Archives for : RPGs

Starpoint Gemini Review

Little Green Men’s Starpoint Gemini published by Iceberg-Interactive is a space based action RPG for the PC. Starpoint Gemini features an interesting story in a for the most part free roam star system. With a few bonuses for people who just want to do their own thing or even create their own thing. That’s right folks the game is very moddable so as long as people are playing this game their will be more to do and see than what I’m going to talk about here.

In SPG you take on the role of a Captain who’s ship has been trapped in time. You are brought out of the rift to find out, you’ve missed a lot. That includes that the war you fought for ended up being for nothing. No happy reunion of lost pilots here. Sort of a strange start as your thrust into doing whatever you want until you find the next person you need to talk with. This is a good thing as you can hopefully get in a nice upgrade or two before going on your next mission (or Campaign storyline). Much like in real life no one seems to want to give it to you straight and they all seem to be holding information back.

For me, this gave me a bit of early on resentment towards the very people who saved me. Your character seems to be agitated by it as well. I could be wrong he tends to seem agitated by most things, as if he’s better than them. Anyways, into this new system you go to find your way amongst the stars, bandits, merchants, miners, researchers and militant folk. Early on your motivation is to find out what happened to you and the Gemini system as a whole and what is happening to it now.

Since I won’t ruin the story of the Starpoint Gemini campaign mode lets move on to the modes of play and the features of the game. When you start the game up, you can go to options and alter some settings like the difficulty as well as the sound. I recommend turning up the voice volume up. Alright, now once you start the game you will need to create the appearance of your character and his name. It lets you alter facial structure, hair style, skin color, and what primary abilities he will start with. After that bit of the game is taken care of its on to picking the mode; Tutorial, Starpoint Gemini, or Life Goes On.

Lets start with the tutorial. It’s long, so don’t start this until you can set some time to really work through it. This game is not a jump in and just go game. There are a lot of features and abilities to learn and options available to you in this game. Now I know this may scare some people off, but the tutorial took me an hour and a half to complete. I’m glad I did it though, as I learned a lot about how to play and what I was doing that just reading the manual would have left me wondering what I was doing.

Starpoint Gemini is the campaign mode of the game. This mode is a mix of free roam with story line progression. Your actions will affect how the different factions and organizations see you. You’ll also gain experience from doing storyline missions and taking commissions from starbases. It’s pretty important to save often since it isn’t that uncommon to start a fight only to find that more enemy ships arrive to make things more difficult.

Finally there is Life Goes On mode. This is a completely free roam mode. You have all the features of the campaign without the storyline to force you into specific paths. You gain experience and gain levels and abilities just as you would in the campaign mode. With 50 sectors to explore and do as you will in. Life Goes On mode offers that freedom you may want away from having to follow any storyline.

The rpg elements of the game allow you as the captain to gain abilities and stats that give bonuses to your ship and other aspects. With multiple choices each level as well as reasons to save level points to increase stats that follow your play style you can play the game a different way every time you start a new game. With that in mind the LGM team decided to make the game extremely moddable. They have on there site a community tab that will bring you to a forum that discusses mods to the game and will have User created mods on it as well.

If you’re like me you probably won’t go through the extra effort of creating any modifications, but it is nice to know I can and that as long as they help keep the community going they can continue to bring fresh ideas and ships to the game.

The downsides of the game are the learning curve and some bad voice acting. The incredibly long tutorial is a bit of a turn off.

Based on the initial content alone I give this game a 4 out of 5.

I think the games initial difficulty may turn away many players, but I recommend keeping at it. SPG definitely gets better once you get the feel of the game.

Pioneerz Review

Pioneerz by Andreil Game is the successor to their other XBLIG Pioneer. This real time strategy role-playing game has a lot to offer any gamer. I found myself losing track of time while playing the game and for the most part this was a good thing. With Jump in jump out local gameplay supported it makes for an interesting and ever changing experience.

So what is Pioneerz about well your you local towns hero and you have to help your colony survive and thrive. What you will have to face to do this is; herbivores tearing up your resources, carnivores attacking you and your towns people, underground creatures attacking you and anything in their way, Legendary monsters that can wipe your town out and with all that going on you also have to worry about rival towns. As the hero your stats will level up from fights an so will your level itself. Your towns people can also gain levels in their attempts to protect the town.

