Looking for games to LP!

Discussion in 'Maker Casual' started by Studio Blue, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we slip into the world of Chaos Dream Retribution by SimProse Studios. This is our fifth (or is it sixth?) SimProse Game.

    There is a lot to enjoy here: An engaging story, elegant writing, fully voice-acted content, and an interesting enemy-on-map mechanic that we haven't seen in one of SimProse's games before. The mapping and graphical look (sans the characters) is refreshingly different from his previous games.

    However, there are a lot of similarities between this and other Simprose Studio titles: On map rabbit-holes, item durability, difficulty skewed against the new player, combat balancing that needs work, and (unfortunately) characters and enemies missing all the time. Have four misses in a row? Gotta be a Simprose game!

    There are some story and character elements that need work too, but you'll have to watch the video to get the proper context of that.

    Overall, this is not a bad game at all, and if you like the Ultima 7 or Dragon Quest like experiences that Simprose offers, you'll like this game. However, after so many similar games... is it time for something different by this developer?

     
  2. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at the cooperative play of Strangers of the Power 2 by Tuomo L.

    First off, the aesthetics of this game are really good, with great custom artwork, solid mapping, and some of the best voice-acting we've ever seen in an RPG Maker game. Also, the characters' reactions and dialogue with each other is different depending on who you're playing and who they're speaking to, etc. That aspect alone is just amazing enough to keep us playing.

    The Co-op features need work, though, as it's very difficult to tell what buttons to press, who is using the controller, and how the keyboard maps for Players 1 and 2. There needs to be a crash-course in the very beginning (or even better yet at the title screen) for cooperative play.

    The starting enemies have a bit too much HP, but it's not so bad as to detract from the overall experience.

    Obviously, this game is meant to be played co-op, which is a massive undertaking for an RPG Maker game and should be applauded. If the developer can make that as seamless and easy on the players as possible, this will potentially go down as one of the more innovative RPG Maker games out there. Good job!

     
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  3. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hey everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we visit the world of Don't Die, a game made by Bubuhotep. He was the creator of Sayaka, the first game we ever did a video on.

    This is a demo, and it shows a lot of promise with good atmosphere, a solid start to a dungeon crawling game, and a unique "stance" system that allows you to buff your character for outgoing and incoming attacks.

    The difficulty of the game is unfortunately too high at the start, and those opening encounters need to be nerfed some. Once the characters get a chance to go back to the town and upgrade their gear (a prospect that needs to be vocalized to the player as soon as possible), the game gets more balanced. There wasn't enough time to develop the characters in this game, though, so we didn't get a chance to connect with them--aside from the the leader Jamie.

    Overall, though, it's the start of a good game with some good promise. We can't wait to see what Bubuhotep brings to the table moving forward!

     
  4. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at the world of Broken Path by Gambitben, and enjoy the ups and bemoan the downs. With a Disgaea meets Lunar feel, this game has some good potential.

    This game has a strong series of mechanics, including an encounter bar that fills as you explore, resulting in a fight when it fills up, character-specific support skills that buff the character who uses them, mostly solid balancing, and a series of opening tutorials that do well to explain the battle system. There are also things like item pockets (characters have to equip items to use them in battle), power recharge, and statuses that make certain elements cause more damage... all of these make for a great where strategy is needed in the battles, especially the boss fights.

    The banter between the two main characters, and little things like a shopkeeper recognizing that the main character is wearing pajamas, make for a nice touch.

    Unfortunately, the writing in this game needs considerable work. It's riddled with writer convenience and the actual word choices in many cases just don't work. Like literally, words are used incorrectly in sentences. There are grammatical and spelling mistakes all over the game. The opening series of dialogue and the first encounter with Silence need to be rewritten. At one point, a forest exterior battle screen is used for a forest interior dungeon.

    However, with some polish and work, this could be a fun game with a very enjoyable flair to it. What do you think? Let us and the developer know your thoughts in the comments!

