Hide and Seek: Story of Dorothy

   HideAndSeek[Story of Dorothy]- screenshot

Hide and Seek: Story of Dorothy by TabomSoft is a little horror puzzle/RPG for android. Except for the obvious backtracking required in it (like in most puzzle games, really), the game is fairly short (10 to 15 minutes per floor if you know what to do, with 5 floors and then some extra backtracking), which is not bad considering that it’s currently free (if you play it with ads).

You play Dorothy, a little girl who fell asleep in the closet while playing Hide and Seek, and now seems to have forgotten why she was there to begin with. A weird premise to be sure, but it’s a quick horror game for mobile, so I decided I’d try not to be as judge-y of it.

I, of course, promptly failed.

Despite its two endings, a lot of things don’t make sense in the story to me. Yeah, yeah, I hear those of you who liked it: “You like to be spoon fed the story.” Nope, I like stories to be clear. I guess you can interpret things a couple ways, if you’re into that; to me most of those ‘open’ stories (if it’s what it was intended to be) seem more like just writer laziness.

All the same, the story is not bad in the terms of horror games, even if it does get a bit challenged by the poor translation at certain parts throughout it.

But let’s forget about the story for now, we’re here to be scared, right?

The game has that pixel-RPG vibe of RPG Maker games. I’m not familiar enough with the horror assets of it, but I did quite like the art, sprites and the tiles used throughout. Dorothy was pretty adorable. Ambiance wise, the game took you from normal to eerie to black and white badness as you progress through the floors, and it did gave it all a bit of a gloomy, eerie feeling, so thumbs up for that.

Moving through the game is easy-peasy; you have the four movement buttons to the left and two buttons to the right (action and inventory). You interact with objects by walking up to them and pressing action, making text choices, and using items from your inventory.

The puzzles weren’t horribly difficult, but again, one or two included reading and you needed to do some slight extra job figuring out what the translation had meant. It wasn’t the worst translated game I’ve encountered, however, so it was still mostly understandable. There are more than a few timed scenes (chase scenes) which, if you know me and timed events, you will know I didn’t like them at all. Not only were they cheap tricks to get your heart pumping without using actual horror, but the monsters looked ridiculous.

   HideAndSeek[Story of Dorothy]- screenshot

The game has a gimmicky mobile item: hearts, which you lose every time you die, and you unfortunately lose hearts often because it has even some traps throughout. You replentish times every so many minutes of gameplay though, so no big deal. There are also clocks, I assume they grant you more time during chase scenes, but I didn’t try them, so I wouldn’t know.

You save on grandfather clocks which are placed rather generously through the game, a much appreciated feature considering it’s, as I mentioned, scattered with traps. I couldn’t decide if I liked these or not. They were quite interesting, though frustrating, and once you knew they existed they were rather easy to spot if you were paying attention. But the first couple felt like just cheap tricks to piss you off, so I was a bit torn.

There are various characters through the game, however, except for three of them (and then “mom” and “dad”) they didn’t bother to name any, and they are all called A, B and C. It was kind of a lazy move.

There were some problems with it though, with the save games disappearing, so save often and in more than one spot, just in case.

As for the ads, they were rather bothersome. I had some at the top which I was able to easily ignore after some playing, but the ones popping up when you lose or try to hit to go back are just cumbersome, so watch out for them.

All in all, I rather liked the game for the looks of it, but the unclear story and the gimmicky chases and silly monsters knocked a few stars out of it for me.

Is it scary? Meh. Skulls are scary… right? No?

Would I recommend it? I think you’d have fun if you’re into quick horror games, but if you like a horror game with substance, look elsewhere.

2.5/5

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Okami

 

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

Last and not least, for day 7, and the final day, I bring you Okami. If you haven’t yet played this one, boy are you missing out!