Now if your wondering how do you help them survive well first you have to get them going by harvesting berries and lumber. While keeping away any threats from your weak townsfolk. Once your town gets going they won’t need your help as much and you can go about attacking other towns, closing passages to the underground to prevent those monsters from attacking your city. You can start taking over a vacant city by bring it supplies or go out there and hunt the legendary monsters.

The game play is very simple, four buttons and your directional is all you really need. Gather/Plant, Swing sword, Shoot bow, and Heal a person in front of you is as much as you ever have to remember control wise. You can pause the game and up to 4 players locally can join your match or choose to leave it if they have to go. This flexibility I thought was great especially since the game can be time consuming depending on the settings you choose.

You can play this game with 3 map sizes, Tiny, Normal and Huge as well as three difficulties Easy, Normal, and Hard. The game plays great on both tiny and normal maps, but I found on the huge map towards the end since all the cities were taken and pretty leveled up the game started to skip and lag. This didn’t happen until most of the cities were at their max size though and by that point I had already met at least one victory condition. Once you do beat a match, you can choose to keep playing it to beat it via the other methods or quit to start a new match.

Now this game is fun, and the art is a nice 16 bit feel to it. I wished it had a save feature because a game can take some time and that would be nice to have the ability to play one game with a friend save it and start another by yourself. Sadly that isn’t an option. You do get medals for certain accomplishments in the game that you can look at between matches. There was one other glitch I experienced in the game and that was I had accidentally changed teams for a second and so I changed my team back to what I had been playing initially, after doing this the team I had switched to had one city left and nobody left to kill to make the city become vacant. This glitch prevented me from defeating every team on the map. Although it is a nice option to give you the ability to change your team as well as it lets your friends choose whether to be on your team or some other team of their choice.

Now had this game not suffered from the two glitches, both of which happened after a long play session attempting to get the badges I would have gave it a 4, but I just can’t at least not until those issues are addressed.

So my official stance on the game is 3 out of 5. If you like RTSs and RPGs you should love this, if you like one of those types of games you may dig this. So go get the trial and see if it’s worth your 400 msp.

Wizard Apprentice Review

Thelostone released Wizard Apprentice an Avatar Dungeon Crawling RPG for the Xbox Live Indie Game marketplace. This RPG reminds me a little of Pokemon and your Avatar is taking Ash’s place, except you have a few more tricks up your sleeve than him. No you won’t be throwing some capture item out at the enemy monsters in your attempt to add them to your monster roster. It’s far simpler than that.

So what is Wizard Apprentice about? Well you’re an apprentice wizard and your final test is this dungeon. Now that you know why you’re are there, you can forget all about it because you will never hear anything about that again. Not even in the credits. So if you are looking for a story driven RPG this isn’t it. Wizard Apprentice is a top down dungeon crawl that when you touch a visible monster, you start a battle sequence.

The battle sequence will drop you down to a slightly angled side view battle of you, your monster versus the monster you came into contact with. Yes you touched it, the monsters do not chase you or move at all. So you can pick and chose most fights unless a monster is blocking your path.

Now that I’ve given you a bit of the game lets talk about how it’s played. When you start the game you are asked what type of wizard you are; Arcane Elite (Eventually Grants you the ability to cast two spells a turn), Beastmaster (Stat boosts to your monsters), or Summoner (You can summon a monster to make an attack on the enemy). The summoners summon only makes one attack per call. It comes down attacks and is gone again, much like any standard spell would act. The beastmaster just grants stat bonuses no actual spells are ever involved. The Arcane Elite is focused on magic stat bonuses and finally the ability two dual cast in a turn.

Once you have selected what you are, a random monster will be given to you and you must chose it’s class; ninja, monk, or darkcaster. Ninja’s get poison attacks, monks get healing abilities, and darkcasters gain some of the spells you get. This is in addition to their feral abilities which are based purely on the type of monster. Monsters Jobs/Classes max at level 5 but their regular level keeps going up. Both you and your three set monsters gain experience from fights. More experience is awarded if you release the monster after you beat it, and less is received if you capture it. You can’t capture bosses. There appears to be 20 different monsters you can catch and 40 monsters can be captured total. So you may need to release one to make room for others if you keep capturing versus releasing. In a battle if one of your monsters is taken down it jumps to the next of the 3 chosen for battling. You only lose if all of your three possible chosen monsters are defeated.

