Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Indivisible (PC)

Indivisible title screen logo
Developer:Lab Zero|Release Date:2019|Systems:PC

Hey, guess what I'm writing about on Super Adventures this week! Okay maybe the title screen makes it a little obvious, but I didn't see it coming. Here's a life hack: get amazing friends who'll occasionally drop a brand new game on you with no warning or explanation.

The least I could do in return was write about it, and I'm all about doing the least I can do, so here's my review of Indivisible, the latest game by the makers of Skullgirls. I don't know much about Skullgirls as I only play fighting games when I feel like mashing buttons and being humiliated, but I do know it's got some fancy cartoon animation so I'm coming into Indivisible with the preconception that it's going to look fairly pretty as well. I also know it's a bit of an action RPG inspired by Valkyrie Profile, but other that that I'm fairly clueless about it.



I left the title screen on for a moment and got an amazing looking animated intro featuring all the typical things you get in these kinds of videos. Birds fly by as the camera pans across a pretty landscape, all the characters do a pose, and the hero kicks ass. Well, mouths in this case.

Though it is a bit weird how she keeps meeting new friends and then sucking them into her forehead.

Man, how many characters does this game have? They're going to run out of song before they run out of new people to show off. They seem interesting enough though and they've picked some nice looking locations to pose in front of. I'd watch this anime.

There's no way it's ever getting a series mind you, so I'll have to make do with cutscenes. Beautiful skippable cutscenes.

Once the intro was over I pressed start on the title screen and it immediately went into the story! Just skipped right past the traditional 'NEW GAME, CONTINUE, SETTINGS' menu options. Some games seem to be under the impression that I want to jump right in and get started without fixing my resolution and video options first, and I actually kind of don't.

So I got that sorted out, restarted the game, and got back to this heroic stormtrooper and friends facing off against an evil fidget spinner. I don't know what else to call it.

Judging by that health bar down there, even the game doesn't know what it is.

I get the impression that it's waiting for me to do this next bit, though it hasn't told me what I'm doing. I've noticed that there's a different button under every character, so I'll press them and see if that helps anything.

Excellent, they're all doing violence! Some of them have more buttons under their name so they're able to do additional violence, but they all need to be taking a break before the buttons start to regenerate. I expected it to be turn based, but it's actually real time, with their attacks on cooldowns. Doesn't seem like I need to worry about my timing, but that number on the top right's encouraging me to get them all attacking together to chain their hits together and increase the damage.

The boss's health bar hasn't been moving much, but I eventually inflicted enough hurt for the option to use Indr's Neo Brahmastra to come up. That seemed like something I wanted to be doing, so I held the right bumper and pressed his button ('X') like it said.

Indr fired his cannon in an epic super attack… and the creature just zapped him right back! Fortunately the heroes were able to take it from there, with the woman stepping over to protect him with her shield while he fired again, and they were ultimately victorious!

Well I'm glad they sorted that out! And it's nice to know that I was able to help in some small way by pressing all those buttons.


SIXTEEN YEARS LATER


Wow, surprise time jump. I guess I won't be playing as those heroes again.

Now I'm controlling this girl, which makes sense seeing as she's the one from the anime intro. Hmm, she looks about 15-16 years old... I wonder if she's the kid of Indr and that woman with the axe. Oh right, she's wearing the woman's beads on her head and the axe is embedded in the table right in front of her; I'm suddenly feeling less clever for working this out.

I can't pick the axe up or even examine it, but I can jump and slide around now as the game's turned into a platformer! Well I could anyway. I made it about halfway across the room before she was dragged into a very one-sided conversation with her weird pet tapir about how she needs to go do her training. Uh, she was the one doing the talking.

The game has voice acting by the way, and it's pretty good.

Well it had voice acting anyway.

Seems like the main story gets full voices, but when I'm chatting to people off the narrative track like this we speak only in text. Though that's fairly typical for games like this I think. Not that there are many games exactly like this.

