Publisert: 5. desember
This was certainly an interesting experience... and a tedious, frustrating one at the same time.
I must admit that I had a light craving for a JRPG lite like this one, before it showed up in a Humble Bundle, so I was all over it as soon as I got it, and finished it in something disturbingly close to "one go". And I can't say that I've enjoyed myself thoroughly, can't say I can recommend it. Why? Where do I start...
You are dumped way past some imaginary beginning of the story in a cartoonish steampunky/fantasyish world, without (m)any explanation(s) and with very vague suggestions about what needs to be done. So, you save some random old "famous hunter" from a rampaging bear. Which runs away. And then you're told to go back, find it and kill it. Oh, and some friend of yours is looking for a professor who didn't show up. And there you are, level 1-2, in the middle of a city that's a veritable metropolis compared to most cities of the genre. With hope in your heart, you go exploring. And then all that boils down to a stream of mostly empty houses "belonging" to people who supported it on Kickstarter. Which is cool, but from a gamer's selfish perspective useless, boring, time consuming and lazy. You wander from house to house hoping that someone will be there and mention something questish - because when they do (in every... say... 10th house? 8th?), it can actually be cute & original. Not always though And that's the problem with the game in its entirety. The world map is very, very big. And very, VERY empty. 98% of your time, if you have ANY sort of completist or exploratory tendencies, will be spent wandering in the middle of nowhere with too frequent interruptions from random encounters, which soon become dull, mindless "enterfests". You click the ♥♥♥♥ out of your enter key. Because there's generally no need, at least for a bigger part of the game, for much more. And it makes that huge empty (be it a forest or a plain) space even more irritating. And it feels completely unfinished. The ONLY other town you'll be able to access, Silverhead, is 3 times larger. And looks wrong and looks bad. It really could've been separated into 2-3 separate towns and make far more sense.
You'll find cute touches here & there, nice, sometimes even humorous little details/easter eggs if you wish, so it's not all that bad.
The game makes fun of stereotypes and illogical actions inherent to the genre, like, yeah, barging into people's homes and pillaging everything, or randomly dropped loot. It actually manages to be funny here & there. The two main characters (a fighter of sorts and a ranger of sorts) exchange cute banter - though you don't find much about them, their interaction IS charming in a way.
And the quests can be interesting, but the lack of a proper map/description renders them frustrating. So, you need to find a guy who lives in the south of Silverhand. Cute, there's only 40 nearly identical houses you need to check there. What fun. So, you have to travel to some mountains north of Silverhand. Well, guess what, there are NO mountains north of Silverhand - the ones in question are to the east. Another quest tells you to go south of those very mountains - but you get it far earlier in the game. So you don't really know where to look. Great. And those random encounters don't help. Trust me, if you're the exploring type, like I am, reaching one edge of the map, fighting increasingly hard battles only to find a place with "very good fishing" - with exactly the same 2 kinds of fish as everywhere else... You get disappointed. Though the minigame is cute. Oh, remember that bear I mentioned? You need to bait it with fish. But it doesn't tell you which kind. And, no, it's not the ones you catch, it's one you can only get from a single store in the nearby town. Great.
Back to the battles... Honestly, the only "close" battles I've had were @level 1-2, maybe a couple of random ones at the eastern edge of the map, aaand... maybe, just maybe the last battle. But I did do all the sidequests. I haven't used almost any item in battle apart from regular potions, maybe once or twice hi-potions. There's a third character, which you CAN ignore, I think, but he's a cleric of sorts, and even though the potions are plentiful, you'll need him. Items are OK enough, well balanced I guess, and you have multiple choices (the main caracter can use both swords and guns, and he has different specials for different weapons, you get to adjust which special(s) you find more usefull). Things get more interesting later on when/if you acquire summons for your two main characters, which go with prerendered animations that get boring very fast. Speaking of items... there's only one (1) shield in the entire game, and you get it through a quest. Wha?
Graphics are cute and adequate, if they are really generic, from RPG Maker (can't tell), then boo, but they do their job really. The music can really be nice, but the battle theme starts grating on your nerves soon enough.
I love this genre. I really do. That, and a bout of non-productive insomnia was what kept me going for hours at this game. And the promise of a story, that doesn't quite get fulfilled. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a hodgepodge of good and bad ideas, enjoyment and irritating frustration. Seemingly lazy/unfinished stuff and inspired details. Despite everything, I will likely try the Episode Two as well. But I can't recommend this to anyone outside of a bundle, especially at 10€.