#LD48 My progress and Hopeful Plan of Attack.

Alright, So far my game is progressing fairly nicely as a choose your own adventure/horror game.  I’m sorry I don’t have an updated download of it. Probably with my next post and break.  Just got done taking a nice long shower and that helped to sort out the order I’m going to attempt things.

 

1.  Finish the story and main code by late tonight. (That should be feasible).

2.  Start making some sound effects.  Then implementing them into the code.

3 and 4. Maybe make some music for the game, (Not sure if I want to stray from the primarily silent atmosphere) and Maybe create some images for the game although again, not sure I can create images that will beat a persons own imagination.) Although I will need to create a nice title screen image.

I think this plan gives me enough time to complete the project on time and not feel like I put wasteful and sub-par content into the game.

I just hope people like it.

#LD48 Where I’m At.

So I entered LD48 #24 and I started work last night on my game entry.  So far this is what I have.  I hope you enjoy this very unfinished product.

 

BMS

The Book of Legends Review

The Book of Legends is a RPG in the vein of the old 16 bit genre. Created by Aldorlea Games, The Book of Legends brings back that feel of amazing adventures in a doomed world, that old RPGs did so well. With a long playing time and re-playability, this is a game you just need to hear about. I want to apologize if this review comes off as sounding like a fan review, it is hard to help.

Much like other old school RPGs of this genre gameplay is so simple it doesn’t even need to be mentioned in any real detail. Just believe me when I say you will understand the controls. So lets move on to the fun stuff. You have a large myriad of characters that you have the chance to recruit into your party. Although depending on your actions and who is in your party can effect who you can recruit.  So you can’t get to play with everyone in anyone play through, I know that is a little disappointing but there are just so many characters that can join your party that I doubt, it will be too disappointing.

Like many of the best old RPG’s This game is a time taker. Don’t expect to finish this legend quickly, With over 50 hours to complete more if you play as pathetically as I do. You will have plenty of time to get to know the characters and experience a thrilling old school style RPG.

One change from the old RPG and most RPG’s is the characters dialogs. They are amazing, the things they say are funny, yet don’t diminish from the series atmosphere the game has produced. Jordan the first member of your party and in my opinion your main character is a jerk to put it nicely. I would use another term for him, but his comments are great and the response from his party members are a treasure. This is one of the major reasons it is worth playing more than once as well. Different characters means different interactions.

The story continues to put more pressure on the characters to the point that things get bad enough that you will actually split into multiple parties to fight bosses. This allows you to really experience more than just your main powered up line-up. Every character whether it be human or animal becomes an asset and worth leveling up. All characters have special skill sets and specific weapons they can use so with just over 30 characters in all in the game you may have quiet the variety of weapons and armors needed to fully equip all the characters.

The Book of Legends even has multiple endings, a bunch of side quests and secrets.  The artwork on both the characters pictures and the monsters is fantastic. The music works really well with the game and doesn’t get annoying or drive you to mute it. The only thing that was a little saddening was that you can’t get all the characters in one playing, although the fact that choices affect which characters end up on your team makes the game feel more involved.

This game is fantastic and absolutely hysterical dialog between Jordan and Jasmine and once Clea joins the group it only gets better.  This is a don’t freaking miss it, RPG. I thought Laxius Force was the best Aldorlea Games could bring to the table but the Book of Legends really is legendary.

Without a doubt 5 out of 5.

Katawa Shoujo Review

Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel created by Four Leaf Studios, a group initially formed from the 4Chan forums.  For those of you who don’t know what a visual novel is, I let you in.  It is a sort of game that is mainly story over anything else. What Four Leaf Studios created was a very large and interesting VN. The name itself means Disability Girl and you would think that with that title coming from the 4Chan community it would be entirely depraved, but it really isn’t.

First off as a VN this is not a game for those who seek adventure or action packed gameplay. No, you are looking at a lot of reading, making some choices that will affect events, and watching the events unfold to create a story. I had never played a VN until Katawa Shoujo and it was a great introduction to the genre.