I mean we're not just standing here in silence, there is music. The game's actually got a very nice soundtrack, by Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta. I can't remember what that game sounds like, but this one sounds good.

Check out Ajna's shadow by the way.

I should be mesmerised by the slick cartoon graphics or the details in the background, but right now I'm distracted by her shadow and how it falls on objects. Projected shadows aren't exactly revolutionary technology in 2019 but I'm easily impressed by simple effects done well.

In fact everything in this game looks amazing, especially when it's in motion. The backgrounds are 3D so there's some pretty parallax as I run by.

Though I can't go wandering into those detailed backgrounds as pressing 'up' brings up a map instead. Look at all those tiles I haven't explored in the sky. I'll never get 100% map completion at this rate!

I've been walking to the left and chatting to villagers along the way, and these guys are really passionate about what they do. Which is mostly lifting things it seems. Sometimes sticks, sometimes hay. Ajna's less passionate about her training, but when there's only one path there's not really any getting around it.

A little further on I found a bell that acted as a save point, which I appreciate. Sure it's only two minutes into the game, but if I ever need to come back here to retake screenshots or check something it'll be nice to skip right to it.

I can do wall jumps! The game has taken some inspiration from Valkyrie Profile with its combat system and platforming, but I doubt the valkyrie ever does much wall jumping like this. And even if she does I bet she can't do it in sandals.

The game hasn't been constantly interrupting me with tutorials, but it does give some helpful messages from time to time. It gave me a few seconds to work out the wall jumping by myself, but once I was airborne it let me know that I didn't have to pull in a direction while hopping between walls. If it carries on like this I think we're going to get on just fine.

I thought that Ajna seemed really small on screen at first, but I think that's due to her cartoony nature. The lines don't get thicker as she gets smaller.

Ajna's actually the same height as Sonic the Hedgehog in the original Mega Drive game right now and bigger than Mario (even big Mario).

If the screen was zoomed in any more than this it'd be a pain to get around, so I'm glad it's pulling the camera back when necessary. Her sprite's still perfectly readable against the background, it's fine.

Hey it's Indr, and man the last 16 years haven't been kind to him. He's not being very kind to his daughter either, and it's clear the two of them don't have the best relationship.

It's actually pretty clever I think, to have Ajna's dad be the one to give the fighting tutorial. It lets the player empathise with her frustration, because tutorials are actually kind of annoying a lot of the time.

Right now we're learning how to not get smacked around, which means I've been taken back to the combat dimension where walking around is forbidden and all I can do is attack or block. Well, mostly block at this point. It says I can press any of those four buttons to block, but what it means is that each is associated with a different character. Ajna's button is 'X' (like her dad's was), so that's what I've got to press here, and it helps to get the timing right. Apparently.

After the tutorial, Ajna's frustrated enough to give him a test for once, to see if he can answer a few basic questions like where he even comes from and how her mother died. He storms off in a huff and she decides she should go after him to apologise.

Oh no, my trope sense has just started tingling, and I'm suddenly getting really worried about Indr's safety. I'm still stuck on this path though, so there's nothing I can do but go back the way I came.

Well, turns out I'm not going back to the house after all. I was right to worry about Indr as this guy's just marched over with his demon army and killed him. Seems like he's killed everyone in fact, as the whole village is burning down! Which kind of sucks. All my stuff was there! Also that weird pet of hers.

The game's wasting no time ticking boxes on the 'Grand List of RPG Clichés' here. The village burning down at the start is #2 on the list. Also Ajna's 15ish years old, which is rule #5, and being raised by a single parent is rule #6. I'm not sure where her mentor/father dying is on the list, but it's got to be there somewhere.

Some games are about the hero chasing down their parent's killer, getting strong enough to fight them as they go, but Ajna's eager to get this over with right now.

When these red arrows appear in a fight that's my cue to block with that specific character, though you can tell by my health bar that I'm rubbish at it. I hope I get my health back after this fight or else I'm going to be in trouble.

There's only one button for both blocking and attacking, as it changes depending on whether someone's hitting me or not. Though the game's not actually turn based, it works on cooldowns, so I can't necessarily predict when it's going to switch.

