Mostly Useless Reviews (Without Ratings) - Latest review: Panic at Casa Corotto!

Geoff Moore

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Hi all!

I'd like to review/give feedback for games without giving them ratings, because I suck at giving ratings. I also kind of suck at writing reviews, but I still want to write them. Oh, and I suck at games, so look forward to that. These reviews will swing between brief and rambling, be largely incoherent and written as I play. I will avoid major spoilers outside of tags, but there will be minor spoilers so be warned!

First up...

Ruselan, by runic!

Confession time: I've never actually played an RPG maker game, and it's been a long while since I've played an RPG at all (I think Breath of Fire 2 and Final Fantasy 3/6 are the only ones I've finished). I think the RTP for VX Ace is really nice, and it's clearly being skillfully employed here; the game looks gorgeous. Also, Runic has created beautiful custom character portraits that fit in perfectly! The writing is strong and to the point, and I'm instantly warming to Thaena, our lead, a member of the Royal Order of the Magic and Monster Control, which sounds pretty awesome for a Royal Order.

Danger in the woods, you say? I'm a wuss, so let's check out the town. This dialogue is hilarious! Oh, I got killed by a giant spider. I wasn't even in the woods...

Again, again! The nice thing about the intro is, it really gives you a feel of the game and gets you intrigued while being short and to the point enough to not frustrate you when you die without saving and have to go through it again. By you I mean me. This strikes me as being Good Game Design.

A chicken is staring me out. Wow, the town is detailed! This is an investigation game, where you find key items and use them to progress the plot. Its a simple, fun mechanic that keeps things rolling along nicely. Also, I can run away from giant spiders, which is nice. Probably should have tried that the first time, rather than poking it again and again despite clearly not being strong enough to kill it. Oh wait, magic! D'oi. :)

Yay, RPGs still have Slimes! These woods really are dangerous. I really like the Chrono Trigger-style enemies on the screen as opposed to unavoidable random encounters, and it fits well with being a monster hunter. It bugs me slightly that everything clusters around me while I'm in conversation or getting an item; maybe a switch to make the monsters patrol randomly while you're doing things?

Unqualified-RPG-noob-who's-probably-playing-it-wrong criticism time! I'm finding these battle a bit too tough. I'm glad it's so easy to run away from Slimes, so I can make it back to the inn after my ass is handed to me by pretty much anything else. ;) Also, I'd prefer some more interestingly named magic to start off with, Fire and Ice are too generic for a game with this much personality.

Ooh, night time is pretty! Is that just a tint? I missed a couple of bits of text that triggered as soon as I entered my room in the inn because I was holding up. Maybe if Thaena moved a few squares into the room on a fixed path before the text? If she's talking about an item, she could go and put it on the table before starting to talk.

Grindarindarind! I'm guessing grinding preferences vary massively from player to player. For me, this being short and story based, I'd prefer a bit less of it. However, the game being as charming as it is, I'm determined to see it through. And a bunch of grinding later, I am victorious! Cute ending.

Awesome work, runic. Everyone else, go and play this thing: http://contest.rpgmakerweb.com/game/view/id/445#.U7gAzbG4_IV
And check out Ruselan's forum thread, where runic promises me a sequel! http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/29349-ruselan/
 
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runic

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Thank you so much for the wonderful review, and huge kudos for sticking it out even though some aspects might not be your cup o' tea.

Love the suggestions, I didn't even think about naming the spells -  that could have been super fun.

HAHA you're not the only person who has struggled with the 'attack'! I'm thinking I could stand to add a little note about that in revisions...maybe something like how trying to kill enemies by whacking them with a book would cause more damage to her than the baddie!

HECK YEAH SLIMES! Yeah, the enemies bunching bothered me a bit too...I'll have to change that for sure in revisions.

I'm glad you liked the dialogues and the characters and I'm already working on the portraits for the new game whenever I have a spare moment (I like to do the fun parts first, of course).

Thank you so much again!
 

Geoff Moore

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Panic at Casa Corotto, by Sammy Roach and Hubert Orlowski!

My first impression of Panic... is one of cohesive presentation; everything has been tailored to the restaurant theme, from the french accordian-style music and the restaurant menu style, erm, menus, right down to choosing 'Table for One' instead of 'Start Game'.

I have never worked in a restaurant that was infiltrated by the mob, but if I did I imagine it would be a lot like this except not an RPG. The characters and portraits (the main character's portraits are particularly nice) are custom-made, and blend in pretty well despite being more bright and cartoony than the RTP graphics.

Yay, barrel pushing! I haven't done this for a while, and I missed it. Also, it bears repeating how adorably complete the restaurant theme is. I have tables instead of save slots, and I keep finding After Dinner Mints that restore 15 finesse.

There are some rough spots it would be nice to see cleared up; the battle sequences are lacklustre, and there seems to be an editor event highlight on one of the tiles, which is odd. There's also a bunch of tiles that should be impassable but aren't. My biggest complaint is the slow text speed and the fact you can't press space to make all the text appear at once, which for me robs a lot of impact from the humour. Oh, and dinner rolls don't seem to work.

Panic... needs a little work, but there's a really nice concept at the core. The game's flaws are unfortunately highlighted because everything else is nicely done. There's clearly a lot of love in this work, so if the authors have the energy I think a mid-comp update would be well worth doing - you shouldn't update the main download link, of course, but you can certainly provide another link to the updated version in the game's thread and on the download page. All in all, this is a charming effort and deserves more recognition than it's getting, so give it a look!

Game contest page: http://contest.rpgmakerweb.com/game/view/id/771#.U7idnLG4_IU
Forum thread: http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/29379-panic-at-casa-corotto/?hl=panic
 
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samshazam

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Thank you so, so much for your review! We're definitely aware of the places where Panic needs polish and we will be doing an overhaul of the battle system (I'm definitely with you on the battles) among other things to prepare for a future re-release. And thanks for the input on the text speed! I disabled the space option because I was worried about players skipping through the story, but I hadn't thought of it your way! Definitely something to consider. You're right to think there is a lot of love in this game, it's just that time constraints have left it a little rough around the edges! Thanks so much for taking the time to play and review our game. I'll be playing yours tomorrow!
 

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