Spooktober Spooktacular Game Jam Review Submission Thread

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Submit links to your reviews in this thread before November 20th at Midnight!

This thread is only for submitting reviews. All other posts will be deleted. For questions regarding rules and information on this contest read HERE.
 

Beregon

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Fear review

Fear is a game with a simple premise. You play as Reid, who wakes up in an abandoned, creepy mansion with no memory of how he got there and the only thing he wants is to get out of there. The gameplay is very simplistic. You walk (or run) around a very quiet, creepy mansion with loads of locked doors. What you are supposed to do is examine everything in the available area until you find a key, then find the door that's unlocked by said key, then search the newly unlocked area for the next key and so on until you find a key that lets you leave the mansion.

Certain areas have "enemies" that trigger a game over if you touch them, however they don't chase the player and simply walk at a slow speed back and forth, so they are barely even an annoyance. If you click on something that brings up a Yes or No choice, you have to click No, else Reid will meet an ambiguous and sudden end, resulting in a Game Over. You can only save at set locations, but the mansion is so small and the save points plentiful enough that there doesn't seem to be much point.

The biggest issue Fear has is in its Sound Design. Meaning, there's barely any sound. No music, no background sound effects, ambiance, footstep sounds etc. This makes the game feel very oddly quiet and empty, until you accidentally select Yes during a choice or walk into an enemy and trigger the death animation. In contrast to the sound design issue, the visual side is actually pretty good. The tilesets are nice and give off a creepy vibe, that would be much better if the audio were right there with it. Same for the light effects.

Overall, the game feels more like an early tech demo. The only moment I found even remotely atmospheric or scary was when Reid chose to look behind a curtain, except this time, instead of being somehow torn to shreds immediately, the game showed what's behind the curtain for a moment before Reid somehow met his end. Unfortunately, that was the only time. Wish it had more of that. Also, the "tile hunt" for a few of those keys was a bit too annoying.

Zwillinge review

Zwillinge is another game where the protagonist wakes up in a spooky mansion she wants to escape from. Despite the fact that this premise is overused at this point, it works and the game makes it work. Zwillinge is basically an adventure game, where you need to check all the available rooms for items, then figure out what to do with said items (and you are helped by random notes scattered around the floor). While the puzzles are relatively esoteric (for example, adding correct food types on plates somehow makes a key appear), it works well enough that you don't mind and it's certainly a cool flavor. THe game also features one short chase scene and a hunger/fear meter (which in the Demo feels more like an afterthought).

The Good:

-The puzzles are good and thought out.

-The audiovisual presentation is great, the lightning, sound effects and animations really add a lot.

-Using items out of inventory adds more of an adventure game feel than normal RPG maker games.

Now, a couple of things I didn't like:

-The music box song is absolutely grating, especially that little static beep part.

-The chase scene is the worst part of the game (well, second worst, if the music box song counts). There is zero context to it, which isn't necessarily bad, but the way it's presented here makes it feel kinda out of place, like it was added just because it's expected rather than it being needed. Also, the monster moved too fast, not helped by the fact that the controls weren't great and Ashley was for some reason forced to make small steps backwards for a good instead of running while whilst the monster charged her. Also, the autosave point placed you in a spot where it was impossible to escape, since you could barely move before the monster caught you.

-After using the key on the dumbwaiter and trying to use it, Ashley said it still wouldn't work because something in the mechanic blocks it. I tried to use it again and now it suddenly worked perfectly and I could go down to the kitchen. I don't understand why.

-There were a number of typos, for example the note in the kitchen says "repramand" instead of reprimand.

-I find it kinda weird how almost everything that's not an important item is apparently either glued or stuck to the floor/shelf.


This is an absolutely great game and the bad things about it are a drop in the bucket compared to what you've done right and I loved playing it. Hope it gets finished!

The Ghost Cage review

The Ghost Cage is a fun little adventure game, where your character moves into a mansion with a suspiciously low rent, only to discover that it's haunted by a ghost. But not a scary ghost, more like a cute ghost that tries to get you to move out by being mildly annoying. There comes the central premise of the game. You have two meters, Happiness and Hostility, the first one measures how happy your character is, the second one measures how much she likes/dislikes the ghost and vice versa. During each day, you can gain items and perform actions that affect the level of these two stats and depending on your decisions, the game ends in a different way. A very nice game, including visually! The only problem I found was the lack of sound effects in menu, which felt a bit weird and distracting.
 
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Capitán

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The Eyes of Doom

An interesting game,

I enjoyed the atmosphere, the font was well chosen and the game looks pleasing. However I would not call it a game, it's more of a slightly interactive story, the gameplay was nonexistent. For a game lacking gameplay the writing should be it's strongest asset but the writing in this game felt rushed with mundane and childish humor. For what it is, a humorous short story it was decent and I do recommend you give it a try. I can't help but feel this concept could've been amazing with more mystery and lore as the game set this up well.

All in all, a decent time waster.
★★☆☆☆

Zwillinge

One of the better games I've played thus far,
The atmosphere is great, while the gameplay was nothing groundbreaking it was well made and high quality. The maps were well made, good use of lighting, the music box lullaby while being great for initially setting the atmosphere it got very old very fast and I loved when it stopped when I went downstairs. The sounds were a nice surprise floor creaking when stepping on broken floor planks, the sound of stepping on broken glass also helped set the atmosphere. The first encounter with the enemy felt random and out of place, I feel the game could've done better with foreshadowing to the player that someone was there and you were not alone. This short chase sequence was also awkward to play, he ran way too fast and you if you were to get caught your autosave point would probably be right in front of him causing him to just dart to you just for you to get sent back to the title screen, I have to admit it took me about 6-7 tries to first escape him and then find the correct place to run.

All in all, a very solid submission, would probably play again.
★★★☆☆



The Last Unhaunted House
This one was a curve ball I was not expecting what I got at all, when i started it up I saw the title screen and could not for the life of me tell what I was looking at, my expectations were way down. But then I started playing the writing was fun and quirky, the music was great, the art style was fitting and unique. I couldn't wait to see what was ahead. Unfortunately most of the time I spent playing this game was running back and forth between three rooms. Moving and pressing spacebar isn't reliable in this game that caused me to miss out on interactable items thinking they just couldn't be interacted with. Turns out stopping and pressing spacebar causes it to work finally figuring out that you had to interact with all the items (maybe I could've just been dumb and was going through the same 2 rooms the entire time) but I finally progressed and was able to enter the phone for the first boss encounter. Unfortunately this is where my playthrough ended I was unable to get past that encounter after a good 15+ tries I was beginning to get frustrated and I did not want that to affect my review. However maybe I just suck but it seemed just too hard, the "enemies" moved too fast while you moved very slowly. The hitboxes were just awful and inconsistent and sometimes the orb would spawn on the complete opposite side from where the last one was and you'd have to get very lucky not to lose at least one life on your way to get it.

All in all a very unique concept and game and if the boss battle gets changed a bit I'd love to play it again and finish the story.

★★★☆☆

 
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Hyouryuu-Na

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Fear by Kupotepo and akoniti
Fear is a game with a pretty simple plot. You are trapped in a spooky mansion and you must find keys to unlock many locked doors and try to find a way out.

First of all, I'd like to talk about the things that need improvement in my opinion.
-I think I would've liked it if maps were a tiny bit more visible instead of pitch black outside light range.
-Minor bugs: you can't interact with a door at the upper left of the main map and the two dolls that you can walk over.
-You can't interact with many of the objects. For a game that is mostly dependent on exploration, interaction with things on the map is very important.
-Reid has no reaction to the dead bodies. It would've been more realistic if he panicked or freaked out when he saw the very first body at least. He also doesn't panic when he realizes he's at an unknown place.
-The biggest issue with the game is how there's almost no sound at all. Some low drone type sound would've been fine. Have some sound effects for doors, flipping book pages, enemies walking nearby etc. too
-There are some enemies in the game. They don't chase the player and just continue walking on a fixed route. I would've liked them to be a bit more challenging.
-I would've liked some puzzles because there's really not much to do here except find key and open door.

Now, I'll talk about the things I liked about the game.
-I liked the maps as I said earlier.
-I liked how some of the books talked about urban legends and serial murders and just scary, intriguing things.
-I loved how looking behind all curtains resulted in a game over except just one of them. So I kept doubting it. I think it was clever to use the player's doubt like that.

It was short, easygoing and enjoyable but it could've been better if it didn't have the issues I talked about earlier.
Overall, I think it's pretty decent for a game with such a short playtime. There are many areas for improvement but even so, great job! ^^ @Kupotepo @akoniti

Zwillinge by Windyhouser
The best of all games I've played and reviewed so far.

Zwillinge is a game where you play as Ashley, a student who wakes up in an abandoned mansion and must find a way out. Don't misjudge it just because it's a commonly used cliche. This game is honestly very good.

I'll start off my review talking about the features of the game and what I loved about it.
-The maps are very well-made in my opinion. The atmosphere was great and the lighting effects were very nice.
-I've noticed wood creaking SEs when you walk on the planks. It adds to the atmosphere. Also love how the footstep sounds aren't annoying at all.
-There are custom animations. Ashley waking up and getting off the bed, the dumbwaiter going up and down etc. Simple things but proof that effort was put into the game.
-Ashley responds to various objects and occurrences in an interesting way.
-Most of the objects in the game are interactable.
-Players can actually use items by themselves. It makes the game a little more challenging and allows the player to think.
-The game properly stated which item was picked up.
-The little notes act as hints to help find specific items and also adds to the lore.
-The puzzles were nice. I was confused when there were many items I still had no use for. But later I understood that some were used as fuel for the fire. That was clever.
-There's a hunger and fear meter. A nice little mechanic.