     
  5. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello and Happy Holidays everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we return to the world of Sonic in Tales of Mobius, the Revival, a revisit of a game we thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to its continuous development.

    This was a hard game to critique since we loved so much about it. It's a strong and solid take on the Sonic Franchise and does the game series significant honor. Battles are fast-paced and, while easy to learn, take increasing skill to master (without being too difficult). The graphics are spot on, including the non-Sonic graphics. Several RTP tilesets are used in a way that is homogenous and works. The sound and music fit the mood perfectly (great contrast of field versus battle music), and nothing is out of place.

    The game using the Linear Battle Engine effectively, with gamepad support working with minimal hiccups. We found ourselves really wishing for a Co-op feature in this game--Teal specifically wanted to play Tails! The gameplay loop is indicative of a Sonic game while blending RPG elements relatively seamlessly.

    The few problems we encountered do need to be addressed, although most of them are cosmetic. Here are the ones we located that really need addressing: The HP and MP bars are kind of small and difficult to see on a smaller monitor, so enlarging them may help. Also, there are a few spots where the terrain was unpassable when it had no point being so. Lastly, the boss in the Sandopolis Zone has a stomp attack that does 2800 damage with no chance of dodging... so our game ended there.

    However, this is all fixable, and the game is tremendous fun. We fully support the developer completing this game (with the Linear Battle Engine -- Please don't change that!) and would love to play it to completion when it's finished.

     
  6. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone and Happy Holidays! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we attempt to explore the world of Umbral Astral Dreamers by Kato-san, a picturesque adventure created for the IGMC.

    Unfortunately, we're just not good at puzzle games... so it goes about as well as you'd expect.

    But let's talk about the positives here, because there are many. The game has amazing custom artwork, characters you can connect with from the very beginning, lovely custom tiles with solid mapping, and a serene soundtrack that adds so much flavor to the experience. The writing is good too; although we didn't get far, we liked what we saw.

    Honestly, the only thing we can say if this game is meant to be science fiction (as opposed to science fantasy), we advise the developer to brush up on their scientific terms. Dimensions of space and time don't work the way the developer presents them and calling a hyper-advanced wireless network WIFI pulls out of the game. Having said that, if this is going to be science fantasy or fantasy with scientific elements, then most of that criticism can be ignored.

    Sadly, we couldn't get past the second puzzle, which is not a negative against the developer. Hopefully, with a walkthrough, we will be able to complete and enjoy this game.

     
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  7. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello and Happy Holidays everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we try to survive the world of Aimi no Toraburu, a short horror demo by Toasty-kun (RPGTime). This was an entry for the IGMC.

    Quite atmospheric and leaning on the Japanese Tengu mythology, this game utilizes gore-based horror to scare the player. The soundtrack is quite creepy, and both the look and feel reminded us of Corpse Party. With some horrific custom artwork, this could be really unsettling.

    There is a section of the game where the player chooses which path to go, and thus which NPC to interact with, which adds a realm of branching possibilities to the story.

    The controls are fine, but there are random places where the player cannot walk: small cracks on the ground that are marked as impassable terrain. From time to time, the critical path is marred by inexplicable graphics, something that again can be fixed with custom sprites, etc.

    Aimi's degradation is too sudden, and thus feels forced. Her return, while foreshadowed appropriately, happens to nonchalantly; however, if the plan is for her to turn and recover repeatedly over the course of the story, that may not be a problem.

    There are a few other minor issues, but most of them are easily fixed in beta-testing.

    The puzzles are perfect: not too hard and not too easy. Good job!

    Overall, this is a fantastic beginning to a game, one that has a lot of potentials. Can't wait where Toasty takes this next!

     
  8. atoms

    atoms Veteran Veteran

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    Wow you've been able to play a lot of games lately! Nice to see you both still having fun and doing well.
     
