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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.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

Anomaly: Warzone Earth is an iOS and PC game created by 11Bit Studios. For the purpose of this review we will be focusing on the PC version of the game. Anomaly: Warzone Earth is essentially a reverse tower defense game. Instead of building the towers to prevent attackers, you are the attackers. Aliens have crashed on the earth and it’s your units job to figure out what is going on and stop anything bad from happening. So you have to enter the alien crash sites and destroy the weapons that they have set up.

Anomaly has a lot of neat tricks in its hat to make it interesting and entertaining. Each level you have a new mission sometimes multiple missions. In one case the mission is to reach a certain point before a specific time once you do that though the level isn’t over you are assigned a new mission to accomplish. So playing it smart early on in a stage can help a great deal later into the stage. So as commander, who apparently likes to run along side the military convoy you are off to save the day from the alien threat.

So how is Anomaly played? It’s a point and click game for the most part. You use the mouse pretty much exclusively, which makes it pretty easy to get used to, that in no way means it makes it easy though. Although the game does walk you through all the steps to playing, very nicely. So what are the basics. You scroll back to enter tactical mode from here you will be able to change the route in which your military caravan is going to travel. This is very important throughout the game as paths become blocked by dangerous material that would damage or destroy your units or new towers appear that you hadn’t accounted for. Scroll forward to go back into the active mode. Left click somewhere and the commanding officer (You) will run to that location. Right click somewhere and it brings up a ring of 4 possible abilities. At first you won’t have all four.  Click on the one you want and the commanding officer will run there and use that ability.

You can lose during a stage by all units being destroyed or failing some objective. Stages do have checkpoints and when you reach one you can continue from that point or the beginning of the stage depending on how well you were doing when you made it to that check point will answer that question. I know I had a few points where it was better to start the stage over than to continue beaten and battered at a checkpoint right before I failed.

The game has a decent storyline to explain out why you are taking part in the next mission. It does well to keep the flow of the game going. The voice acting isn’t bad, I liked it to be honest. The music and sound effects are nice and the games visuals are good, and I don’t mean good for a tower defense game. The game has some real polish to it and is not what I expect from most indie games.

As an add on there are two bonus modes available to unlock after you have completed that section in the game. An online scoreboard has you competing for the best rank as well as medals for each stage to show you what you did well at and what they believe you could have done better at. The only thing I can see being a downside to this game is that it isn’t multiplayer. For me this wasn’t an issue, it’s a great game and it stands on its own with just single player.

I give this game a 4 out of 5 only because tower defense is a niche genre. I can’t say this game is for everyone but, it is really worth your time to check it out.

Minecraft and A Few Mods Review

This game has killed so much of my time to not write about it would be a sin. So here is both my reviews of Minecraft and a few Minecraft mods. Mojang the makers of Minecraft have put together one heck of a java game. Minecraft has spread like crack in the gaming community, something most indie developers never see.

So what is the deal with Minecraft? Well, it’s pretty simple. First, the game is really easy to play. It has 2 modes of play with a third mode of play coming out in the next edition. The two modes are creative and survival with a hardcore survival mode coming out in 1.9, 1.8.1 is the current official release at this moment. Creative mode is just you building whatever your heart desires in a landscape of random layouts. Although, you can create the same map over and over again by using a map generation key. The second mode is survival mode which is as it sounds survival is the key with all the fun of creative mode, except with the challenge of monsters and having to obtain the materials to survive and build. The third mode, hardcore survival will have the same thing as survival mode except upon death the world is deleted so there is no trying again with what you may have done.

Keeping the game simple enough for just about anyone to grasp the game uses blocks for pretty much everything. So as you wander around these block based worlds what you want to do is pretty much up to you. A common theme to sandbox games, except in Minecraft there are no bosses to hunt down no real objectives. Creative mode is just as it says. It gives you access to all the blocks in the game without limit. So if you don’t like to fight or have to survive you can build like it’s a virtual Lego wonderland. Really who doesn’t have fond memories of playing with blocks.

