Tag Archives: Development

Haven Review: Ara Fell

  maxresdefault  I am a lover of RPG’s some are good, some are bad and some are decent but presents a fair amount of issues. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love the deeply laid stories found in role-playing games but that is only half the pleasure of one.

Ara Fell lives up to its title. Where someone falls down a hole. Now moving right along let’s get into the dynamics of this game. They give you an option of a story mode only which you can one shot all the enemies you encounter in the games story. Something like this is, needed I think. As a lot of the stories for role-playing games is what interests people in playing them.988xt7y

However as a traditionalist I have decided not to use this route and kept playing. Next up it gave me an option to disable tutorials which I disabled but it was all a lie, a lie I tell you, lies!!!

I then spent the prologue getting mandatory tutorials so I could move on and it drove me absolutely insane, as did the issue with cut-scenes.  Some cut-scenes were skip-able and others were mandatory and it never explained to you which ones are which.

Some wait for you to hit next so you can continue on with the story while others just kept fast forwarding through the text not even giving you a chance to really read what is going on there so for a person like me with dyslexia it was near impossible to figure out what is going on.ara_fell_review_image_04

The game plays as a attempt to be funny during some scenes and, I feel it tries to get me to like the characters a bit more than I should have. Nothing really stood out to me accept the beautiful design of the game which is reminiscent of classic Final Fantasy titles in terms of style.

Now for the music, when the game actually game me music to listen too I thought it was kinda nice. Although albeit a bit buggy at times which killed most of the audio I would generally hear from it. But the main issue I have with the game is how it tries very hard to make it self-stand out from all its RPG predecessors in terms of mechanics with a very in-depth crafting system and ATB battle system with unique skills and combat flow.ss_296f70972f1e26470d286991c11eed2d19ef670b-600x338 I know it may sound like an unfair comparison but Square-Enix wrote the book on what a RPG battle system should be for classic themed RPG’s. A [Active Time Battle] system can indeed work but  if not clogged down with various other abilities, effects and everything else.

The more basic battle system is the best battle system, if its made overly complicated, people will have a hard time enjoying it. Same with a crafting system in-depth in a simple RPG. It’s not needed, keeping it simple is one of the best things of classic RPG’s. In a 3D environment you should expect to see more complex things but in a 2D environment its best to stay away from these things.arafell-3

However despite my quarrels with the mechanics of the game, the game remains very close to its true roots in terms of RPG’s. After a while the characters start to warm up to me, and the tone of the game with its light-hearted atmosphere remains enjoyable.

In the end its worth checking out, if you want something different from the rest.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

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Haven Review: RPG Maker MV

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

RPG Maker MV is a software that has been used to make many great titles such as To the MoonA Bird’s Story and various others. It’s had a good run on Steam Greenlight as well, along with a lot of half-baked indie titles that many “designers” have put zero effort into making. You know who I’m talking about.carousel-logo-rpg-maker-mvBut despite all this, the software remains as versatile as ever with its newest iteration to replace RPG Maker VX Ace. The previous version has actually helped us start a project for our very first game called Chronicles: Heroes of the First Light and has been easy to learn. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s so simple a child could use it (as they advertise).

However RPG Maker VX Ace has been outdated for a while now, and has been limited by an old coding language called Ruby. A big issue is the platform. It’s strictly for Windows; no support for any other platform including mobile gaming. But as the times change so does the software, and the newest version comes forth.rpg-maker-mv-08-07-15-3

RPG Maker MV, now cleanly coded in Javascript, gives game developers a new level of versatility and a lot more stability. Games can be designed in glorious 1080p or higher resolution and ported not only to Windows, but also to Android and Apple products.  There is even a plugin written just for RPG Maker VX Ace, which will allow people to port their previous games into the new engine to help bring their titles to other platforms.

The learning curve for RPG Maker MV though is about the same as in previous versions, where you could load a person’s script and use it in your title. That hasn’t changed, except now it is just a more familiar coding language used by a lot of people. As always too, the RPG Maker community is incredibly helpful. With the new software being out only a few months, a wave of new plugins has already started to arrive; making game developing easier for newcomers and for those wanting to port their title.