The idea of the game is you play a teen who has a heart attack and is sent to a school for disabled teens. The story tells how he comes to terms with his own weakness and that of others, all the while finding love. Although you can fail at getting the girl you are attempting to woo, and get a not so good ending. I found an ending that was the absolute worse possible while attempting to get on one of the girls’ path. Within Katawa Shoujo there are 5 girls you can attempt to have a relationship with; Emi, Hanako, Lilly, Rin, and Shizune each with their own story and endings.  This is a feature common in VN’s, giving you multiple paths and endings adding reply value to the game as you seek to see the story of the other girls.

Now don’t get me wrong as much as I enjoyed this game and have completed 3 of the 5 paths as of this moment, this is not a game I can see a large majority of people being interested in.  I should say it is a niche genre. If you like reading and those old choose your own adventure books this game has that feel to it. The animations, character art, and music are all well done.  I wasn’t a fan of the photograph backgrounds used for many scenes, but at least they fit the scenes well.

Katawa Shoujo is a free game, so if you’re mildly interested I really recommend giving it a go.  I rate this game a 4 out of 5 and only do so because it is a game that many would find hard to get into.

 

 

Avernum: Escape from the Pit

Avernum: Escape from the Pit is a remake/rewrite of the old Exile and Avernum Trilogys by Spiderweb Software. Avernum is a RPG with a Tactical RPG fighting system and plays a lot like Avadon: The Black Fortress, a game I reviewed a while back. Although there are a number of similarities to the two games there are a lot of differences as well.

We’ll start with what is Avernum about. In Avernum you play a group of 4 characters that you create at the beginning of the game. For whatever unknown reason they like many before them have been thrown into a portal to Avernum a cavernous world separated from the surface world. Whatever sins or possibly wrong person you POed you are now stuck in an underground world with no way out in sight. Welcome to Avernum a world of the unwanted. People have been being thrown down here for a long time and have established there own system of survival and your characters must set out to find their place in this new world or maybe a way out.

So that is the gist of the story. You’ll talk to different people get quests and information to lead you farther into Avernum and the secrets that have been left behind. Although the story and the way it works differs greatly from Avadon and most RPGs these days. First since you create your team of 4 from different types or you can even select a custom type to create a team exactly the way you want it. You can chose how they look what their names are and what skills and traits they have. The downside to this is that your characters really have no history or importance individually. You won’t hear anything interesting from them or have any story lines that focus on any individual member of your team. It really is all about your team as a whole.

The game offers you the freedom to attack anyone you would like to. So if you want to attempt to go on a spree you can, although this won’t benefit you in anyway that I can tell. Although it is a good way to get killed pretty quickly as the towns guards come to take you out pretty fast. So give it a shot if you’re daring or just follow the quests and explore the surroundings. Like most RPGs, you will have your kill em all quests, as well as your numerous fetch quests. So many fetch quests you may even feel like stabbing the guy who wants you to fetch some very lame set of objects that may take forever to find on the expansive map. Although unlike Avadon in Avernum pretty much everyone is friendly which is a little strange figuring that these are the people kicked out of the surface world for whatever reason. Prison makes strange bedfellows I guess and Avernum is in a way a very large prison, that offers more freedom than the surface world albeit with a higher mortality rate.

As far as gameplay goes, point and click is the key to it. Much like Avadon in this way, I never really used the keyboard for much of anything. You just point and click then your character moves to that location on the map or if in battle they move as close to there as possible. Selecting spells is easy even if you don’t put them on the quick bar at the bottom. It is just a click on the spell type priest or mage and select the spell you want then click the target. If your character is too far away they will move closer to get the shot off. While there are warrior skills you can learn as well that allow you to deal more damage in a single attack they all have a recoup time denoted by fatigue. Overall the games battle mechanics are simple, straight forward and fairly easy to grasp. All battles are played out where the floor is like a grid of squares that you and your enemies maneuver to gain line of sight or get next to them to pummel them with your weapon.

Leveling is easy to grasp as well, yet can be a bit hard to determine the best route to go with your characters. The first part of leveling is picking which attribute to add a point to; strength, dexterity, intelligence, and endurance. These attributes are all pretty straight forward. Next you will get 2 points to add to your skills, whether it is archery, mage skills or lock picking or any of the  other numerous choices. This is the part that choosing your route becomes very important. How much tool use/lockpick skill do you need in the group or are you going to find a book that requires more points in arcane lore than you already have?  I found myself many a times lacking the skill levels necessary to do what I wanted at the time I found something. Requiring me to go get experience to level up and go back to the object I couldn’t open or use at a later time. The last part of leveling is every two levels you get the chance to choose a new trait to add to your character. These traits seem dependent on both your attributes and skills you have chosen. This is what can give your mage that extra oomph from your warrior you decided to turn into a swordmage. Yep, that is also a trait and I’ll say I was happy to see it.