After every fight your monsters heal back up. So there is no need for items of that nature. The items available are equipable gems that up you and your monsters stats, as well as few you can use during battle. You can upgrade your wand and buy gems from the shop. I found buying gems unnecessary since it appears that some of the most powerful gems can be dropped from low dungeon levels. The dungeon is 14 floors in total. In the end I found that even the last two bosses of lvl 75 and lvl 100 were simple to beat as a dualcaster with the right gems equipped and I was only level 30. You don’t need to spend time grinding in this RPG. Any dungeon can be replayed as many times as you like, even after beating the game.

The biggest glaring downside to this game is that there is only one save location. If you want to play as a dualcaster in one game and a beastmaster in another you will have to delete your previous game. I thought this was a really poorly thought out system. When you start the game it will immediately jump into your saved game and to get back to the menu you have to exit out of your saved game. Another poorly thought out design. With enemies that don’t surprise you no difficulty settings I found the game really easy.

I give this game a 3 out of 5. It could have been so much more should have been at least a little bit more but just falls short. Still a good game overall, but I would give it a trial run before you buy.

Wizard’s Keep Review

Wizard’s Keep is an action RPG developed by Substance Games. Substance Games is the same developer who brought us Miner Dig Deep. So I was excited to review this game, an RPG made by a developer who has already created something great. So here is how it went.

I played the trial first and was like I have to have this game. The art is cartoonie and a bit basic. The fighting seemed pretty simple at first; you get a shield to use to attempt to block things with the RT, press A for your quick swing and B for your strong but slow swing. The game locks onto the enemy you are attacking but you can change that by pressing the LT. As you kill enemies you gain experience based on the level of the enemies. You have a to do list (That reminds me of a grocery list). I don’t know why but one of the first things is to clean the cobwebs out of your house. Later you will be trying to upgrade your house, but this list of things to do keeps you on track of your next mission.

So from dungeon to dungeon to crawl killing enemies that look a bit different from you, but for the most part use the same weapons you use. You have a myriad of choices when it comes to buying weapons and as you level up the weapons available also increase in level. They are costly though. So I know I tended to stay with one weapon a lot longer than intended till I could grind enough gold and gems out of enemies to afford a better weapon or more health packs. As you gain levels you choose where the points will go, Strength, Speed, Defense, and Constitution. Each choice will better your character in different ways.

When you level up and increase your Strength you will be able to choose a special ability every couple of levels. The abilities are A Power Attack, A Spinning Stun Attack, and Heal. I don’t know why the Heal ability is under strength, but it is. Choosing the right special abilities can be important for speedy progression through the dungeons.

So like any standard RPG, you’ll be buying weapons, armor, useless stuff (for your house in this case) and health packs. To make the money to afford the better equipment I found myself grinding far to often. I’m not one to usually complain about grinding in an RPG, but after you’ve gone through the same dungeon 4 or 5 times it starts to grate a little. I found forced fights a little hard to see when it zooms out so you can see the full room. This was the only time I had any real difficulty seeing what I was doing.

Wizard’s Keep does support a second player, not to jump into your game but you can start one with another player and go through the dungeon with a friend The screen will attempt to have both players on it at all time but if the second player really falls behind they will fall off the screen and only an arrow will point the way towards them. With my partner this wasn’t much of a problem, and the second player made both the dungeon crawling more entertaining as well as a little easier. After playing the game with a second player it really felt like a fresh breath had been blown into the game and brought some new excitement to it.

The things that bothered me and might some other gamers are as listed. I found the enemies for the most part sort of bland. The grinding in single player is a chore that I can’t see a way around. The disorienting zoom out in the important fights. Last of all I wasn’t all that drawn in by the music, it wasn’t bad music but it didn’t really grab me.

When all is said and done though, I give this game a 4 out of 5.
You’ll get a lot of playtime for your buck with this one.

Legend of Fae, Sky Princess and Valdis Story Review

Endless Fluff is an indie PC game studio that has created two small games that are free to download and play and now has released their main title for sale. Since the two smaller games (Nimbus Sky Princess and Valdis Story) will be short reviews while Legend of Fae the game they are selling is larger, I decided to do this review with all three games together.

Nimbus Sky Princess is a shoot-em up released for free on their site. This little game is cute in ways as you fly horizontally shooting down enemy ships. The ship designs are nice looking. The game features power-ups and health packs to repair your ship as well as get better firepower. With boss ships to fight as well as common enemies the game is nicely done. This games biggest downside is it’s viewable size. There is no option to full screen the game or even enlarge the screen any. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if the screens default wasn’t so small. The plus size is it is a pretty good game and it is free. So download it and give it a shot

Ratings wise I give Nimbus Sky Princess a 3 out of 5, but as a free pc game trying it out doesn’t hurt anything.

