Looking for games to LP!

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

  1. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    NOTE: This game is an early demo. What you see in this LP may not be indicative of the final product!

    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we shift into the dreamscape that is "She Dreams Elsewhere" by Studio Zevere.

    This game was described by the developer as "Earthbound has a baby with Adult Swim", but we got more of a "Kingdom Hearts meets Undertale" vibe. The artwork is very simplistic, using the three tones from the CGA days of cyan, magenta, and white--and it totally works! There is something so stylistic about the game that it draws you in and makes you genuinely excited to play.

    It also contains some amazing effects that we cannot figure out. How did they do the wavy-screen effect during the opening dream sequence? And how did they do the screen shatter effect for the battle transition?! The visual aesthetic of the game, despite the simple graphical style, is simply amazing.

    The audio is unbelievable, with a custom composed set of vocal and musical tracks that add to the mood and set the tone for what will be a creepy and intense journey.

    The battle system is simple enough, but has just enough complexity to force strategy While the "angel" enemy (Chariss, we think) hits way too hard with one of their powers, the overall balance is fine. We were able to make short work of the first real boss by carefully applying the buffs, debuffs, and Limit skills. (By the way, please rename "Limit" to something more appropriate for a dream world game.)

    The puzzles are good, start off well, and are great for the demo.

    We loved the opening dream sequence. Had to nitpick to find things to correct. Great job!

    The game tackles the issue of crippling social anxiety very well, although the magenta-texted "negative voice" for Thalia needed to start considerably earlier (we mention when in the video). The entire sequence of Thalia's breakdown at the party was wonderfully done, to the point of being uncomfortable to watch.

    However, the game's narrative starts to fall apart at the party. Amia's reaction to her friend's distress is callous and unbelievable, with the game showing those lack of emotions, but trying to tell us that Amia loves Thalia. This doesn't work and leaves us with a bad taste concerning this character.

    Things continue to go downhill when we "return" to the "dream world" (called Oblivion) in a sequence that is totally jarring. We're left questioning "was Thalia never truly awake or is this like Silent Hill where she's teleported to another dimension." Depending on what the developer wants to do with their story, certain foreshadowing needs to be implemented (the particle effects at the party can be construed as "drug haze" or lighting effects for the party, and therefore cannot hold the foreshadowing alone). We'll have different advice on how to proceed based on the developer's plan.

    Thalia accepts her situation in a totally unrealistic way. No human being, especially one with social anxiety, would get over it that fast.

    The narrative in Oblivion is further derailed by some random guy who happens to be standing around. That further confuses us as to whether this is a dream or another dimension, and it doesn't work.

    The ways that Thalia, Amia, and Oliver react and cope with the dream world are completely flat and unrealistic, even for (maybe) dream avatars. Amia and Oliver don't treat Thalia as a friend, especially after the first boss fight (what could have been an amazing scene fell flat). The personal journey of the characters fails to deliver the emotional impact and relatability that they should.

    However, love the animal save points and the ending sequence with the mirror. This game has a ton of potential. How can the developer make it the best it can be? Let us know in the comments!

     
    atoms and Lorenze like this.
  2. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Note: Super thanks to @Archeia for our awesome new avatars! We love you! <3

    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we peer into the world of "Rise of the Runelords" by Will Black. Thank you, Will, for your support on Patreon!

    This game has a strong opening presentation that, while it could stand to be condensed, sets the stage for a grand, world-spanning adventure. We are immediately then dropped into the starting town with a brief summary of the protagonist's journey and only a vague goal in mind.

    The maps of Sandpoint are spot-on, well-crafted, and generally, have the proper use of space. We had a minor issue with the sheer number of unused tables in the Inn, and the mansion had a lack of life, but overall the level design is well done.

    The writing is really good, and the developer shows his talent for the craft. There are a number of grammatical mistakes that need to be addressed, however.

    The characters are, for the most part, engrossing, which each having their own unique voice. Darius seems like a bit of a blockhead, the "not very bright" hero, but that adds to his charm. The most interesting character actually says nothing during our playthrough--a mysterious white-haired girl whose situation reminded us of Alessia from the Silent Hill movie.

    There is a very uncomfortable scene involving this young girl, but it's handled very tastefully. If you're going to have something like that in your game, best to take a note from this developer.