Now, I'll talk about some things that I wish were included.
-I was hoping for more chase scenes. We only get one chase scene at the start of the game. I know this is a demo for a bigger game so I'm sure that game will have more chases so I'm not counting this as an issue.
Edit: It seems like almost everyone else had difficulty with the chase :0 Am I just good at running away? XD
-The fear and hunger meter could've been faster. I played the game for about 50 minutes but I didn't have to eat a bread or use a sedative. I think keeping the player under some pressure would make it more challenging.

Overall, Zwillinge is a game of very high quality. I really loved it. A lot of effort has obviously been put into it and it shows. I'm very glad I got to play it and I hope the finished game is even better. Hope to play it soon ^^ Great job! @Windyhouser

Harvest Time by ElenorTheDark
I played for 40 minutes so my review will be based on the things I experienced in those 40 minutes.
Harvest Time is a fun game where you harvest fruits, explore the vast forest and fight monsters!

I enjoyed the game for the most part. Here are some things I think were done really well.
-The title screen design is really good and immediately grabs your attention that this is going to be a decent game.
-The maps look really nice and the atmosphere is great. Makes you want to find some seeds and start farming!
-The sound design is the best I've seen among all the jam games I've played so far. Sets the mood really well.
-Finding the cows and goats in the forest made me so happy cause I saved a cute cow/goat from the evil in the forest ^^ And the sounds they make during the transfer is so adorable!
-Liked how you have to find new seeds and the goblin stocks it up for you and you have to buy it from him. Also how you can use milk as health replenishing item and how you have to set up bait to fight big boss monsters.

There are also some things I wish were improved or altered.
-The objective of the game is a bit unclear. You are to harvest fruits... but what's the amount? How many of each fruit do you need? Can you just harvest one fruit instead of all fruits like instead of 40 fruits of varying types, you harvest 40 fruits of one type?
-Finding new seeds was a bit tough. Fighting some monsters give you seeds but the rarity is high. The seeds in the chest inside the cave don't refill each day. You get carrot fruit seeds the first time and I assume after fighting the first boss, you get other seeds.
-The boss fights were too hard for me :"( I admit, I'm not your traditional rpg fan and I'm usually pretty bad at them. I tried to fight the first boss when Hal was level 2 because I wasn't finding new seeds and I figured this is the only way to get a new variety of seed. The monster summoned new monsters, kept replenishing its health so its health wasn't going down that much.

Overall, the game was fun until finding seeds became difficult. If the rarity can be reduced a little, I think it would be better ^^ I love the concept and I'm sure a lot of work has been put into the game so great job! @ElenorTheDark

Evil Remains by Celestrium
You go on a High School reunion with a bunch of your friends in a hotel. But soon you find one of them dead and yourself in the scene so you have to stay undetected for the rest of the stay. Pretty unique concept and I enjoyed playing the game.

I'll talk about the things I liked first.
-The maps were overall pretty nice. I like the Sepia effect and also the tall characters.
-Liked the initial cutscene and camera pan towards the characters. Some interesting things were happening in the background and it was a nice foreshadowing of what could happen.
-Pretty good sound design.
-I love the action mechanic. It makes the players think more seriously about what they want to do.
-Liked the fact that you can choose who you want to talk to and that people can suspect you if you say or do the wrong things.
-Some conversations require players to take note of certain things like what room they were staying in, when was the last time they saw their old lover. I think that was nice.

Now I'll talk about the things that need improvement in my opinion.
-Gab windows for background talk is fine but it's better to use normal windows for active conversations. I grew very impatient when I was done reading the text but it won't go to the next dialogue.
-Some events are missing graphics when a self switch or normal switch is flipped. In the first scene, after getting rid of the body, the phone was gone. Janet and the other girl went poof after talking to Janet. Same for the pink haired guy in room C.
-Almost everything in the bloody dungeon kind of room had passability issues and could be walked on.
-I tried giving the journal to Tom but I couldn't even though upon inspection it said 'I should show it to Tom'
-Would've liked a little more playtime. If the game was a bit more elaborate, more deaths, more mysteries, more history between characters- it would've been more interesting.

In the end, I got ending C so I assume there were some other endings which I was unable to get no matter how much tried. Maybe I'm missing something. The game has potential and the time allocated for the Jam is pretty short so I understand the issues with the eventing. But if those things I talked about can be improved, I think this can be a better game that's more enjoyable to play. It's still very good for a first game. Great job and keep it up ^^ @Celestrium
Btw, if you think I missed something, PM me so I can replay and get the other endings too.

h0tWalkers Spooktober by h0tWalker
You wake up in a room in a seemingly abandoned mansion. Not knowing how you ended up here, you must explore the creepy mansion and figure out what happened. Not the most original premise but even so, I enjoyed the game.

h0tWalkers Spooktober is more of a walking simulator (like Layers of Fear for example) than an interactive game. The developer themselves also say " Focus isn't on gameplay, but primarily played and experimented with sounds", which I think it did well. I'll list the things I liked about the game down below.
-Loved the opening sequence of just sounds in the dark. It makes the player naturally wonder 'what's happening?' and grabs their attention.
-The maps were really nice and part of the reason why I enjoyed walking around so much. Lighting effects were also used perfectly to create a creepy atmosphere.
-The ambient sounds were unsettling and makes one uncomfortable which is perfect for a game like this.
-Loved how the story uncovered gradually. Things went from 'what happened here?' to 'oh sh*t gotta run!' XD I liked how the notes were written too.

The game needs improvement in some cases too.
-An important part of an exploration game is to allow players to interact with the environment. Apart from the notes, I couldn't interact with anything else, even creepy things (like the huge doll) that I wanted to inspect.
-The character was named Reid in the menu while they're named Jake in the game. Also noticed the default class and level there which is unnecessary in a non-combat game like this.
-Jake makes no comment about the notes he reads along the way. Would've let us understand his feelings about the things happening if he did.
-Noticed some passability issues. The desk in the huge doll's room, the torn flags/banners, some bookshelves facing left can be walked on.
-The library confused me for a while. I read the note but as nothing in the game could be inspected I assumed the same for the shelves. I figured it out eventually but it would've helped if Jake said something.

All in all, pretty good game, I enjoyed it. @h0tWalker You said you might make it a bigger game. I think you should definitely do it. I would play it ^^ This game had some hiccups here and there but I think you did a great job for a game made in 3 days.

Unfinished Saga by Jennavieve
Have you ever wondered what happens inside a game that's been abandoned? What becomes of the town and the people in it? Well, Jennavieve tries to show that to us in their game, Unfinished Saga. It's a very interesting little game and deals with a subject matter I think hasn't been touched on before.

The game was rather short for me to fully analyze it but I enjoyed the following things.
-Good-looking maps and nice atmosphere. Liked all of the background and ambient music. Fit in with the game well.
-Stefan has a unique personality! He's a fun character. I felt like someone was actually talking to me.
-The swamp area was really well-made. The fog and the ambience was a nice touch. It made my anxiety level rise and that's a good sign for a horror game. I actually died once being cornered.

Things that I think need some work:
-Some parts in the swamp area are set to 'ladder' I think as all characters turn up while walking over those tiles. Take a look at the tileset editor.
-The event when Stefan comes in contact with Brutus played thrice for some reason. Better take a look at that.
-The hooded things in the swamp don't harm you unless you run into them. I think the trigger is set to player touch. Set it to event touch.

All things considered, it's a fun little game. I was really starting to enjoy it when it had to end :"( I hope you'll extend the game in the future. Great work! @Jennavieve
 
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Finnuval

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Fear by @Kupotepo & @akoniti

So you are locked in a mansion and need to escape. Not the most original of settings but one I like regardless so that's good.
I like the tiles used - they feel fitting to the scenario.
Some good little details - the lore in books, the early game over events, etc.

However there are also a few things I didn't like or I feel hold it back :
- Lack of BGM. Music and ambient sound is important, especially in a horror/thriller game so omitting that works against the game.
It also makes the SE's to jarring. I would've likes at least ambient sound to fill the atmosphere of the game.
- The map layout is pretty confusing - not because they are done badly but because they make no sense, rooms aren't where I expect them to be in a mansion- which doesn't get better by the spotlight effect.
I would remove the spotlight effect at least in the upper floor, reserving it for the basement and have the palyer need a light to explore there for instance.
- Keys and doors aren't named : Whenever I found a key it was 'The key' not telling me what key I found (in the item menu they do have names like library key or bedroom key)
but that didnt help since each locked door was simple a 'locked door' not telling me where it would lead so that made me run around checking doors and keys where it shouldnt need to.\
Especially in combination with the previous point that annoyed me a little.
- Some interactable objects have a glint some do not, this inconsistency is annoying. Make it all obviously glint, or not at all.
- I have no idea of what was going on, what happend or what the story is beyond I need to get away - missed opprtunity.

