RMVXA Sundew Nightmare: The Omega Cut

hiddenone

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Since RCXDan asked me to give this a go, here I am. :) There's a lot going on in this game, and unfortunately I think it was just too much to manage to fully polish.
⦁ Notes are taken as I play

⦁ Not a fan of the Gaia Online avatars being used, it seems like that would break Gaia's terms of use. If they're being used a placeholders, why not just use the default generator faces?

⦁ The purple message box is a touch too bright, it'll probably hurt my eyes after playing for a while. Oh, good that can be changed in the Systems menu :)

⦁ Can walk under the wastebaskets in the motel
flying wastebasket.png
⦁ There's some odd passability on the road near Prominence Lake. The player can't walk left or right off the corners of the asphalt
broken ground passability.png
⦁ Very cool reflection effect on the lake

⦁ The player starts with a lot of items and skills, which is nice but also overwhelming to a new player when you take into account all the things they need to learn about and remember. Sometimes it's good to start with just a few things, and let the player gain more as they play

⦁ If the player is spending gold on the soda machine to get a Soda, make sure the player's aware of how much it costs

⦁ The motel's sign is hilariously tiny on it's roof. Since the building's so big, it deserves a sign that fits

⦁ Poor Maddy's got some bad luck...

⦁ Battles seem straightforward, which is good but all those hints at the start of the first battle have already left my brain. I'm just going to smash my way through enemies and hope for the best

⦁ It's good that the game reminds players that 'Shift' shows enemy weaknesses, but unfortunately it's placed behind the party screen. It would be better if it was moved to be placed above that, right below the enemy area

⦁ A lot of the ABS parts are still in the game, so the player can try to hit enemies but it doesn't work. I'm sure you just haven't removed it all yet, but it would be good to fix that in your next update so that players aren't confused

⦁ Save point should be very obvious to the player, while the statue is a nice idea you could add in a glow or other detail that'll draw the players' eyes so they're sure to spot it

⦁ The Crying Doll is doing 2400-ish damage per attack, which is way too much! The jump in power from the Zombies to this is crazy, if I hadn't been using all my powerful skills then I would've been wiped out

⦁ I'm not sure what I was expecting in this game, but a ruined wedding was not it

⦁ Why is Latona telling the party to go somewhere safe? So far they've been the most useful people in town, you'd think Latona would want them to keep helping after that disaster

⦁ Why is everyone being dumb, even if Gerald's house is 'safe' there's still the chance of the poisoner having access so why would they share a huge meal?! And yep, right on cue something went wrong...

⦁ The sudden change to a murder mystery is weird for this game. It's fine if you want to add in more than just battles to a game, but this really feels more like taking too many ideas and forcing them into one game. More isn't always better

⦁ Can't speak to Maddy from her left side, the player has to approach from below to activate her event. Is it because the chandelier is also an event so it's trying to trigger instead of Maddy's? Hm, most likely

⦁ Why the heck would everyone wait to mention seeing Dash add something to Gerald's drink until after the party had to talk to everyone?! That's not smart on all accounts, since if they're innocent it looks strange that they didn't mention it right away and if they're guilty then wouldn't they want to make a scapegoat obvious quickly?

⦁ I found some gloves in the kitchen earlier, and now I'm disappointed that I didn't get to really get to do more detective-ing with them. Since there wasn't anything to do besides talk to people in the dining room, the game's training me to think that there's no reason to explore and look around...

⦁ Dead bodies don't stiffen up instantly or keep bleeding (they'll drip due to gravity, but bleeding happens because of the pumping heart, so no life means no bleeding), so apparently the maid in the bathroom was killed hours ago... Though that doesn't explain why it's still dripping blood if it's been that long

⦁ Well, the party says they don't know what the key is for, but in the items menu it's clearly labelled Storage Key... For things that you want to be mysterious, use two items and switch the Unknown Key for the other one once the player's talked to people about it

⦁ Whoops, the key info plays twice when talking to Rosaline, I assume one was supposed to play if the player hadn't picked up the key first thing

⦁ I need to go outside, but nobody told me where the door to the backyard is... Guess it's time to wander around and check everywhere

⦁ It's nice that both entrances back into the house have the cloaked figure cutscene play, so that the player doesn't miss it

⦁ The game is deciding what the player's already done which is messing with me. After checking on the women when the Crying Doll shows up again, the party is talking about how the library is locked and they can't check it... But I never tried to enter there, so how would they know that???

⦁ I lost the fight with the succubus, and will stop here. That battle's just not fun, because the Heart Reaver ends up turning into three enemies that all can attack and reflect damage, which killed Johnny in one turn...