“Developed by the amazing Clover Studio and based on Japanese myths and folklore, you take on the role of a wolf, but not any old one! You take on the role of Amaterasu, a Shinto goddess of the sun, who must save the land from darkness”

One of the most distinctive things about Okami straight away (besides you being a wolf, that is), is the art style used throughout it. Even when it maintains 3D elements, the cel-shaded, cartoony like style is heavily reminiscent of the art style known as sumi-e, done with soft brushes and inks. Colorful and interesting, the visual style of Okami is what first draws you to it. The story, gameplay, and music is what makes you stay.

“Set in an old, feudal-ish style of Japan, Okami tells the story of how Amaterasu is called forth by a spirit protecting a village in order to help save it, after a warrior unseals (and fails to defeat again) a great evil”

The more you progress on the story goal, the more you will be able to explore of the world and, along the way Amaterasu will gain the help of a (rather annoying but thankfully easily ignored) companion, as well as meet other characters that will either help or hinder her along the way.

The game is RPG-styled; besides the main storyline quests you have side quests, mini-games, and some extra fun activities, such as feeding some wild animals or making trees bloom once again, slowly restoring the land to its former beauty. Each of these actions reward you with points later used to help raise stats, such as your health.

“The variety of attacks range from simple barks to making complex patterns on the screen”

Besides the basic attacks, Okami has a couple fun ones too: like peeing on an enemy or barking at them to attract or annoy them… but her main forte is her weapon, the Celestial Brush, through which, by drawing a certain symbol, you call forth certain powers: such as making trees bloom, attacking enemies with powerful attacks, etc. Of course, using this uses up ink, which requires you to keep a stock of this handy.

“Battle isn’t free-range; when you approach an enemy you’re encased in a small area within which to fight them. Certain enemies are weak to certain attacks. The rest of it is pretty common to other games”

Not everyone on the land know that this lovely little wolf is actually Amaterasu, and thus I found it a little weird that most villagers would randomly decide to put quests on what’s basically a dog… but I suppose that can be forgiven, as some of the quests are quite funny and interesting, as are the character’s reactions to the wolf’s actions.

Matching the feudal Japan style, the music used throughout the game, sometimes upbeat, sometimes not, is a perfect companion to the game. It’s so good in fact, I’ve even found myself wanting to get the sountrack for it.

“Even if you aren’t a big fan of RPGs, Okami is definitely a must-try game for its quirkiness, story and looks alone!”

And with Okami we finish up the week! Of course, I’ve left plenty of my favorite games out: Persona, .Hack, Final Fantasy, etc… if you’re interested in reading more PS2 reviews, then leave a comment below~

If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my other reviews for the PS2 Review Week series! Read you next time!

 

Way of the Samurai 2

 

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

For day 4 We have Way of the Samurai 2!

Following the Feudal Japan theme, Way of the Samurai 2 puts you in the role of a starving rounin who, having arrived to Amahara, must now make its way in the world and survive.

Way of the Samurai is mainly, but not entirely, a fighting game, and as such fighting is what you will be doing a lot of. However, you will also have choices to do other things, as well as choices on who you fight for, and against, by siding, or not, with the different factions.

Although I would have wished that this game was infinite play, it sadly has a time system. Each day is divided into five sections: Early morning, morning, afternoon, evening and night. Most of the things you can do, including traveling within locations, might take up time to achieve, so you have to manage your time carefully, for you only have a certain amount of days to work within. Because there’s a time limit, you will be left wanting to replay the game to accomplish things you’ve run out of time to do, or even to turn from a good samurai to a bad one…building your reputation and siding with different people and factions in each run.

Because of all the choices you can take, there are also several endings for each type of samurai you can become. You can become a lone samurai, a sort of police, a gang member, a people’s samurai, etc. It all depends on the quests, missions, and sides you take, and who you side or make friends with.

The controls aren’t the best, but they’re decent enough that you won’t find yourself troubled by them. There is some character customization at the start, letting you choose between male and female, a name, what starting weapons you’ll have, and a bit of variation in heads and clothes. While it’s not very vast, it’s nice to have various types of weapons and looks to choose from. If this is not enough, along your journey, aside from the typical consumables and story/quest-related papers, you will also find decorative items you can wear, sometimes quite funny, sometimes… really weird.