It's a good concept for a small horror type game and with some tweeking it could be rather fun to play. However it's biggest flaw right now is it has no context and story and no sound to get that atmosphere you want.


The Eyes of Doom by @Neuralsplyce

I find this hard to review. On the one side I found it a fun little experience but at the same time it felt more like a long cutscene then a game.
Dialogue was fun despite being a bit cheesy and childish - but it fits the setting Ionce you understand the actuyal setting) very well and it was well written.
The game crashed for me when I tried to adjust the sound volume on the main menu.
The premise of failing a school assigment as a 'horror' experience was clever, however it wasn't until the very end that you get that (which is to late to engage the player)
and the way it was paced and presented felt a bit rushed and didn't help it in my opinnion.

Overall it was a fun experience but not really a game.

Harvest Time by @ElenorTheDark

Unfortunatly it crashes as soon as I select New Game so no review (yet)

Sibyl's Sunset Carnival by @Mrs_Allykat
So a murder was commited and you get to find out who did it ala Clue style.

The use of tiles is very nice and clever. Music fits the theme somewhat but definetly sets a certain pace.
The story is a bit lacking but isnt that important in this game for me as it is kinda like a game of Clue so.
Each character feels like a character with a personality of their own even if some are a bit cliche-ish.
The fog moves way to fast though and I did spot on or two spelling-mistakes/weird grammar uses.

I absolutely LOVE the random nature of this game. Weapons are at different locations, suspects change, victim changes, etc. Very cleverly done.

Played it twice. One I got the culprit right, second time I picked the wrong person. Had fun in both cases.

Real little gem here with big potential. Would love to see this turned into a 'real' game.


Zwillinge by @Windyhouser

Escape the mansion - not the most original of consepts but what makes this one stand out is the quality. Maps are well-crafted, sound design is on point, small tid-bits of info and different lines for things is very well thought out and executed. High level of detail in almost everything. Atmosphere is also very well made.

The 'puzzles' (well not really puzzles but logical thinking like old point-and-click games) are clever and well balanced.

The music-box music gets repetative fast despite being well chosen. I was glad it changed at the other floors.
Some things are a little too well-hidden (like the little bear - took a while before I realized I needed the scissors to use on the cabinet to open it lol).
The enemy attacking you is a little to fast as it takes a second for the player to regain control and it runs real fast. Died the first 2 times because of it.


All in all it is a very well made game (though obviously not finished) with very high quality.
If there is any fault with it then it is that it sometimes is a little too vague at what things might do what or where. Other then that I canit really fault anything.

Kudos


The Ghost Cage by @SeaPhoenix

As expected from a game by Seaphoenix this one oozes charm and atmosphere. The writing is very well done and some nice references/easter eggs aswell as some small fun jokes mixed well with the general theme of the story. High detail in pretty much everything and anything. Not a huge story but a good short one that is very well executed!!!

My personal favorite of the entries I played so far.
 
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Kupotepo

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Sibyl’s Sunset Carnival
  • Sibyl’s Sunset Carnival by @Mrs_Allykat is about you as one of the selected main characters and you help detective Smithers investigate who is a killer by looking for clues.

  • The clown’s mouth title is creative and homemade by you are shining your inner artistic self. The title’s music is reminding of “IT” clown by Stephen King.

  • The eye is staring at me really scary which is great in the horror game. The narrator is using riddle and rhythm which reflect upon the creator as an excellent writer. The fog effect is a great addition to the cutscene. The tilesets are unique and customized.

  • The character bust message text is an amazing artistic addition. I like to explore in which this game gives me by using colorful maps and customized tilesets. That is impressive that you randomized killers in the RPG Maker MZ. A different murder weapon, suspects, and victim randomized for each gameplay. I picked the wrong character two times but thank the autosave I return in no time. The game over screens is varieties and creatives.
 

Celestrium

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Fear
Darkness surrounds you, you awake in an unfamiliar place where nothing makes a sound. What will our main protagonist Reid do? This is the premise for Kupotepo and Akoniti's game jam entry, Fear.
The game progresses as the Reid stumbles from darkened room to darkened room looking for the keys to unlock the next dreadfully silent dark location. Several zombies and hidden death traps await Reid, but with perseverance, he will...(You will have to play the game!)

I enjoyed this short game, and played through from beginning to end twice. I really admired the lighting, I thought it was done well and set the ambiance and tone well. The intention to cause a sense of fear and dread, examples like the bloody set of curtains and that hooded gentlemen in the basement, the dastardly gentleman got me twice (I thought I safety deducted the pattern and got it wrong).

It was also a pleasant surprise to see the library littered with horror classics, and I took the time to look at each one (and to be honest, I googled a few just to see what they were about!). An unusual detail I personally enjoyed.

If you wanted to improve on your game, my suggestions would be to manipulate more of the senses. The darkness worked really well, but if you added some slight eerie sounds in the background, then proceeded to have moments of silence with a loud noise once in a while...you would really have your audience on edge. I felt you also gave large moments of respite, where I felt safe. Changing the layout after the key acquisition could have made a huge impact. An example would be when you are in the room with corpses, after you acquire the key, some come alive hungry for Reid! Also changing the default cursor sounds, buzzer noises, and window.png could make some minor improvements towards your general theme.

I found this game to be a nice treat for the Halloween season, and I recommend that our fellow developers play through at least once, to understand the horror Reid had trick or treating that night.

(Kupotepo I also wanted to say that the camaraderie I saw in your posts was refreshing. I think you brought the spirit of the community and the event with you, so thank you for that!)

The Eyes of Doom
The Eyes leave casualties in their wake. Willy and his friends are about to encounter this dreadful foe once again, and who can say who will survive?

This story by Neuralsplyce follows Willy Wormsly and his party as they face head-on another encounter with this particularly nasty set of eyes.

If I had to define this experience into a genre, I would call this game a visual novel, utilizing a great font and special text to keep the mood. The short story kept my interest, and the characters have personality, particularly the main character, Willy. Characters usually seem stale or like a hyberbolic trope in most games, but the main character here was well defined.

The game did crash on me several times, the main menu seemed to have a critical issue. Since the main menu isn't even needed, you could correct that by disabling it. Unfortunately, I got stuck in two other spots at certain scenes when I clicked to move somewhere the event didn't like. I would review the events towards the end...

Talking beyond that and into other things, if you wanted to enrich the experience I would have made the game more engaging, more for the player to do in each scene. There isn't action that engages the player. I felt like no matter what I did as a player, it didn't matter. The outcome was the same, and that produces negative feelings for your player.

I think this is a nice short story that is quite enjoyable and I appreciated it. I do think that either the medium for the story could have been chosen better or changes needed to be made to the gameplay to appeal to a player and embrace the game medium. Understanding the medium you choose to present your story is most important.

I think developers need to give The Eyes of Doom a playthrough and experience Willy Wormsly, because it is a nice original story.

(Neuralsplyce, thank you for giving me the opportunity to experience Willy's dreadful day, I definitely had some unexpected laughs and feelings of sympathy!)

I will be buying the tickets to the movie once it's out!
PM me with any questions or if I can help!

Harvest Time
(Disclosure: I only played for an hour and didn't complete the game at the point of this review)

Hal, the grim reaper finds a job, monster slaying and farming! He better do well, because his boss is furious and wants results, or else!

This farming story is titled Harvest Time and developed by Elenorthedark. Hal, with the assistance of some goblin merchants, works towards getting a bountiful harvest for another grim reaper, or face the consequences. Milking goats and cows, finding their lost brethren, and acquiring seeds is the main objective of the game.
Harvest Time has a nice package and theme. The title screen, music, menus, and sound are all top notch and work together quite well. Exploration is fun and the map exploration make sense, and a goblin offers advice when you get stuck. The boss battles had some dramatic flair and substance to them, you knew this was a boss fight.

The game did have a glitch, which if you were in the open field when you ran out of time, you would teleport back to the house and then became stuck there...I was able to play further after realizing how the glitch reacted, loading from a previous save.

The direction of Harvest Time, clearer and concise would improve the overall feel. A single line of text from the other grim reaper would do. The objective is a bigger harvest, but what crops you need and the quantity isn't mentioned, at least in the first hour. You need to spend crops to make baits to get rarer crops, it isn't clear if you should do this multiple times, or just once for each boss. The game gets into a grind after some time, after you have searched the map, all you can do is grind to get money to buy more seeds. I would have liked an alternative, especially since the focal point is on farming, like some gathering as well that replenished each day. The combat system could get irritating at points, as there is a single character and a state which restricts turns. Balancing it out with more activities would strengthen the experience.


Overall, I like what I played and I will play to the end at a later date, hoping to find out what is going on in the neighboring town... I recommend that you should eat your vegetables every day, and you should try Harvest Time!

Sibyl's Sunset Carnival
Murder, clowns, and a crazy carnival... Welcome to the murder mystery that changes every time, Sibyl's Sunset Carnival by Mrs_Allykat!
Your adventure begins by selecting your character, and then a scenario is created that creates a new random experience each time, hiding a different murder weapon and having a different murderer. You have a certain number of actions to interrogate suspects and look for the possible weapon.
Sibyl's Sunset Carnival had a well chosen combination of tilesets, music, sounds, and characters. Even the window.png was themed appropriately They all created the ambiance that made the spooky carnival. The theme and ideology of the game, a spooky randomized murder in a carnival, I thought was really original and performed very well. The narrator was also done nicely, his prose and graphics were superior.