Survival mode has monsters also known as mobs that come out at night to kill you, whether you come out of your shelter to face them or not is entirely up to you. That is unless you didn’t build a shelter before your first night. In survival mode you craft materials, tools, weapons, and armor to face the threats of the night, caves or just hunting for food. As of 1.8.1 you actually need to eat regularly to survive. You can build small farms of wheat, sugarcane, and watermelons to aid in your survival or hunt for cows, pigs, and chickens. You can even go fishing if you build a fishing pole. It is all up to you. Mine as much as you want or just explore the huge map that is built for you. You can build a portal to enter a lava filled dimension called the Nether if you want a change of scenery.

With the next version of the game looking to add more structures to the Nether realm, another dimension called the End, NPCs that spawn in little villages, and an potion table, Minecraft is continuing to expand and add more with each update. It’s hard to find yourself bored in this game, but if you do there is a large modding community for Minecraft that adds all sorts of new and different options to the game. Giving you a virtually endless array of possibilities.

Not to mention there are tons of servers with different mods or just standard play of creative or survival mod out there to allow for a great multiplayer experience. Some might require you to install certain mods, but many just require you to talk to the person running it via IRC or forum emails.

By itself I would say Minecraft easily is a 5 out of 5, with decent replay value. With the mods though it has an inexhaustible level of replay value. I’d say one of it’s biggest downfalls is the silence that comes fairly often.

Now as I said I wanted to talk of a few mods that I find extremely enriching to the game.

MAtmos – This mod is a simple sound mod that adds nature sounds and wind sound as well as a number of other sounds that may seem unnecessary, but truly does bring a lot of life to this game. It also solves the silence issue when the music isn’t playing. Hearing the wind blow when on a hillside or mountain or the little birdie sounds of the forest. It’s a great mod that doesn’t change the game by adding tools or blocks just cleans up the silence.

Dr Zhark’s Creatures – This mod adds a ton of mobs to your game. From hostile mobs, water mobs, animal mobs and hunter animal mobs. You want cats in the game along wolves or foxes and bears, maybe sharks or even a dangerous ogre then this is the mod for you. It adds a large quantity of mobs to the game with a gui that makes it easy to customize the rarity, in its most recent version it even has the ability to edit the rarity of the standard mobs of the game. If you are looking to add more animals to the game or even more nasty monsters this mod offers both. I would say it is a must have for anyone looking for more life in their Minecraft world.

Humans+ – This mod adds a number of NPC factions to your world. If you feel a bit lonely wandering around this mod might be what it takes to solve that one. It adds, Knights and Samurai, Hunters, Assassins, Elves, Bandits, Desert Bandits, Pirates, and Peasants and a few other factions. All your actions involving these NPCs effects how different factions may see you. Kill a bunch of hunters and the bandits may fight with you since you crossed over to the evil side. Kill a bunch of animals in front of the elves and you can be sure they will attack you. This mod adds quite a bit of people running around in the wild trying to kill you and each other, but it does make things interesting. It’s biggest issue seems to be that in general the knights almost always attempt to kill you so it never seems viable to side with them. Although it is fun hacking down other people instead of a bunch of creepers and spiders all the time.

The next two mods I will talk about aren’t really done but can and do work well enough.

Twilight Forest – No it has nothing to do with the Stephenie Meyers book about vampires. The Twilight Forest is a dimension mod, which means it adds another dimension much like going to the Nether. Twilight Forest is a dimension of perpetual twilight. In other wards both monster and animal mobs can spawn at all times. So you are never really safe. What really makes this world worth exploring is that you are in a huge forest canopy with trees taller than some mountains in Minecraft. The ground is lower so you won’t be able to dig as deep but you don’t need to hills have ores and tons of monster mobs that defend them. There are Hedge Mazes, and Ice Walls, and currently one courtyard with the Naga as a boss for the mod. You can choose whether you want to take it one or not. Even if you don’t climbing to the top of the tree canopy is quite a site and makes for a very interesting world to visit. This is a great mod with a lot of potential.