Overall, I have to agree with EuphemiaArtoria that more isn't always better. You've clearly put a lot of time and effort into this game, but the whole game is just a touch too large to have gotten all the love and attention each part deserves. If you keep working on this project then it could all get that attention in due time. If you want to call it finished soon though, it may be worth it to go over the whole thing and decide what you really need and what you don't. The sudden change from RPG to detective game (and then back to RPG, I'm assuming) is rough because neither felt like they had quite enough time spent on them. If you don't want to make it a real murder mystery with the player searching for clues and making their own conclusions, then you could change that whole part to be cutscenes where the party is kind just dragged into everything instead of being put in charge of solving it.

The basics for an engaging story are there, it's mostly the gameplay itself that needs to be looked at and tweaked. Good luck with this, and your main project! :rwink:
 

RCXDan

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Thank you for responding, @hiddenone. I'm aware the game wound up being much larger than intended for a game jam entry, primarily because it was an experiment to see how much I can cook up in less than a month, as well as shake off some rust from not touching the engine for so long.

That said, here's what I have to say.

⦁ Very cool reflection effect on the lake
Thank you :)

I learned it from a person called Echo, she does tutorials for RPG Maker on youtube.

⦁ The player starts with a lot of items and skills, which is nice but also overwhelming to a new player when you take into account all the things they need to learn about and remember. Sometimes it's good to start with just a few things, and let the player gain more as they play
Noted. In fact, I'm changing it so you only have a few skills at the start, and they unlock as the game goes on because the characters are like "oh fudge, time to get serious".

⦁ Battles seem straightforward, which is good but all those hints at the start of the first battle have already left my brain. I'm just going to smash my way through enemies and hope for the best
Not exactly smart but understandable considering these are meant to be shorter types of games, and that most combat in RPG Maker games tend to be relatively simple.

⦁ It's good that the game reminds players that 'Shift' shows enemy weaknesses, but unfortunately it's placed behind the party screen. It would be better if it was moved to be placed above that, right below the enemy area
See, I never estimated how useful that "shift to reveal weaknesses" text would be, so I didn't take the time to fix it. Oops.

⦁ A lot of the ABS parts are still in the game, so the player can try to hit enemies but it doesn't work. I'm sure you just haven't removed it all yet, but it would be good to fix that in your next update so that players aren't confused
I... did put that note saying "your overworld weapons can't actually hurt enemies" in the game, right? I plan to revise that in the future by adding a first strike system where hitting an overworld enemy with a weapon instantly launches you into turn-based combat with an advantage.

⦁ Save point should be very obvious to the player, while the statue is a nice idea you could add in a glow or other detail that'll draw the players' eyes so they're sure to spot it
Noted.

⦁ The Crying Doll is doing 2400-ish damage per attack, which is way too much! The jump in power from the Zombies to this is crazy, if I hadn't been using all my powerful skills then I would've been wiped out
She can't actually kill you though. It does 99% of your current HP primarily to scare you, since dying to her is pretty much impossible unless you're deliberately waiting out turns.

⦁ Why is Latona telling the party to go somewhere safe? So far they've been the most useful people in town, you'd think Latona would want them to keep helping after that disaster
To go somewhere safe so they can plan? They're the three strongest people in town, so going to a place where they can think for a second would improve the helping process.

It's not like they can blindly jump into combat and solve the problem when they don't even know what's causing it.

⦁ The sudden change to a murder mystery is weird for this game. It's fine if you want to add in more than just battles to a game, but this really feels more like taking too many ideas and forcing them into one game. More isn't always better
Okay, now this I actually disagree with. More down the line.

⦁ Can't speak to Maddy from her left side, the player has to approach from below to activate her event. Is it because the chandelier is also an event so it's trying to trigger instead of Maddy's? Hm, most likely
Yep, it's the light event for the chandelier.

⦁ Why the heck would everyone wait to mention seeing Dash add something to Gerald's drink until after the party had to talk to everyone?! That's not smart on all accounts, since if they're innocent it looks strange that they didn't mention it right away and if they're guilty then wouldn't they want to make a scapegoat obvious quickly?
I think you're underestimating the panic these people just went through. It's not like these people are strangers to each other (barring Johnny and Freyja) and a man literally dropped dead right in front of them - that by itself would make you not think straight for a bit.

Plus there's always the explanation that they just... forgot that detail happened until it became relevant? Abel's literally pondering it before the sequence even happens, he's like "wait, actually..." and then they fight.