    The biggest issue we have is : (1) There is a lack of viable direction from the game during the starting town, (2) When Denny joins the party is it pure writer's convenience, and (3) Darius's visions are jarring, and he accepts it way too easily. Also, the four town elders talk way, way too much at the start of the festival, but that was a one-off.

    Lastly, there was a game-breaking bug when the Goblins attacked. Developers, please make sure to bug test your game before giving it to us. Thank you!

    Overall, though, this game has great potential. Once the above issues are corrected, we're sure it'll be well received by the community and players alike!

     
    atoms, lianderson and Archeia like this.
  3. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play we explore the DOOMesque world of "Project CLS" by MastersChief. Thank you, MastersChief, for your support on Patreon!

    So right away, we noticed the heavy amount of custom pixel arts, which was refreshing considering how often we deal with RTP and DLC graphics (not to say that those are bad). The visual aesthetic is unique, giving the game an early SEGA Genesis feel that we really enjoyed.

    The protagonist looks like a duck in a spacesuit. We know that's not the intention, but that's how it appeared. Henceforth, the hero of this game shall be affectionately and lovingly known as "Space Duck". <3

    Space Duck wakes up in a bad situation, his mining colony being over-run with demonic-like creatures. That setup and the stark narrative, with most of the information coming out in computer logs, give the entire game a very DOOM feeling. We appreciated that but felt a bit more information is needed in the beginning levels to help set the context.

    The art style works against the game in some places, like when Space Duck stares out of the viewport into space. Also, the music, while atmosphere with a bit of a dubstep feel, is not bad, it's not notable.

    The biggest problem we have with this game is two-fold: The balancing is way off. Even with an HP-absorbing power, Space Duck struggled with the second level and was unable to defeat the boss. Even after realizing that the "anomalous keycard" brought us to a secret room, we were unable to continue, as the enemies there wiped us out. Second, the distribution of items, money, and XP needs work. The first few levels of a game need to be easy enough to teach the player the mechanics, and then you increase the difficulty curve each level. This game was unbeatable for us after roughly 45 minutes.

    Maybe have the Caelus command not show up on Space Duck's battle menu, or even be mentioned, until one is gained? That way, the player already knows about the Doom-like paradigm and will willingly accept "magic."

    Harvey the Tutorial Guy, while funny, adds nothing in the way of value to the game.

    However, this game has a great mechanic behind it: A karma system that directly tracks your heavenlyness or hellishness. Just slap that attribute on either the main menu or the Status menu. With some work, the adventures of Space Duck could be very enjoyable!

     
    atoms and lianderson like this.
  4. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Still going strong. Keep it up.
     
    Studio Blue and atoms like this.
  5. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hey everyone! We've been out-of-pocket for over two weeks, and for that, we sincerely apologize.

    Everything is explained in this channel update announcement:



    We'll start putting out content again soon, promise!
     
  6. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone and thank you for our patience while we dealt with an amazing, but deeply involving, project. We’re back! In this RPG Maker Let’s Play, we begin a journey into the world of Shadow Star by Ghaleon, revisiting one of our favorite games, and one of the most successful videos on this channel.

    This will be a full play-through of the current build, from start to finish. Thank you for your support, Ghaleon! Let’s make this game the best it can be.

    The presentation value in Shadow Star is 10/10 from the moment you start a new game. For an RPG Maker MV game, it has the look and feel of a professional grade title, and it’s obvious that considerable love and care went into its creation. The special effects are top-notch and reminiscent of a 32-bit JRPG, and the music is simply divine (although there are a few scenes where we would recommend changing the music).

    Please, for the love of all things, developer, fix it so that 'X' goes to menu like most RMMV games!

    The battle engine presentation is unbelievable, with the best graphics and UI we’ve ever seen in an RPG Maker game. Other developers, please take notice that this is how you do it. Don’t just reskin, and definitely don’t just recolor MogHunter… create your own battle UI that looks like it belongs to part of your game. It makes all the difference in the world. There are a few technical errors with the battle engine: (1) Commands take a while to fulfill, slowing the battle down in a weird way, and (2) The camera sometimes acts weird, zooming around for apparently now reason, sometimes even twice, but it’s a minor nuance. Also, the dash just shuts off at the strangest times, and it doesn’t work.