Okay, this I didn't see coming. I don't think I'll be able to find "The hero's dad's murderer is immediately defeated and then trapped inside an alternate dimension within her head," on that list of RPG clichés.

It's a bit of an awkward situation as it means they can't hurt each other anymore. But Ajna decides that wherever this is, if she can't kill him, she's leaving him here. There doesn't seem to be any danger of this game getting truly miserable though, as she's already bickering with the soldier who destroyed her village!

But he's just the lieutenant following the orders of a greater evil, a palindromic despot called Ravannavar, so we get to go on a quest for vengeance after all!

Oh damn, the dad's killer is my first party member! Don’t remember seeing that in the big list of RPG clichés either. He's not working with me exactly, it's just that he materialises in combat and doesn't want to get killed.

Dhar has a unique move which lets him increase the damage of his next attack by pressing down + 'attack', so that's something I have to remember. My poor brain is struggling enough with one character and now I have two of them who act simultaneously. Still, at least the game's been telling me what I need to know.

Enemies are visible on the platformer stage and once they're defeated they disappear, thankfully. They might come back if I return to this level in the distant future, but for now they're one annoyance I don't have to worry about again while exploring. Though this does mean that they may be a finite amount of XP in this world, so I should probably hunt enemies down instead of just jumping over them all.

This is Razmi, I ran into her just down the road from my burning village and she's already my favourite character. I want to screenshot everything she says, but I can't screenshot the actress's performance so I won't. She's got a very deadpan delivery that makes the lines work better than they probably should.

I'm not keen on having three people in my party just yet though. This may be the first RPG I've ever played where I want less people in my team at once. At least until I've had a chance to practice the combat system a bit more. I've only had like 3 or 4 fights so far and I'm still struggling to block with the character that's being smacked instead of the one standing a couple of feet to their side.

Hey, now I've got more stuff to remember!

Wait, what does '1' mean? Healing sounds like something I'd use, but I have no idea what to press and the game's giving me no clues. I'm going to have to check online... just as soon as I figure out the best way of typing 'how do I do a number 1' into Google.

Okay, it seem to be a special move that I can activate by holding the right bumper + 'attack', like with Indr's Neo Brahmastra earlier.


The level seems pretty linear so far, but there are passages blocked off by these sparkly tree roots or equally sparkly walls that I'll need something else to get through. Though I don't know what that is yet and neither does the game as they're all marked by question marks on the map.

I really like this map by the way. It could maybe give me a few more clues to where the landmarks are, but it's good for showing me where I've been, where I can go, and where I can't go yet.

I found her mother's axe, just lying next to a dead guy! I'd been wondering about the axe, seeing as she started off looking at it and it was mentioned in dialogue, but I wasn't able to go home to pick it up. Oh oh, can I use the axe to get through sparkly tree barriers perhaps?

Yes! Now most (but not all) of the question marks on the map have turned to axes.

Uh... so what button activates Razmi's healing magic again? Because everyone's kind of dead. I know it's not LB + RB so I don't know why it's telling me that.

Oh screw it, there's only one ugly naked stick-eyed monster left and it has barely any health, so I'll just set it on fire with Razmi's regular magic attacks. If I kill him before he kills me everyone will be resurrected with full health afterwards, ready for the next fight.

The reason I got into this situation was because he got the jump on me on the platformer stage. I was sneaking up on him with my new axe, but he managed to hit me first and took off tons of health before we even got to the battle screen.

Successfully blocking gets me iddhi, huh? That's awesome, good to know.

Two questions though: what's iddhi and why do I have this text in the middle of the screen blocking my view? Also a third question: can you remind me how to use Razmi's healing?

It did at least tell me how to block with my whole party at once (left bumper) so that was really helpful. Though it uses up even more iddhi, so I'm not encouraged to do it.

Razmi, you're not going to talk her into eating the gem, it's bigger than her head.