⦁ Dead bodies don't stiffen up instantly or keep bleeding (they'll drip due to gravity, but bleeding happens because of the pumping heart, so no life means no bleeding), so apparently the maid in the bathroom was killed hours ago... Though that doesn't explain why it's still dripping blood if it's been that long
That's how you know the entire thing was a set up and nobody actually died. Like if you know how poison works on the human body, you'd know the entire thing was super staged the instant Gerald dies of "poison."

It also wasn't the virus put into his wine, because he wouldn't have keeled over dead. It doesn't match up with what happened earlier. It's an intentional inconsistency so that when you look back you're like "oh I see what you did."

⦁ Well, the party says they don't know what the key is for, but in the items menu it's clearly labelled Storage Key... For things that you want to be mysterious, use two items and switch the Unknown Key for the other one once the player's talked to people about it

⦁ Whoops, the key info plays twice when talking to Rosaline, I assume one was supposed to play if the player hadn't picked up the key first thing
Yeah, this happened because the gloves are nonlinear. You can pick them up at any time, and modifying the sequence so that it makes sense was done in post after I had already exhausted myself.

That said, the key thing is a good idea.

⦁ The game is deciding what the player's already done which is messing with me. After checking on the women when the Crying Doll shows up again, the party is talking about how the library is locked and they can't check it... But I never tried to enter there, so how would they know that???
This one is understandable because honestly, it's kinda hard to check out details when there's a killer ghost tailing behind you. It was a concession I had to make so the player knew where to go next.

⦁ I lost the fight with the succubus, and will stop here. That battle's just not fun, because the Heart Reaver ends up turning into three enemies that all can attack and reflect damage, which killed Johnny in one turn...
So it needs a nerf. Noted, since I feel it was the first actual fight in the game where you had to think and not mash.

If you don't want to make it a real murder mystery with the player searching for clues and making their own conclusions, then you could change that whole part to be cutscenes where the party is kind just dragged into everything instead of being put in charge of solving it.
I absolutely do not agree with this. I'd argue this would make the experience genuinely frustrating instead of simply off-putting, since if it were all auto-run events where you were just stuck watching and not actually doing anything, it'd be like "why am I watching a movie though".

It'd be jarring to go from being able to play (more or less) freely to suddenly not participating, especially for the length of time that the murder mystery goes on for.

I also disagree that it comes out of nowhere or feels out of place - the tension for it begins as soon as you first talk to Dash. He is angry at Gerald and vice versa, and this is reinforced in the wedding scene where you can't miss it. Force everyone into the same room in a time of panic, especially when two of them hate each other? Something bad will happen.

I'm genuinely sorry for all these rebuttals for the story, but I'd rather not have misconceptions.

That said, I really do appreciate that you took your time to play my game. I've noted everything you've said, especially the gameplay stuff, and I plan to improve the foundation for further games.
 
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hiddenone

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Okay, your explanations do help me understand quite a few things I was having trouble with. :) But there are a few things that just didn't seem obvious to me while I was playing.
Noted. In fact, I'm changing it so you only have a few skills at the start, and they unlock as the game goes on because the characters are like "oh fudge, time to get serious".
This is great to hear, spacing out the skills should really help make it easier to decide what to pick during battles. :) There were just so many skills at the start, and Zombies were easily killed in two hits so I just didn't get around to trying out most of the skills (I'm also an MP hoarder, so out of fear of needing it later I avoid using skills unless I know I can restock MP easily or that the skills are really worth it).
I... did put that note saying "your overworld weapons can't actually hurt enemies" in the game, right? I plan to revise that in the future by adding a first strike system where hitting an overworld enemy with a weapon instantly launches you into turn-based combat with an advantage.
You did add that note, but I played the game in multiple sittings so I forgot about it before righting that note... Sorry. :rswt I'm not sure if the current ABS you have would really work well with a 'first strike' system, but I'm not super familiar with it so I could be mistaken. It just seems like it could be a ton of work for you that doesn't add too much to the player's enjoyment of the game.
She can't actually kill you though. It does 99% of your current HP primarily to scare you, since dying to her is pretty much impossible unless you're deliberately waiting out turns.
In that case it does exactly what you wanted. But the sudden damage change between the Zombies and the Crying Doll just felt so crazy to me that my only thoughts were "...well that can't be right".
That's how you know the entire thing was a set up and nobody actually died. Like if you know how poison works on the human body, you'd know the entire thing was super staged the instant Gerald dies of "poison."

