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Logan's Impressions

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Level 82
Spoiler for Random Info:
I've decided to some reviews on a number of games that are available through RMRK.net, starting with the GIAW9 entries. Do note that I was not an official judge in GIAW9 so my review/scores are not included in the final outcome for that contest. These are just done for fun. I'll probably judge next time though, since I always seem to get caught in some real life issues a little too often to reliably enter anything.

Clicking on the title of a game in the lists below will take you to the post where the review can be read. You can even click to the link to view the original project thread by clicking the "View The Original Project" link beside the creator(s) name(s) or by clicking the title of the game within the review post.

Do feel free to leave comments, especially if you are the creator(s) of the game that has been reviewed. Be sure to include the name of the game that you are commenting on the review for, so it makes sense.

Game In A Week Reviews

This section is for reviews of the games that were entered in a Game In A Week contest and were scored, and have been released to the public. These reviews mostly relate to the version that was released shortly after the contest, and not the versions that may have since been expanded on after the contest. Whilst the reviews may not necessarily be done in the order that they placed, the links below will reflect their final positions in the contest. My own scores may not reflect the actual results.

Game In A Week 9
Nightmare by Zylos - View The Original Project - 7.75/10

Non Contest Reviews
These are reviews of games that have not been entered in RMRK's Game In A Week contests, though they may have appeared in other contests or won other awards such as Project of the Month. They come in three flavours: reviews of an entire playthrough of a game, First Impression reviews and reviews of games still in their development/demo phase.

Games that are either very good and worth investing time into experiencing them all the way through will get a Completed Game review. Games which are stated to be shorted than 2 to 3 hours will always get a Completed Game review.

First Impressions are reviews that have been made after a maximum of 1 hour of playing a game. These will be common for games that are quite long in play length, especially those that exceed 5 hours.

Demo Phase reviews are for games that are still in development. The scoring system will also be different due to the nature of in-development projects. They will be almost always found in the Substantial Projects section of RMRK. Only in special cases will a game from New Projects be reviewed.

Completed Games

First Impressions

Demo Phase
« Last Edit: April 23, 2012, 01:52:11 PM by Marc »
(Why do I always feel like it's the end of the world and I'm the last man standing?)

Level 82
~ Reserved ~

Just in case.
(Why do I always feel like it's the end of the world and I'm the last man standing?)

Level 82
by Zylos

Version: April 12th 2012

Winner of Game In A Week 9

If I was to categorize Nightmare with one word it would probably be Lovecraftian. Both the game’s premises and the execution of it both adhere to a number of fundamental Lovecraft ideologies, from the lack of characterization to the powerlessness of the protagonist against the only real enemy, The Shadow, who relentlessly attempts to impede our journey.

The game begins with our protagonist, of whom we never get acquianted with his name, waking up in a what looks to be a prison cell and the only sounds coming from the lantern and his own bewilderment. This, in itself, isn’t a new concept to this type of horror story. It can be compared with how most Silent Hill games start off: an unfamiliar location with no idea what is going on. Also like Silent Hill, the atmosphere is tense and dark with very little lighting or visibility to show the way. The sound effects too are eerily reminiscent to these games and adds to the increasing build up of tension and fear that both the protagonist and the player are feeling. To complete the comparison, we are also subjected to what can be described as nightmare scenes in which the protagonist enters areas that would not normally be there and that often serves to progress the story.

The storyline itself isn’t really that original. However, an original story wasn’t the intention here, but rather the concept of dreams and reality merging into one. Like a good mystery, we are given snippets of the events that have occurred that put the protagonist in the position he is in. We slowly put together the truth and are then able to face and come to terms with whole story. It’s this journey that, whilst not new, makes the story solid and enjoyable. The writing behind the elements that put this story together are extremely well written and give just the right amount of information that we need. From written articles to conversation with characters both by the protagonist and between others there is no shortage of material to provide us with clues as to what the story is all about.

There are a few puzzles to solve, in addition to the story, though most are more focussed on finding items and taking them to the correct locations. Some of the puzzles, however, require a little more thought and breaks up the repetition of moving from point A to point B. Solving puzzles usually lets you find more items like keys that unlock additional areas to explore or are simply obstacles that must be overcome.