I've been meeting some more people during my travels, though they haven't joined my fighting party. These two want me to get giant red gems to increase my offensive capabilities, and a kid called Ginseng wants me to get lilies to... actually I'm not sure what the lilies get me. But I'm all for rewards so I'm going to keep an out for them.

One thing that's handy is that I don't have to come back here when I find the gems, as they're moving into Ajna's inner realm too. Her head's getting a bit crowded now and I can pop in at any time to see how people are doing or just relax for a bit.


A BIT FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD


I think I'm getting the hang of these fights now! Turns out that 'iddhi' is my super meter on the top left, which builds up during a fight. Once it's full I can tap both the bumpers to heal everyone a little and resurrect anyone who's dead, or use it all for a super move instead.

Actually, I've changed my mind, I don't know what I'm doing! I've gotten too many characters too soon and combat is too fast! I got wiped out so quickly in this boss fight I was like 'wait, what just happened?' The game really needs to slow down and drill the basic concepts into me so they're second nature before adding more on top.

Plus I've only had like a dozen fights so far to practice in and the enemies all have different timing on their attacks. I have to see them hit me a few times to even know when I'm supposed to tap 'block'.


EVENTUALLY, AFTER A LONG BREAK


I respawned at a nearby bell pretty much instantly, but I decided to take a break for a few hours and now that I've come back to the game I'm hopeless. I'm supposed to block just before impact but I'm lucky if I can hit the right button in time to block at all.

Now the game wants me to hit the enemy multiple times to break its poise, but that's a bit tricky with just the one character left and I can't build my iddhi to resurrect the others playing like this. I did get a gem upgrade, so now I can attack twice before waiting for the recharge, but it's not enough.

Over and over again I've been getting annihilated in seconds by this guy. I instantly respawn, rush over, everyone dies, I instantly respawn, over and over. I feel like this boss fight is a test of everything I've mastered so far but I haven't mastered anything and there's no way to practice or grind for XP

Fuck it, I can't do this. I quit.


LATER, AFTER ANOTHER BREAK


Got him on my first try this time!

You know what the secret was? Don't get hit by him on the platformer stage. It puts you at a massive disadvantage during the fight. It happened to me every time so I figured it was just part of the fight, but then I managed to get the drop on him this time by jumping down on him, axe first, and things worked out a lot better for me.

Alright, next mystery: what do the hearts mean? Ramzi has ❤️5, Dhar has 💔-24 and Ajna has LV.3, so it's not entirely clear what's going on here.

I'm taking a break from fighting to hang over an abyss by my axe handle for a bit.

One of the axe's many uses is to latch onto walls, giving me a chance to fling myself high enough to start wall jumping. I only get to use the axe like this once until my feet touch the floor again, but I can wall jump all I want after I'm up there, so it's really opening up some new paths for me. And if I screw it up it's no big deal as there's infinite instant restarts and no falling damage.

Sometimes exploration gets me extra gems, but in this case all I got were two blocked paths with different coloured sparkles. It's doing the Metroidvania thing where I'm going to have to come back once I've found some new tools.

Aha, I can use up + 'attack' to knock enemies into the air! That's easy to remember... as long as I can remember which characters do something different.

I was worried that the game was going to have me inputting fighting game button combinations, (rotating the stick a quarter-circle, pressing back, back, forward, forward, high punch, that kind of thing) but that's not the case. The characters all have a normal move, an up + 'attack' move and a down + 'attack' move, and they do pretty much what you'd expect. Unless they've been replaced by a unique move like Dhar's attack boost, which case they do something different. So I have to be mindful of who I'm using.

I've also learned that there's a slow motion button during fights that lets me take a breath and figure out who's doing what to who and what I can be doing about it.

See, it says it right there on screen, just above the evil spider boss I'm currently stuck fighting.

I'm feeling fortunate right now though, because I spotted that my screenshot tool had sneakily stopped working before the fight was over. It's bad enough repeating a fight because I lost, I don't want to have to repeat a fight I won because I didn't get a picture!