    The balancing in the battles is A+, and from being able to spam the Attack command in the first dungeon to one of the best First-Boss fights we’ve ever had, we felt like we were being challenged just enough to make the game enjoyable. The encounter rate was too high. We highly recommend on-map encounters for this game, and if the developer is going keep it as random encounters, then the rate needs to be lowered by about 40%. If that means increasing the XP of the first dungeon to balance, so be it. The town attack scenario absolutely needs to have the goblins on screen, even if at set locations, with the critical path laid out by way of overturned carts, fell trees, etc.

    While the writing itself is good, we had big issues with the story progression. There is a lot of writer’s convenience in this game, stuff we obviously didn’t catch the first playthrough a few years ago. The way the potential Goblin attack is dismissed prior to happening, the way Lance and Bryce’s father is against them going after Julie, the way the entire town (which is quite small) no-sells the death of several citizens, and the way Bailey just sort of pushes Lance and Bryce along—none of it works. We offer comprehensive ideas on how to possibly fix these problems and urge Ghaleon to rework those scenes.

    Also… Julie’s father would either be legless or dead after having his leg crushed by a large boulder. So… yeah.

    But once those issues are resolved, with such a strong presentation and battle mechanic, this game is going to be something truly amazing. We can’t wait to continue playing!

     
    lianderson and atoms like this.
  7. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hi everyone! In this RPG Maker Let’s Play, we take a first look at the world of “Legends of Astravia” by Jaiden, an RPG Maker VX/Ace game with some amazing mapping and mechanics. Thank you for the support, Jaiden!

    Right out the gate, we can tell you that the developer put a lot of thought into the design of his levels, and that is easily the strongest part of the game. Visually, it’s very good, and if this is not parallax mapping, it fooled us completely. Well done on the design of each map! We have only a few critical points there, and they are easily remedied.

    Now for the stuff that needs attention.

    This game starts off with a cinematic opening that, while quite interesting, goes on for a bit too long. The entire introduction takes nearly ten minutes before any control is given to the player, which is way too much for an RPG Maker game. The protagonist, Oliver, is very generic, lacking any sort of character hook until the completion of the first dungeon. Amnesiac characters need to have a strong “hook” to make them exciting and engaging. This can be an odd tattoo, an item that resonates with them, a single memory that compels them. Anything. Oliver lacks that and it shows.

    The main story is also not compelling, at least not for the first two hours, and although it doesn’t go into the realm of cliché, it doesn’t do anything unique either. The world is obviously rich of lore, and it’s obvious that considerable thought went into its creation. But none of that comes out, and the game suffers for it. We don’t want to see this game meander in mediocrity.

    Lastly, the chain of events in the opening two hours is, unfortunately, quite contrived. Oliver has no memory, and for… some… reason he wants to go to Valica? It doesn’t really make sense and needs to be front-loaded. The way the small village reacts to the little girl being kidnapped is more how a large town or city would with an active militia, not a tiny village in a swamp with only one trained combatant. Speaking of which, why is Baldric even there? What’s the reason for someone with such skill being in the middle of nowhere? It doesn’t make any sense. The way the game transitions from first crisis to first dungeon is completely Laissez Faire, and it just doesn’t work. We offer several suggestions on how to fix this. Lastly, the first dungeon is twice as long as it should be and needs to be cut down.

    Also… never give away for free an item a player can buy. Just. Never. Do. That.

    However, all the above points are easily fixed, and we pick on them because overall the game plays very well. It’s breathtaking on how it’s designed, the critical and optional paths are very well defined, and it’s fun to play. Teal especially loves the material-gathering component. We give it sheep because we see just how good it can be once the critical issues are fixed. We see good things with this game’s future and urge the developer to hit it as hard as he can with all the love in his heart.

    What do you all think? How can Jaiden make this the best it can be?

     
    Low and lianderson like this.
  8. Tw0Face

    Tw0Face Chief Executive Officer Veteran

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    253
    First Language:
    German
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
  9. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Wait... what? Um... thanks for the links! :rock-left::cutesmile::rock-right:
     
  10. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let’s Play, we look at the RPG Maker VX/Ace game of “The Magi Chronicles” by DrassRay, an older project from a talented developer. Thanks for your support, Drass... we appreciate it!