It also wasn't the virus put into his wine, because he wouldn't have keeled over dead. It doesn't match up with what happened earlier. It's an intentional inconsistency so that when you look back you're like "oh I see what you did."
The issue with that in my mind is that I'm not familiar with this game's world. Plenty of games have instant-acting poisons, so Gerald dropping dead after one sip seemed totally plausible. I also didn't think it was the virus in his drink, I was still thinking that Dash was lying about the sugar and had killed him.

I didn't recognize the maid either, since I had forgotten what she looked like (the problems with setting a game down for a while when you've got a bad memory :rswt). So when she showed up later it wasn't a shocking reveal, I had still thought the dead body had been taken away by the ghost for some odd reason.
This one is understandable because honestly, it's kinda hard to check out details when there's a killer ghost tailing behind you. It was a concession I had to make so the player knew where to go next.
You could have one of the other characters mention the library was suddenly locked, maybe Latonia (sorry if my spelling is wrong)? But I can understand needing to make sure the player has a clue.
⦁ I lost the fight with the succubus, and will stop here. That battle's just not fun, because the Heart Reaver ends up turning into three enemies that all can attack and reflect damage, which killed Johnny in one turn...
So it needs a nerf. Noted, since I feel it was the first actual fight in the game where you had to think and not mash.
Yeah, I had figured out that some of Freyja's skills were doing a lot of damage to the Reaver, but when she became three enemies she reflected all my attacks back at me and wiped me out before I could try to figure out what worked now. There was also the issue with having to go through the long cutscene again if I wanted to retry that battle, and after sitting through it twice I just couldn't do it a third time...
I absolutely do not agree with this. I'd argue this would make the experience genuinely frustrating instead of simply off-putting, since if it were all auto-run events where you were just stuck watching and not actually doing anything, it'd be like "why am I watching a movie though".

It'd be jarring to go from being able to play (more or less) freely to suddenly not participating, especially for the length of time that the murder mystery goes on for.
Sorry if I wasn't clear about that point, I was talking about only the dining room scene being a cutscene. As it currently is, it's not much different than just sitting through one because all I did was walk between the different people. Had I been able to look for clues it would have felt more like a mystery, but just being told to go talk to each character in order didn't make me feel like a detective. After that dining room scene it would be fine to have the game stay pretty much as-is, since finding that letter at the party's room gives them a good reason to poke their nose into the troubles.


You clearly have a lot of backstory to this game, and it's unfortunate that as a player I couldn't pick up on it. If you think that parts of the game add to the player experience, then please keep it in! I'm just worried about there being so many things going on in the game that it could lose some of the fun for the player since they need to keep track of so many things to really enjoy the whole story. Good luck with the improvements. :)
 
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RCXDan

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Thank you for understanding. That means quite a bit to me. :kaojoy:

This is great to hear, spacing out the skills should really help make it easier to decide what to pick during battles. :) There were just so many skills at the start, and Zombies were easily killed in two hits so I just didn't get around to trying out most of the skills (I'm also an MP hoarder, so out of fear of needing it later I avoid using skills unless I know I can restock MP easily or that the skills are really worth it).
I've actually already done it! I've put your revisions to use, since they were quite easy to implement.

Also, in my games you have regenerating MP and the skill costs for advanced attacks scale with you.

You did add that note, but I played the game in multiple sittings so I forgot about it before righting that note... Sorry. :rswt I'm not sure if the current ABS you have would really work well with a 'first strike' system, but I'm not super familiar with it so I could be mistaken. It just seems like it could be a ton of work for you that doesn't add too much to the player's enjoyment of the game.
You should have seen what I was doing before. That was a ton of work with little pay-off.

The kind of first strike system I'm referring to is a similar kind used in Paper Mario or Mario and Luigi. You whack an enemy in those games, you start turn-based combat with an extra attack.

Here, it's the same principle but I also have a quick-kill function like the kind seen in Earthbound. If your level is higher than the enemy you bump into, they die instantly but you still get the rewards. Hitting an enemy with overworld weapons lowers the level requirement.

I feel it'll play out better in my main project once I properly implement it.

The issue with that in my mind is that I'm not familiar with this game's world. Plenty of games have instant-acting poisons, so Gerald dropping dead after one sip seemed totally plausible. I also didn't think it was the virus in his drink, I was still thinking that Dash was lying about the sugar and had killed him.
I've revised it so Freyja says she's never seen poison kill someone that quickly, so you know it's not normal.

You could have one of the other characters mention the library was suddenly locked, maybe Latonia (sorry if my spelling is wrong)? But I can understand needing to make sure the player has a clue.
Surprisingly easy fix: Rosaline says she remembers seeing Frida in the library and says you should ask for her help.

