I was looking forward to a more professional RPG Maker Game given the game’s full-screen setup launcher and the use of some semblance of effort put into at least a few opening graphics. But from here, things spiral wildly out of control, in the most depressing and uncaring way possible.
I can say quite honestly, I struggle to remember much good in this game. Sure, the mapping is decent, and the creator had some semblance of atmosphere to put together, but this fog overlay is way too dark and muddy to really make out much underneath it. It’s true I can see most of the map fine, but I really can’t make out much more than vague details. The walls and floor blur together into a jumbled mess of dark colors, and it generally comes across as unappealing.
I’d be more impressed with your Upgrade system if there was really anything to it beyond a somewhat strict path of distribution. True, I could hold off on points, and I’d be gifted many more points in the future as I leveled up, but from the get-go we’re effectively forced to upgrade the weapon-level skill to level 2 before fighting the first boss, and likely many more levels would be required for any future weapons.
To put it as lightly and politely as I could, your grammar is an abysmal travesty of the worst kind. My hopes for some form of lore to your world was quickly and utterly shattered by the combination of terrible grammar and spelling, as well as a very rushed feel to the writing in general. Rather than flow naturally, every inkling of dialog in the game was stilted and uncharacterized. I felt like I was playing a poorly translated game straight out of China with little effort put into the translation.
Character design is also bland and uninspired. Our first character is a soldier kid of an undesignated age wearing what appears to be plate armor and a sword, yet starting completely naked. He is unemotive and uncaring, and as a protagonist he doesn’t do his job in the slightest. After bumbling around with no time limit in a dark building full of uninspired fires and large, ineffectual explosions, we eventually fight some golems… Why? Why are golems just hanging around in a burning building? Why do they have a 5% evasion rate for being the first enemy — a GOLEM. It seems like this encounter was forced twice-over just to have some sort of tutorial… That nobody needed. (“Use the arrow keys to move!” YEAH NO SHIT SHERLOCK)
The next thing we’re introduced to after escaping this underground burning stone house (what?) is the choice between a town and a tree. The tree says “I SHOULD NOT GO THERE” or something of that stilted variety… Which is confusing. His goal, this far, was to search for his missing army unit. What reason is there to not look here? I know I ignored a town, but why the hell should I go to a town just because it’s there? What sense does that make?
After being forced to go to this town, we’re greeted with it being invaded by the very same enemies from the intro. Apparently the main character’s squad died and he lived and… woke up in a cave house made of stone that was on fire. SOMEHOW. We’ll just have to accept that, as we’re thrust into an unwinnable fight against the Orc leader! He can deal 100 damage in a single attack, you see. Which makes him feasibly killable, but I could almost guarantee he’d just plot-block us to this railroad anyway. Choo-choo!
Thrust into a jail, we meet our first character - a priest given life in exchange for healing the enemies when she has no healing magic. What? Regardless, the wall nearby explodes open because PLOT SAID SO so now we can leave. Clearly there’s no way to realistically save her, I mean our jail cell had a barred door just moments ago, and our character’s an asshole who doesn’t want to save her. But luckily the barred door mysteriously vanished! And she told you some bullshit about soldiers being incapable of being selfish! Oh boy, now we can save this woman we have no reason to care about! Or are we suppose to care about her because she’s literally wearing two pillow cases instead of underwear? WHO CAN SAY!
After leaving the prison, it appears this town is under attack now, just after the orcs got done cleaning up after their mess. Which was three days ago in-game, supposedly in which they built a jail. How the hell did they construct a large prison in only three days time? These are some dedicated orcs. Unless it comes to their stats, wherein a Shaman wearing a pink dress is more durable and gives more experience than a Guard with a shield and axe. Science!
Not to worry! We can turn the tide on this battle in the human’s favor by simply attacking the enemy from behind! Except we can’t, because the main character doesn’t want to. He says it’s “Too Dangerous”. The soldier, who only a few days ago was in a war for his life, says something is too dangerous after surviving a bloodbath because of no particular reason. Why? The most intelligent thing one could possibly do is attack an enemy from behind. Because they can’t retaliate. The fact that you’re stopping us from doing this with no tactical explanation beyond “Dangerous” is INSULTING.
Following this, we meet a fighter, wearing long armored sleeve, and no breast plate. Her dress attire is a flimsy metal band around her breasts, and a thin metal thong. Adding to this, she has a hired man with an axe (dressed like a samurai?), who does nothing but gawk at her beauty, only for her to yell at him to shut up. So… why doesn’t she fire him? There’s no reason for her to have to put up with his snarky perverted attitude, regardless of his skills or abilities. In fact, this is the very first words to come out of his mouth; a sexist, perverted provocation. And she doesn’t even hit him.