The things I found lacking was that objects on the ground are very often hard to see. This can make some fetch quests a royal pain. You end up taking a few steps only to check the ground again finding nothing or a rock. The music isn’t bad, but it isn’t grand either. It just sort of blends away and is quite forgettable. The last thing is that your characters have no stories, you don’t get to pick one or give them one in game they simply are and they stay together simply because they came through the portal together. There is no interaction with them and I couldn’t help but feel like they as a whole might as well be just one hero. The last thing I wasn’t to fond of was the reputation system it goes up from completing quests and it helps to open up more quests and get people to talk to you who would otherwise be uninterested in your arrival. While it is an interesting mechanic the encourages you to do the quests it also makes you feel a little constrained into doing things like the fetch quests and other things just to build your reputation.

So while Avernum is very open world with a large map to explore and a myriad of quests to take, I miss the deeper intrigue you get from other RPGs. While the game is nice and has a very retro feel to it storytelling wise it just didn’t grip me the same way as other RPGs. It does offer a lot of character build choices and plenty of locations to explore, but I could only give it a 3 out of 5. It is a solid game and has more plus than minus when it comes down to it. If you love RPGs and TRPGs give this game a shot if not you will probably be bored pretty quickly.

Armada 2526 Gold Ed Random Giveaway!

Hey All, back in May 2011 I reviewed Armada 2526 and it’s Expansion Supernova. Now Armada 2526 and it’s expansion have been bundled together in a nice gold edition and guess what. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Iceberg Interactive, I have 2 boxed copies of the recently released Armada 2526 Gold Edition to give away.


Now this great 4x game with realtime battles is worth the interest of any 4x player or space game lover. So go read my review, then come back and follow these simple directions for your chance at winning a copy of this great game.

To enter the random giveaway you must do the following things

1.  Follow DarkstarMatryx on Twitter
2.  Tweet “@DarkstarMatryx @Iceberg_Int #PCGames I want to win Armada 2526 Gold Ed  http://www.darkstarmatryx.com/?p=516”
3.  Post this tweet on Friday or Saturday March 23rd-24th 2012 CST.
4.  Only one entry per person.

Two winners will be randomly selected from those who enter.  I will contact the winners via Twitter private messages for details on where to mail the product.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.  I WANT TO THANK ALL THAT PARTICIPATED.

Indie RPG Laxius Force Review

Aldorlea GamesLaxius Force is the indie RPG for review today. This PC title is the first in the Laxius Force games of which there are 3. The Laxius Force saga is comprised of 3 free games the Laxius Power trilogy and 4 purchasable games Laxius Force trilogy and 3 Stars of Destiny. Starting off with Laxius Force and having never played the Laxius Power trilogy had me worried I might be a little lost, but that ended up being pretty unfounded.

First of all you need to know for Laxius Force’s story and the back story of the characters is told through characters talking about their past and the events that transpired. A nice aspect is that it is done in a way that you don’t feel lost about stuff or filled with way too much info at any given time. So the game is able to stand on it’s own and act as a great first game to the Laxius universe. Now lets get on to the good and the bad of Laxius Force.

Let’s start with the good. It is a 16bit styled RPG that unlike the other two games by Aldorlea Games that I reviewed, “Sylia” and “Dreamscape“. This game focuses more on the traditional and serious aspects of Fantasy RPGs. Don’t get me wrong there is humor in the game, just not to the degree that the other 2 games had. During battles your characters aren’t visible as the enemy stands in front of you. Battles are turn based, you set your team’s attacks and when you’ve set the last characters attacks they will perform them based on their speed while the enemies attack will occur during same phase, much like most standard RPGs.

Another good thing about this game is the story and the characters in it. Nope you won’t be fighting with a team of pets or farm animals this time. It is hero’s, werewolves, skeleton warriors and the like. With a strong story you begin with one group, but soon switch to the characters you will mostly play as the retired heroes Random and his Elven girlfriend Sarah. They come out of a 7 month retirement after having saved the deport and want to see what has happened since they pretty much went off the grid. They have both gotten rather rusty in the 7 months, so they are back to starting from scratch to work up all their skills. As they talk to people and complete quests they meet people who will join your team. The story seemed to drag me into it and I found the writing for it pretty good to boot.