If I were to be asked how this experience could be strengthened in any way, the first I would say is the characters felt underdeveloped, the lines are there to assist in the murder and not much else, except the narrator, I love him!

On a different more personal note, I didn't find it all that fun. I love Criminal Minds and other shows where you get into the minds of the victims and murderers. I wasn't... emotionally invested in these characters, and it made it feel less than what it could be. With the time restriction on this game jam, I wouldn't even know if it was feasible to do that though. The developer set out and did so much with the time given...

This is an excellent game jam entry and anyone who loves mysteries or the game Clue should definitely play it, several times!

Zwillinge
Can you as the player be the detective, find the clues and solve the fiendish riddles, helping Ashley escape, before hunger or fear gets her first? I hope you can if you are going to get through Zwillinge by Windyhouse!

Our protagonist Ashley, a student, wakes up in a dimly lit manor. Avoiding the creaky floorboards and broken glass, searching through the debris, Ashley struggles to keep her sanity. Components are needed, components that can be used in a dark ritual that might save you, but they are scattered throughout the mansion and hidden away...

This game was beautiful in its focus on the theme and it's execution. I enjoyed the ambiance, the lighting, the tileset, everything! I was impressed by the characters and notes made specifically for the game, the note, waking up, and the dumbwaiter were nice touches. Almost every detail on a map is an original event with it's own text, most of them with nice detail that immerses you into the story. The sounds of the boards, glass, and blood was a nice touch as well, although my personal preference is that there be fewer of them. I found the game challenging, but fair. The implementation of using the items directly and not through dialogue was good for this game, and I appreciated the additional challenge.

I have some suggestions that the developer could consider. The zombie chase scene could be altered or eliminated. The chase scene didn't make me feel scared, it frustrated me due to the speed he reacted. The rest of the game doesn't move that fast, and it seemed out of place. Of course, you could also add additional scenes like that elsewhere and I feel that might balance it. Just please, slow him down. I died several times due to the autosave location in that event as well...
A simple suggestion, there was no game over screen or indication the player actually died besides a fade out, just something you could add later. (It would have given me something to look at from all those zombie deaths!)
Lastly, some side doors are difficult to ascertain, maybe it could be labeled and have an indicator that there is a door through lighting?

These issues do not break this beautifully designed game, if anything, it was a struggle to find things to improve upon. I hope our fellow game makers in the RPGMaker community play and appreciate what a solid title this is. I feel this title has given me inspiration on how to improve myself as a game maker, I can't praise the cohesiveness of the elements enough.

I can't wait for the full release! Keep me posted!

1:16 Spooky Spiky Spunky
There is a world, a world of chaos...where the ketchup runs freely, Dragoons jump highish, and a janitor is stuck cleaning a beach?!? Welcome to the randomness developed by Dama titled 1:16 Spooky Spiky Spunky!

After a brief campfire discussion and unfortunate death, Dama takes our experience through a town, where short skits of humor are shown throughout. The main objective of this title is to humor its audience through these outrageous skits.

There is humor in the skits, if your humor lies in the outrageous and random. There is themes underlying to the craziness, a certain AAA franchise is referenced several times, as well as at least one anime. The camera zoom on several scenes, it was nicely done and caught my attention each time.

I felt I found places where attention was missing, and that made the experience lacking. I will not deny, I don't have the sense of humor that matches this game's jokes, but I know of people whom would enjoy this title.

I would recommend this title to those whom can appreciate the wacky and random. Thank you for your contribution!

Last Unhaunted House
Ever think about what a ghost thinks of humans? What dangers lie in an unhaunted house, and is there things that lurk worse than humans OR ghosts? Play the Last Unhaunted House by Rubescen and you might find out!

It all begins with two ghosts out in the world, when they come to an unhaunted house. One of the ghosts wants to go in and check it out, the other refuses and stays outside. After a while, the ghost gets worried for his friend and goes searching for him. The ghost then needs to confront the force holding his friend.

I welcomed the unique perspective and effort placed into this game. There is a lot of original art, and the game is sidescrolling, unusual for a rpgmaker game. All the art and assets tied in well for this game.

The "boss" fights are the main action element to the game, and there is some difficulty to them. The autosave keeps you right there though, and the challenge I felt was fair, but might be unexpected for some. The sequences did feel different from the rest of the game, and some might not appreciate the subtle social commentary. If there was a game just of those sequences, I would enjoy a game like that a lot.

I thought the game played through with no bugs and was complete. Again, the exploration and main game play didn't tie together well. The exploration was great artistically and I appreciated what went into it, but while I was looking around I didn't feel like what I did had much meaning and it was just a method to get to the main part of the game.

Overall, I think this game was a great addition to the Spooktober Spooktacular, it fit the spooky genre, is completely unique from the other entries (thus far I should say), and was planned well. The "boss battles" were done well, and although I said the exploration could be improved, it was still done well, It was merely the part of the game that was weakest.

I highly recommend playing this title, especially our game development community. It demonstrates what an inspired person is capable of using the rpgmaker software for.


 
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akoniti

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The Eyes of Doom from @Neuralsplyce

A creative, funny submission.

The dialog had me cracking up, and everything looked really good aesthetically (I especially liked the text font and Eyes).

The presentation and conversations were enough on their own to make it an
entertaining playthrough, but the game pretty much plays itself aside from a few requests for player input during rock-scissors-paper matches. I'd like to see more interactive gameplay mechanics rolled in, but again the killer (ha ha) sense of humor and sharp dialog carry it well enough.

Spooky, Spiky, Spunky from @Dama

What just happened to my brain!?

This is what I would consider a weirdy but a goody, like an Ed Wood movie.

I loved various action sequences throughout, especially the extended fights. These uses of the engine were well-executed, creative, and entertaining. Some of the dialog is funny too, I definitely didn't expect to run into townsfolk who'd sing me pop songs!

As an actual game there's not much here in terms of an objective to accomplish (other than pure exploration, and unless I completely missed something before it as far as I can tell ended), but it's an entertaining few minutes nonetheless. I wanted a way to get the crystal everybody and their chicken was talking about.

And this...well, this cracked me up good:


lol_janitor.png

:LZSlol:

Zwillinge from @Windyhouser

Quality.

This one gripped me quickly, and left me looking forward to the full game when it ended. I'd liken it generally to titles like The Witch's House or Hiraeth from @TPetrichor, with a dash of Resident Evil.

A beautifully designed dark environment with spot on lighting and sound fx, along with carefully planned and entertainingly executed puzzles and clues.

I loved the chase, spent the rest of the game in a state of mild dread waiting for the next one...I mean, I have a Fear guage, it's happened before, I've got these Sedatives... Excellent execution of psychological horror there, though I suspect that Fear and Sedatives will serve a further purpose in the larger game.

And Bread...well done there. I was out, and Hunger was at about 50%, when I ran into the bowl. Awesome resource management balance there, at least in my case.

I particuliarly liked the BGM in the under construction Garden.

Well done @Windyhouser !

Harvest Time by @ElenorTheDark

Thusfar I've played long enough to grow sufficient carrots to make bait, and get my Level 2 oats handed to me by the giant Tree boss :LZSlol:

It's clear a lot of time and care went into crafting this one. I really enjoyed the tile/sprite style used, and the mechanics are entertaining. One of my favorite moments was when I finally discovered how the heck you gain EXP :) The initiative meter/timer added a fun layer of tension to combat.

There's plenty to learn, see, and do, both at the farm and on the immense fighting map to it's West. Though I am uncertain, I imagine the town to the East eventually plays a part as well...

My only critique would be that the brown vendor sprite is easy to miss, and that I'm unable to make useful sense of the countdown clock (though maybe I'm just foolish in this respect).

Harvest Time is quality, and I look forward to seeing the whole adventure through over time. Well done Elenor!

Magical Girl Priscilla:Terror Town! by @KV_Kingdom

I'm a big fan of KV_Kingdom's games; they tend to be fun and original.

Terror Town! is no exception.

Fairly mundane tilesets and sprites, spiced up by excellent use of animations and cool cutscenes.

Fast fights with spooky enemies using static Skills as you grind through three rooms to save your friends from themselves in Bossfights against their possessed forms. Auto-heal after combat and +50 mana per melee strike makes it generally a breeze. I will admit I died against the first Boss I tried, but had better luck against a different one afterward. So it's generally easy, but not unlosable :LZScool:

This was a fun few minutes, nice work @KV_Kingdom !


cosmic_pateww.png

Also, loved the closing credits track. Is that MZ BGM or a custom tune?
 
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Lady_JJ

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Magical Girl Priscilla:Terror Town! from @KV_Kingdom
I almost didn't review this game because it was in web deployment and I thought that was against the rules. But, then I noticed that there was a download link for the windows version, so I figured it was all good.
The game itself took far less than an hour and did seem complete. That's not to say, though, that I didn't enjoy playing it. I think what I enjoyed most was the aesthetics. I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I just really liked the color scheme of the game.
Second, was the simplicity of the HUD. Since most of what I design is for little ones, I truly appreciated the layout of just items and save. I am going to have to look carefully at the credits again and see how that design was achieved.
I was disappointed in the incompleteness of the game. Why find a key and a teddy bear if you couldn't do anything with them? I get that the time constraints of a jam kind of inhibit a lot of game fleshing, but if there was a key, why not be able to use it? Or else, just leave it out I guess.
So, yeah, I so want to steal that HUD layout! Thanks for the submission, KV_Kingdom.