Tale of Kingdoms – This mod is fairly new to the scene, but just fantastic. If you play and want to build a castle, but at the same time you want to spend your time mining and killing. Then this mod is for you. It immediately adds a guild that you join where you learn what it takes to be a king. This is pretty much done by slaughtering enemy mobs with your fellow guild-mates. Once you’ve earned enough you can take a builder out somewhere of your choosing and tell him to build there. He will build the out castle wall and request Cobblestone and wood to build more buildings. The castle can be upgraded to tier two currently and it does take some time to acquire the materials to build the buildings, mainly the wood that is. Once you hit tier two you can hire guardsmen for your castle, but even before that you can hire guilds men as body guards. You can also sell many of the Items you may find useless to the guild or shop once you build one and use the money from those items as well as the critters you kill to purchase better tools, weapons, armor and just about anything else. This gives you a lot more freedom to play the game as you like, while giving you an optional goal. Although this mod isn’t completed and an Enemy kingdom is planned in future releases as it stands now it is a lot of fun and adds a whole new feel to the game.  Worth taking a look at if you are even a little interested in modding your Minecraft.

All of those mods are compatible with each other in 1.8.1 without any issues that I have seen and create a very hectic and dangerous landscape, but it sure is a lot of fun. Don’t limit yourself to these mods check out others as well. These mods and many more can all be found at http://www.minecraftforum.net/

Sengoku Preview Review

On Sept 13th 2011, Paradox Interactive will be releasing Sengoku for the PC. Sengoku is a strategy game that takes place during the Feudal wars of Japan. It’s big thing is that it takes a different approach to the genre than most games. It’s not all about battles although they have their place..To take Japan in this game will take a lot more cunning than that.

So let me start of first by saying that this game is not for the casual strategy gamer. It is complex and political and takes some strategies you may not be used to employing. A lot of the game play is through your relationships with leaders of other clans as well as members within your own clan. With all the clan leaders out to take the position of the new shogun, You have to decide is that going to be you or are you just helping someone else out. It’s your responsibility in the game to lead your clan to victory.

Unlike a lot of strategy games there are no actual difficulty levels in this game. The difficulty is decided by the clan you pick at the start of game. As you look through the different clan leaders you will see the difficulty level the game would be by playing said clan. It’s not that the game is harder or easier on you in AI it is just that some clans are already established at the beginning of the game while others are already at war and may be losing. A number of factors are at play so choosing a clan with a high difficulty is pretty much starting with a clan that is at the bottom of the totem pole. With so many clans to chose from this really gives you an opportunity to see many sides with the game.

Now what makes this game stand out is the honor system. Everything you want to do will come down to money and/or honor. If you have a neighbor that you want to get rid of but he has never attacked you, to do it your going to have to pay honor.  If your honor is too low you may be asked to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) in order to restore some sense of honor to your remaining clan. This is especially important because if the clan leader you are playing dies by any means, you will take the role of the clan’s successor. In Sengoku you will arrange marriages for your children with the children of other clan leaders to forge bonds as well as create a proper succession. All while attempting to keep your honor high enough to do the things you need or want to accomplish.

With everything from choosing a clan religion to hiring ninjas to perform acts you don’t want to be credited for Sengoku has a lot to offer. Once you get the hang of what is happening on how to perform these tasks yourself, you can find that there is a great deal of strategy in this game. Although this may take a few rough starts where you feel completely helpless and overwhelmed with the options and controls. The menu system isn’t the easiest thing to maneuver and I make a strong recommendation to reading the manual and watching the video below for assistance in getting a grasp of the game.

While the game plays with time constantly passing and you taking your actions in real time. This can become problematic so you can speed up or slow down and even pause time. This allows you to set up a number of actions all at once as well as take a look around at what is going on throughout the rest of Japan. If it wasn’t for the ability to pause time to issue out commands I am sure I would have completely drowned in the interface.

I will say that Sengoku is not about great graphics. You don’t go down to the battlefield to control your troops in battle, so if that is what you want in a game you will be disappointed here. From my experience graphics are not what makes a great strategy game. So if you can get a handle on the menu system and ignore the fact that this isn’t the best visual experience, you will be in for a different style of war and strategy.

In the end I highly recommend this game to serious strategy gamers. I give it a 4 out of 5, but I think the casual gamer may struggle with this one, I did at first. Don’t give up though and once it all starts clicking this game is really fun.