    At the start, this game is great with minimal issues, and a ton going for it. The level design is superb (the developer has proven time and time again to have impeccable graphical and level design skills), the mechanics are (for the most part) well balanced and executed, the Synthesis system is amazingly done (except for that “% chance of failing” thing), and the voice acting is unbelievable. It is so difficult to coordinate voice talent remotely, and DrassRay did an A+ job from start to finish. Excellent work there along with a great opening sequence.

    However, game writing is where things start to fall apart quickly and is undoubtedly the weakest part of the game. Most NPCs in the first town don't add any life to either the world or the story, their comments and talking points are quite generic, and in some cases, the dialogue doesn’t even change based on where the player is in the story. The opening segments of the story are either rife with writer convenience (Carron shows up and just happens to need Daryl’s help) or rely upon unbelievable scenarios to move the narrative forward (no teacher worth a salt would ever just send out their pupil to a dangerous area alone). Also, for a “prodigy” mage, there isn’t much Daryl can do… although we do come up with ideas on how that and everything else can be fixed in the video.

    Like we said, mechanically, the game is mostly sound. The second boss fight is horrendously unbalanced, and Daryl's wooden staff is presented so useless it might as well not even be included.

    The visuals are amazing, however, and watching the way the visuals of the RPG Maker VX/Ace engine is stretched is a breath of fresh air.

    What do you all think? How can the developer learn from this project and make this game, and the ones following it, the best they can be?

     
    VitaliaDi and Starmage like this.
  11. Tw0Face

    Tw0Face Chief Executive Officer Veteran

    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    253
    First Language:
    German
    Primarily Uses:
    RMVXA
    You're welcome. Use them wisely!

    Ok, to give this post a more serious note; it would be an honor for me if you'd pick one of my games for a Let's Play. :)

    Greetings,
    Tw0Face
     
    Studio Blue likes this.
  12. VitaliaDi

    VitaliaDi Jedi Master Veteran

    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    102
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    If this is still open and you want to check out my trippy rpg horror here you go :)
    I'd love more feedback

    Here's a trailer and a link to the game:


    https://vitaliadi.itch.io/burdenrpg
     
  13. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let’s Play video, we revisit the world of Asylum Secret of Caledria by NeoSoulGamer, a great game with a great look and a ton of improvement. Thank you for your support, Neo!

    It’s been some time since we last looked at Asylum, and a lot of the issues we had with it have been fixed, along with some extra polish that better defines the world and story. We’ve had some of our questions answers immediately (like the relationship of Phillipe to Junon) and some satisfactorily delayed so that we’d want to see them answered in the game. The presentation is still amazing, from start to finish, and the mapping is still first-rate. Also, the combat system is fantastic, and balancing in the Thrall Woods (the initial dungeon) is so good that I didn’t mind stopping and fighting while going through. It never felt grindy at all. The music and sounds effects are A+; you can tell the people who worked on this game really cared.

    So, what needs improvement? Well, there isn’t much other than a nit-pick here and there, little things that Neo can do to tighten this up and make each scene the best it can be. The confrontation with Cain during the prologue, the meeting in throne room with Junon, the ambush by the thieves in the Thrall Woods, and the mercenary knights Jeanne and Erik are all good. We just offer ways to make them possible even better.

    There are two thing that we feel need to be addressed though. First, the unidentified man in the Thrall Woods. While we applauded Phillipe’s need for security (and in fact it made us like the character somewhat), we felt the dungeon was a physical bad location for someone with bad medical injuries. If it had been a nice and clean cellar with some bars, that would be one thing. But this is a dark, dank fantasy dungeon… not a good place for someone with head trauma. We suggest a private room with a guard. It will not only make us like Phillipe more (sympathetic bad guys are always the best), it will show this country cares about this stranger’s well-being and its security.

    The second thing is the personality of Oswyn himself. It’s… not very well defined. We get two distinct impressions and they aren’t compatible: One is a hot-headed firebrand (like we see in the prologue) and one is a jaded, tired, almost lazy guy who just wants out. Steel draws a parallel between two characters from the Dynasty Warriors franchise (and we apologize for that tangent), but the characters of Gan Ning and Ling Tong draw a perfect correlation to how different these two “versions” of Oswyn are, and how they don’t work. We highly recommend settling on one or the other, as marrying the two is going to be extremely difficult.

