might particularly KO me.

Why did not all enemies have health bars? I get bosses not having health bars, but wasn't sure why, say, the spiders didn't have a health bar. The inconsistency was strange - I feel like either no encounter enemies should have HP bars, or all should.

Marq's Shattered Faith having no PP cost was strange, especially as it was a particularly powerful move that I used a lot.

Side note, this might be a little odd, but I'm not sure why the crystals have the "save game" option when you can save anywhere? I realise it might be for utility, but it still felt a little strange.

GRAPHICS
This is straight-up nitpicky, so don't mind it, but the battlers changing styles was a little jarring. But honestly, I'm just nitpicking here. I really liked the graphics, though! I liked the enemies a lot despite that. I also appreciated the consistency with the player character graphics.


So - I know there's a lot of criticism there, but I do want to make it clear that I really did enjoy playing this game, I had a blast, and I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing more from this world. I could really feel the love you had for this and I loved the cast of characters. Thanks for making my lockdown a little more fun!
 

Ceres-Eris

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@dazed Thanks for playing it and I'm glad you enjoyed it! About the health bars, enemies by default don't normally have visible health bars. But once you beat one of them or use the Analyze Spell is when their health bar becomes visible. Yeah, now I realize that I should've mentioned this somewhere.

Marq's Shattered Faith was supposed to cost 40PP. Someone actually already told me of this and I thought I fixed it. I've updated the download link again it should be fixed this time. Shame you got the version where this wasn't fixed.

Enemy Balance is something I need to work on. Like apparently as you said the snakes' dual claw attack was too strong. How did you feel about the mechanic where Enemies charge Skills / Spells and you had to prevent them from using their Charged Attack by using either Skills or Spells that inflict Status Ailments? Were you ever able to see an enemy pull a Charged Attack off?

My logic with this battle system's balance is that the enemy's most threatening attacks is when they manage to pull of their charged skill / spell. So it's up to the player to make sure they prevent that either by using Skills or Spells that inflict Status Ailments (bear in mind that enemies have increased chances to get inflicted an ailment while charging).

But apparently I have found that because all Skills prevented charging enemies, the player can effortlessly stop charging enemies by just using the stronger Skills. This might be why you didn't feel like the bosses could ever KO you can effortlessly stop their Charged Attack. I was thinking of for the next game, only certain skills stop charging enemies. It would be stated in the Skill description whether it does or not. Typically the weaker single target low cost skills would stop charging enemies while the stronger multitarget expensive skills won't stop charging enemies but would still be useful for damage. This way you have to actively target the Charging Enemies to stop them.

Again, I'm glad you played it and my goal with the worldbuilding was making sure it felt like an actual world that the characters could actually be living in so I'm glad you got that sense. (And I hope you'll come back for my main project which takes place in the same world too).
 

dazed

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Enemy Balance is something I need to work on. Like apparently as you said the snakes' dual claw attack was too strong. How did you feel about the mechanic where Enemies charge Skills / Spells and you had to prevent them from using their Charged Attack by using either Skills or Spells that inflict Status Ailments? Were you ever able to see an enemy pull a Charged Attack off?

My logic with this battle system's balance is that the enemy's most threatening attacks is when they manage to pull of their charged skill / spell. So it's up to the player to make sure they prevent that either by using Skills or Spells that inflict Status Ailments (bear in mind that enemies have increased chances to get inflicted an ailment while charging).
With the gameplay, I think only one enemy got to use a charged skill against me - and it was a lot more threatening than normal attacks. It was just too easy to shut them down because you could use a physical skill against them, I think - it'd work better if it was just inflicting status ailments that shut it down.
 

Ceres-Eris

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Oh. Now that's something to consider. Thanks for the feedback!
 

Ceres-Eris

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Update: I've included a browser link so the game can be played on the browser itself.
 

hiddenone

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I gave your game a go, and enjoyed it. I didn't reach the end, but played enough to give me a decent look at the game.
I'm playing a version I grabbed at the end of April, so sorry if you've updated the game and changed anything. These are my notes as I play, sorry it's not rewritten but there are still so many games I've got to play...

⦁ It's nice to have skills right from the start of the game, and the fact that they're well-labeled is even better

⦁ Can walk under a green plant near the Adventurer's Guild
passable plant.png
⦁ Minor nitpick, but I disliked how some of the events were autostarted if you walked on them, like the bookcases in the guild. The player should be able to choose if they're interacting with a book, or if they're just walking by it

⦁ Why is Doria's Katana icon an axe?

⦁ The mapping is good, but using a few tints could make them look even better. Slightly darkening interiors would make them stand out compared to the bright light outside

⦁ The writing is good, and the personalities of all the characters are showing even in short conversations. Good job!