Our own title has already been ported to the new engine and is progressing along smoothly. New features included in this iteration of RPG Maker now let players choose to include side battlers (as in Final Fantasy) or exclude them (as per Phantasy Star). This new setup eliminates the need for a lot of convoluted plugins and makes it easier for people to design a game they want.Screenshot 2015-11-09 04.39.59

Other new features include support for higher quality .ogg audio files. Although being honest here, I didn’t even realize MP3s were considered low quality until our composer questioned me about it. One of the new features I am trying to come to terms with is a plugin-enabled script. Back in the original software, each script we loaded had to have some degree of confusing instructions to follow which made things hard to understand. But in MV this is replaced with the Plugin command. Simply placing the desired effect into the Plugin command in the events section will enable the plugin.

All in all though, I simply love the new RPG Maker being able to use high quality images and audio. I can only hope the games we review down the line will be more gems to put into the chest of great works. Although I may not care for a lot of RPG Maker games (due to lack of designer effort), I know that someone out there will be making the next best titles with this software. I look forward to playing them.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

Haven Review: Labyronia RPG

LabRPGLongFirst up is our disclaimer.  We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.    

Labyronia RPG is an indie game developed by Labyrinthine using the RPG Maker VX Ace engine. Both the game and the engine are available for purchase on Steam. Reminiscent of the early Zelda and Final Fantasy titles, Labyronia RPG will take you on a perilous top-down adventure through lands of varied terrain. By collecting inventory and special abilities, your goal is to fight your way to the final boss and earn 6 glorious Steam achievements. So excited were the developers that on August 14, 2015 they announced a $300 (US) reward to the first player to beat the game!

LabHomeThe first order of business when starting a new game is to wake up. Guide the protagonist, Arres, around his home and investigate everything. Items of interest are marked with an animated gold circle. Chests and other containers are not so marked…you’ll just have to rely on cool RPG skills to figure out they’re worth a look. Before long, you’ll discover numerous tomes in which to immerse yourself in the rich lore surrounding the open world. As your adventure continues, you’ll come across towns, forests, deserts and special landmarks. Again, be sure to investigate anything that looks out of place, or seems different from usual screen fare. There’s a good chance it’s a usable item of some sort. Look closely at the picture below…can you see the special item? And no, it’s not the tent!

LabTentLet’s talk towns. As per RPG standards, these settlements contain three staples of adventuring: markers, buildings and non-player characters (NPCs). Markers can be anything from a fountain to trash dumpster…basically, a stationary item of interest. In Labyronia, a prominent town marker is the “Save Game” lamp post.
LabTownBuildings provide a service, whether it be weaponry, food or simply a place to sleep.
LabInnNPCs are the most interesting of the town staples, as they offer clues to help you advance the story line. Sometimes their assistance is direct; at other times cryptic. Either way, they’re always interesting to meet.LabNPCs1The open world is vast, and you’ll often come across important locales other than towns. The forest maze is one of the earliest such places you’ll visit. It’s not hard to guess which of the above NPCs you’ll meet in the forest. Follow her (oops) advice carefully to survive and enhance your character during your stay here.

LabMazeSpeaking of survival, what RPG would be complete without combat? Enemies are easy to spot at a distance, as they meander aimlessly about…until they get within a few hex spaces of you! If an enemy moves into a hex adjacent to yours, you fight. Combat is a simple, turn-based affair; similar to the classic dungeon-crawls of old (and some new). When it’s your turn, choose one of four actions:

Attack with a weapon
Cast a spell
Defend/Block
Use an itemLabFight3While the mechanics are easy to use, winning a battle is another story. NPCs are quick to warn you of danger, and that you’re probably not strong enough to defeat anything yet. Just remember that there’s no hurry. Be patient and get your money’s worth. As of this writing, the game is on sale for $1.64 (US). But be warned…soon enough the sale will end, and the price goes back up to 3 bucks.

This brings us to our final point: game value. Is Labyronia RPG worth it? The answer for me is an overwhelming YES. I’ve always been a fan of RPGs, dungeon-crawls and the like. Now that the RPG Maker VX Ace engine is available to all, expect to see many of these outstanding projects soon. Who knows, perhaps you could be the next great RPG designer! In the meantime, have fun with this one.Labyronia RPG Scale-Chris Roberts-