This is actually going so much better than the last boss battle. Partly because I have an actual healer on my crew now, but also because I've learned when to tap the 'block' button. In some games you can press 'block' the moment you see a warning pop up, I've also tried pressing it just as the enemy started making their move, but it turns out that I have to hit it a split-second before the attack connects with my character.

Uh... what happened to the boss? It ran off somewhere mid-fight and now I'm fighting spider enemies on the platformer stage! This isn't where I kill enemies, this is all wrong! Just when I think I have the game figured out it springs something else on me.

Seems that some bosses have multiple phases, so I'll be timing my attacks one minute, jumping over spiders the next, and then dodging poison dripping from the ceiling after that. This never happened to me in the Final Fantasy games!

Another way it differs from typical RPGs is that there's no equipment or inventory items. I can't choose a character's skills or stats or hats, I can only decide who gets to be in the team. And seeing as everyone lives in Ajna's head, who I select seems to have absolutely zero impact on what gets said in cutscenes. Though they may get fewer hearts, which I guess is their level? Kind of? Dhar's hitting pretty hard for someone at level -22, so it's not so straightforward.

The characters in my party has no affect on what abilities I have either, as just having Zebei in Ajna's head has given her a new toy to play with: a bow with explosive arrows! The bow can blow open some sparkly walls and stun enemies in the platformer stage, and she uses it in combat as well.

The bow can also activate targets to make temporary blocks appear. Using the bow slows time to a crawl and gives me a temporary platform to stand on, so I have all the time in the world to take a shot mid-jump, it's clever. I can't hang around on these blocks though as they don't last long.

Some plot happened since the last screenshot by the way, with a daring escape from a sinister fortress and a surprise appearance by Michael Dorn... but I don't want to spoil everything. The important thing is that I'm in an entirely different location now. I was expecting the world to be interconnected like a typical Metroidvania, but I guess I'll need to wait for the story to let me back into the first area before I can try out my new bow on those sparkly walls.

I've noticed Ajna's even smaller on screen here, half the height she used to be earlier, but that's a good thing now that the platforming's gotten trickier. The ice spikes aren't instant death, but they tend to knock me onto the blue spiral spikes, which are. Fortunately the respawns are still instant and she'll reappear nearby even if there isn't a save bell. I really like the platforming in this!

Here's something weird though, the blue spiral spikes are still instant death even in the combat stages. The battle screen is just a zoomed in version of the place you started the battle, so if you initiate combat next to spikes and Ajna runs over there during one of her attacks, that's it, the fight's instantly over. You lost.

I can also shove enemies off a cliff, which knocks them out of the battle until I can find out where they landed and re-engage them. I don't know if this is the smartest way to handle fights, it's definitely not a choice most developers make, but I actually like how platforming rules still count inside battle stages. Makes it feel more connected despite the shift in gameplay.


LATER


Speaking of stage hazards and fights, it occurs to me that there's no checkpoints between phases of a boss fight. Not a big problem, except for when those phases include a massive platforming section!

Getting hit by those streams of fireballs raining down from the ceiling while I'm trying to wall jump doesn't take off much health, but if it happens enough or I get knocked into something worse, I'm going to be doing this boss fight again from the start. Not really keen on that to be honest.


WAY LATER


I got past the endless waves of fire, killed the boss, and now I'm here in the sand zone doing sandy stuff like shooting arrows at a sandworm's tail. All I have to do is break open walls to create air currents that will carry the arrow around the corners and to the target on the right, simple!

Trouble with all these spikes and air currents is that I'm paranoid I've missed a gem or two along the way, and I can't go backwards here. I need those gems, man. If I collect enough of them I can press buttons more times in fights!

After all the trick shots and platforming I finally came around in a circle to fight the sandworm's sinister master in a gigantic lair of full of bones, with the creature itself coming after me between battle phases.

It was piss easy.

I love Razmi, she's the best best friend a hero could ask for. For real, she's great. Plus anyone who wants to draw her in their fan art also has to learn how to draw a deflated tiger, so that's fun too. Though I feel like her hand must be getting tired by now.