Yeah, I had figured out that some of Freyja's skills were doing a lot of damage to the Reaver, but when she became three enemies she reflected all my attacks back at me and wiped me out before I could try to figure out what worked now. There was also the issue with having to go through the long cutscene again if I wanted to retry that battle, and after sitting through it twice I just couldn't do it a third time...
Psst, you have a cutscene skip button. Holding down X during a cutscene will bring up an option that asks you if you want to skip. I didn't advertise it cause the game is pretty linear but still quietly included it because what if someone wants to do a repeat playthrough for whatever reason.

That said, the boss has indeed been nerfed. She only uses Reflect if her health is low now, as opposed to when she shows back up.

Sorry if I wasn't clear about that point, I was talking about only the dining room scene being a cutscene. As it currently is, it's not much different than just sitting through one because all I did was walk between the different people. Had I been able to look for clues it would have felt more like a mystery, but just being told to go talk to each character in order didn't make me feel like a detective. After that dining room scene it would be fine to have the game stay pretty much as-is, since finding that letter at the party's room gives them a good reason to poke their nose into the troubles.
Oh that makes much more sense. I was like "naw, bro, I'm not scrapping the entire murder mystery part for a personal preference". Thank you for properly explaining, since it seemed unreasonable initially.
 
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RCXDan

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Aight, here we go. Behold: the Omega Cut. (I've even changed the title of the thread to reflect this.)

This is the most complete version of Sundew Nightmare there will ever be, with everything I've wanted finally being put in. There's a lot of changes to the point where it's a far different experience from the copy that was made for the No Travel Game Jam, and a lot of these changes will be adapted into most of my future projects from now on.

(Which was kinda the point to begin with: I used the game jam as an excuse to make something and test some concepts)

Now, why is it called the Omega Cut? You see, I've always wanted to do an interesting spin on the concept of New Game Plus, and I've finally gotten around to including it: this required a lot of critical thinking since it involves how save files are used, but to say any more would be spoiling.

I've updated the download link back on the first page to be the Omega Cut, so there you have it.
 

Cythera

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Alrighty, I played this through to the very end! I got Ending A (hopefully there's more than one possible ending and this isn't just text put there to trick people into thinking there are more endings when it's just one haha)
  • Good music choices
  • Nice moving parallax effect on the lake
  • Use ‘Shift’ in battle to reveal enemy data – I really like that and feel that it works in this style of combat.
  • The HUD on the map looks nice and clean, though I’m not sure how needed it is?
    -Okay, so it plays a role in the later dungeon. I’m still not…sure how I feel about this? It feels like a lot in a game – like an added feature that’s maybe not critical?
  • Enemies at the start can be killed in one hit with skills; combat is forgiving in the beginning, which is better than being too hard
  • I like Johnny’s character; I feel he has character. Freyja, not so much…(see negatives)
  • Okay, Freyja’s backstory actually matches her personality, and why she didn’t care about the town; only Madeline. A little more lead-up, a clue here or there, would have added a lot of weight to the revelation, but the backstory matches and explains the personality and that is major. Good job
  • “Madeline is tagging along too” Hahahaha, that about sums up my opinion of her!
  • There’s a bit of overload of stuff available in the menu at the start; lots of items, lots of item categories. There’s equipment and soul shards (looks like a materia plugin). Class change options – but no classes to change into; can this be removed at added later on when applicable – if it ever is? I never found a use for the class system, and I only ever equipped 3 soul shards; does it really need to be there?
  • Freyja’s character is a little hot-and-cold to me. She didn’t care that the zombies were walking around, endangering the WHOLE town, but one little girl? Nope, can’t have that! I feel her personality is inconsistent; she cares enough to help one person, but not enough to help the whole town?
  • I received a hint to ‘Run’ from the Crying Doll, but I was able to beat her without any deaths. If you intend for this fight to be unwinnable, it’s, um, 100% winnable. If you allow players to win, what’s the point of the ‘Run’ hint? She’s not a difficult fight
  • Letting the Crying Doll catch you actually has no penalties – she is a winnable battle, escape rate appears to be 100%, and even if she curses my items, I can still use them with hotkeys. Not that I’m opposed to there being no penalties, since, if I’m being honest, the whole chase part was annoying to me. She teleports, has the same speed as me, and can trigger a fight even if she touches my follower (I know this is to prevent hiding behind the follower, but if I try to sidestep out the way, she tags my follower anyway!) There’s zero tension on this entire chase. My suggestion would be, first, stop triggering the fight if she touches the follower. Second, instead of fighting the doll, have her summon 2-4 ghosts instead that fight you, and you can’t run. This way, there can be penalties for getting caught. Then the doll herself can still be a threat – if I fight her, I win, she ‘respawns’ and, well, she’s not a threat. Again, no tension
  • Why am I doing a fetch-the-key quest in the middle of a murderous doll chase? o_O Surely there’s a better way to get the player out to the storage shed?
  • Status Effect List item has the text description of ‘all the status effects in The Dark Heart’
  • The Type Chart item requires you to select a party member to use it; set target scope to none. Also, the format changes once you select and element – instead of being laid out on a 3-3 grid with the quit option at the bottom, after selecting any element, it becomes a long list option instead of the grid layout
  • Some weird lines on the water movement
1.png
  • Only the center tile holds a transfer event in the item shop – also noticed this in the mausoleum, backyard storage shed too
  • The carboard boxes in the janitor’s room beyond the motel are passable; I walk right on top of them
  • The rain continues INSIDE the church at night after the zombies attack :3
  • I wan walk underneath the benches in the church
  • Madeline and Latona are in the church after saving Madeline?
3.png
  • Seems like a switch oversight – wait, wait, wasn’t the door sealed after the zombies emerged?
  • Uh-oh
4.png
  • Uh-oh
5.png
  • Uh-oh
6.png
  • The Crying Doll curses my items; I can still used my ‘cursed items’ by equipping them and using the hotkey
Note: I didn't find anything that was actually GAME-breaking but definitely IMMERSION-breaking
  • Oof, that FPS drop in town. It appears to be caused by the lighting effects; I personally would enjoy an option to turn those lighting effects on and off, considering the drop in performance bugs me
  • Aww, I wanted to fight the mannequin!
  • I think you missed an opportunity to have a good boss fight with the cursed sword scene
  • I'm drinking wine while watching a guy drink wine after attempted murder at a wedding - oop, there he goes! :D