Following this, and a boss with far too much HP is a camp scene. Wherein we’re treated to the same character being a perverted douche. Following this, our PROTAGONIST proceeds to join in on being a perverted douche. It’s at this point that I lose all interest in these characters, and proceed to close and uninstall the game.
~ Challenge ~ (D+)
Decent. It’s certainly more than “Mash one key to win”. The problem is that the enemies have far too many hitpoints early in the game. Battles are certainly more challenging than a single repeated keystroke, but there’s still nothing more to it than ‘don’t be mentally handicapped’.
~ Context ~ (F )
To clarify, this is a solid ZERO out of a hundred.
First, the setting is desperately unexplained. We’re given the illusion to a story here, but no reason to actually care. We’re given the illusion to a reason to take interest in our protagonist, but again, no reason to actually care. The introduction goes by far too quickly without any build-up, and we’re left with wandering ideas and no structure. There’s nothing in the intro to even bother remembering, and it could just as easily not have been there. If anything, it might in fact HURT the game.
The characters are clueless, bland, uninteresting, emotionless, stupid, sexist, perverted, and hateful. I found far more interest in the primary villain than I did in any of the characters we were suppose to grow attached to and care about, because at least the villain had an emotion. The characters failed to react to situations realistically, they failed to think things through in the slightest, and did I mention I hate you now, author? Every fiber of it, you sexist prick.
~ Gratification ~ (F )
Die in a fire.
~ Conclusion ~
Nexus is a game whose graphical ideas far outweigh the actual structure. The writing is terrible, the characters are terrible, and I lost interest very quickly. If you can’t hold my interest to play your game beyond the first boss, then you fail as a game developer. And as a game both marked “Complete”, and packaged professionally, that is thoroughly appalling.
I’ll start off by saying that I intended to play this game to completion, or at the very least an hour. But could not. T’was not a farce of mind or malice, but the game itself chauffeuring me into an unwinnable situation.
I suppose, foremost, the good. The game’s writing, or what little I saw, was decent. There’s some talent there, and perhaps all it needs is better direction. But the general impression is that, while well-written, characters are there solely to pass you on to the next until you kill things.
To start, the game doesn’t really have an intro, so much as an opening dialog immediately after the title screen. There is no given backstory or foreshadowing to introduce the first characters. They, on the supposed overworld, talk about some semblance of reason to do something, as apparently crops are dying and the water is to blame, while the supposed protagonist with little reason to be a protagonist having been kicked out of the nearby town for being a witch. At least it’s original?
The problem is, the location this takes place on is an island. It is, in a word, small. The entirety of the island fits on a single screen, and takes all of two seconds to cross without the run key held. Unsurprisingly, the only place to continue is in the town itself, which is entirely unphased by the fact that you, being the witch who ruined all crops on the island, are just wandering around. Okay, so one guy points out that he might “Call the mob again” (what even in the hell?), but aside from that you’re welcomed with open arms. Storytelling at its finest.
The town itself is laid out using overworld tiles as well, as if to bigot a sense of laziness in mapping. While this could work, it doesn’t, as NPCs roam this micro-city as well, each individually able to crush a house underfoot. One of these houses is a mage school. So… The main character got the boot, while the LARGE GROUP OF SPELLCASTERS were entirely untouched? I can see one end of the town from the other in the screen size. The heck is wrong with that logic? And even if I ignored that, talking to everyone yeilds no results to actually getting anything similar to progress, so I promptly leave.
After following the plot railroad for a bit more, you’ll find yourself in a very bland, very empty cave. Full of bats. A lot of bats. These bats hate you. Why? They run away. At will. They will attack you for one or two turns before you can kill them, then proceed to flee the encounter, leaving absolutely zero experience behind despite your hardship. These are the first enemies.
So, you say, what of the other enemies? Oh! Yes, well… You can either encounter ONE bat… or TWO! It’s more variety than even Diablo 2 could throw at you! Such shock and awe!
At the end of the dungeon, the cave turns volcano through an unimpressive shift of tileset use and added lava. Unsurprisingly, the dungeon ends with a boss. Problematically, despite being a witch, you have no spells to cast, and are forced to continue hitting things with a stick, both before, and toward this point. Also unsurprisingly, this beast attacks three times, being a FUCKING CERBERUS, and quickly demolishes my standalone character.