Edit- So, I did get a key and a teddy bear. Neither show up under items. I found a statue that triggered a message saying it looks like a key could fit there, but, even though I had a key, nothing happened. I tried to use the key, but it doesn't show in items, so I'm not sure how to use it? However, as I stated at the outset, I totally loved the game design, the choice of colors, and the animations. I would enjoy playing a full game with all this eye candy. :)

The Ghost Cage from @SeaPhoenix
As soon as I saw this submission, I knew I had to play it. I so enjoyed The Lost Art of Innkeeping https://seaphoenix.itch.io/lostart and wanted to see how The Ghost Cage fared in comparison. I wasn't disappointed. The Ghost Cage has the same charm one comes to expect from a game by @SeaPhoenix. I am going to follow this one to see if @SeaPhoenix expands it like she did the her innkeeping game.
Another game where I loved the attention to detail, especially taking the time to use various emotional faces in the text boxes. Definitely not a horror game, but thoroughly enjoyable.

The 'Chase Games'
I tried a few more games, but I failed to get far enough to write a review. Turns out I don't have the dexterity/reflexes to play. :(

Zwillinge- I loved the lighting effect. I was also glad to find some of my favorite artists here in the credits and their combined talents, as well as @Windyhouser 's creative use of them, definitely made for some really attractive maps. Unfortunately, minutes into the game, I found the bread and was immediately greeted with a Game Over (a chase scene).

Unfinished Sage- @Jennavieve definitely has a talent for storytelling. I fell in love with this delightful 'breaking the fourth wall' game from the get go, and then out of love just as quickly. I didn't get 3 squares into the swamp before it was Game Over (another chase scene). I am really disappointed because, as I said, the dialogue was just so captivating. And, again, the artwork was just lovely.

Evil Remains- No chase scene, but apparently I walked into a hotel room that I shouldn't. The minute I opened the door it was Game Over. I did like the attention to detail with this game, though, with the quantity of interactable objects in each screen. It's evident @Celestrium put a lot of time and care into this game. I wish I could be a better sleuth.
 
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ElenorTheDark

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This was a much more traditional horror game than some of the others in the jam. You wake up, lost in a house without any memory of how you got there. Weird monsters are wandering around the house and will insta-kill you on touch.

I very much enjoyed the mapping and little bits of humor in it, like the fact that you get reprimanded for trying to take stuff in the basement. The tileset worked really well for this one, and I love that there was actually some small amount of gore (mostly blood splatter) that added to the atmosphere. There were also a couple genuinely spooky parts, like the thing behind the red curtain and the doll with glowing eyes.

I did get lost a few times and would have like to see some sort of creepy ambiance or sound effects to pull me in a bit more. It felt a little quite with no footsteps or music. I actually scared myself on a map transition because I was turning my volume up and suddenly got some really loud footsteps in my headphones.

All in all a nice, quick little horror game.

This is an interesting little horror game/murder mystery. You are a carni, and you get to select from 4 different playable characters, that gets tasked with helping to solve the murder that has happened.

I love the tiles used, it really doubled down on the spooky theme with the out of commission and run down theme park/carnival theme. It was very interesting actually going around and seeing the different sections of the map. The pop-up warning screens were appropriately creepy for the atmosphere and generally the music fit pretty well. I absolutely love the fact that it randomly generated each time so you can replay it several times and that it's not too long.

I did seem to bug out the game once though. It didn't actually game over but I got stuck on a black screen with clouds whizzing by but it didn't seem to fade back to normal. I had to quit game and restart. I also didn't find the body for a while on either play through...probably just me, I was running around talking to people and got a couple warnings before I actually found the body. Once I found it and examined it though, I understood more of what I was doing and managed to get the correct guess for the end of the game.

In the end it is a really fun, short murder mystery game with a some great mapping and atmosphere. I would definitely recommend giving it a try.

This is a demo of a complete game. It is a atmospheric horror with some interesting story going on, if all of the flavor text has any weight. You wake up as in a strange bed in a strange room and have to figure out what is going on and escape.

The tileset on this is perfect for the spooky atmosphere. The music fits really well and there is nice attention to detail in the sounds. Floorboards occasionally creak, plates and broken glass clank as you walk over them. The overall aesthetic of the game is great and fits the mood very well. Your character also has a Fear and Hunger bar to take care of, so you have to keep an eye on stuff while you're moving around. I also appreciated how there weren't instant-death jump scares all over the place. It really let tension build.

The game was pretty good about providing hints so that you wouldn't lost. I was able to still become stuck where I didn't know how to progress though. I'm not sure if this is because it is a demo or because I'm just not great a point and click or these types of games where you have to find the stuff and use it other places.

So it is a very good, thematic game with what appears to be a good mystery with a lot going for it. I had fun playing it and it has great atmosphere. I'm looking forward to completion so that I can see how it ends.
 
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KV_Kingdom

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Magical Girl Priscilla:Terror Town! from @KV_Kingdom
I almost didn't review this game because it was in web deployment and I thought that was against the rules. But, then I noticed that there was a download link for the windows version, so I figured it was all good.
The game itself took far less than an hour and did seem complete. That's not to say, though, that I didn't enjoy playing it. I think what I enjoyed most was the aesthetics. I'm not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I just really liked the color scheme of the game.
Second, was the simplicity of the HUD. Since most of what I design is for little ones, I truly appreciated the layout of just items and save. I am going to have to look carefully at the credits again and see how that design was achieved.
I was disappointed in the incompleteness of the game. Why find a key and a teddy bear if you couldn't do anything with them? I get that the time constraints of a jam kind of inhibit a lot of game fleshing, but if there was a key, why not be able to use it? Or else, just leave it out I guess.
So, yeah, I so want to steal that HUD layout! Thanks for the submission, KV_Kingdom.
Thanks for playing & reviewing my game! I see you have some questions, so let me address them:
  1. The simple interface was achieved by modifying the parameters of the VisuStella Main Menu Core and Battle Core plugins. It takes knowledge of JavaScript to pull off. I know a little about JavaScript, so I was able to figure it out through a bit of trial-and-error. I could message you what I did & the code I used if you want. I’m sure most devs will agree that it’s important to present players only what is necessary, so I’m constantly looking for ways to present user interfaces that are simple and intuitive.
  2. The key and teddy bear are actually part of a secret in the game! If you find the secret room, you’ll get a special boss fight that unlocks a different ending.
Other than that, I’m pleased that you liked the color scheme!

Thanks again for the review!
 

Lady_JJ

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So, I just loved the visual aspect of your game so much, I'm going to go back and try to find that secret room. :) I'll definitely update my review. I am going to do a revision anyway because I failed to specifically mention how much I loved the animations.
 

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Oh hell, why not do some reviews:

This was an enjoyable, very short little mini-dungeon-crawler. Although not particularly challenging, I did see it through to the end and had fun doing so. I liked how each of the characters had a different feel to their skillsets and playstyles. Now, for some constructive criticisms in the hopes that they might be useful to you:
  • The "barrage" type skills (hits 3 random enemies) seemed pretty useless. The main basic single target attacks did more total damage and cost less MP. I'm not sure what niche they were supposed to fill, but I never saw the need to use them. Same goes for the mage's MP-reduction attack.
  • Michelle's Fairy Strike costs 50 mp, but also restores 50 mp. This doesn't seem intentional.
  • The boss was dead before most of the characters could use their 100 TP skills. That's a shame.
  • The "secret" parts are almost too cryptic, to the point where I ran around, spamming interact with everything in every room and still didn't end up finding the bonus battle mentioned above. A shame too, since I would've liked to fight it.

Wow, it's clear a lot of work went into this. The graphics are cute and the forest is pretty detailed. It couldn't have been trivial to map that out, so I commend you. That said, I found myself a bit lost, unclear what the actual objective was. I mean, I guess I can plant seeds, but what is the end goal? I admit, I didn't play it too long. After a few runs through the forest, I called it quits because there's a lot of games to try out and I didn't know how long I'd be on this one had I seen it through to the end. I'll probably go back and try it more later.

While I'm not really one for horror games, I did give this a bit of a runthrough. Good use of lighting to set the mood and partially obscure parts of the map, although I would've probably included more sound effects in various parts. Good attention to detail, as there's a lot of things I can interact with and explore as well as lots of rooms that each feel different.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play as a clown character. The randomization aspect is interesting in that no two games will play exactly the same (well they can, but the odds are astronomically low) although it's pretty easy to spot the formula after a few runs. I had at least one "friendly" questioning come up with empty dialog, but that's okay. Great tileset use, it really did look like what I'd expect from a fantasy carnival.

My only real nitpick is that, when you're selecting the suspect from the lineup, there's no confirmation, which kind of sucks. I expected to be able to review each one right there before making my decision, so I oof'd despite knowing who the suspect was.

At this point, i wasn't going to play another no-battle game, but the fun graphics and cheery atmosphere drew me in pretty quickly, and I ended up playing it all the way through for 2 different endings. The attention to detail was really good in this one, given the scope--lots to interact with inside the house especially. Not much to say other than "it was a really well-done, well-polished little story game."