I think overall this game would benefit from an expansion into a longer game. It’s clear there’s world building and lore put into this game; cramming all it into a short game makes the lore seem really rushed. A larger game would allow for more pacing, more detail, and overall better immersion for the player!
Another reason it would benefit from being a longer game are the seven wonders – if they’re plot or side quests, I’m not sure yet. But I just got the flute from the fairy, and Johnny said he thinks it will work on the glowing grave in the cemetery. Stuff like that is way better off being hinted at instead of being just told by a character in such a blunt way – why would Johnny know this information anyway?
Another reason this deserves more game time is Latona’s entire arc. Star captain? Lil angel sword? Come on; there’s a lot of lore here that is totally worthy of more playtime!

The game itself right now is a lot for a ‘short’ game, and needs polishing regardless of if it is left this length, or expanded to a longer game. I know this was made under a time limit; the project was very ambitious, but for a short game, I think it could and should have been refined with some parts cut out. I would 100% suggest an expansion, polish, and more attention and love – and cutting some unneeded bloat out the game.
I personally would keep at it; I see potential with the world you've made and would want to explore it further.
 

RCXDan

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Thanks for playing, @Cythera. No there's actually other endings, that isn't just me messing around. That said let me shine some light on parts that seemed weird.

  • The HUD on the map looks nice and clean, though I’m not sure how needed it is?
  • Okay, so it plays a role in the later dungeon. I’m still not…sure how I feel about this? It feels like a lot in a game – like an added feature that’s maybe not critical?
See, the original function of the HUD was because this game had ABS functionality. But since overworld combat proved to be.... not great, I removed it and only kept tools interacting with puzzles like in Zelda. If the toolbar isn't on screen then the tools can't be used, like no joke.

I do plan to include a Paper Mario-style first strike system so overworld weapons can have a use, but right now I'm not going to make it work for this game.

Plus to be honest I feel the HUD just looks nice.

  • “Madeline is tagging along too” Hahahaha, that about sums up my opinion of her!
See I do not like the way you phrased that. It makes it seem like she's not much other than an annoying kid... when she's not. I get this is subjective, but give her more credit: she's willing to jump into a monster-infested dungeon despite never having done that kind of thing before, just to save her dad.

  • There’s a bit of overload of stuff available in the menu at the start; lots of items, lots of item categories. There’s equipment and soul shards (looks like a materia plugin). Class change options – but no classes to change into; can this be removed at added later on when applicable – if it ever is? I never found a use for the class system, and I only ever equipped 3 soul shards; does it really need to be there?
Crap, I never got rid of the Class system, did I. That's actually a feature meant for only one person in my main project, and it seems I forgot to remove that for this one.