Not to fret, though! You can save at any time! Clear to me now that perhaps it was an error in judgement to come to this area first, I proceed to le—… I said I proceed to LEA—… I can’t leave. There’s no functioning exit teleport off the map. I’m trapped in a volcanic room with no heat, with the most patient, unmoving FUCKING CERBERUS standing there to gnaw my face off if I’m so kind to ask. Whoops.
~ CHALLENGE ~ (F )
Of the intro dungeon I played, the game is both mean spirited and unintelligent. You press the enter key to win. If that fails, you lose! Amazing. The problem comes from the one and only enemy in the dungeon having the ability to flee the encounter at any time. Sometimes before your character can act.
~ CONTEXT ~ (F )
I’m given some semblance of things to do and a reason to evoke some attention into the game, but the writing and concept are very unfocused. What little I played yielded very little of interest, and seemed to actively make me uninterested, through a combination of sloppy presentation and bad mapping.
~ GRATIFICATION ~ (F )
As I said in opening, I wanted to make this a good first review for the forum. First posts in the topic showed an semblance of wonder and joy in having played the game — But I just can’t like the game for what little I played. I had a chuckle out of verbalizing some of the dialog, but there’s nothing rewarding. Just some bats who hit-and-run. Woopie.
~ CONCLUSION ~
I’m not about to restart the game to overcome a game-breaking bug, regardless of how early on it may be. You had full opportunity to employ bug-testers and try out every combinations of play strategies possible. And maybe you missed just one, or maybe there’s an unwritten, diabolical reason for this one in particular (“The Cerberus won’t let you run away!… By… Not moving.”). But the fact is that this game is marked as “COMPLETED”. So an excuse, there is not.
Meant as a demonstration game for RPG Maker VX Ace, Crysalis is a very simple, and often frustrating game. Taken on the merits of a demonstration, it certainly showcases some of the bare-bones features VX Ace boasts, but through a combination of poor English and bad design, it ultimately falls flat on its face in a way not even worth a laugh.
Foremost, almost all character graphics in the game were created using a new feature built into RMVXa, the character generator. Much like many you could find online, you can pick from a list of various parts for various parts of the face and body, and generate what could be a unique avatar character. While its flaws would be better explained in a review dedicated to RMVXa itself, it is in short a generator ranging from ‘okay’ to ‘unholy abomination against man’. Unfortunately, Crysalis exploits this without batting an eye in either direction. Moreover, due to the use of at least one default facial portrait, the difference in avatar quality stutters, especially considering this avatar’s use by a blacksmith used to upgrade exactly one of the character’s weapons.
A strong point in Crysalis is the unique mechanics used for each character available. The main character, Mio, is one of the more simple designs, using his unique bracelet ‘weapon’ to draw Mana from the air to restore and empower him. A friend of his can alter her sword to represent one of the eight structure elements, thereby reassigning the skills available to her depending on the element in use. Another character uses various materials picked up through the game to create various explosives with a number of effects, and the final character can choose between various animal ‘stances’ to alter her statistics in a number of ways.
The problems with Crysalis are numerous, however. The story is very preachy and one-dimensional, attempting to force a moral onto the player toward the end of the game without any actual structure to it, or its characters. To summarize, essentially Mana once let mankind prosper, and then suddenly it stops. You investigate, and quickly resolve the problem. Supposedly, despite there being no evidence to this fact at all, mankind was ‘abusing’ this magic power. However, through exploring the game, there’s absolutely no reason to so much as think this way in the slightest. At no point do we see anyone abuse this magic, nor any reason to even care. Villages are all very basic, uneventful medieval towns, ranging from a Kingdom to a Farming village, and supposedly these exact two human towns on the planet are the very sources of abusing this magical source. Yes, apparently using the Mana, which is represented as simple water, to, I guess, make crops grow so mankind can survive, is ‘abusing’ it, and as a result mankind needs to be purged unless they apologize for… Existing?
To add to this, there are no ACTUAL characters. There are people throwing around sentences suffixed by question marks and lopsided attempts at emotion with the character generator, but these beings have no purpose. There’s no reason why the fate of mankind is up to this select four, and often times what little they do comes across as annoying and forced. The Animist character, whose name has a bloody apostrophe in it, is a failed attempt at conveying an alternate race to Humans in this world, ultimately coming across as a generic catgirl archetype with little purpose beyond being annoying. She’s one of those… “wise” characters, mixed with “naive” and “cutesy”. It’s as repulsive as it sounds.
Finally, while I said above these characters - or lack-thereof - were unique, there is very little for their unique abilities to be applied. Character stats ultimately grow too quickly compared to the rate of combat, and if you were to play this game you’d find yourself pressing the confirm key more times than your arrow keys, boring yourself to sleep. Moreover, the aforementioned Mana represents itself as a very low number with a limited supply of restoratives, hampering any attempt at mixing up your play style if you even wanted to.