While Way of the Samurai 2 might not have a ground breaking story behind it, the sheer amount of choices you can make in your replays and the likeable characters, as well as the lovely typical music, make it a must-play for me.

 

4.5/5

Ladra

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!

4/5

Shadowrun Returns

Many might know Shadowrun, and more yet might now Shadowrun Returns: a tactical turn-based RPG set in a cyberpunk/fantasy world that fuses the best of tech and magic.

I can’t really speak for how Shadowrun Returns maintains the rules and setting, for I’ve admittedly never played the original game. I have, however, recently spent many an hour playing through the entirety of the base campaign, and then some extra campaigns, and I can honestly say: I love this game.

“Let’s start first with the basics, and the most important aspect for me: The game runs wonderfully on my old toaster of a computer. Requirements are fairly low, and the game ran smoothly throughout the entire gameplay”

Entering the game, you are presented with character choices. There are a few different type of characters you can choose, some that are more proficient in the physical aspect of fights, others in magic,  and others in technological aspects. Although the game doesn’t offer much in terms of customizing the looks of the characters, it still has various choices for hair styles and colors, skin, and character avatar, so you’re certain to find something you’re at the very list ok with.

Whatever type of character you choose, however, the fact remains that you are now a shadow runner; a man often hired to run jobs of various types and difficulties (and, perhaps, legality).

The story begins when you’re called by an old shadow runner friend who has died. That’s right, the man left a dead switch that would call you and request you to find his murderer, for a price, of course.

“I’m usually rather picky when it comes to stories in games that offer a lot to read in them, particularly if they’re based around characters, and this Shadowrun campaign does offer lots and lots of it”

Aside from the strategy/tactical aspect of the gameplay, there is a lot of background story to be told, a lot of extra information and logs that, although you don’t necessarily need to read, they bring a lot more to the world when you do, and a whole lot still of characters – admittedly some more complex than others.

And let me tell you, this game ticked all my boxes. It takes a very good story to make you like a character that starts off dead, and yet I totally loved him. I felt compelled to find his murderer and bring him justice just because he seemed like he’d been as good a friend as you could get in that world.

“The story was solid, although I do wish there had been more than the base campaign to play by the original makers; the characters were all likable (or appropriately non-likable for the bad guys 😉 ), and the world – the world is simply fantastic”

The mix of technology and magic isn’t even weird, it’s melded perfectly to create a perfectly reasonable world with strict rules of what can and can’t be done, and it’s somehow not strange at all to find yourself going down the street and suddenly meeting an elf, or a troll.

The art style is also very well done, though it borders on comic book style; the settings are beautifully put together, the mix of drab and brightness make for an interesting city, even if they do get a bit basic and feel slightly repetitive as you progress in the story.

The characters are nice, and the offered list of powers and perks for the various types, although they might not span into big skill trees, are sufficient to keep you entertained. The music, sounds and FX are not only fitting, but also very well done.

“As far as the gameplay aspect goes, it’s a very typical tactical RPG: you take turns to move from cover to cover and complete your mission”

I rather liked the implementation of deckers, a type of hackers, but it really felt like they didn’t have that much use in the game: when they were required I couldn’t usually bring more than one to the virtual world, or the trip to it was just too short to make it overly worthwhile.

The virtual maps though had an interesting feature that added to their complexity: an alarm would sound and rain hell on you if you were careless there.

“When it comes to character interactions is another part where the game shines, for you have various choices that can turn you into a good, neutral, or bad person according to the choices you make, and what you tell and how you treat people around you”

Like I said, the basic campaign is beautifully put together and a joy to play through, but it does feel too short and it leaves you wanting for more.

The upside? The game allows you to make your own campaigns: with a large community on the workshop, there are plenty of extra campaigns available for download and playing if you’re not into making them. Some are better than others, so it might take some trial and error before you find one you like.

Overall, I was very pleased with my play-through of Shadowrun Returns, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys some good storytelling.

Great game with wonderful writing and excellent support from the community. If you enjoy this type of game with this specific type of setting, then you definitely wont be disappointed!