    Overall, though? Such a good game with such a good progression. We can’t wait to play it again and see where it takes us. Good job!


     
    MechScapeZH, VitaliaDi and Tw0Face like this.
  14. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    DISCLAIMER: We get pretty critical during this Let’s Play and may come across as overtly negative. We apologize for this in advance; however, the developer has asked us to pick apart all aspects of his game. This Let’s Play is more for the developer’s benefit than for entertainment.

    Hey everyone! In this RPG Maker Let’s Play, we return to the world of Shadow Star by Ghaleon. Thank you for your continued support, sir.

    The presentation of this game, visually and aurally, continues to be top-rate with some of the best we’ve ever seen. The lore behind the world, the little we see, is also very well put together, and the tiny glimpse we get at the meta-plot leaves us wanting more. However, the devil is in the details, and this is where this section of Shadow Star (specifically the Tower of Ryloth) completely comes apart.

    SIDE NOTE: We blunder clockwise along the shore-line looking for the Traveler’s pack instead of going straight to Gerald’s Cove. A reminder of sorts in the Quest Journal can fix that.

    First, the mechanics: While the battle system itself is amazing to watch and works on a fundamental level, the balancing in the Tower of Ryloth is not good. The battles take way too long and are entirely too frequent. There is a difference between challenging and tedious; this game crosses that line within the first three fights. You will see the moment we stop fighting and start running because we are no longer having fun. The boss fight is neither exciting nor exhilarating (like the Goblin Mage) and instead was a boring Tank-and-Crank fest. This killed our enjoyment of the Tower, and subsequently, the game.

    As for the story and the characters, from the moment the player meets the Tower of Ryloth’s boss to where we stop playing, everything falls to ruin. The characters become ridiculous caricatures of themselves, acting in ways that are so over-the-top or out-of-character that we no longer know what to expect or appreciate about them. Lance goes between hot-headed newbie and level-headed leader; Bryce goes between smooth-talking ladies’ man and spoiled man-child; and the parents, oh wow, the parents. They hit the “Love Lance, fudge Bryce” switch so fast it made our heads spin. Also, Celestrea… writer’s convenience from start to finish.

    Again, we apologize for being overly critical this time around, but this playthrough sincerely frustrated us, and here’s why: We see the amazing story and journey underneath the rubble, wanting to come out and show the world its awesomeness… and it’s driving us crazy. We want this game to be good. No, we want this game to be great, but it’s going to take some considerable work, and we believe that Ghaleon has more than enough talent and ability to make it happen.

     
    MechScapeZH likes this.
  15. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we take a look at the dungeon crawler that is Subterranean Starlight by Archeia and Rhyme. Thank you so much for your support!

    Similar in concept to the Diablo-style games, Subterranean Starlight is a dungeon crawler first-and-foremost, casting aside a deep storyline and complex characters for mechanics and strategy. However, there is substance there, and it's just waiting to come out from beneath the surface. A few lines here and there hint at the greater world, and that along with a few references to explain motivation will be all Subterranean Starlight needs to get the player into the game.

    The mapping is, for the most part, pretty good, with a few deep-route dead ends that could hold treasure or something more. It's not a lot of work to get the maps to be tops for the game. The presentation is on point: From the graphics to the animations to the customized look at feel... it all works, stretching what RPG Maker VX/Ace can do and making it look amazing. That boss fight transition was just incredible!

    There are a few minor things that need to be modified for clarification purposes: (1) The bracketed explanations of what HP and MP healing items do needs to be expanded, (2) the Battle Tutorials need to be Show instead of Tell, and (3) there needs to be a few instances of hand-holding to make sure the player figures out the core mechanics, such as Loot and Learning.