~ CHALLENGE ~ (F )
There is no challenge to this. Battles consist of pressing the enter key repeatedly until your health gets low, then popping a potion to undo the enemy’s work. Bosses pose little challenge as well, and are the only time you may find yourself using more than just the attack command. Still, however, they go down before any semblance of harm comes to your characters. The number of encounters comes across as more tedious than anything, and you’ll find your level rising beyond what enemies can handle simply by exploring the game casually.
~ CONTEXT ~ (F )
There is no story or reason to care here. What little message the game attempts to convey is ultimately snuffed out by not only the lack of character development, but the lack of explorative lore in the slightest. Hidden items are marked by brightly shining stars on the map, and any unmarked structure cannot be examined. It is boring and uneventful.
~ GRATIFICATION ~ (F )
As above, there is no gratification in progressing. All hidden items are clearly shown on the map, and many seemingly outstanding items are almost never used. You won’t find yourself ever patting yourself on the back, since the game never stops doing that for you.
~ CONCLUSION ~
This is a terrible showcase of RMVXa’s capabilities. Yes, it does deliver on some mechanical variety, and it might entice one or two people to use this RPG Maker over others (if they didn’t already decide this by LOOKING at the thing). The problem is that, if this is to be taken as a ‘guideline’ to what can be done with the Maker, many people will automatically assume this kind of game is acceptable, when it clearly isn’t.
It takes a lot of work to create a good RPG. Crysalis is not one of them.
Once upon a time some pissant named Redigit decided he’d show off his personal game project on YouTube, like many pissants are ought to do. Many future sheep under his thumb, myself included along this flock, caught wind of this minor document showcase through the then-operative word of mouth of Notch, ye olde Minecraft Mastermind. Upon the showcase, many people were ecstatic with the desire to throw around now overzealous memes as an expression of their desire to attain and enjoy this game’s showcase, going so far as to subscribe-bomb his channel, thereby provoking a minor Let’s Play series that we all watched over and over to determine the exact specifics of what the game entailed. In short, this was a horrible way to advertize a game, but it worked like a charm. A charm bathed in an aura of luck and lust, apparently.
Yes, Terraria, the spawn of a million fans and a few dozen brain cells to throw around between them. A story all its own, and ironically one with no story to it. It is a game for PC priced at $9.95, and many people think this in itself is enough a price tag to gauge the content - or lack-thereof - by, in a gloriously feeble, but legionous white-knighting, dismantling and disfiguring these arguments with a one-dimensional vice opposition. Allow me explain this story in more words, and more complex words, than the average Terrarian can process at once.
You see, while the game in and of itself was an invaluable idea and a successive one to boot, it was one plagued with a malice of insufferability straight from the get-go. For one thing, the forum itself, then unofficial, was spawned long before the game itself was released, effectively dragging the game behind it, rather than the inverse presentation most competent games would abide by. While the game was fueled by good intentions and glorious ideas, the dragging abuse quickly turned to Stockholm syndrome, and the developers quickly turned into zealous, self-righteous gods, as opposed to hard-working, dedicated developers.
Terraria was not so much a game for the people as it was a game for its owner. It was a vision shared by many, but it wasn’t one intently so. This was a partly-online adventure game created by a man who lusted for such a thing, borrowing ideas from Castlevania and Minecraft, and formulating it in such a way that the harmony between the two blossomed into a game with a million directions to grow in. But alas, this flower was naught a wise one, and rather than spread its roots, it grew onwards and upwards towards the sun on but a single, feeble stalk.
The problem that I, and many competent people on a planet full of scum have with the game is simply its lack of depth. We ask naught for a third dimension visually, but a third dimension dynamically. But the game remained two dimensional to its core, the community of tainted white sheep to follow suit, and people such as myself unable to entice the game to the third dimension it needed to survive, no matter the trial.
While the game held dearly a sense of exploration and wonder, the community of tainted sheeple would quickly uncover and glorify every drop of wine as if it were their saving nourishment. As if blessed by the gods themselves, such drippings of minor fallacy was immediately swept up and shared with the masses, and thinned to the point of drought before it could reservoir enough to survive.
The game itself thought this not as a plague of mind, but a glorious idea to entice and expand upon. Such things as exploration and discovery quickly drought to feeble ideas as the community and game itself sought to destroy such graces of wonderment and endearment that they once held close themselves. Such things were cast aside to the past, along-with was cast aside their sanity.
