Developer Is Future Bright has brought to us quite a unique RPG Maker game. See, my qualm with RPG Maker games is that all games end up being practically the same: same sprites, same tiles, similar boring old story that attempts and fails at a new twist… but Ladra… Ladra is truly different for a game with this engine.
In Ladra you play as Estella, a thief who finds out about an upcoming war and decides to put her skills to better use. The story itself isn’t anything grand, and the game is rather short, of course, the RPG Maker engine makes it so that all the annoyances present in this type of game are there (such as the inability to press F12 for screenshot lest you close the game, or the rather basic tiles), but what games the game unique, and absolutely worth the buy (even at full price), is the gameplay style, for Ladra is not a typical fight-based RPG, but rather a stealth/puzzle RPG that, yes, seems vaguely inspired by the Thief franchise.
In this game, rather than attack enemies, you have to use 100% stealth. Hide in the shadows or various other places, crouch around and avoid patrolling enemies while you seek each level’s many treasures (a main one and several bonus ones that are optional). What I particularly liked (and it also drove me insane because I’ve been spoiled with ‘simpler’, clunkier, stupider games) was that even when you’re hiding in the shadows you can’t just walk right in front of the guards, because they will still see you. Isn’t that beautifully logical? I loved that!
Aside from still treasures, you can also steal from certain types of guards that patrol around, which adds a certain level of thrill to it.
Another good side to this game is that when you get caught you get tele’d to the last entrance used in that same map/floor (so, no restarting everything) – something that is extremely useful as you will get caught a lot of times while you try to figure out just how far the enemies can spot you and how to best avoid it.
On the downside, the linearity of the game and lack of options for alternate routes to take (there is only one path solution to each “puzzle”) was a bit disappointing, although I suppose it did add a level of difficulty to the game as a whole.
Overall, it’s a great little RPG Maker game with a unique gameplay style, and I definitely recommend it!