Despite feeling mostly like stock RM battles, I still enjoyed it enough to see it through to the end. The "whisked away to another world to save it" theme isn't anything new, but it's (to me) one of those recurring themes like crystals etc that is nice for its comfort food feel. So that said, I enjoyed progressing through the (very small) world. I won't criticize the unbalanced battles since again, deadlines suck, so I get it. I should note though that, when you pick your companions, it'd be nice to get a bit of info on what they specialize in. (To anyone reading this who hasn't played it yet and plans to, pick the healer as your first companion. I think it's the left-most one. You'll never need another consumable again that way. :)

So yeah, fun little game.

Oh lord, I should've played this on a controlled substance. It was probably the most bizarre, random RM game I've played to date, even if it was less of a game and more of a "look around and see weird stuff" experience. So a minute or so in, I was going to just close it and walk away, but then I noticed something about it:

That town is Corneria, from FF1! :o You did a pretty good job reproducing it, although it looks like, in this timeline, things didn't go so well since everything's withered. From then, what kept me in until the end was seeing the weirder and weirder crap in each building. What's with all the ketchup?

I might add more later, but that's all I got around to playing.
 

KV_Kingdom

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I'll post my reviews and responses to feedback in this post going forward so things don't get too messy in here.

Reviews

My thoughts as I was playing the game (+ means I like, - means I do not like):
+ Beautiful custom title screen
+ I love the custom UI
+ I especially love how the main menu has been customized to fit the game
+ Face portrait shows emotions and otherwise changes to fit the dialog
+ Clever way of displaying the controls
- No sound effects when navigating the menu is a little offputting
+ Why did the chicken cross the road? Nice!
+ 7 different endings? Geez!
- Would be good to show the amount of gold you have when talking with Basil.
+ The task mechanic is interesting - agreeing to do a task for a person affects your ability to do other tasks.
+ The art in this game is fantastic!
- Minor grammar error: "We used to be play together" - get rid of "be"
+ Aaaaaayy, you have someone actually playing the piano!
- Polishing point: when you're going to recover the body from the well, add a screen tint to show that it's dark, or say something to imply the change to daytime

This is a very well-done game. The FES graphics are used well, and the maps are not too big, so there's plenty of character and charm on display. It's not too hard to figure out where to go and what to do. Also, did you zoom the camera in?
I like how there are multiple ways to complete the game, and it's hard to get stuck. It's very polished and fun to play. Good job!

My thoughts as I was playing the game (+ means I like, - means I do not like):
- Menu screens are missing their background images
- Main menu won't load even when I place an image in the folder with the same name. Weird.
+ Good brief scrolling text. Not too much to read.
+ Good presentation of the controls
+ The font is nice
- No matter what you choose, the story plays out the same

This game is a short story and you can get from the beginning to the end fairly quickly, but beyond the custom visuals there really isn't much of substance here.
For example, the results of your choices are basically the same no matter what you pick: if you're supposed to "lose" an interaction, you lose no matter what you pick, and vice-versa. It would have been more interesting if different choices got different results. Maybe the only way to get the correct answer at the end would require making the right choices during the earlier interactions? Making the fear meter meanigful would have been nice, too. Right now it's just visual flare that symbolizes how the main character is feeling; you could make that fear meter affect which choices you have avaialble during the converstations.

It looks like this is the beginning of a game, but it needs more player agency in order to be meaningful. If you develop it further, I suggest making it a "branching paths" narrative structure to give the choices impact.

My thoughts as I was playing the game (+ means I like, - means I do not like):
+ Nice character select screen
+ Cool bust art! I like the use of busts in messages.
+ Nice UI, too. I love the window border.
- The screen got really dark after I interrogated Rose. There was a narrator interlude and I was sent back to the starting point, and I could barely see. Going to another map fixed it.
- Menus could use some customizing.
+ I like the narrator warnings/interludes
- The clue boxes don't seem that useful
- I talked to everyone, but it wasn't obvious who the murderer was
- It's a little weird that the warnings about the killer reset you to the starting point

I'm not sure if I just failed to understand the systems in this game, but I didn't feel like there was anything implying who the murderer was. The only thing that was a clear clue was the murder weapon; I was otherwise just guessing who the killer was. If you develop this game further, I suggest making it clearer who the killer is through the dialog and maybe make the purpose of the clue boxes clearer. It's otherwise a nice short game that has given me ideas about making mystery games and mechanics.

I played version 1.0.3 since it looks like it doesn't have significant impact on the overall experience.

This game has an interesting loop: fight enemies, gather seeds, plant seeds, craft stuff. The Time Fantasy graphics look nice and there are some basic action sequences. My biggest problem is with the directions: this game doesn't really tell the player what's going on, and although an attempt is made at telling the player what to do, it's not explained very well. For example, in the intro, the reaper says "get your things in order." What does that mean? What is the goal? I think there was a time limit mentioned, but since the day counter counts up, it's not clear what the end point is. Similarly, why should I not stay up when the sun comes up? Should I be battling the enemies? I appreciate that this game does not bog the player down with huge exposition dumps, but I need some directions before jumping into the action.

Menus need some customizing, too. I know it's difficult to show inventory quantities with the default "show choices" menu, but this game really needs to have a way of tying the player's inventory to the choices being presented. I kept guessing as to how many seeds I had when I was presented with these menus.

Battle balance is OK. They don't last too long and have some nice - though fairly default - action sequencing, but could be refined some more. For example: have certain enemies be weak to "Strong Attack" and others that are weak to the regular attack. Maybe provide the player with additional skills as the game progresses, too (I don't know if you actually did this - I didn't play to the end). I also find the ATB system works best for games that feature multiple party members; when there's just one member and 1-2 enemies, it just turns into a lot of waiting for the turn gauge to fill.

I liked the choice of music - it seemed to be the right balance of ominous-yet-cheery. Sound effects were used well, too.

Other things I liked about this game:
- Important elements are clearly highlighted
- There are hidden items to collect
- On-map encounter system instead of random battles
- Good enemy variety
- Custom title screen

I think this game could stand out from other farming sims with a little more development. It's definitely a good start!

My thoughts as I was playing the game (+ means I like, - means I do not like):

- Why no desktop version?
+ Oh cool, you're using the MV characters! Nothing wrong with them, and it's fun to get more milage out of them.
+ I like the tall sprites in battle.
- So...many...skills. It's a lot to take in all at once.
+ Good battleback choice.
- The battle style is a little hard to understand. Some attacks trigger immediately; some do not. I think it would have worked better if the various mechanics had been introduced slowly.
+ That said, I can see there is a fair bit of depth to the skills and how each character functions.
- No way to see how much health each enemy has makes it hard to tell when I should use the finishing move.
- Is there any reason to not have the flashlight on?
+ This seems to be the best use of the TPB battle system in this jam. There are multiple party members, and everyone's bars fill quickly so there is little waiting.
- The battles are REALLY LOOOOOOOOONG. It does give me more time to figure out how the different skills work, but it just drags the game down a lot.
+ The party fully heals after each battle, so it's impossible to die because you forgot to heal up after the battle!
+ Full heal means MP restores too, so the player has full license to spam the best moves and not worry about rationing MP
+ I appreciate that the rich guy acts as a goal counter.
- It's not clear when to use a certain element instead of another, or what the benefit of using a lower-damage spell will be. Especially frustrating when an element does 0 damage.
- I'm not entirely sure if the wide differences in damage are due to the buffs/debuffs being applied throughout the battle or if it's very high % variation.

I appreciate the simplicity of the premise - explore the house and whack all of the baddies - but the long battles dragged on my enjoyment of the game. The long battles also padded out the game's length - I couldn't finish the game even between 2 sittings. While a long game would have been fine if there was more depth here, it just ended up being pretty boring and repetitive. On a similar note, the team doesn't gain any new skills or items during the game, so the only sense of progression is the dwindling number of enemies to slay, which feels a little thin. Shorter battles and/or new abilites to look forward to would improve this game considerably.

It's not bad, though! In addition to the positive points in my stream of consciousness above, I liked how the home was laid out with realistic rooms: I could identify a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. The paths were clear and easy to navigate. I even liked the little touches of the zombies reading in the library and chasing each other in one of the bedrooms. The opening is straightforward and does not bog the player down with endless text.

I hope this reveiw helps you improve this and future games!

Replies to feedback

Oh hell, why not do some reviews:

This was an enjoyable, very short little mini-dungeon-crawler. Although not particularly challenging, I did see it through to the end and had fun doing so. I liked how each of the characters had a different feel to their skillsets and playstyles. Now, for some constructive criticisms in the hopes that they might be useful to you:
  • The "barrage" type skills (hits 3 random enemies) seemed pretty useless. The main basic single target attacks did more total damage and cost less MP. I'm not sure what niche they were supposed to fill, but I never saw the need to use them. Same goes for the mage's MP-reduction attack.
  • Michelle's Fairy Strike costs 50 mp, but also restores 50 mp. This doesn't seem intentional.
  • The boss was dead before most of the characters could use their 100 TP skills. That's a shame.
  • The "secret" parts are almost too cryptic, to the point where I ran around, spamming interact with everything in every room and still didn't end up finding the bonus battle mentioned above. A shame too, since I would've liked to fight it.
Thank you for the review! It appears you found a few more bugs for me to patch! I finally got some time to look again at my game, and while the event says you get a key, you don't actually get a key :rswt2:. D'oh! I'll upload a patched version at some point to address the issues. As for the barrage skills and the boss dying quickly, that's a symptom of me getting to battle balancing way later than I should have. I'll see about improving that in the patched version, too.
Thanks again for the constructive criticism! I'm glad you enjoyed the game in spite of the issues.