Now there was only 1 thing I didn’t quite like about the game and that was some of the artwork for the villains during battles. Don’t get me wrong the artwork for the character portraits has a nice look to it. As far as the enemies appearance in battle not all of them look sketchy, just some. Overall though this didn’t ruin the game experience or anything near that level. It’s just not as refined as some of the other games they have made.

In the end I rate this game a 4.5 out of 5. It’s solid story, interesting character conversations, and numerous playable characters make this game well worth playing.

Acadamagia: The Making of a Mage Review

Black Chicken Studios’ Acadamagia: The Making of a Mage is a life simulation. You’re a first year student at Acadamagia and you’re going to be a mage. The game takes place during your first year of school. Future releases will continue the adventure of the 4 other years, but lets focus on just this game. Yes, there are similarities to this game and the Harry Potter series, but it is more than that.

Acadamagia is an interesting text based indie game. Yeah there are pictures in the game and music as well (you can turn the music off if you want to listen to your own and probably will once you’ve played it as long as me). Both the images and music are nice and fit the game well, but there isn’t much in the matter of outstanding in this case. What Acadamagia boils down to is more of a choose your own adventure sort of deal.

There are set events as well as random events. Not to mention adventures you unlock and can choose to take as you go along. In all events/adventures there are usually multiple skills that can allow the successful completion of the mission. Making any mission completable by virtually any type of student. Yes, there are exceptions where you will have none of the skills needed to complete. That is why you make friends.

The game also supports the creating of your own clique and making friends with students then inviting them into your group when they are high enough with you. Once you have a clique going, be careful to not bring in someone the rest of the group doesn’t like. I did this and my group broke in half. The purpose of these friends is that during an adventure you can use them to perform a part that you can’t do. Say you need to perform a musical feat but you have a music skill of 0 or 1 but a friend has an 8, ask them to do it for you and you could beat that part. This is an option you must use wisely since you can’t use them again, at least not in the recent future.

Now the kicker is going on adventures, making friends, studying, training skills, and going to classes all must be juggled in your weekly schedule. Skip too many classes and you will get a detention. While you may learn new skills in detention from the teacher that you may not have learned otherwise it does take up future time slots. Get into too much trouble and you could be forced to lose part of your Saturdays.

All of this makes for a great game in my eyes. You do need to like reading, because that is what you will be doing  constantly in this game. The game is great for the casual gamer, the reader, and has a lot of little things for more in-depth and serious play. While most choices may not seem to matter for the outcome of this game finishing certain adventures in this game is said to have an effect on future games. Yes you will be able to carry over your first year students into the next game, or start new ones. This one features plenty of free DLC and updates including adding new familiars to the base game as well as adventures and events.

Overall this game is a fantastic text game with plenty of paths and choices creating a rich story for any character you create and has great replay value. With so many adventures and random events your sure to see new things each time you play. Not to mention so many different spells and actions that become available throughout your play.

I can’t stress enough how much I liked this game. I give it a 5 out of 5 personally, but I know this game will be hard for action gamers to really get into.

Defenders of Ardania Review

Ever played Majesty 1 or 2? Well, that is the setting for Defenders of Ardania. Published by Paradox Interactive and Developed by Most Wanted Entertainment, Defenders of Ardania takes a different spin to the tower defense genre, although not too much of a jump. While this game will be coming out on multiple platforms, this preview/review was done with the PC version.

Defenders of Ardania is all about protecting your kingdom as well as assisting others in protecting theirs. The key aspect to the game is it isn’t all about placing your towers. You are playing both sides in this TD game as you build towers you will also be sending out troops to take out the enemies castle. Battles are not always one on one, sometimes you have partners and sometimes they do. Another big change is that you can not place your towers wherever you want. You can even place some in the pathway to force enemy troops to go around them. All this and  your buying troops to send down the path to destroy your enemies castle.