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  9. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Thank you so much! Yeah, we're doing the best we can to make the holidays a little more RPGMakery. :D
     
  10. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello and Happy Holidays everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at Amneron's Legacy The Guardians by Rythane.

    This game hits us hard from the moment we started a new game with one of the best opening sequences we've seen in a long time. The stage is set for an epic fight of light versus darkness, and we enter the main story with high hopes and expectations.

    The music is wonderfully atmospheric, a haunting series of melodies that depart from the usual RPG Maker audio. We loved the use of particles to add to the aesthetics. The presentation of the characters and the various cutscenes are very well done. The battle system is fine with minimal complaints. And finally, the level design is (for the most part) solid, with only a few instances of buildings being one shape in on the outside and another on the inside. The tower dungeon is, for all our other issues, pretty dayum impressive.

    We accidentally unequipped the main character's weapon, so watch as we bumble our way through half the LP. XD

    There are myriad of instances where an action is dictated in dialogue via asterisks (such as *nods* and *giggles*) which is unfortunately not good writing. We recommend taking the time to customize the sprites to do those actions. Otherwise, immersion is broken.

    Unfortunately, this game commits some pretty serious cardinal sins that sent our experience into a death spiral from which it never recovered. We'll quickly summarize them here, since the video is almost two hours long:

    1. Writer Convenience is literally everywhere once you embark on the main quest. Everything that happens does so against the reigns of common sense to move the story along.

    2. There is no way a crown prince would ever be allowed to travel across the continent alone. Full Steel rant included in the video.

    3. The destruction of Princess Jasmine's home is handled poorly from start to finish, and comes across as lazy writing.

    4. The idea that the guards of a castle would stop the crown prince from visiting his father during a time of crisis is laughable.

    5. Making the player backtrack through a dungeon after clearing it is no good.

    6. The empty space on that world map...

    We're hard on this game because it starts off so strongly, and we really want to see the same energy experienced at the beginning of the game to continue throughout the whole thing. If you have advice for the developer on how to make this the best game it can be, please give it in the comments below.

     
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  11. mobiusclimber

    mobiusclimber Veteran Veteran

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    It's a well put together game that suffers from poor writing (in some aspects) and questionable tile choices (in some parts). I feel like the intro really could put people off right off the bat because it's so incredibly cliched. And unnecessary, as far as I can tell. All that could be inferred from NPCs and random books (etc), if it's even really necessary at all. It's also disappointing to read about something you don't get to see happen. Raining blood? Either show it or score it with some Slayer. LOL There's, as you say, some issues with logic in what happens in the game. I think, honestly, the developer should either find a good writer or some books on how to craft a story. There's a lot to like, and plenty of the dialogue is good, but there's also a lot of little things that detract from the experience.

    [edit: and honestly, all the game needs is an editor. Someone to clean up some of the prose, nix bad sprite placement, remove the "m'lord"s everywhere, and just tighten things up a bit. It's just that when the rest of the game is so nice, the missteps are more disappointing. With a more critical eye to the writing, this game would be amazing.]
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
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  12. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello and Merry Christmas everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we jingle bells our way into the world of Mrs. Claus's Gift Hunt, a short holiday game by TuomoL.

    This is a fun little jaunt with lots of Christmas cheer, set in a world not too different from Rise of the Guardians. Effectively a scavenger hunt meets dungeon crawl, it has a wondrous atmosphere, a charming cast, and plenty of moments to show your Christmas spirit. Outside of a few instances of questionable taste (the Jewish joke, for example, is completely unnecessary), the game is a lot of fun.

    We only have a few real criticisms and some nitpicks as well. The first floor of the dungeon is too dark for the way the flashlight works (the second floor does it right), and there needs to be a blocker on one part of the first floor's "upper level." Since giving up the Toy Sword puts you at a severe disadvantage for about four or so fights, there needs to be a warning on top of the one the player is already given. You'd think common sense would prevail there, but players make dumb mistakes. XD Frosty's Ice spell needs to do about 3x more damage. The camera move when the switches are pressed (on both floors) needs to be slower and more dramatic. And lastly, the game could really benefit from enemy HP bars and a Boss HP bar.