So, I just loved the visual aspect of your game so much, I'm going to go back and try to find that secret room. :) I'll definitely update my review. I am going to do a revision anyway because I failed to specifically mention how much I loved the animations.
Thanks for giving my game another go! Unfortunately, it appears I failed to actually give you a key when it says you pick up the key. :rswt2: Oops! Watch for a patched version to fix that, then you'll be able to access the secret room!

Glad to see you liked the animations! I thought they were pretty cool, too, and hope to make even more exciting actions in the future!

I totally forgot to fancy up the hub room! I'll have to add that to my to-do list.

Yes, the battle balance is kinda meh, so I will include some additional balancing in the upcoming patch.

When I was creating the dialog between Priscilla and the bosses when Priscilla enters the room, I was envisioning the bosses being invisible and only becoming visible when the enemies had been defeated - it looks like I need to make the situation clearer.

I had to chuckle that the game stands out because it's a more standard RPG. I had originally intended the game to be more puzzle-oriented like its predecessor, but the puzzle aspect didn't come together, so I made it an exploration of the VisuStella BattleCore system instead.

I'm glad you seemed to like it overall. Thanks again for the review!

Yay! Another review! I’m glad all the customizations were a hit and the dialog was interesting. As for the stuff to improve, well, I had intended this to have some puzzles, but the stuff I was trying didn’t work out. This game needed more than the week I gave it to be fully fleshed out. Thanks for pointing out the issues you found; I’ll see about fixing and changing things in the updated version.

While you’re waiting for that update, you can play the previous game in the series (which was also made for an MZ-themed jam). Since people seem to be enjoying this, I plan on making more in this series, perhaps even a full-length game some day!

Your review made my day. Thanks for the high praise! I’m even more inspired to make more games!

The end credits track is one of the default MZ songs, “Field4.”

Another glowing review! I’m positively beaming! :smile:

Thanks for the fantastic review and recommendation!

Update

Now that the judging period is over, I have released an update for my game! It's pretty significant, so if you enjoyed it earlier and wanted to see the secret room, you'll definitely want to check this out!
 
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Rubescen

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My first impression review videos of the entries. I've made it through all the entries and made a lot of rough first impression videos. I had a lot of fun playing through these, and even if I'm critical of your game, I'm glad I got to play it. Hope the feedback helps and good luck everyone!

Video 1: Fear, Eyes of Doom and Harvest Time
First First Impressions video of Fear @Kupotepo , Eyes of Doom @Neuralsplyce , and Harvest Time @ElenorTheDark


Video 2: Sibyl's Sunset Carnival, Zwilinge and 1:16 Spooky Spiky Spunky
Thankfully, there is *absolutely* nothing else going on at this moment to distract me from uploading another set of game reviews. Today is @Mrs_Allykat Sibyl's Sunset Carnival, @Windyhouser Zwillinge and @Dama 1:16 Spooky Spiky Spunky.


Video 3: Evil Remains, Hotwalker's Spooktober, and Amarok's Howl
Three more up by @Celestrium , @h0tWalker and @Beregon


Video 4: The Ghost Cage, Unfinished Saga, Magical Girl Priscilla: Terror Town
Another day, another 3 videos (in one): @SeaPhoenix , @Jennavieve and @KV_Kingdom


Video 5: Cursed Land, The Haunting, The Expellers
Last but not least: @Powerise , @Aesica and @SirGatling

Also great work everyone who entered a game! I'm kinda harsh on some of them, but that doesn't negate all the work you did, and it takes a lot to put something out for people to judge. At the end of the day these are just my dumb personal opinions, so don't take them too seriously. :D
 
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Jennavieve

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Had my first session with one of these just now, looking forward to playing more.

Fear by @Kupotepo and @akoniti
I really enjoyed the concept of this game but I feel like it could have been so much more.

Pros:
  • the graphic design was nice and felt very fitting for a spooky mansion, I also thought the maze-like layout of the interior was a nice touch
  • the sounds the monsters make when they get you and the little image that pops up on the screen was well done too
  • I liked the use of save points for this too, gave me a sense of caution before I blundered on ahead
  • it gave me a fear of looking behind the curtains but I still couldn't resist out of curiosity, really brought out the horror theme well
Cons:
  • too much silence, some music or ambient sound effects would have done a lot to enhance the feel of the environment
  • other than finding keys and opening doors, there really wasn't much to do or much story to uncover, it seems a little hollow, it also takes only 10 minutes to play through, even with investigating every little bit
  • there are some mapping issues that should be addressed, there's a couple of tiles in the first room that you can't walk over for no foreseeable reason, you can walk on walls with cracks in them, and you had to press the action button to transition to a new room when walking up/down stairs and that didn't feel very natural
  • the monsters moved a little too predictably and there also weren't many of them so they weren't very tough to avoid, a little more randomness would have done nicely there
All in all though, it seems like something that would be the basis for a fun game with a little more work put into it. Nice job.

The Eyes of Doom by @Neuralsplyce
This one had a really funny idea at its core but it felt more like a visual story than a game. There wasn't anything to do really except watch the story happen.

Pros:
  • the story was a good one, well-written and entertaining
  • I liked how a simple real life "horror" was turned into something seemingly more sinister
  • the music and sound effects were a nice touch, really helped set an unsettling tone
Cons:
  • I did encounter a glitch where the game got stuck and wouldn't move forward right after the main character's name was called. Then it threw me to an error screen and said "failed to load img/titles1/crystal.png" so I just dropped a random ping in the folder and called it crystal. Worked fine when I played it the second time even though I didn't seem that image come up at all. Not sure what happened.
  • I wished it was a little longer and more interactive
It was a fun few minutes though and I enjoyed my time watching the story unfold.

Harvest Time by @ElenorTheDark
This was a really unique take on a farming/RPG game and I thought it was a fun idea.
Pros:
  • loved the graphics, especially the coloring, there was just the perfect amount of contrast and the autumn colors felt like a perfect fit for harvest time
  • the maps were interesting to explore and the use of pathways was nicely done, very helpful in finding your way back to the farm while still looking a little beaten and eerie
  • this seems like one of the largest for gameplay time out of the submissions, impressive how much was done with it in such a short amount of time

Cons:
  • way too grindy for me, I enjoyed the concept and wanted to know more but felt held back by how long everything took and I got burned out after awhile. Takes too long to level up (if you even can, I played for an hour and didn't level once) and find new seeds and progress the story
  • maps seem a little over cluttered because it's hard to get around in some areas
  • too much back and forth, the fact that you had to stay out of the daylight was funny and seemed fitting but it was so annoying to have to keep trying to get deep into the woods and then just being forced to go back to the farm to rest and start all over again

If the game was streamlined a little more, this could be really great.

Sibyl's Sunset Carnival by @Mrs_Allykat
This game was both fun and creepy which is a blend I really enjoy for Halloween Time.
Pros:
  • Det. Smithers reminded me so much of Rude from FF7, not sure if that was intentional or not but I had a good laugh with that
  • the artwork is absolutely lovely and fits the game so perfectly, I think this game has my favorite graphics so far
  • the music was perfect and set the tone well too

Cons:
  • it was a little jarring that the narrator would transport you back to the entrance every time they popped up to say something, didn't make much sense
  • I wish there was a little more info to go on, finding the murder weapon was easy but the killer was much harder to deduce

Overall, it was a quick, enjoyable game. I liked the randomness of it which means you could play multiple times and still have a fun experience.

Zwillinge by @Windyhouser
Another game where a character mysteriously wakes up in a spooky mansion, not the most original idea but it's clear that there was a lot of effort put into this one.
Pros:
  • the artwork is great and it makes the mansion really feel like a creepy place, custom animations were a very nice touch too
  • I loved the music, even the music box music that others got tired of (I never did)
  • there were a lot of little details put into the game, nearly every square had something you could interact with and most interactions were unique
Cons:
  • the chase scene nearly made me give up, it comes out of nowhere and the monster runs so fast that you can't outrun him if you make one tiny misstep and the autosave puts you right in front of him and makes it impossible to escape, I died 4 times before I finally got away
  • the room with the plates kinda broke my suspension of disbelief... how did Ashley know exactly what type of item to put on each plate? is she psychic? were there instructions in front of the plate? it felt very odd to me and it would have been better if there was some sort of explanation for it
  • the ending came very abruptly and it seemed weird to see Ashley at some office all of a sudden (I understand that the game is incomplete though, as is mine and mine ends abruptly as well)
I really enjoyed it though and would like to play the full game when it's done.

1:16 Spooky Spiky Spunky by @Dama
This one is hard to review since I feel like I was missing something the entire time. I didn't understand the jokes or what was going on. I did like the idea of a world being overrun with ketchup though. That was funny.

The Last Unhaunted House by @Rubescen
Pros:
  • I liked the idea of playing as a ghost, it was fun just flying around in the house
  • the theme was really well done and very relevant to the modern age
  • the artwork is very nice

Cons:
  • there was a saved game ready to load before I had even played the game
  • the basement mini-game was very hard and I didn't end up beating it to see the ending, I also almost gave up on the one in the main floor but I finally beat it

All in all, a very cool and original game. I might go back at some point to try to beat it and see how it ends. Nice work.