Valdis Story is the second short fluff game. This game is a platformer action rpg for the pc. Though this game is a free game created by Endless Fluff I was completely surprised at how in depth the game really is. In this game a war between Angels and Demons is taking place and you play a character who develops both angelic and demonic powers. As you play you level up by grabbing experience balls dropped by enemies slain. Your skills level independently as well. Now to get you started in the game when you gain new abilities it will tell you how to use the new abilities and what they do.

The artwork is beautiful and the gameplay is smooth. Note when starting this game, press the “D” key for your enter button on the menu screen which allows you to play this game on three difficulty settings.. I’ll run down the key commands for you. “Q” is for bringing up the inventory/menu system. “D” is your attack key, “S” is your block key, the “Space bar” is your jump button and your directional keys are just that. Press F4 to full screen this game and enjoy this great game and its good soundtrack. Valdis Story supports save points and although they may call this game a short fluff it is definitely a game that will eat up a number of hours playing.

Valdis Story is definitely a 5 out of 5 in my book and being a free game it’s one no pc gamer should pass up.

Now on to the headline title, Legend of Fae. If you are into RPGs and Puzzle Games then this is definitely a game you should be taking a look at. This game has a fun story line divided into chapters and the chapters are separated into small levels. It is definitely worth trying out the demo. It’s a little hard to explain exactly how this game plays.

You make matches of 3 or more orbs vertically or horizontally this shatters those orbs and adds mana or magic power to that elemental meter. When an elemental  meter fills up the elemental will appear at the top of the screen where the battle is taking place. You can then click on the enemy to target and the elemental to make the magic attack. Their is more options available, but this is the most basic of battle premises. As you go on you will be able to upgrade the elementals’ spells that they use as well as give yourself new power options like healing using mana energy. Even between fights you can keep making orb matches to power up as well as walk through the stage.

All the while a nice little story unfolds around you. This game is pretty in depth with attacks that will involve combining elementals to make stronger attacks, upgrading your abilities as well as unlocking more pages in a book that talks about the enemies you’ve fought. You can replay any stage you’ve played already and try to beat the expert points and the expert time to not only beat the stage but to have it get a check mark. The check marked stages really only seem to be for your benefit in knowing that you have beat it with the record time.

I’ve completed all of chapter one myself and with the amount of abilities still left to unlock it appears that there would have to be a decent amount of stages just to come close to allowing you to gain most of the abilities. With Valdis Story being considered a short game, Legend of Fae seems to be decently packed for it’s play. I was quickly drawn into this interesting RPG and played for many hours just to complete the first Chapter.

It’s asking price may seem high at 14.99 USD for digital download and 11.90 USD more if you want a CD Copy of the game. But considering how much many games on XBLA go for the asking price isn’t anything all that far fetched. The unique combination of gameplay mechanics makes this game definitely worth the downloading the demo.

I give Legend of Fae a 4 out of 5 in my opinion. I think this game is definitely a worthy addition to a pc gamers collection, but with its price tag I think it may be a little odd for some peoples taste. So check out their site give the demo a run and while your there pick up Nimbus Sky Princess and Valdis Story as well.

Breath of Death VII Review

Zeboyd Games indie game Breath of Death VII: The Beginning has been reviewed by just about everyone who even looks at Xbox Live Indie games and even some who normally don’t. Because of those reviews this was my first XBLIG purchase. Now with Zeboyd Games recent release of Chuthlu Saves the World, it just seemed like the right time for me to put my thoughts down on this RPG.

Like most RPGs you have your star character, in this case it is a skeleton named “Dem”. If you are hearing that old diddy “Dem bones dem bones” in your head you not the only one. So your team in this little romp is made up of a very unique cast. You have Dem the skeleton, Sara the ghost, Lita the vampire and Eric the zombie. Not exactly the staple RPG cast to save the world and that is the point.

Everything in this game is typical of old school RPGs, with a humorous twist. One thing I found pretty funny was a tombstone I read. It read “Here Lies Molly the Werezompire may she rest in obscurity.” To those that don’t know this was another game made by Zeboyd Games. So he even pokes fun at his own game. BODVII does have a good storyline to it and a really good ending. With about a 5 hour playtime, it isn’t something you will feel is too long or two short.