Shinobi

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

For day 5 we have Shinobi! And for once it’s not set in feudal Japan.

“Once again taking the role of a sort of ninja, Shinobi follows Hotsuma as he makes his way through the Golden Palace, a mysterious place that appeared in Tokyo after suffered a massive earthquake, bringing with in a dangerous and evil sorcerer intent of bringing Hell to earth”

The game is quite hack and slash, making you go through eight levels of insanity with a horrible sense of urgency thanks to the sword your character wields: Akujiki, a demon sword that feeds off the souls of fallen enemies.

If you fail to keep the sword fed with enemy’s souls, then it will start feeding off your own. The real kicker? The gave has no real checkpoints. Good luck! You have a couple other weapons besides the sword as well, but that is your main one.

“Like any good ninja, Hotsuma is able to make amazing jumps and can run quite fast. The speed at which you move through the game makes it quite dizzying – in a good way”

You always feel like you’re making a lot of progress, even if you aren’t. Despite the hack-and-slash nature of the battle system, the rest is essentially a 3D platformer game. Trust me when I say you will be doing a lot of jumping, wall climbing, and general parkouring in between places, and that you will fail and fall more times than you’d like to.

“The graphics are quite interesting, the design of the ninja with his mask makes it quite creepy, and there’s something about his red scarf that I just love”

The music, traditional mixed with modern, upbeat themes, fits the whole sense of urgency the game has too.

While normally I don’t go for such games that make you repeat entire areas whenever you fail, the speed at which this game makes you move makes everything feel very fluid, and you will soon be at the point of your original fail in no time at all, even if re-slaying all those groups of enemies can turn quite annoying if you fail often.

Still, it’s a game I would greatly recommend even to more casual players.

 

Shinobido

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

For day 3 we have Shinobido!

“Shinobido: Way of the Ninja, throws you into the world of feudal Japan by putting you in the role of a ninja now suffering from amnesia. Everything from his name, where he is from, to his reason to being where he is or what he’s meant to do – all of it, he’s forgotten after an accident”

There is a mysterious person who begins to communicate with him by way of letter – a letter that’s attached to arrows shot to his little hideout shack. He is the one to say the memories and soul of the ninja have been stolen and somehow inserted into in eight mythical stones, which are now, of course, scattered.

This gives you the goal of the game. The way in which you accomplish it is, as advised by the mystery writer, to gain the support of one of three warlords from the area in order to make things easier for yourself.

“As you progress through the game, the various warlords offer you different missions and payments, sometimes with extra rewards (for instance, one of the eight stones), and you’re free to accept or deny any one of them”

Of course, accepting one will put you at odds with the other two – particularly if the chosen mission plots against one of them.

Shinobido has very high replayability because of this: You can play to get the favor of each lord or of none, or try to pit one against the other… In between missions, you’ll have to fend off the occasional attack to your shack by savages, which makes for good practice of your skills and of trap-setting.

“As a ninja you will be able to buy and make use of several skills, upgrades, and extra items, not only to set up as traps, but also for active use (such as various type of bombs)”

Each mission happens in a different map, sometimes you might revisit the map in another mission, sometimes you’ll get a different one. The lords’ castles are the most fun to explore. Like any ninja, you’re supposed to avoid detection, the game leaving it up to you if you want to skulk around unnoticed or sneakily kill people, but usually it’s a lost case to go in guns blazing… and in some particular missions, will take you straight to a game over. While the game isn’t exactly open world, within each mission you will be able to choose which path to take to your goal, some being easier and others harder.

“There are also various types of missions you can choose from: retrieving items, killing everyone, find and steal from a convoy, or guard the convoy, assassinate a single person, etc; giving you plenty of choice to avoid things you don’t like doing”

The controls are surprisingly intuitive, and you have so many things you can do as a ninja that you actually make use of each and every button in your controller. The characters move smoothly, the AI is fairly good, noises might attract people, you can use distraction techniques, and much more.