That said, I'll admit. A main reason this game was made was actually to test stuff. Soul Shards specifically... which is funny, only one character really gets that functionality in my main project anyway.

  • Freyja’s character is a little hot-and-cold to me. She didn’t care that the zombies were walking around, endangering the WHOLE town, but one little girl? Nope, can’t have that! I feel her personality is inconsistent; she cares enough to help one person, but not enough to help the whole town?
I feel out of everything this is the coldest take. It's not that she didn't care, it's more like "oh the guild will fix it." She didn't actually expect for someone to be out walking while zombies are attacking, and assumed the guild would fix it since zombie attacks are kind of a thing people plan for in this world. (Also she was half-asleep at the time, give her a break.)

Like the entire point of Freyja is that she seems mean and tough but is a super sweetheart: otherwise she wouldn't care to help anyone other than Madeline. I feel this could be best illustrated with the wedding scene: If she was only concerned with Madeline like you're saying then she would have chased after her when she left and not helped Johnny fight.

I received a hint to ‘Run’ from the Crying Doll, but I was able to beat her without any deaths. If you intend for this fight to be unwinnable, it’s, um, 100% winnable. If you allow players to win, what’s the point of the ‘Run’ hint? She’s not a difficult fight
It's winnable, but you don't get anything for it. This combined with her constant respawning during this segment is supposed to be like "if we keep fighting we'll just get worn down and lose eventually". I'm pretty sure this is mentioned in a cutscene too.

Now, whether you agree with what I did is another thing, but that's what the intention was.

  • She teleports, has the same speed as me, and can trigger a fight even if she touches my follower (I know this is to prevent hiding behind the follower, but if I try to sidestep out the way, she tags my follower anyway!) There’s zero tension on this entire chase.
  • Why am I doing a fetch-the-key quest in the middle of a murderous doll chase? o_O Surely there’s a better way to get the player out to the storage shed?
The teleporting thing was my attempt to make sure she doesn't just get trapped behind ledges due to dumb RPG Maker AI, but I see it and the key hunt didn't really help the chase. I'll be sure to not try something like that again in the future. :rswt

You're definitely not supposed to be able to use items through hotkeys, though. That was not intended.

One of the features I planned on implementing was that if you kept knocking into her during that segment, a counter chimes down and she instantly kills you if it reached a certain point.

  • Status Effect List item has the text description of ‘all the status effects in The Dark Heart’
Oops.

  • The Type Chart item requires you to select a party member to use it; set target scope to none. Also, the format changes once you select and element – instead of being laid out on a 3-3 grid with the quit option at the bottom, after selecting any element, it becomes a long list option instead of the grid layout
Ooops.

  • Some weird lines on the water movement
View attachment 153464
Photoshop fails me again. I see I didn't completely make the water tiles transparent. :rswt

  • The rain continues INSIDE the church at night after the zombies attack :3
  • Madeline and Latona are in the church after saving Madeline?
View attachment 153465
  • Seems like a switch oversight – wait, wait, wasn’t the door sealed after the zombies emerged?
I didn't know you could go into the church like that... that's what the flame barriers were for...:kaocry:

Though I have to admit it's egg on my face for not disabling the door for this segment.

Uh oh indeed.

Another reason it would benefit from being a longer game are the seven wonders – if they’re plot or side quests, I’m not sure yet.
They're just a side quest. It's what brought our duo to the town but the plot that forced them to stay.

But I just got the flute from the fairy, and Johnny said he thinks it will work on the glowing grave in the cemetery. Stuff like that is way better off being hinted at instead of being just told by a character in such a blunt way – why would Johnny know this information anyway?
Okay this was me not having faith in the player not being able to figure out what the flute does. Like I don't feel there's a middle ground for this: it's either the player knows the flute goes there or they have absolutely no idea it even does anything.

Another reason this deserves more game time is Latona’s entire arc. Star captain? Lil angel sword? Come on; there’s a lot of lore here that is totally worthy of more playtime!
I mean, you're not wrong. That said, my perspective on the lore for this was that it was only used as a taste test and not much more. A way to test the waters to see if people are interested, and I guess that succeeded.

The Grimori thing was the only major lore point I included anyway, since it serves as a major backbone of this plot, but if more than three people are saying that the lore feels too much then I guess I failed to read the room.

The project was very ambitious, but for a short game, I think it could and should have been refined with some parts cut out. I would 100% suggest an expansion, polish, and more attention and love – and cutting some unneeded bloat out the game.
I personally would keep at it; I see potential with the world you've made and would want to explore it further.
I'm curious. What should I cut out aside from what you've already suggested?