Sengoku comes out on Sept 13th 2011 for $29.99 you can get it from gamersgate.com

The Demo can be found Here


Extra Life 2011 Update

Now that September has started, that only leaves a month and a half till Oct 15th 2011. The 24hr gaming marathon to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals needs your help and contributions. The amount I’ve raised so far has been pretty low, so each and everyone of you really do matter. Don’t wait till the last minute to donate if you are interested, that is usually when I tend to forget.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about their is more info on my previous article located here. If you are wanting to help with a donation just click here and click on the support button to make your contribution. In my eyes no contribution is too small or too large. Give what you can for the hospitals. Remember donations through me go to the Children’s Memorial Hospital, but others are working to raise money for other hospitals, and you should be able to search for them as well.

Remember this is a good cause and let’s show them what gamers can accomplish when they put their minds to it. Don’t be put off by the lack of donations help be the motivator for others. And remember I am open to suggestions on the Indie games I will play for those 24hrs. I want your opinions on this one.

To Donate go to this page: Extra Life Donations

To Read more about it from them go to this page: Extra Life Info

Runespell: Overture Review

When solitaire just isn’t enough, Runespell: Overture by Mystic Box is now here to fill the void. You know that void between Solitaire, Poker, and RPGs or card dueling games. Runespell is a little of all these and puts it together in a nice little package for the PC.

To be honest Runespell is a lot less RPG than it is a card dueling game with a few sprinkles of RPG elements. Those elements consist of an actual story with quests outside of your main goal. Primarily the game and story is told through the duels between you and other characters and monsters, as you try to find out who you are and what you are meant to do. The story takes place in the dark ages as Christianity and the old religions butted heads, you are taken to a land that is still filled with magic and the old ways primarily Norse.

As you walk along the various paths you find enemies appear on the map, some you have to face others you can choose to. When you enter a battle with an opponent you have your hit points, rage points and your equipped power cards. You will be attempting to make hands of 5 cards like poker. When you have a poker hand depending on how good the hand is you can use it to make an attack worth an amount of damage based on how good the hand was. No wondering how much damage you will do with these attacks. When you attack or are attacked your RP goes up although the same happens to your opponent.

When you have gained enough RP you will be able to use a power card. Power cards have many types of effects, like direct damage of specific elements or defensive shields. There are healing cards and poison type cards as well as cards that increase the amount of moves you can make on your turn. These cards act as spells and assists from allies. Some have infinite uses while others will run out and you will need to purchase more of that card to use it in future battles. You can also sell cards you have obtained from fights to purchase more of cards you need. Before each battle you have the ability to change your equipped cards for the fight.

The means of making a poker hand and when to activate a hands attack are up to you. You can steal cards from the opponents piles as long as they are not already grouped with other cards. The opponent on his turn can and will do the same. When you move a card from a pile on your side the next card is shown, although when you remove a card from the enemy the next card will not show until there turn starts.

While all the battles seem pretty even matched. As you progress and get better cards you will reach new enemies that will match you in difficulty. I found it really hard at times to get ahead and had to go back to get a bunch of cards to sell and buy more useful cards, just to keep the battles from feeling so 50/50. So although I wasn’t grinding for levels like you might in some RPGs I felt acquiring the cards for each new step ended up being pretty much the same.

I think a huge downside to this game is that although it is a card dueling game, there is no multiplayer. An aspect that is pretty much a standard in the dueling games not being in this game seemed odd. It really is more about the story and the solitary gamer.

Honestly, I like this game even though I had a tendency to want to take breaks from it. It felt so much like playing a variation of Solitaire when you are grinding that I would have to step away before coming back to it later.

I give this game a 3 out of 5, mainly because if you’re not into card games you probably won’t be into this. Pick up the demo and give it a try it is a interesting game.

Extra Life 2011

It’s that time again. On October 15th 2011 gamers will be participating in a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for their local Children’s Miracle Network hospital. I participated last year and raised a little more than $400.00 my goal this year is $1,000.00.  Let’s see if we can raise more, remember it’s for the children in these hospitals. Donations through my Extra Life page will go to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Remember this is for a good cause. If you can’t donate maybe you can participate and help raise money. If you would like to participate in the event click Here.