Talking about exploration, there are a good number of rooms that you can check out that contain either key items for progression or story elements like the aforementioned articles. Some rooms also contain some very clever, though very familiar if you’ve played other psychological horror games, use of scare mechanics like shattering objects and doors that slam themselves shut.

Whilst exploring there is a good chance that you will start to hear the sound of heartbeats that get louder as The Shadow, an enemy character whose name explains almost everything, looms closer (much like the effect given off by the radio in the Silent Hill games); touching this shadow will result in instant death. The game is quite sympathetic, however, in that it returns you back to a recent location to try again. As such, there is no actual death but rather a slight setback that is quick to get you back to the game. Paired with the ability to save the game at any moment, there is no reason not to explore and find all the information that you possible can.

For casual players, this is likely an acceptable solution. However, for those of us who like the feeling of fear, this does start to reduce the overall effect due to the lack of required apprehension in moving around an unknown location. Coupled with the fact that The Shadow has predifined starting locations, what starts off as a feeling of fear and foreboding soon becomes little more than an annoyance. Also, once you learn The Shadow’s movement mechanics, it is extremely easy to avoid the death and thus bypass any real sense of tension from this common, and only, enemy.

Overall, the game is solid and enjoyable and definitely worth playing. It delivers what it promises very effectively, despite the enemy being predictable as well as the heavy similarity to Silent Hill. Many times you will find yourself jumping, and possibly gasping, from the clever use of fast graphical changes and sudden sound effects. The music too is well chosen and fits every situation that you find yourself in to create and add to the already high level of tension. Considering that we are not used to 2D games being scary anymore, this one has earned its 1st place award in the Game In A Week 9 contest.

If you haven’t played it yet, then get right to downloading it here. It only takes between 1 to 2 hours, depending on your puzzle solving skills and the desire to explore. It also has two endings, adding a little extra replayability should you enjoy the first time around.

Please note that these contain game spoilers and, with the exception of the scores themselves, have been hidden with spoiler tags.

Spoiler for Original Version Scores[/spoiler:
Playability  7.5/10
Spoiler for:
For the most part the game played very well. The simplistic menu stripped out all of the unnecessary crap you find in a number of RM games (often because it seems cool and required I think) and made it easy and quick to check what items I had to help figure out what path to take.

The addition of the map was nice, but it really would have been nice to have had even a simple position marker as well as marks on key locations. It can easily become a task to remember what you are doing and where you are going with no additional information outside of figuring out where you were.

The item based puzzles were simple and didn’t really require much thought. This was fine, though, because they aren’t designed to be difficult.

The riddle regarding the twelve spirits had me stumped for a fair while; I had to ask Pacman since he was further along what the answer was. Even after knowing it (and being told there was another clue somewhere) I have no idea how it correlates to the riddle itself. Also, the silhouette puzzle took me a few attempts because I couldn’t quite decide what I was looking for – appendages, things touching the floor etc.

My biggest gripe, in terms of puzzles, has to be with the box puzzle. It’s a lot of running back and forth trying to get the boxes in the right position. For a very easy puzzle, it took more time just to get to the otherside of the box that to actually figure out what to do and where to move them to.

I had expected a lot more from The Shadow in terms of adding to the fear, but this was soon extinguinshed when I realised it spawns in the exact same location each time, with the exception of it seeming to teleport in the large hallway area on the 1st floor. And because I could save anywhere, it became a distraction more than a fear factor. Had this been a lot more random (and without being able to save all the time) this would have been almost perfect in my opinion.

Finally, there was way too many locked doors. It annoyed me in Silent Hill, and it started to annoy me in this game too. I sometimes even kept trying the same doors, either because I forgot it was locked or I was hoping something might have changed. I understand that a lot of the rooms aren’t exactly too important, but they could still have been used to some other effect.