    However, there are a few rather major problems that stop this game from excelling. First off, the economy for the game is skewed with no way to easily earn what is needed to restock and advance equipment. With all the battles we did, we hardly made anything at all, and it all got blown on necessary 80 Gold Poison Cures. Second, the math behind the balancing needs improvement, as many opening segment enemies hit very hard with “All Party” attacks, some of them that lower Defense, which only makes the fights that much harder. Even with grinding somewhat, we couldn't beat the Boss... the Random Number Generator and the Boss's AI worked against us. The AIs consistently undermined us (like healing more than the party can do in a single round every time the enemy's health got low). This leads us to the last point, the information presented in the Battle Scene goes by way too quickly. If we had been able to keep up with that was scrolling on the screen, we might have been able to plan around some of the AI. But we were constantly lost. The battles run quickly... but in this instance, it works against the game.

    However, all of these issues are easily fixed with some good old fashioned number crunching, and we have no doubt that in time Subterranean Starlight will be a fun dungeon crawling game.

    What do you all think? Is there anything the developers can do in order to make the game the best it can be? Let us know!

     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
    MechScapeZH likes this.
  16. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at the world of Aeontale by Event Horizon. If you enjoy, please Subscribe!

    While this game has a solid baseline of an idea, as well as a few strong and well-crafted moments, there is considerable work that needs to be done to get it to where it needs to be in order to go Gold.

    On the positive, the developer provides plenty of healing items at the beginning and throughout the first dungeon, as well as has the "Guard" ability heal both HP and MP (by 10% and 20% respectively). This mechanic encourages the player to use their MP-consuming powers, which is refreshing compared to so many other RPG Maker games. The music is also good. Very enjoyable and fitting.

    Unfortunately, this game is plagued with problems, both large and small, that stop it from being great. The mapping looks like it was just stamped out using the RTP (not that we have a problem with the RTP, but you can easily mix it with other free resources), and there are numerous clutters that just seem to be random debris. Also, there is no palette matching what-so-ever, and that causes some maps to transition jarringly into others. The developer needs to use a lighting plugin instead of the visual vignette overlay image to simulate lack of light within the mines.

    Please, developer, step scaling up your images. It doesn't work.

    The balancing needs to be reworked from the ground up. You'll see it in the video. It needs to be completely redone.

    There are other smaller issues, but the biggest one is the writing. To put it bluntly, this feels like a first draft. Not only are there spelling and grammatical errors, but the content needs so much work. There is no empathy to the characters, the plot is very difficult to follow, and the scenes meander all over the place without any direction. It feels like the developer has the plot in his head, and just jotted down the scenes as he came to them with no prior planning.

    Having said all of that, there is a moment where the main character does something that turns away from tropes. We were genuinely impressed. Also, and this is why we are so hard on this game, we can see the story this game is trying to tell... and it is amazing. It just needs work to come out.

    What do you all think? How can this game be the best it can be? Let us know your thoughts!

     
  17. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at Save the Princess by Bubuhotep.

    Let us preface this write up by saying that this game feels more like a proof of concept or an unpolished demo than something that needs to be tweaked before a general release. We hope that the developer takes a good, hard look at their design methodology before publishing it.

    So onto the nitty-gritty. This game is very short, about 30 or so minutes tops, and follows a basic storyline: The princess has been kidnapped before she could marry the prince from a faraway land. If that sounds like a walking cliche, it's because that's exactly how it presents itself. A serious game would need to break away from cliches and tropes to be interesting, and a parody game would need to stop taking itself seriously the moment you start it. This game does neither: You aren't given any silliness at the start to show it's a parody, and there are too many tropes for it to be taken seriously. By hovering in this uncomfortable middle ground, the game languishes badly.

    The mechanics don't offer anything new or fresh, and instead, you have an RNG (random number generator) heavy battle system that relies on one skill and one passive to win. By setting the TP Mode to "Warrior", and by having the Flame attack cost as much TP as you gain back, the game basically becomes a contest to see where the dice lay with every player and enemy attack. As Teal said in the video, that is boring. All enemies do is the standard single or double attack, and the lack of variety is very noticeable.

    The lack of healing abilities, and always having just barely enough Healing Potions, puts you constantly behind the 8-Ball, which is just not fun. And when you couple that with the unbalance of the enemies' attacks, you are always just one bad random number away from a Game Over.

    The game does have its positive moments: The character of Harriet (starting equipment aside) is cool and neat, the epilogue scene is giggle-inducing, and the game ends on an "Oh noes!" cliff-hanger that is kinda funny. But a lot more needs to be there if the game is going to be something people would want to play.