    We need to know how many presents there are to find. An on-screen counter (like 7/10 or something), would be best.

    The biggest issue with this game, however, lay in the writing near the end. The reason the antagonist gives for doing their actions is one of the most, if not the most, sympathetic reasons we have ever encountered in one of the games we've covered. However, right after that mind-blowing and very relatable revelation, another reason is given that completely undermines the entire integrity of the story. The romantic twist not only doesn't work, it cheapens the rest of the game. We recommend removing it completely.

    Otherwise, this is a wonderfully charming game with a lot of heart and a positive message. Whether it grows into something bigger or remain as it is, we wish the developer the absolute best.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

     
  13. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello and Happy New Year everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we explore the mysterious world of Kiara, a game by Ruskatuli (the developers of Traum).

    This is an amazing adventure that shows the power of a team working outside of the box. This game stretches RPG Maker to its limits and, from the very beginning, sets an atmosphere of friendship, betrayal, and redemption that we have rarely seen in an indie game. With the possibility to hit the level of emotion of games like Child of Light, we could find very little to be critical of this game.

    Some minor nitpicks are the audio levels and the puzzles. The audio is amazing but dipped and ebbed a bit too much during our playthrough. It seemed unusual to have the opening cinematic be an FMV when it could easily have been moving pictures. The puzzles are either too hard or too easy, so we highly suggest a heavy degree of testing outside the immediate developer circle when the game is in Beta to maintain a steady degree of challenge.

    Our biggest issue with this game so far is the writing, specifically the presentation of the storyline at the very beginning. Kiara is way too obvious as a betrayer character, so unless that's the ultimate red herring, it will need to be redone. The initial conversation as a whole, from Kiara's meandering explanation of the world to Mina's unrealistic acceptance, detracts from the experience. A strong level of content editing is needed to make this the story it needs to be.

    Otherwise, though, we have very little critical comments to make. The graphics are breathtaking (whoever made the decision for the game to be black and white deserves a medal), the critical path is impeccable, and the boss fight is intuitive yet challenging. The voice acting was top-notch and needs to be for every line of outwardly spoken dialogue (cut scenes and battles). We can't say enough good things about this demo!

    One of the biggest things we would love to see, and feel that the game would benefit greatly from it, is if the protagonist Mina was a Therapist or Psychologist. The game lends itself to that so much it seems like a perfect fit... plus that isn't a common archetype for the main character. We urge the developers to consider it and offer even more insight and possibilities at the end of the LP video.

    No matter what, however, we want to both test this game when it's in Beta and live stream it to completion when it goes Gold (much like we did for Traum).

    What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

     
  14. hadecynn

    hadecynn Abyss of Oblivion Veteran

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    @Studio Blue Not the dev but just want to point out that Kiara is developed in GameMaker, not RPG Maker. Source is from one of the members on the team (Lehkeri) I asked while I was compiling some info on the IGMC top 10s this year.
     
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  15. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Yeah, someone on our Discord channel pointed that out. We've posted a note on the YouTube video description.

    Thank you for bringing that to our attention though. Very appreciated!
     
  16. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone. In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we revisit the world of Adventures of Dragon by TuomoL. Please read the full summary or watch the full video to see what happens. This was a very unique experience for us.

    It's been a considerable amount of time since we critiqued this game last, but it looks like the presentation has tightened up since it moved from Beta to Gold, and that is very admirable. Combat and exploration are streamlined, the artwork for busts (especially for the main character) are great, and the tongue-in-cheek lewd (and often crude) humor is hilarious. We loved how the characters are built to grow with their skills (we only had Dragon and Jessie in the party) and how skills, in general, are presented and used. With a few tweaks here and there, the suspension of disbelief can be raised to allow for a lot of forgiveness.