Ingenuity 6.5/10
Spoiler for:
The story was solid. I really cannot fault it. The writing was exceptional and I enjoyed uncovering the mystery. The only thing that I don’t like is the lack of attachment with the characters. I’m a person who enjoys learning about the characters and not knowing even their name made it hard to want to get to know them. At no point was I really interested in anything but figuring out the biggest puzzle; the story. And whilst mysteries are my favourite genre in writing/storytelling, I would have liked to have had more with the characters. Despite this, I knew that it wasn’t the main focus and so I haven’t reflected this in my score. It is just a bit of information about my personal preferences.

Its gains a lot of its score simply because there is no common battle system. It’s not always about beating and defeating the enemy but rather avoiding it, which makes for a nice change from most RM games – though that is likely because it isn’t the typical RPG trope.

Where the score fails to achieve high, is that it wasn’t a very original story. It contained a lot of very commonly used elements and plot points. Whilst it was solid, it isn’t very ingenious. Some interesting plot twists may have given this a better score, but with such a short game I’m not sure it could be achieved too easily.

Polish 9/10
Spoiler for:
If I was to give it a lower score, it would reflect my opinion at all. I absolutely enjoyed the music and sound effects. The radio was impressive, and the fact that it changed volume as you approached it was an excellent touch. Even the title screen was very well set up and immediately set the scene before getting into the game itself.

Graphically, the tilesets and images used gave the appropriate feeling to the atmosphere; the blood on the walls made me wonder if I was about to have something nasty jump out at me. Almost every area was well layed out and gave off the right vibes.

As noted before, the other assets like the articles and the scenes with the priest, were well written and added a good level of depth to the story and the experience. I especially loved the hospital scene whereby the room turned on its side.

I also got a little fed up off the grey message box. I preferred the text being shown without it, and for a lot of the internal thoughts of the protagonist it would have suited better. Even in the encounters with other characters, the use of the dim background would have been preferred.

Entertainment 8/10
Spoiler for:
I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game all the way through, and I would definitely play it again. As someone who enjoys this genre (mystery mostly, though I do enjoy horror too) it was definitely worth the two hours I spent playing it. It wouldn’t have taken so long had I solved the riddle faster, or decided not to look around a lot.

What lowered the score for entertainment was, again, the predictable enemy and the ability to save anywhere and everywhere. Because of that, I was able to simply run through everything without apprehension and eventually the scares only came from a few key moments. I did enjoy the final puzzle/battle, even though it took a couple of attempts. The Shadow moves a little too fast after a few of the torches are lit.


Total: 31 / 40
Average: 7.75 / 10

Spoiler for:
A solid game with a solid story. It has the right atmosphere of a horror game, made so by the great use of graphics and sound effects. What let it down was very few things, though the effect was a little too big to be discounted. A more random enemy that seemed to chase the protagonist would have worked very well – though is a little harder to pull off effectively – as well as a map that showed a bit more information.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 03:42:31 PM by Marc »
(Why do I always feel like it's the end of the world and I'm the last man standing?)

The Hero of Rhyme
Level 83
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
2014 Queen of RMRKProject of the Year 20142014 Best RPG Maker User - Story2011 Best Newbie2014 Best RPG Maker User - Creativity2014 Kindest Member2013 Queen of RMRKBronze SS AuthorBronze Writing ReviewerSecret Santa 2013 ParticipantFor taking arms in the name of your breakfast.GOOD!For frequently finding and reporting spam and spam bots2012 Best Yuyubabe Smiley2012 Best RPG Maker User (Creativity);o
:o Me like! Logan gives detailed reviews~

There's a crap ton of bugs in the original Major Arcana. The demo on the thread we made is no different (currently) other then with bug fixes. If you do one for Major Arcana, are you going to need the bugged out version? :o If not, I could tell you what the bugs are.

Either way, thanks for doing these, Logan! :) It's always great for the contestants to get some additional feedback!
Spoiler for My Games and Art:

My Artwork Thread

The Lhuvia Tales [Current]

Ambassador [Complete]

The Postman [Complete]

The Wyvern [Complete]

Phoenix Wright: Haunted Turnabout [Complete]

Major Arcana [Cancelled]