    We give the developer a lot of crap in this video because we've seen him do much, much better. And we want to see him succeed. So, to those watching, how can Bubuhotep make this game the best it can be? Let us know!

     
  18. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we return to the world of Shadow Star by Ghaleon. Thank you so much Ghaleon for being a supporter of Studio Blue!

    We continue to be impressed by this game's presentation, both visually and aurally. Now that we're done being enamored by the Battle HUD, though, we can see some places it has room to improve. The HP, MP, and TP meters not only don't add anything to the battles, they actually detract, and could be replaced by the beautiful numbers only. However, this is a minor detail that we personally would like to see... not a game breaker.

    There are three major things we realized that the developer needs to do to fix his game overall:

    The first is the character writing, especially the major characters. As stated before, we have an issue with Bryce and Lance, but it's never more apparent than in this LP. When you take all of Bryce's interactions since the game started, he comes across as a bully and an emotional abuser to Lance, making him utterly unlikable. Lance, once you consider his way of responding, acts like an abuse victim. While that garners sympathy, it also takes away from the developer's intentions. Celestrea is the very definition of "ditzy, dumb blonde" who adds zero value to the story and is just shy of a full-on Mary Sue. Bailey and Caliph are better defined, and while they have their own issues, they are leagues better than the two MCs. The Captain and First Mate, while funny, are nothing more than stereotypes. We've gone over the others from the beginning (Dad, Mom, Mayor, etc) so there is no reason to beat a dead horse.

    Unfortunately, we can't say this any more plainly: After three LPs of Shadow Star, we are 100% certain that the character writing issues cannot be fixed by quick line edits. The game's character writing is going to require a complete overhaul in order to remedy. We've discussed it at length, and we're sticking with that criticism. Fortunately, this is the single biggest flaw in the game, and everything else is considerably smaller.

    The second major issue is the lack of world definition. Ghaleon has created an expansive and imaginative world full of wonder and beauty, and only a bit of it comes out. Side Note: This issue actually plagues a majority of games that Studio Blue reviews. Anyway, it's not things like game lore (the College of Light Magic gave just enough to whet the appetite on that aspect of the world) and it's also not cultural (from what we've seen, the human race is unified under one Anglo-inspired culture). Both of those are fine for a fantasy RPG--Lord of the Rings does the exact same thing, where all humans have the same general culture, all elves have the same general elven culture, etc. The problem we see is the lack of enrichment, and that can go a long way to create an amazing game. And it's all little lines here and there: Instead of saying "Hey, there's a ship!" it could be "Hey, there's a merchant vessel going from Guardania to Altamora along the Serpent Trench." It's those small lines that add unbelievable life to a world, and they aren't hard work; just a lot of small work. Shadow Star would greatly benefit from this.

    The final major issue is something we've been over, so we'll be brief--the game needs to be rebalanced. Not just the encounter rates (it's actually a lot better in the Water Cave), but the monster balancing as well. Some attacks did too much and others, like the Water Cave's Boss's Tidal Wave, had to be effectively reacted to quickly or it would result in a party wipe-out. Game balancing is not easy, and it's tedious math, but it's vital for a game to be well-received (especially if it's an epic). Thing to note: In this call for rebalance, we also recommend a complete rebalance of the world economy. See our in-video notes...it's not working.

    But those are our major issues with the game at this point. Overall, the story is really good, the world is absolutely interesting, and the pacing is solid enough. Once the above issues are fixed, Ghaleon will have a great game that we believe a lot of people will enjoy playing.

    What do you all think? How else can Ghaleon make this game the best it can be?

     
    MechScapeZH likes this.
  19. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hey everyone! in this RPG Maker Let's Play, we return to the world of Amneron's Legacy by Rythane. Thank you so much for your support! We really appreciate it.

    So, a few things to note before we dive into things. We looked at this game about 6 or so months ago and, while we enjoyed some of it, railed on it for repeated instances of writer's convenience and other issues. The developer was very gracious and has since been working on his game to improve both his craft and his product. So what you see here is the results of all that work. As critics, it's always heartwarming when you see someone do even better after a critique, especially a harsh one. So to us, this felt like the first time we revisited a game that had gotten better--it was that positive.