As the game progressed, both in development and in play, the sense of individuality quickly fell to drought as well, and all things came to one accord. A template to which all commutes would abide by, and all those to question otherwise were clearly a fallace of mind that need be erradicated. Such things as originality and a multitude of dimensions were an alien menice to them, deserving of quarrantine and purge. The thoughts of infinite possibility turned to but a single dimension as it headed towards the sun at a swift and daring speed.
And alas, the sun showed no remorse to this blossom of plague. As it grew too close, it burned at the flower, and the entire plant fell to ash in quick suit. But the peons of worship dared not allow this legend to fall to the ash it left without any else to abide - they’d til the ashen soil and moisten the dirt with their malice and bile in the desperate hopes such a plant would bloom to their pride again, to rise to the sky and burn straight to cinders. Naught but a prospect they wished to relive, failing to remember the sickness and withered appearance the plant developed all the while by their cocked hopes and one-dimensional driving.
Not a seed left to bloom, and not a patch of soil left untainted, the blossom known as Terraria died silently. And everyone, the self included, was to blame for this insignificance. Surely the media would continue existence, and surely the extortion would continue to visit the land of decay whereon the plant once thrived. Alas, such thoughts cannot revive the very thing these thoughts did kill.
~ CHALLENGE ~ (F )
The game does not. It begins at a kindergarten level, and ends at a morbidly obese kindergarten level. This results in the game being a mix of “Too easy” and “Too hard”, with no curve or structure in-between.
~ CONTEXT ~ (F )
There is none. While you have the freedom to create your character from a limited number of hairstyles, there is little to no emotional attachment to your character due to the cartoonish explosion upon death, nor does the game invest any time in attempting to flesh out the world you make your own through the use of NPCs that are readily available to contribute to just that.
~ GRATIFICATION ~ (D+)
Very little. The most gratifying points in the game are early-on during your first time exploring new things. This quickly shoots itself in the foot, as the “Guide” npc dissolves all illusion by straight-up telling you every secret the game’s inventory has to offer. Toward the “end” of the game, moreover, the gratification wanes into an inversal, resulting in an unfair number of enemy encounters with no reward given to survival. Survival, in fact, is without reward or penalty, as you simply revive unscathed, with an easily avoidable penalty to your useless, needless wallet.
~ CONCLUSION ~
Terraria is a mess of good intentions given bad ideas. It relies heavily on player dedication with little to no reward in drastically small quantities. It has very little in the way of third dimensional content, and relied constantly on false rumors of higher development, only for this reliance to quickly vanish into fan-fiction upon the game’s discontinue (NOTE: WITHOUT DISCONTINUING PURCHASE FEES).
If you wish to experience a brief experience of wonder in a two-dimensional world, I won’t stop you. But at $10, the amount of content is, especially beyond its expiry date, not worth the price.
Taking a page out of Yatzee’s ideal review structure, I’ve decided to mimic his idea in reviews of his own. The topmost part, right here as you’re reading, will be the primary meat of any review, discussing the game much like any normal review would attempt to. This could take form in any number of ways depending on my mood or how artistic I feel, but should be what you read if you want the game and context understood.
The three sections below this one are a grading system and explanation, graded between F and A+.
~ CHALLENGE ~ (G+)
Challenge is a gauge of difficulty that the game presents. However, a higher grade in challenge does not mean the game is more challenging. Rather, a higher grade means the game’s difficulty curve is both easy to dive into, and won’t disappoint anyone looking for a good game.
~ CONTEXT ~ (G )
Context is a range between story, setting, characters, and how well the story connects to the player. A high grade in context means the game’s story, characters, and everything else are extraordinarily endearing, and won’t disappoint in any way.
~ GRATIFICATION ~ (G-)
Gratification is the risk/reward duality the game presents. A higher grade here doesn’t mean there is more or less of a reward to your risk, but rather how ambiguous the two are together. A high grade here means the game is very satisfying to play, both casually and desperately, and won’t disappoint people looking to have a good time.
~ CONCLUSION ~
The conclusion is some closing thoughts on all of the above. I will summarize by final opinion on the game as a whole, and I will either recommend you give it a try, or recommend you set fire to it as soon as possible. Legal context not included.
A lot of people seem to have the idea in their head that freeware — or a lot of cheap-o games available — have some sort of excuse when it comes to poor quality.
This is not the case, and was never the case.
Sure, there’s such a thing as a budget drop in the major industry causing a game to turn to shit due to financial reasons — but we aren’t here for those, because those are NEVER sold explicitly for free if they have a producer.
This will be a number of reviews dedicated to games you can pick up for anything between $0 and $10. And trust me, regardless of the small price-tag, Freeware has no excuse.