Evil Remains by @Celestrium
Pros:
  • the hotel reminded me a lot of the Overlook from The Shining, I really enjoyed the atmosphere
  • gameplay is nice, I enjoyed trying to piece together what happened and the limited number of actions really made you think carefully about what you should do before doing anything

Cons:
  • the body appeared to be standing rather than lying down on the floor, I could walk behind him as if he was standing and there was no blood on him or anything either so he didn't look dead at all
  • the vertical hallways felt way too long and empty, scaling them down a bit would make the setting feel more realistic
  • people seemed to get suspicious a little too easily, one girl seemed automatically suspicious no matter what I did (in hindsight, now I wonder if she was the killer)
I really enjoyed my time with this game but never did figure out who the killer was. I'll probably play it again just to figure it out because I really do want to know. Good job.

h0tWalkers Spooktober by @h0tWalker
Pros:
  • loved the setting, the art and sound effects created a very creepy atmosphere
  • piecing together the story bit by bit was enjoyable, I liked the story behind the game, especially when you reach the end
  • the mapping is very well done, I can tell there was a lot of thought put into the layout of everything

Cons:
  • numerous grammar and spelling errors, made some bits hard to read
  • the chase scene seemed like it was broken in my playthrough, the monster startled me when it popped out but then it didn't seem to chase me, I still ran though because the sound made me feel very unsettled and I wanted to get out of there asap
  • there were a few mapping errors where I could walk on desks and walls in some spots

This game had a really good story behind it but I would liked to have a little more to do than walk around and read books & letters. Given the amount of time you had to work on this, I'm really impressed by how much you got done. If you ever expand on this game, I'll definitely give it another go.

Amarok's Howl by @Beregon
Pros:
  • loved the setting, the cold and isolation that comes inherently with an Alaskan winter gives you a natural sense of horror, it reminded me of a really good book I read recently called Dark Matter
  • the artwork and mapping were really nice too, it felt like a real college campus
  • the friendship between Alistair and Alex was really enjoyable, they felt like real people

Cons:
  • the intro felt a little too dragged out, could use some tightening up of dialog and the Sedna legend felt like a bit too much, combining two different Sedna legends made the story seem a little too outrageous and also long to sit through, I was ready to get into the nitty gritty long before the characters were finally done talking
  • the monsters seemed to hard to outrun, it was okay if you were in an area where you could zig and zag through obstacles to slow them down but the ones outside were impossible to outrun
  • the maps felt a little too large, it took so long to find people that it started to get a little boring

I really liked the concept but I think it could have been implemented a little better. It seemed like there was a good setup for an interesting story but once the real gameplay started, it didn't feel like there was much of a story any more. I would have liked it if there was a little more interaction with the other characters when you found them that would give you more to the story. This game could be really cool with some more time put into it.

The Ghost Cage by @SeaPhoenix
I have to say, this one is my favorite out of all the ones I've played so far. I love the combination of spooky and cuteness. My 5 year old daughter loved the game too and she asked me to play it again after we finished it the first time.

Pros:
  • love the way the ghost that haunts the house has a distinct personality and he's more of a nuisance than scary, I enjoyed befriending him
  • I liked the whole happiness/hostility mechanic, the use of thought bubbles as indicators for when you gain or lose points was implemented really well too
  • the graphics are really colorful and look great

Cons:
  • I think the one area where this game could really use some improvement is audio, there weren't really any sound effects in menus or opening doors and things like that which made things feel a little hollow sometimes, I also wasn't a huge fan of the music, one song was even a little annoying to listen to (my daughter did enjoy that song though lol)
  • it was a little jarring that Sibyl spoke openly about "the game," her awareness of the game felt out of place, it also would have been nice if she and her dog moved a bit instead of standing outside their house in the same places day after day

This was a fantastic entry and one of the few that really felt like a full, complete game. Many of the others, like my own, are just demos of a larger game or felt unfinished in some way, this one wasn't like that. I had been thinking of playing The Lost Art of Innkeeping by the same maker before and I can definitely say I'll be trying it now.
 
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Kupotepo

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The Eyes of Doom from @Neuralsplyce

The Eyes of Doom from @Neuralsplyce is an interactive story game in which you follow Willy, a video gamer and a student in his game tale. The title is creative with the pink eyes of doom which display your inner artistic self. The title’s music is sound scary and creepy which is great for a horror game

The dialogues are really funny at the beginning I like this. The tilesets are unique and customized. The surprise math quiz is really funny to me and a piece of paper. The answer is Y = x+ab-2-X^2-ax-bx.The flashback is great exaction on your parts. The story is good, well-written which reflects upon your lifelong passion for writing. The cutscene execution is excellent.


Disclaimer: I played for 40 minutes and I keep getting killed because I return home late. ^_^

Harvest Time by ElenorTheDark is a fun RPG game where you play as Hal, a farmer who meets the soul reaper. You can harvest fruits, explore the vast forest, fight monsters, and much more. This game gives me a feeling of Harvest Moon which you give choices to do many activities of your choices. The clock system shows that you are excellent at creating events and using plugins in RPF Maker MZ.

I like the animal collecting system in your game and the baiting animal system because those mechanics are rarely seen in RPG games. The farming system is also amazing. The cows and goats are at your home then you collect them. The title is creative with the old clock which displays your inner artistic self and you use a customized title text font too. The title’s music is sound fantasy and mysterious which is great. Sorry to say the objective in the game is confusing to me. The overall music makes me feel mysterious and wondering what is next. Great choice of music for your game. Both character sets and tilesets are from the time fantasy collection which is amazing.
 
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Mrs_Allykat

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Thanks for the reviews! The next Jam, I'll be doing reviews instead of an entry. To be honest, I really shouldn't have put an entry into this one due to the fact that I caught the whole thing a week or so late. Oops.

@Finnuval Thanks for the moral support and kind words. I appreciate them! Maybe I will doctor this one up later. By the way, I LOVE how well MZ does the browser game export.

@Celestrium I pulled this together in two weeks, and my mind is now numb LOL!

@Aesica I actually wanted combat in the game too, but there was not enough time. I thought that challenging different "suspects" to a fight for an additional clue would be neat. Time, however, was not on my side.

@ElenorTheDark Thank you. It sounds like you got the playthrough I was hoping someone could get. I was afraid it was too easy.

@Kupotepo Actually the clown "narrator" is from the same set as the tiles. It's an old VXA based DLC that I simply resized for MZ. The bust image was smaller than the MZ ones, so while I scaled the tiles up; I scaled the MZ busts down, and used a smaller screen size.


Off Topic: It might be time for a second "one map challenge," how about "One Map Challenge MZ Edition" :p
 

h0tWalker

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You wake up in a room in a seemingly abandoned mansion. Not knowing how you ended up here, you must explore the creepy mansion and figure out what happened. Not the most original premise but even so, I enjoyed the game.

h0tWalkers Spooktober is more of a walking simulator (like Layers of Fear for example) than an interactive game. The developer themselves also say " Focus isn't on gameplay, but primarily played and experimented with sounds", which I think it did well. I'll list the things I liked about the game down below.
-Loved the opening sequence of just sounds in the dark. It makes the player naturally wonder 'what's happening?' and grabs their attention.
-The maps were really nice and part of the reason why I enjoyed walking around so much. Lighting effects were also used perfectly to create a creepy atmosphere.
-The ambient sounds were unsettling and makes one uncomfortable which is perfect for a game like this.
-Loved how the story uncovered gradually. Things went from 'what happened here?' to 'oh sh*t gotta run!' XD I liked how the notes were written too.

The game needs improvement in some cases too.
-An important part of an exploration game is to allow players to interact with the environment. Apart from the notes, I couldn't interact with anything else, even creepy things (like the huge doll) that I wanted to inspect.
-The character was named Reid in the menu while they're named Jake in the game. Also noticed the default class and level there which is unnecessary in a non-combat game like this.
-Jake makes no comment about the notes he reads along the way. Would've let us understand his feelings about the things happening if he did.
-Noticed some passability issues. The desk in the huge doll's room, the torn flags/banners, some bookshelves facing left can be walked on.
-The library confused me for a while. I read the note but as nothing in the game could be inspected I assumed the same for the shelves. I figured it out eventually but it would've helped if Jake said something.

All in all, pretty good game, I enjoyed it. @h0tWalker You said you might make it a bigger game. I think you should definitely do it. I would play it ^^ This game had some hiccups here and there but I think you did a great job for a game made in 3 days.
I really appreciate the review. I initially didn't intend to participate due to insecurities and lack of time, but got pushed to it and decided to create a small prototype. Glad to see you listing what you liked, and mention the few mistakes I made, which can and will be fixed :D

I had some few plans, but due to only getting 3 days, it gets some jump cuts between maps (library office -> church) and some hints like the cavern. Some easy mistakes which was made as well, which is nice to get pointed out, as I didn't think about them, whilst forgetting interactions on the clock. Hopefully getting some mechanics going as well as puzzles and making it more interactive. Hopefully I'll get more time to my project, which I lack due to work, and turn it into the game I envisioned it to be :kaopride:
 

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