The graphics are really good for a PS2 game, the story is compelling and interesting, and the sounds and looks fit perfectly. Then again, I have a thing for old Japanese sites, in case you couldn’t tell.

Shinobido is a game I often find myself going back to play over and over, and if you’re into stealth, you will too.

ICO

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

For day 6 I bring you along ICO. You’ll aww, and you’ll cry.

“Developed by Team Ico, makers of Shadows of the Colossus and The Last Guardian (both also Amazing games!), Ico follows the story of, well, Ico. He’s a young boy from a village that had the misfortune of being born with horns”

The village has a whole story about the horned children being a bad omen, so whenever one is born, they take them and lock them away in an apparently abandoned fortress. In this fortress Ico finds Yorda, an apparently mute girl whom he’ll become fast friends with, and find as well many a lurking danger…

“I won’t tell you more about the story, as I don’t want to spoil it and truly, the story is everything in this game, even when everything else also makes it a wonderful play through”

Ico is a puzzle/platformer game, and as such, you will be scratching your head several times trying to figure out the puzzles, some of which will require Yorda to help you – and Ico to help her in turn, with the final goal of escaping the fortress.

“The controls are simple, helping you feel more immersed in the game by not constantly having game elements in your face”

The graphics and the general artistic air of it all is simply beautiful, breath taking even, the details on the fortress and on the characters bringing them easily to life, along with their very distinct personalities helping plenty to do this as well. The soft music and sounds seem perfect to the game as well.

“The puzzles are intuitive but still challenging, and by making you require the use of both characters to get through, they make you grow even more attached to them… not that you need more help”

The game is most immersive and the uniqueness of Ico and Yorda, as well as their growing friendship (have I mentioned they hold hands? They are both super adorable!), totally pulls at all your heart strings over and over again.

Honestly, there is nothing to hate at all on this game. It’s beautiful, it’s artistic, it has a great story, and great gameplay. It’s definitely a must play, and, once you’re done, I definitely recommend you go and read the book it was based on, as well.

Definitely worth your time, 10 stars out of 5. (What do you mean that’s not a proper rating?)

Chronicles of a Dark Lord: Episode 1 Tides of Fate Review

In Chronicles of a Dark Lord by Kisareth Studios, you take the role of an atypical ‘hero’. Rather than the usual RPG kid-turned-hero, you’re taking on the role of a kid-turned-evil who goes after even more evil than his amount of evil. I know, I could’ve totally phrased that better. You still understood though, right?

The game has… some cool things, and some not cool things. But lets start at the beginning!

First thing you get when you start the game is an option for resolutions. It’s an RPG Maker game, and so the engine make the resolution choices so very, very odd. I have nothing against RPG Maker games, truly, but this one just seemed to bump into all the things I don’t like about RPG Maker as an engine. Not the least of which was trying to take a screenshot, and ending up closing the game without a warning. Hah. That was not an amusing moment, specially because the game starts with a rather long, somewhat boring, friggin’ unskippable intro scene made of text about how dark the whole thing is and will be, and the fight of darkness and light, and the chronicles of the Dark Lord, and etc, etc, etc. Yawn. Can we not learn this while we’re playing? I mean, I appreciate some backstory, but this is the first episode/installment, so shouldn’t the story begin here? And this is a game. If I want to read a book, I’ll go grab one, not a game.

I get it, it’s dark. It’s right on the title. Lets move long!

Already from the get-go I’m torn about the art. Even if I like RPGs like this, pixel art is not my favorite style, but I know you can do really neat stuff with it, and really cute (and really dark) stuff as well, but the pixel art on this looks pretty generic. The tiles that make up the world are, too me, too bold and bright, and I don’t mean it only for the story type and ambiance (which as I understand, is ~dark~). The character sprites are cute and I like them, but again: they’re generic to RPG maker. The character heads when the text pops up are also cute, but all characters are rather similar to one another, by which I mean there is a limited amount of sprite bases that had hair type and color and eye color interchanged. Some had some differences, but for the most, they were all too similar, and all too basic-RPG Maker style. It would’ve been nice if, for a change, they would’ve had some expression in the avatars that went along with the emotions of what was being said, or just… general, notable differences.