Also look, I found civilisation! At first I thought it was great to finally see other people, but they all talk like they were added by Indiegogo backers, and they all look like JRPG heroes so I have to check them all out in case I miss out on a recruitable party member. There are about a billion of them in this game and I want them all, even if I'm probably going to stick with the same three all the time. Or whatever three gets me through the battles fastest.

Indivisible boat travel world map screen
I found myself new character in the end. She's a pirate captain with a boat! When you've got a boat you can go anywhere you want... as long as it's one of four locations (including the town I'm already at).

Can't warp between save bells though, which would be a bloody handy feature. You want to go backtracking in this you need to put the work in. Speaking of putting the work in, I need to quit taking screenshots and finish this post already.


CONCLUSION

Ideally when a friend gives you a brand new game out of nowhere, what you don't want to do is write a detailed report listening all the reasons it pissed you off and made you miserable and then post it on the internet. So it's fortunate for me that I liked Indivisible a lot. Thanks Lab Zero, you really bailed me out here and I appreciate it.

In fact I went on to finish the whole thing, even got all the achievements, so it must have been doing something right. But if you're thinking of getting the game yourself you may want to hang on a while until they've fixed it up a bit, because in its current state it's kind of flawed.

I'm not talking about bugs here, as the game actually held together pretty well for me. The real problem it has is that the difficulty is a mess. New platforming stages get tougher the further you get, but the combat is generally a joke after a certain point. There's a few enemies here and there that will wipe you out in seconds if you give them a chance, but for the most part boredom was the real threat, and I eventually dropped the healer so I could deal more damage and finish fights faster. The enemy stats have apparently already been tweaked in the beta version though, so it seems like the developers are going to get that difficulty curve nailed down eventually. Well, as much as they can do when your ability to deal and tank damage varies depending on how many gems you've collected.

But the easy fights weren't all that bad though I suppose, as after a long section of difficult platforming I'd rather kick someone's ass than have to replay a battle over and over until I've masted the timing of my perfect blocks. I got more than enough of that in the final boss battle and it turns out I don't like it much! The amount of retries it took me to get past it was almost as painful as the amount of times I had to listen to the song over the end credits loop.

Speaking of doing the same thing over and over again, the game also has a problem with its fast travel. This might be another thing that gets fixed as just letting the player teleport between save points would be a huge help. But as it is, returning to previous areas requires doing a lot of the platforming again. I was looking forward to it giving me the powers to finally go back and open those walls, I like Metroidvanias, but the levels aren't really built for the amount of backtracking the game expects from you later on. New mobility skills speed things up and open shortcuts, but the shortcuts don't cut much and it still takes bloody ages to get around. This becomes a big problem when all the player character side-quests get dropped on you at once.

They're standard RPG quests that want you to go to multiple locations and find people to talk to, which means replaying a big chunk of a level, then turning around and playing it all over again on the way back, for each and every location it wants you to visit during the quest! For all 10 billion characters! Side-quests are optional thankfully (I did about half of them and then opted out of the rest for the sake of my sanity), but they resolve each character's personal story and unlock a new palette for their outfit, so you're given a strong motivation to get them done. I couldn't let Razmi down! She's always been there for me, like a weird raspy deadpan devil on Ajna's shoulder (with a boneless dead tiger on her own shoulders). Oh, also if you get to a side-quest area before you're told to, the reward for your initiative, curiosity, and platforming skill is a whole lot of nothing. Not great when you're hunting for gems.

I'm starting to sound like I hate the platforming, but I actually really liked jumping on all those ledges the first time through. The game's a platformer RPG and it's the platforming side of it that doesn't mess around. It's slick, fluid, and controls surprisingly well considering all the skills it keeps giving you to remember. The game expects you to chain your moves together in feats of ridiculous acrobatics and once you use a skill you can't use it again until your feet touch the ground, so there's a bit of a puzzle aspect to it. Fortunately restarts are instant and it'll often put you back close to where you died even if there's no save bell nearby, so it's the opposite of punishing. One thing Indivisible is good at is making you feel like the greatest and most ingenious person to ever play a platformer, even though I'm sure it's not really all that hard (because I was able to beat it).