That said, even with how much I've disagreed, I am vastly grateful you gave me time to review what I've made. This entire project was... quite a learning process, all things considered.
 
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Cythera

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Good, there's other endings! :3 I've heard (fortunately never played...) of games that add a cheek 'Ending A' text, when it's the only ending, and I feel that's a really cruel way to add 'replay' factor - super happy that's the not the case here!
First, I don't want to come off as harsh or anything here! I did enjoy your game, and really think it has potential to evolve! I merely believe we grow best through constructive criticism; at the end of the day, this is your project, and you have to be happy with it :)
  • Ahh, I didn't know the game was originally ABS. The HUD does indeed look nice though! Clean and sleek
  • Don't take my opinion on Madeline personally; everyone likes a different type of character/personality
  • I did touch on Freyja's backstory adding up to her personality; if you wanted to expand this at all, I'd bring that up more here: Freyja could be a firm believer of individual strength and the ability to fend for one's self, but have something related to her Grimori background where she was young girl around Madeline's age when this event happened to her - maybe even the demon contract was forced on her? The emotional impact this would have on the whole scene, and Freyja's desire to protect Madeline, would be very powerful
  • Ahh, okay, the doll fights were intentional. That's fine; want to wear the player down if they choose to be foolish. It could very well have been mentioned, and I missed it. I wasn't sure if you wanted this to be an unwinnable fight or not - I had a flashback of an unwinnable fight I once made that was totally winnable and broke the game....so, yah :kaoswt2:
  • Yes, the basic AI is dumb...hmm, the workaround for that is tricky without offering a teleport - I guess a cooldown might work, but then it's easily exploitable...
  • They key quest just felt out of place, you know? I get the next plot points happen in the shed, but it seems like there's a better way to get the player out there - maybe at one point the ghost stops following you, you wonder why she's gone, then you hear a scream outside? Something along those lines
  • I...never saw any flame barriers around the church? o_O
  • Yup, side quests like the flute on the gravestone are tricky. You don't want to be obscure about them where it turns into a point-click mystery games (I have match; use match on cactus? On fridge? On window?) but you also don't want to hold the player's hand that much; sometimes, it comes off as insulting. Players are usually decently intelligent, and if they're curious, they're try literally everything. You could have Johnny mention something similar to 'hey, this flute carries an odd aura...I think I felt something similar in the cemetery.'
  • My apologies, when I said to cut out the unneeded things, I was simply referring to that which I had already mentioned
  • Every project is a learning experience. I hope you stick with it, because I did enjoy playing this
 

kyonides

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Freyja’s character is a little hot-and-cold to me. She didn’t care that the zombies were walking around, endangering the WHOLE town, but one little girl? Nope, can’t have that! I feel her personality is inconsistent; she cares enough to help one person, but not enough to help the whole town?
That might be easily explained as a woman that has some dark past that's connected to a difficult childhood or a friend she lost long time ago. I mean, it's not like I've played the game, but there are ways to explain it and make it feasible under several circumstances. I wonder what would @RCXDan think about my theory.

How much space does it need? It's a heavy loaded game? Or it runs smoothly on pretty much any PC?
 

RCXDan

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That might be easily explained as a woman that has some dark past that's connected to a difficult childhood or a friend she lost long time ago. I mean, it's not like I've played the game, but there are ways to explain it and make it feasible under several circumstances. I wonder what would @RCXDan think about my theory.

How much space does it need? It's a heavy loaded game? Or it runs smoothly on pretty much any PC?
You more or less got it right, although I've actually changed dialogue so she's not super cold.

The game is made in VX Ace so anybody with windows should be able to play it. Mac users not so much. The file size is 300+ MB and aside from lighting I haven't noticed any slowdown, so it should be fine.
 

granny steph

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I am in the mansion house where the man was killed by wine that had been poisoned.
I have a key to open the storage shed in the garden but when i go there it says its closed due to a unidentifiable force. It gives no options to use the key. How do i go forward please.
 

RCXDan

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I am in the mansion house where the man was killed by wine that had been poisoned.
I have a key to open the storage shed in the garden but when i go there it says its closed due to a unidentifiable force. It gives no options to use the key. How do i go forward please.
... Noted. There'll be a fix for that in a few hours.
 
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RCXDan

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@granny steph
The game has been updated. Re-install it, but copy-paste your current save files into the new game's directory. That way you should be able to continue where you left off. The softlock should be gone now.
 

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