    The character of Jessie is amazing. She is one of our favorites in recent memory. Please, make more use of her as both a tool of world exhibition and social commentary. Let her be the player's "eyes" in this game. It's a winning formula.

    There are some minor glitches and spelling/grammar errors that have to be fixed. Also, there are times the artwork doesn't match (custom artwork is used along with RPG Maker's Face Generator art). The plot is presented a bit jaggedly, and the cosmology of the world (three dimensions in the first hour) needs to be explained better.

    The mapping, once you reach Dad's Castle, is really rudimentary and needs a complete overhaul. The "world map" and first dungeon are just not well put together, and the encounter rate is way too high.

    Underneath the wackiness lay a layer of serious commentary about social issues. Gender identity, transphobia, equality, violence against women. All of these issues are handled beautifully (albeit crudely) until the player gets to the end of the first dungeon (the Cave of Regret) and encounters Sanefang and the issue of "violence against women".

    We understand that games have violence against woman and children, so we don't have a problem with that. But allow us to lay the groundwork for the issue at hand. This game sets a precedent early on that it's tackling social issues with Jessie being a hermaphrodite, and then later by Dragon's hatred toward humans being revenge for a racially motivated attack. So when you get to Sanefang and hear his story, you know that the game is commenting on how violence against women is a terrible thing. The potential for it to be a powerful statement is there and we were expecting a strong scenario to follow.

    However, the game not only makes light of the issue through Jessie's reaction, it almost immediately defends the incident by putting us in control of Sanefang. It's very hard to explain in text, but you can see our reaction (especially Teal) change as the scene unfolds. We've never walked away from an LP before, but we came close this time.

    We don't believe for a second that the developer is defending or making light of violence against women (or anyone), but if you're going to approach the topic, there are certain ways to handle it. Otherwise, you risk losing a section of your player base by appearing to either make light of or defend it. Again, we don't believe that the developer intended this, and we're confident that the necessary changes will be made, but it's paramount that this gets pointed out so other developers won't make this mistake.

    Please keep any discourse about this situation (here, our Discord Channel, or anywhere) civil about this topic. Thank you.

     
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  17. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this SMILE Game Builder Let's Play, we looked at the 3D RPG world of Chronicles of Espiria by DrassRay, a unique and fun experience that is a departure from what we usually do. And to be honest, it's refreshingly nice to see something other than RPG Maker.

    First off, the visuals in this game are really nice, showing not only what SMILE Game Builder can do, but what a 3D RPG Maker could do if it were ever implemented. And since we've seen default SMILE Builder models and objects before, it was awesome seeing what some custom artwork was like. From a visual standpoint, this game is going great places and can only get better.

    The music and sounds are great too, providing a wonderful atmosphere that pulls the player right into the world. The desert wind effect was especially nice.

    We loved the map design, both how it plays off the isometric 3D view and how it breaks up the negative space with interesting pieces. We even didn't mind the transition from forest to cave and then to desert. The blockiness of the SMILE game engine limits the developer to a Final Fantasy Tactics style look, but that is easily forgivable very quickly.

    The battle system is basic and could use some customizing, but we're not sure if SMILE allows for custom scripting, etc. If that's the limitation of the engine, so be it. It's not bad. It's just basic.

    The greatest strength comes from the Espirion System, the stat customization and growth system. By using the dropped materials called Espirite (Magicite anyone? ^_~), the player can raise stats and learn new skills, not too unlike the Crystarium System from Final Fantasy XIII or the Constellation System from Skyrim. It is such a refreshingly nice system that we were genuinely excited for the developer.