    OK, so the positives, and boy are there many. The new bust graphics are mint, the main writing issues are resolved, and the opening presentation of the game (the action sequence with Cyrus) is one of the best we've ever seen. It takes a lot of work, trial-and-error, and freaking math to align animations with sprites, and then to use those brief frames of opacity to replicate a death effect. A bar has been set for other developers that won't be surpassed for a long while. Good job!

    The character and world building have also improved significantly, and with the addition of Garreth and Joel, we have another layer of complexity that makes the game a real joy. Rythane has left the part of development where he has to worry about things making sense and is now at the point where he can fine-tune his world through dialogue. This is the challenge to him: Go through every conversation and see what sentences can be dropped to build on the world or a character. We've given a ton of examples and ideas, and the possibilities are endless.

    Balancing and mechanics (except for the boss fight) are better now as well. We hardly noticed the grind going up the Dark Tower, and enjoyed the Dark Forest for being short yet sweet. We'd like to see a small dungeon between the cart attack and the arrival at North'Spire, but that is nit-picking (we do that a lot this LP video).

    However, as good as this game is now, there are still a few problems. Some of the scenes need to be ironed out, and we comment on those on a case-by-case basis. It's all little things: A sentence here and a phrase there, but it will fix the vast majority of the problems we had.

    At the end of our Let's Play, though, writer's convenience rears its ugly head again... however, this time it's not nearly as bad, and with the framework that Rythane has laid so far, a short exhibition will fix it. We understand that he eventually wants Warren to travel in a "normal party" like any other RPG adventurer, but that has to be done in steps, and the jump from Dark Tower to Queen Anna is still a bit too jarring. Easy fix, though.

    Overall, we are ecstatic about the changes to this game, and applaud Rythane on his hard work. It's currently a really good game, and with a little more polish, it'll be an amazing game.

    What do you all think? How can Rythane make this the best it can be? Let us know!

     
  20. Studio Blue

    Studio Blue Studio Blue Veteran

    Messages:
    335
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    RMMV
    Hello everyone! In this RPG Maker Let's Play, we look at the world of Crystals of Destiny by Davy. Thank you so much for your support on Patreon!

    We're going to have to jump into the critical points... because quite plainly, this game had us confused from the moment we started it. From a rather plain opening sequence with difficult to understand visuals (why was one dragon guardian beating the snot out of another fellow dragon guardian) to a prologue with stilted dialogue and jagged moments of action, we honestly couldn't tell if this game was trying to take itself seriously... or if it was a parody.

    And that is the main major issue. If the game is meant to be a parody of the Fantasy RPG trope, it needs to be set up that way from the get-go. That way, there is no confusion as to what the player is getting themselves into. If this is meant to be a game that takes itself seriously, then a heavy-amount of work will need to be done to fix the myriad of issues. The storytelling presentation, the characterization, the flow of the narrative... all of it has a "first pass" feel. However, since we don't know what type of game the developer is trying to make, we cannot actually critique it. Very sorry.

    Now, we absolutely recognize that there is a language barrier issue with this game. It's exceedingly obvious that English is not the developer's native language. It is entirely possible that, with a good translator, many of those issues can be fixed.

    Having said that, there are some problems that are just indicative of not following best practices for game design: (1) The same trees stamped over and over, (2) the prologue characters having no skills so that we feel like we're not apart of their combo attack, (3) the two main characters starting with no skills, despite being well-trained fighters, (4) both main characters being DPS, (5) both main characters getting "Double Attack" as their first skill, (5) the music levels being all over the map, and (6) the first dungeon, which is mandatory to continue the game, being a tight-corridor maze with many dead-ends.

    On the positive, the idea of World Guardians (Fox, Bird, Dragon, and Elf) and each one corresponding to an element (Earth, Wind, Fire, and Holy) is pretty neat. We'd love to see more of how that relates to the world in general, its history, and its future. We're also intrigued about the crystals, as they don't seem to function quite in the same way the Final Fantasy crystals do. Unique is good, and we'd like to see more of this world.

    But, for now, we're going to recommend that the developer go back to the basic question: "What do I want this game to be?" Based on that answer, the best course of action will be revealed.

    What do you all think? How can the developer make their game the best it can be? Let us know and thank you for watching!

     

Share This Page