Curse of the Assassin

A long while ago I reviewed Tin Man Games’ An Assassin in Orlandes, and I definitely loved it. Now the same developers bring us back to the city of Orlandes with Curse of the Assassin, another choose your own adventure game.

If you haven’t read my previous reviews of these games, then let me give you a small recap on how they’re played: These are text-based adventures, and the particular developer goes all the way out presenting it out to you as an actual, albeit digital, book. The chapters are short because each time you reach an important junction you’re offered a choice of moving or acting a certain way; as such, every time you make a choice you change your fate. The books have various endings, and Curse of the Assassin is no different. Combat, to spice it up, is mixed up a bit with tabletop RPG style by adding a dice – a roll higher or lower than a certain predetermined score will decide your luck.

Like in the previous games, before you dive into the game you’re given a choice of difficulty ranging from classic (with few bookmarks and stats granted by dice rolling), through Adventurer (with two base stats and unlimited bookmarks to retrace your steps), to casual (which allows you to better enjoy the story by providing you unlimited bookmarks, the option to go back, heal yourself not to die, and a button to unlock all choices).

This time around the story continues on from An Assassin in Orlandes. After defeating the last evil, you find yourself going through a patch of good luck, getting higher in your social status… until the strange death of an old friend sends you back adventuring. Though it has various references to the first game, I don’t think it’s truly necessary for you to have played it in order to enjoy the story.

So. What all is different from the first one? For one, the art has improved plenty. I was a lot more into the offered art this time around, both for mythical beasts and humans alike. The writing is still pretty good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around – in some parts where I would have liked to make choices I was not provided those, and some of the ‘chapters’ (or sections, if you will) were a lot longer than in the previous installment… as in turn resulted the entire story. I did rather enjoy that they tempted adding in some romance and giving you a companion through your adventuring, which made it feel a bit less lonely. It also felt like there was plenty more to explore as well as plenty more choices to make, and I do love choices. But there were also a lot more fights too, and those I always find a bit annoying, if only because they can drag a bit with all the dice rolling.

The sounds and music are pretty good, as expected it can get a bit annoying as you play, so in the end I muted it, as I usually do in most games.

Would I recommend this one? Definitely, with a top rating despite the few shortcomings. I would also recommend that, despite not needing it, you play An Assassin in Orlandes first, if only to get your bearings (plus, it’s shorter and you’ll find out if you like these types of games or not with it).

 

5/5

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An Assassin in Orlandes

Data Break Up
Game: An Assassin in Orlandes
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 9/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Replay Value: 9/10
Community: N/A

An Assassin in Orlandes by Tin Man Games is a text adventure/choose your own adventure game that mixes the dice rolling of RPG with the path-choosing style of CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) books.

If you’ve read my previous review I’ll be repeating myself here, but: Mixing dice in with this means you will also be rolling for stats, and that most fights and encounters are purely luck based. That said, I quite enjoyed the mix of these two game styles, it makes for very interesting gameplay that mimics the board RPGs quite well, and reminds you very fondly of CYOA books.

If you’ve never read a CYOA book, it works like this: You reach a point in which you’re given two or more choices, and it indicates what page to turn to continue the story on the proper path. There are several different endings, some failure, some death, and a ‘true’ one.

Controls are simple: You just flip pages by clicking and click choices as they appear (some might be obscured if you are missing an item or certain knowledge, but otherwise you’re free to pick and choose). Should you need to, you have a bookmarking function to return to a previous point in the book, maps, etc.

At the start of the story you may also pick up the difficulty. Unlike The Forest of Doom, this one offers only two settings: A regular difficulty mode and a “casual” (cheat) one. The cheats are the same as in Forest: you can heal yourself or uncover options you might have not had otherwise, in order to get through the book.

The story is better written than in The Forest of Doom, though the main premise and how the character comes to be in troubles is still lacking a bit. Still, it’s a story I would definitely recommend for a younger audience. The fight style I found a bit more confusing than in the previous game, but it was otherwise equally luck based and mostly simple to learn.

The graphical aspect of the book was a bit more typical, but the images (in black and white) were so much nicer to look at, and the maps were also much better drawn.

Would I recommend it? Yes. But again, I’d recommend you grab it for at least half price.

The Forest of Doom

Data Break Up
Game: The Forest of Doom
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Release Date: Oct 30, 2014
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 10/10
Community: N/A

I have a soft spot in my heart for CYOA books, and this one totally took me to the past.

The Forest of Doom by Tin Man Games is a choose your own adventure (CYOA) game, and as such, you can expect it is only a text adventure and there will be no fancy graphics beyond an illustration or two along what’s essentially just a digital version of a book, with some extra interactive perks.

The Forest of Doom mixes typical CYOA gameplay with the dice rolling of RPG games to decide whether or not you win or pass certain encounters. This means you will also be rolling for stats, and you can get either really good or really bad ones, depending on your luck. I honestly quite enjoyed the mix of these two game styles, even if the fights and encounters ended up being completely luck based because of the dice.

If you’ve never read a CYOA book, it works like this: You reach a point in which you’re given two or more choices, and it indicates what page to turn to continue the story on the proper path. There are several different endings, some failure, some death, and a ‘true’ one. Some of the choices might be obscured if you’re lacking in knowledge or items.

Controls for this are pretty simple: You just flip pages by clicking and click choices as they appear. You have a bookmarking function to return to a previous point in the book,  plus maps, art, etc.

At the start of the story you may also pick what difficulty you want to play in. The Forest of Doom offers 3, a normal (or “medium”) difficulty, a harder difficulty, and a “free read” difficulty which allows you to cheat – you can heal yourself or uncover options you might have not had otherwise, in order to get through the entire book.

The story is fairly simple (you’re a warrior who -rather randomly- decides to help some dying dwarf fulfill his last duty), and while it might be predictable and might not be a literary achievement, I think it’s a great story that younger people would enjoy, even if the ending(s) are lacking a bit.

The graphics were good as far as backgrounds went, the art was pretty good with places, maps and areas, not so good with human figures.

The music was good, but repetitive and annoying at the moment of reading, so I muted it. But then, I 99% of the time mute music while playing.

The only real disappointing thing was that you could not backtrack without using free read and cheating, you chose a path, east, west, north, but could not return where you’d come from, and thus you could easily miss the things you needed for the good ending without a chance of ‘exploring’ for them.

I did encounter one bug while playing: though my steam settings specified English the game still started in Spanish; after it downloaded an update it was half in Spanish, half in English, and I had to go into settings and re-set them to English for the game to take it. It was a silly bug, small and didn’t deter from the actual gameplay, but annoying nonetheless.

All in all it was a fun, quick read, and it brought back plenty of nice memories, but better grab it when it’s on sale, as I don’t feel with the length it’s worth the full price.