    However, when it comes to the game writing, things start to fall apart very quickly, and that leads us to the weakest part of the game. The town NPCs don't add any life or value to the world, their comments and talking points are incredibly generic, and it doesn't take into account, the extraordinary events surrounding the appearance of the protagonist. The plot is riddled with writer convenience, and the progression is very "you need to go here" followed by "sure, ok" moments. The tertiary character of Issac has the most character growth, and we don't meet him until near the end of the video.

    So suffice to see, the game's writing needs some ground level rework. However, if fixed, this game will not only be something really special, but will be a solid and powerful case to further explore the SMILE Game Builder Engine.

     
  18. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look into the hauntingly beautiful world of "Fading Remnants" by Lazy Bum Studios. This was an IGMC Contest Entry and, like others we've critiqued, is part of a much larger work-in-progress.

    To speak simply, we found this game to be astounding in so many ways. The visuals and audio, the way the atmosphere comes together, the solid level design, the characters, and the unique world... all of it comes together to paint a picture worthy of admiration. This is one of those "see it to believe it" games, and even the simplistic puzzles (which we suspect will get more complex as the game goes on) fit into the narrative. We were very impressed.

    SPOILERS: Teal suspects that the characters of Devon and Angela are imaginary, existing only within Lia's head. Therefore, we'll be tackling our main issue with the game first under the assumption this is incorrect... and then under the assumption that this is correct.

    Our main issue is that Lia is very flat and two dimensional, a wallpaper character that adds nothing to the story, even as the narrator. At first, we thought she was a silent protagonist. Next, we were confused as to who she was. Then, we had trouble getting in her head. Finally, we found ourselves dissatisfied with the way she is portrayed.

    If Teal is incorrect, Lia must have a bust graphic, and her personality needs to be more varied. She and her two friends need to interact more with the NPCs as a trio and not a funneled duo. Devon and Angela's character sprites need to appear in more cutscenes. Lia needs some character faults to make her less of a Mary Sue.

    If Teal is correct, then the focus needs to be even more internal. Devon and Angela only argue at this point, forming Lia's dissonance and alternative points of view. But they also need to serve other functions. They need to help her think through puzzles, decide on courses of action, and understand the world around her. There are shades of this, which is what led Teal to her suspicion, but there needs to be more... much more. And, like before, Lia needs faults as the "main persona". Right now, she is too perfect, even with two imaginary friends.

    Also, in Steel's opinion, Devon is too stupid and Angela is too mean. This can be forgiven mostly if Teal's suspicion is correct; however, if she is incorrect, then they absolutely need to be less stereotypical.

    Overall, though, this is the beginning to an amazing journey, one we cannot wait to see where it goes. What do you all think? How can this game be the best it can be? Let us know!

     
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  19. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at Act 1 of the epic that is Rising Saga Origins by Karthus, exploring the beginnings of this anime-stylized game.

    There is a lot to unpack in this video, and it's a crazy ride filled with laughs and tears, snorts and jeers. The visual presentation is top-notch with loads of custom graphics and good music (are they copyrighted?).

    Level Design: There are some instances of buildings being bigger on the inside than the outside, but these are exceptions. The protagonist's house is very well designed, although having the protagonist's room in its own separate map is weird. We didn't explore Potter City due to time limitations, but it seemed fine. The first forest dungeon, however, has a massive backtrack that simply should not be allowed. That needs to be redesigned, as no reward is worth backtracking the entire way.

    Combat: Fine for the most part. If this is an anime-based game, moves need to be flashier and with more showcase, not just typical skills with default animations. We recommend looking at games like Fairy Fencer F on how to handle the skills. Also, Kuro reloading his gun one bullet at a time is both an unrealistic and unacceptable mechanic. That needs to be revisited.

    Music: Very good, although we recommend against vocals when characters are talking. Loved the battle tracks!

    There are some pretty sweet positives, though. Although character generation should not break the fourth wall in this situation, being able to choose your name, sex, class, and characteristics are pretty sweet. The only thing that would make it better is if you could create your character's look using SumRandomDude's plugin. The game closely mimics an anime TV series in its visual presentation, and that needs to be taken even further. Use DBZ-style energy motion backgrounds, eye-catches, and more over-the-top moments to ramp up the stylization.