Another interesting limitation to placing your towers is that they can only be built within 4 squares of another of your towers. So to control the field you need to build your towers fast and cross the field to get the best positioning as soon as possible. This can give you a huge advantage over your opponent. Although they may take the time to build the better blocking route to prevent your success and holding the key points may not seem as important if they manage that. Between the 3 races, there are multiple towers to build each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Sending out your troops is your only way to victory though. You must take out the enemies fortress or it will only be a matter of time before they take out yours. Either that or you will be at a stand still. This almost occurred with me when I made a clumsy and heavily mistake filled tower placement layout at the beginning of the stage. This can drastically alter the route both your troops and the computers will be forced to take. Also much like any good tower defense game there are multiple types of units you have the ability to send out in waves. Further into the game you will gain access to more troop types as well as the ability to send out more waves in a row without having to wait.

One of the last big things about the game is the use of magic. You can use resources to cast spells of different types.  The first spell you gain access to is to repair the damage to your castle. This is a spell that can be extremely useful. Other spells destroy towers or units. This brings a lot of real time action to the match.

With a myriad of tower types, troop types, and spells the battles are quite interesting. I especially like how only some troops will attack enemy troops or enemy towers, this adds a great degree of thought when it comes to hiring your next set of troops. Not only that but that they become better the more you use them and eventually a hero troop will be purchasable for that troop type. These guys are nearly unstoppable.

Where this game truly looks to shine is in multiplayer. I was unable to test this theory though. It is set up to be a great TD multiplayer experience.  Something I believe many tower defense players really are looking for.

This game has been released for the IPad. PC and console releases are planned but no release date has been announced to my knowledge.

From what I’ve played I give this a 4 out of 5 especially if the multiplayer holds to the single player aspects. I just can’t wait to see myself getting crushed by the TD fanatics out there.

Indie RPG Dreamscape Review

Dreamscape is a lot like Alice in Wonderland, in its own way. You’ve got a snide talking cat, a viking rat who may be as close as you get to the mouse at the Mad Hatters table and you even have a talking flower to boot. With the main character feeling pretty lost and confused about the worlds in which she travels, I couldn’t ignore the similarity. The premise of Aldorlea‘s Dreamscape is that Erin’s boyfriend has disappeared into the land of dreams, but not before he gave her a device to enter others dreams. With this device you must find your boyfriend and return back to the real world, until then on with the fanciful adventure.

Dreamscape plays pretty much like any 16Bit style RPG does. As you play you gather more team members each with there own unique abilities and preferred weapons and equipment. Although this isn’t a merry band of Humans, Elves and Dwarfs off to save the world. Nope it is just Erin and a strange collection of people/beings you meet in the dream worlds. You will jump into the dreams of people you meet and can exit the way you came in or jump into the dream of another person you meet or person within your party. This allows a lot of back and forth into different landscapes, something you will need to do to advance farther in certain realms. You won’t be worrying about random monsters though, they appear on the screen for you to avoid or confront depending on you.

An interesting aspect that adds some difficulty to the game is the lack of a healing item inventory. Within the dreams you will find food of all sorts that will heal your party. Certain characters more than others depending on the food type. The true kicker is once you pick it up it is used immediately and removed from the map. So you need to use them sparingly and make sure it is the right item for the character needing healed most. There is a bit of a safety net as far as healing goes. You can use a fairy that appears near where you start, at a cost. If she heals your party the dreamworlds will react and make the game more difficult. So using her can be more headache than help.

The scenery is great, one minute your in Egypt’s desert then the next minute you could be in London at night while it rains, or a mouse cave full of cheese. All this adds to not only the atmosphere, but the freedom of the game. Between the cute jokes, character banter and ever shifting atmosphere things always feel fresh and interesting. The story may seem to fade out at points, but your still roped in to seeing what the next dreamscape will be like or who/what will be the next character or danger you’ll face.

This RPG may seem a little bit too cute for some, but that doesn’t make it easy. Even if you put it on the easier modes. With tons playtime hours of adventuring it’s also not your quick indie RPG romp. You’ll be setting aside a fair amount of time to uncover the mystery of the dreamscape and what your boyfriend was so afraid of.

I never felt to lost in any particular dungeon, nor did I find it impossibly complex to advance through things. I give this RPG a 4 out of 5 for the interesting story and area layout, not to mention the diverse worlds you enter as well as it’s old school game play, and the hours of playtime you will get out of it.