I’ll also say it’s consistently inconsistent in its art. During the fights (more on the battle system later) the enemy sprites are turned into larger, grown-up sprites with a lot more detail. This would not be so bad, except that they 1. don’t match the background with the level of detail and 2. don’t match your own sprites, which are still tiny chibified things. Reading on it, I came to find out that was actually a choice by the developer… and a (relatively recent at the time of starting this review) update. Just why you would change one sprite and not the other is beyond me.

You see what I mean? It just doesn’t fit.

Moving onto the sound aspect, the music is fairly good, but quite repetitive, so I ended up lowering the volume for it (which I often do anyway). We get a decent range of options on the menu, by the way… and a save-anytime button there too. Cookie points for that. I do like compulsively saving every five minutes and after cut-scenes.

The gameplay is rather typical of most old styled RPGs – move around the map with your keyboard, interact with enter, esc for cancelling things. If you’ve played RPGs before you will be used to checking absolutely everything, from shelves to barrels to piles of hay… and the good thing about Chronicles is, in this, it does pay off. You can get some items for your trouble and find out amusing things – like the piano not being just decoration but actually getting to make some music out of it (it’s no mini-game mind you, just the interaction sound), or the cat actually meowing at you, or how they went through the trouble of putting your wife’s photo in a frame on your bedroom – it’s a nice detail, but it’s made too obvious with, again, slightly clashing styles in the pixel art.

Some of the maps are rather big and empty, even though you can tell they tried to fill it up aesthetically. It’s a weird contradiction, but there you have it. On the upside, you can run (or ‘dash’), which is cool.

The battle system is simple and concise, and also interesting. I was quite fond of it. It’s a typical turn based, random-encounter styled fight system, however, it’s not really random at all. You have a very nifty bar at the top which fills as you walk around certain areas, and when it’s full, you have an encounter. If you stop, the bar slowly depletes. Thus, you can sort of control if you want to have an encounter or not, and it’s not entirely random. The skills you can get through leveling up make sense, seem balanced enough, and are no bloat. You’ll probably have a use for everything you end up having. The art, however… as I’ve already said, is inconsistent and slightly distracting. The only downside was I couldn’t find a way to see the enemy HP, which was really annoying.

I’ve already touched a bit on the story, but it’s basically this:

It’s been foreordained that some kid would be born that would inherit some dark powers and be evil, but would also be the savior of the world in some war or another with an even eviler evil. Oh well, the better of two evils, right? The game gets cookie points for originality in actually being (one of the) the bad guy(s).

The names of the characters are kind of fanfiction-y, and so seem to be their personality types (and there’s not a lot of personality or types in them); so is the lesbianism, which would be better if it actually made sense in the story, but ends up just seeming gratuitous (again, I have no trouble with this normally, but it either has to make sense or the game be strictly about it). By the way, the ‘fanfitcion-y’ thing was not a compliment. (Disclaimer: I know there’s good fanfiction out there, that’s not the one I was referring to).

It seems like they wanted to give you options, like being really evil or not so evil, and they promise it will affect the outcome of the story, but I couldn’t notice any major impact during gameplay on what your choices are save for the occasional option to kill a random NPC – and a few times it wasn’t even an option at all – and even that didn’t seem to have great consequences. Granted, I got too fed up with the game to see it through the end.

Also, the game is trying too hard at everything. It tries too hard to be dark and gothic, and then they throw out “funny” lines that make it try too hard to be funny in a not-dark-at-all kind of way.

Finally, there’s no steam overlay. That was sad. Very, very sad. But it’s to be expected with RPG Maker games.

The game offers some 20 to 25 hours of average, generic gameplay, so if you’re very into old styled RPGs and don’t care much about the downsides of it, or if it’s on sale, then it might still be worth the money. Otherwise… steer clear.

TL;DR: Generic art, decent music, meh story, undecided style, cookie points for an attempt at originality.

Would I recommend it? Not unless you’re very into RPGs.

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.