I'm not usually a huge fan of tricky platformers, mostly because they're tricky all the time and I don't need the constant stress. 'I wonder what's next... oh it's yet another challenging platformer stage.' But Indivisible's mix of platforming, fighting and story kept me invested and interested. I never felt that a cutscene or a platforming section dragged on longer than its welcome. Well okay there's one level which was a real test of endurance, but the rest of the game was good. Except for when I came back there and it was even longer the second time. And the third time.

At first the fights felt a bit like I was playing four player Arkham Asylum on one controller, or Guitar Hero without being able to see the notes coming down; it was a bit overwhelming. But it didn't take long for it to feel more like a typical turn-based JRPG, with my characters unleashing their attacks together, then dealing with the enemy counter-attack while their moves recharged. There's more strategy there than it seems, despite having one button per character, as they've each got three attacks plus special moves, and the enemies have their guards that need to be broken in various ways... occasionally. To be honest I mostly just spammed the moves that got me the most hits, then finished my combo with my most powerful special attack, even though it probably wasn't the smartest way to win. For instance, it took me until the very end of the game to realise that Razmi's special attack spell causes damage where it lands and the area she's casting it from, so if I got her to use a close range attack first she'd be standing in the middle of the pack and I'd double my damage! Strategy! 

The bosses also have their tricks, like kicking you back out into the platformer stage for a bit without warning. I actually liked these interruptions, and how the fighting really felt like it was taking place in the platforming stage, but checkpoints after each phase would've been nice! Though one boss gimmick I didn't like is the one that makes you replay the whole fight from the start because of an attack you couldn't have possibly known how to prepare for! Didn't appreciate that much. The fights are a bit trial and error in general really, as you have to see an attack in action first to learn the timing.

You've already seen how absurdly pretty the game looks, but it's even better in motion. It's a beautiful cartoon, with voice acting and soundtrack to match. Reminds me a little of the Disgaea games actually (though I suppose the way Ajna summons fighters means it's technically more like Phantom Brave...) The only flaw I found with the presentation is that some of the still images look a bit scruffy. It's just a shame that the developers have created all these incredibly detailed backgrounds to bring each location to life, and they've gone and populated them with Indiegogo backer NPCs with bizarre backstories or weird words of wisdom to share. They only have a couple of lines each, but they're not the kinds of lines that help you feel immersed in the setting. It gives the game a bit of a split personality, which is a shame as there's a decent story going on with the proper characters and the NPCs really break the spell.

To summarise: looks great, dialogue is fun, combat becomes easy except for when it isn't, it's a proper platformer, backtracking for gems is fine, backtracking for quests is pain. It's likeable. I like it. And I never want to fight that final boss again.



Thanks for reading!

If you think you know what the next game's going to be then leave a guess in the comment box below. If you want to leave a comment, the comment box can accommodate you there as well. If you want to help me get more games, there's a donate button somewhere on the right, and if you want to help me out in general then please spread the word and let people know my site exists.

5 comments:

  1. Did you ever work out what the hearts were for? Based on the initial villain chap having a minus number, I wonder if it's some sort of affinity or friendship statistic.

    And I have no idea what the next game is, so I'm going to say it's Double Dragon 3.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I think it's both of them. They indicate how the characters are growing closer by getting fighting experience together, but the effect is that their damage and/or health goes up.

      The next game is not Double Dragon 3, but you got the year right so you clearly have a keen eye for clown pixels.

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    2. Ah, in that case I do know what the next game is... unless you've cast(le) some sort of illusion!

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    3. What sort of Mickey Mouse operation do you think I'm running here?

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  2. "but I doubt the valkyrie ever does much wall jumping like this"
    She can make ice chunk on wall for temporary platforming, you know?
    That's kind of close enough.
    I like the name of Ginseng and Honey which is common for natural medicine's ingredient

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