    By the way, them some of the largest boobs we done even seen on Serrani. Also, underboob. Is this an ecchi game? o_O;

    However, despite the fantastic visual and audio presentation, the game falls apart in the execution of its story. The story has been workshopped on our Discord channel, but unfortunately, the way it comes out is jagged and almost incoherent. The plot goes all over the place, there's writer's convenience, information is given to the player only for it to be used within the scene moments later, there is way too much exhibition and exposition, and so many plot twists are revealed within the confines of the first Act that they completely lose their impact. Not to mention you barely play Act 1. Instead, you mostly watch it via tons of cutscenes with minimal exploration and one very annoying dungeon.

    Then there are the conversations. So many words are used, but very little is said. Dialogue not only meanders, but it also contradicts itself. The most emotional scene in Act 1 (Serrani saying goodbye to the protagonist) falls flat. And the big "plot moving scene" at the end of Act 1 is executed very poorly. We did love the introduction to the Academy Instructors and the subsequent class introductions. That was not only handled well, but it was also very humorous.

    Lastly, and this is the biggest problem of all, this game looks and feels very amateurish from a writing stand-point. This comes across in two ways: (1) It feels like several elements that the developer likes were heterogeneously thrown together instead of homogeneously mixed, and (2) it is very, very obvious that this is the developer's first game. Both of us highly recommend that the developer shelf this massive epic for a few years, create smaller games to hone their craft, and then pick this game back up. Otherwise, the developer will get stuck in the vicious cycle of patching up every problem, and this game needs more help than just a bunch of band-aids. It's not to say that the developer can't make a great game--quite the opposite, they've shown great potential--but this is probably too big of a project for them to handle this early in their career.

    What do you all think? How can the developer make this the best game it can be? Are we missing anything? What can be done to make this the next RPG Maker epic?

     
  20. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

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    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we take a look at the mysterious world of Abyss of Oblivion by hadecynn, a procedural dungeon crawl with a unique set of story and mechanics.

    Note to developer: Options menu on the title screen, please!

    So right away, this game got to us with its opening sequence. Most games don't start with a combination of action and title, and it worked. We're soon in the action with Evelyn and Orla, and enjoying the introduction to the world and its systems.

    There was some confusion on our end as to who was Evelyn and Orla once they both started talking from the same sprite. Easy fix, though. Just have Evelyn get the speech bubble arrow and Orla have none. That way, the player remembers that Oral is not the character walking around, but an object in Evelyn's hand.

    We need to see a comment bridging the gap between the end of the first memory(when Evelyn was cursed), and the game returning control to the player, acknowledging that Evelyn met Orla after the curse. It's as easy as one sentence "I'm glad I ran into you after I was cursed" and will settle the timeline in the player's mind until the next reveal.

    This game oozes style and we loved it. Top notch presentation! Also, the maps for the cutscenes are really good, and the procedural maps are OK despite being basic.

    Unfortunately, soon after the introduction portion of the game, which we don't have any serious criticism of, the game starts to fall apart on a systemic level. The inclusion of the timer as a core mechanic while continuing to teach the player how to play doesn't work. Timers create a psychological sense of urgency, even when they are paused, and any system being taught during that time has a much better chance of being overlooked or skimmed (you want neither). Also, there are too many elements in the game, they are pushed too quickly, and we started feeling drowned soon after arriving at the first real area. Our advice is to do one of the following: (1) Do away with the timer completely (Teal's option), (2) Do away with the mechanical elements introduced after the introducing the timer (Steel's option), or (3) holding off the timer until all the mechanical elements have been taught and used (their compromise).

    Once those issues are conquered, however, this has the potential to turn a profit if the developer wishes.

    What do you all think? How can this game become the best it can be?

     

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