The game has a great level up system where you choose between two options every level you reach, and this can greatly effect how that member of your party plays. Not to mention a great Unite system that allows two or more characters to act together to perform a special move. Every character has unique abilities all their own. Every area you enter has a number of random encounters once you have had that many encounters in the area you can start a fight or just walk through it. I loved this little feature, no more fighting every two steps in an area you’ve already leveled up in. Once you beat the game you have the option of playing Score Attack. In this mode you only have to fight the bosses, yeah you can still force fights but you don’t have to. I’m not sure how the points work out in this mode, I honestly never finished it. I played it a couple of times, but just didn’t have the desire to see how low a level I could beat certain bosses at.

Things I can’t stress enough about this game, is to talk to everyone and your party when you enter a new area. They always have something to say and a lot of little jokes are tossed in here. Check those tombstones for witty lines too. All together this was a great way to spend a dollar. I think the short nature of the story is good for even the casual gamer who fears they will forget what they were supposed to do next. So if you are one of the very few people who do not already own this game, I have to ask why? Why would you pass on something this good that is also so inexpensive.

5 out of 5 it tickled my RPG bug and left me with time to still have a life.

Epic Dungeon Review – Winter Uprising

Eyehook Games’ Epic Dungeon is the first of the Indie Game Winter Uprising Games to be released. So let’s take a look at the forerunner for the event. Epic Dungeon is a roguelike game with 4 character classes and 50 levels.

Epic Dungeon has 4 classes to choose from, the Bezerker, the Gambler, the Tinkerer, and the Shaman. Each class has a different special ability to start with. The Bezerker has a move that swings his sword full circle hitting all near enemies. The Gambler poisons all enemies surrounding him. The Shaman freezes all enemies around him. Finally the Tinkerer creates an Orb that follows you around and shocks enemies until it is destroyed or you self-destruct it. There is a fifth ability that no class starts with and that is regeneration.

Like many RPG’s you level up as you go. Each level grants you 3 ability points to distribute amongst your 4 stats. The 4 stats are Damage, Defense, Dexterity, and Luck. Every so many levels you gain a point to place in the special abilities. If you place it on the special ability associated with your class you get a better upgrade, while its point for point on all other abilities. So yes you can have a Bezerker who freezes his enemies then hacks them to pieces. That is a blast too.

Game play is smooth and fast. You won’t have time to really get bored playing this. Some nice features is every 3rd level is a shop to sell your loot and buy some upgraded weaponry and armor. Then go back out and hack some more. You’ll occasionally find a question mark in the dungeon. These are neat little scenarios that you must try to solve and get some nice bonus items. Another neat feature is that death is permanent so once you die your entered into your high-score board and the next time you play a tombstone will be found on the floor number you died on. Upon finding your tombstone you will get back one item you had before you died last time. Nice touch I say, Nice touch.

All four characters starter story is humorous and then off you go. You don’t stop to smell the roses in this game as that everything respawns so sitting around will only get you attacked by more enemies. So keep moving, just don’t get to far ahead. Things can get real tough real quick if you move too fast. I found that out many times.  All in all I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this game. I love the retro graphics and game play. I love the simplicity and the little surprise events. This indie is downright addictive.

This was a great game to start the Winter Uprising and a great example of what XBLIG should be all about.

Get out there and start following the Uprising I’m sure more great games are to follow.

5 out of 5.

Xbox Indie RPG “West” Review

West is a well put together RPG. With its own unique set of random monster encounters and a plot line that is completely all its own this game is definitely an indie game. That is the best aspect of this game.

The story is ripe with subtext, some subtle to some very obvious statements about our world. The designer poses the player, not the characters questions about our society and our moralities in some very over the top ways. I may not agree with the beliefs of the designer, but I can’t deny that I was intrigued to see where it all would lead. That is besides west.

The game is similar to 16 bit RPGs of old giving it a nice retro feel to it, but with a very unusual and humorous bestiary. With a story line that no publisher would probably come near, what you get is a something you won’t get elsewhere. To that end I would be lapse to say this game is not for everyone, but definitely worth the 80 pts.

The whole story takes around 3 or 4 hours to complete, if you talk to everyone. I am sure you could probably work through this game in half that time if you just run through it. Although then you’ll be missing the subtler aspects of the game and that is the point.

In the end, I wished the game was longer because I just wanted more in a good way. I hope this developer releases another RPG on the Xbox Indie Market. It is rare to find a game that makes you think or even attempts to make you think and that is what this game does.

I give this game a 5 out of 5.