I will be tweeting my progress through the 24 hour span. I am planning on only playing indie games for the whole duration. It seems only fitting since that is what this site is all about. So I hope we can all make this another great experience and help some kids along the way. I’m also interested in hearing any indie game suggestions as to what I should be playing through the span. Thanks for any and all your contributions.

Donate Here.

Sign up or learn more about the event here.

Sylia the RPG Review

Aldorlea Games the makers of the Laxius Force and the Millennium RPG series published Ensorcelled GamesSylia. Sylia is an RPG of the SNES style JRPG with turn based combat. Though it does have a few differences from your standard fare. Sylia left me with a number of mixed feelings.

Sylia starts off with a pretty standard storyline. You have four hero’s; a sword and shield knight, an axe wielding knight a white mage and a black mage. It is there job to stop the alien queen from taking over the planet, and although you start this game feeling like you missed the whole war. Which you have they have not succeeded yet, but the humans are celebrating their heroes before they go off on their last and most dangerous mission, to kill the queen alien. I’ll tell you this much, there hasn’t been a bunch of heroes I wanted to fail more than these cocky and ignorant heroes. Their conversations amongst each other was more painful than Tidas and Yuna’s mock Casablanca whistling scene in Final Fantasy X. Luckily we don’t have to listen to this group for very long.

They fail and they doom the world. With all of the human race stoned a very unlikely and completely unexpected set of heroes rise to save the day. Basically the animals of the world go after the aliens, it’s either that or let the aliens destroy the planet. Now the conversations between your new team are no longer annoying although they are nothing to get hyped about. Sylia has a good number of rpg cliches, but the animals do have some interesting abilities. This can make for some interesting parties, and you really do have a selection. It isn’t hard to get a decent team together.

What is hard is the game. Where the story seems like it could be great for all ages the puzzles will have even the best of RPG players scratching their head. The forum on Ensorcelled’s site may be your only hope of completing some of the side quests. Most Quests are handed to you with only one short line as to what they want. Telling you nothing about where you need to go or even the direction. These incredibly vague quests are definitely for the hardcore RPG fan.

The same can be said with the dungeons. They are all difficult mazes that may have you walking in circles with few rooms that contain something that breaks the pattern of the walls and floors of that dungeon. Don’t get me wrong I liked the added complexity, but there were definitely points  even in the first dungeon with the new team that I got lost. Ended up leaving and re-entering the dungeon a few times before I figured out what I needed to do to get through it.

As far as the music goes, I would say it is average and there is a nice option in game to set your own battle music between a few choices. This makes the music a bit more enjoyable. As far as art, much of the games art work is repetitive patterns. Much like many old SNES and NES games so this only bothered me while searching for definable land marks. The controls for the game are incredibly simple and take no real skill to learn so that is a plus when you are wanting to just jump right in.

Now let me tell you why my feelings are so mixed on this RPG. When I first started, I had to force my way past the prologue and even a little into the story. I had some real difficulty getting into the story, once I did though I really started to get going and the next many, many hours I was having a pretty good time, even when I was looking for the solution to a quest with basically nothing to go on. Then came the wall. I hit it so hard I didn’t know what to do. I looked in the forum and things pointed towards a object I had seen once but didn’t go and click on it left the room and noticed it right before the screen changed to the next room. I immediately had went back, but it was gone. When reading over what I needed in the forum it appeared that this object was the key. So I spent hours going into the room, out of the room and back into the room to get this randomly spawning object to respawn only to find out according to another response in a different forum thread that you only find it once. So because of that I know I missed my chance at it and found out that it wasn’t the thing I needed either.

I seem to be lost once again in the game and I don’t think I can bear any more hours wasted on just trying to find my way out of this dungeon. I felt I spent way too much time with one issue already that I don’t have the patience to do it again any time soon. Do I think this game is good? Yes. Do I think it is hard? Yes. Do I think the non-RPG player would like it? Honestly, I think the game is more directed to the hardcore RPG audience.

I give this a 3 out of 5, There is a lot to like for the skilled RPG player, but a bunch to infuriate most other style gamers. Download the demo first.