⦁ Please don't resize my pixel battlers in ways that make them blurry :kaocry:

⦁ Thank you for showing the player where the lever opens a door. It's a lot easier to know where to go next then, even if the sewer map is maze-like

⦁ Battles aren't bad, but I'm not sure if any of them have weaknesses because they all die pretty easily to Doria's Skills

⦁ It would be nice if battles dropped potions once in a while. I've got a ton of money at this point, but since those save crystals aren't too common it's not feasible to run back and buy more all the time. Even if the enemies dropped lesser potions it would still be useful, or perhaps buff potions

⦁ Of course right after I write that down, I come across another crystal. ^^; I do still think that having more battle-related item drops could be interesting though​

⦁ It's funny that the game admits that the sewers have a crazy layout. I do wish the stone signs showed a general map of the sewers though, my sense of direction in games is terrible so having an idea of which way to go is really helpful

⦁ It would be nice if you picked a different color for important words in messages. The light yellow is just too close to white, so it can be difficult to tell what's meant to be important in the text

⦁ I defeated the monster nest, but the game seems to keep going. I'll stop hear because I've got other games to play, but I may come back and finish this later :)

Overall, I did enjoy the game. The story was fun, though it's clear that it's a small bit of a much larger story. Battles were rather simple, but I did enjoy gaining enough TP each turn to really get to use skills often. There are bits that could use more polish, but that can be done later. Good luck improving, and with your main project! :rwink:
 

RCXDan

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@Ceres-Eris I took the time to play your game, since you seemed adamant about your project. Here's my review:

Pros:

+ Interesting title screen
+ I like how the characters look, especially their different expressions. Janelle in particular is super cute. Their personalities are pretty good, too.
+ The inclusion of non-human races is neat
+ Interesting worldbuilding
+ Excellent mapping
+ I like how the characters actually look both ways when they have to cross the road. That's adorable.
+ The writing is good, though I feel it'd improve with some trimming down.
+ I love this side-view combat system and the animations. Really digging that the enemies are fully animated, and even that they have low HP sprites and dead poses. Enemies visibly showing that they have statuses is pretty genius. The position-based attacks reminds me a lot of the Lunar series, which is very nice.
+ That water lowering gimmick is pretty cool.
+ No bugs
+ Game's difficulty is just right, if a little easy
+ These enemies are suitably weird and there's a lot of visual variety.

Cons:

- Not fond of the clicking sound effect for the text.
- A little mixed on the big lore dump at the start. The interaction felt quite exposition-y, and could have been condensed down to "aw man, I wish we could just leave town, but no. Stupid regulations..." and that's it. It feels egregrious cause the info about the empire and the explorer ranks is explained later on anyway, so it feels redundant to put it right at the start. Maybe keep this kind of stuff optional if the player is interested enough to want to know about it, and only include details if it's actually relevant to the plot of this game specifically.
- Why does the katana have an axe icon
- Personal gripe, but maybe having Analyze be a skill that affects all enemies instead of just one would make it far more valuable. It's not like knowing the enemy's HP would really change how you fight them.
- "Join in on official mission" is missing something. There's also some lines that are missing periods.
- Exploration isn't all that engaging. Like yeah, the maps look really nice, but it's kinda deflating to only find health potions and mana refills in chests. Resource management is pretty much nil.
- While battles are interesting, they're kinda clustered and the enemies don't really have any mechanical depth beyond just "hit them with your strongest skills." Maybe introduce more boss battles that force you to think over sheer number of enemies. There was a little HP sponginess going on too, since even the teeny enemies required more than two shots to kill.
- Random battle systems aren't my thing, but if you could introduce something that helps ease the encounter rate...

Observations:

= You can learn skills via scrolls, which reminds me of Disgaea 5
= Save Crystal where you can buy stuff? That's a new one.
= The hints are fine, but trimming them down would be beneficial. Just keep it to one or two lines.
= Oooh, NPCs in fights too. Now that's a concept.
= Genuinely surprised that the game can fit eight players without breaking or something.

Analysis:

This one was lovely. The plot's straightforward and I really loved how things felt and looked, especially the battle system - it did a lot of things right and actually reminded me of some of my favorite RPGs. It captured that similar fun feeling, and I'd be down to play an entire game of this.

My biggest gripe is that there's some clutter, both in gameplay and in the writing. You kinda have an overwriting tendency - this isn't to say any of this is bad. I enjoy the worldbuilding and want you to keep doing what you're doing, but there's a lot of time spent reiterating the same ideas or explaining them when they're not necessary.

Like the characters dip into "we have to explain this worldbuilding detail so the player can know" even though it doesn't always feel natural. The best way to do this is to think about it like if you were in the characters' shoes - would they really say this in an actual conversation?

Mastering this will make both your worldbuilding and character interactions bloom, since the best character interactions will still reveal information about the world naturally without having to say it outright.

As far as demonstrations go, this one was very strong - especially for a game jam entry. I'm fascinated to see the full game of this completed in the future. :)
 
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Ceres-Eris

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Thanks, both of you for playing it. And thanks for all the feedback you've given. I wrote your feedbacks in my notes to keep in mind for my main project.
@hiddenone
Sorry about resizing your battlers wierdly. And your resources are really great too, thanks for those. I especially like the generator parts from your thread. And I hope you do come back to finish it.
@RCXDan
Overwriting is definitely an issue I see now and something I have to work on. I do see some fat from the dialogue that can be trimmed. Making dungeons more interesting beyond just looking pretty is also something I need to work on. But I'm also glad I've at least managed to make it look pretty. I wanted to make a more complicated dungeon with the water levels and stuff but the end of April deadline was real close at the time. Guess I'll save it for my main project.

Again, I appreciate you two playing and giving feedback. This short game really helped me learn what ideas stick, what I need to improve on and what are the things I actually did right.
 

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