2012 In Review 009 - The Kirby Lands

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Gizmog
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2012 In Review 009 - The Kirby Lands

Post by Gizmog »

Pre-Thoughts:
Ashamed to admit I've been dreading this one. I like Fnrrf alright, I remember OkeDoke was sort of cool, but everything I've heard about this game is that it's very long and somewhat slow. I remember
thinking the Kirby Lands thing was a joke when I first read about it, and then it took me even longer to realize he was basing character design on Kirby. I mean, that's not a terrible thing. Better Kirby than Sonic, at least. I can't imagine it's gonna take itself too seriously given the Kirby basis, so hopefully it'll make up for the RPGism with jokes.

Thoughts during game:

Cool logo-splash and title screen!

..don't EVER start your game off with an unwinnable battle! Especially not one that takes longer than a couple of seconds!

Okay, 8 minutes in and I finally get to start pushing buttons. That's waaaay too long.

No idea what I'm supposed to be doing. If I weren't writing a review, I would quit right here.

You should never have to buy equipment right off the bat: if you have to buy equipment off the bat, you should've just started with it. going to the shop is not fun!

ANOTHER unwinnable battle?!

20 minutes in: I have bought equipment, watched cutscenes and been in TWO unwinnable battles. Where's the sliming game, when do I get to do stuff

Music in this town has a hitch when it loops.

SHOW, DON'T TELL! God, these white text on black backdrop cutscenes!

Appreciate the "Use Rage Thrice" Special ability thing. A nice touch.

DO NOT appreciate the game automatically closing on game over, forcing me to restart the EXE to try again

...and that cool logo-splash and title screen are non-skippable :(

Enemy that did 75% of my health in damage dropped 6 KP... 20% of the cost of the inn... and that's one of the rare ones that gives money!

Can't beat what's her face in the Library's basement. Don't feel like trying again.

Post-thoughts:

Okay, we got a lot of common OHR-RPG mistakes here. We got some cool stuff, some really cool attempts at stuff, but a lot of megaslime too. I'm giving up because I am totally stuck. I do not have enough money to use the inn, I probably would not make it to the stairs even if I did. Enemies are not giving me enough money to make it worth fighting them, and they ae doing enough damage before I can run away that it is also inefficient. Being able to dodge is somewhat useless when you're on your own, when enemies can stun you, and can do half of your damage in a single hit. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This game makes the #1 RPG Mistake: It drastically overestimates the players desire to play it. Like I said earlier, it's nearly ten mnutes before you can do anything, and almost immediately after you're thrown into more cutscenes, pointless wandering, and an unwinnable battle. When your first two battles are unwinnable, it makes the player feel like they are just being railroaded along by your story. I'm not saying games can't have an intro or that they shouldn't have cutscenes in general, but when so much of your game it cutscenes you rely on the cutscenes to be engrossing. Having 12 god damn textboxes of "ARE YOU THE KING?" "YEAH I'M THE KING" "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OLD KING?" "DUNNO" "I BET IT WAS SOMETHING BAD" "MAYBE" "YOURE PISSING ME OFF" "YEAH I DO THAT" "WE SHOULD FIGHT" "NOT YET" "WHY NOT" "OKAY NOW" and then an unwinnable battle is a waste of my time and makes me want to play something else. Also, when I die (For real, that is, in the battles where I'm allowed to) the game quits to desktop. Probably a side effect of that cool little title screen. Which you can't skip. Putting even more precious seconds between me and your game. You can't give a guy an excuse to quit, or he will. Playing your game should be the easiest god damn move to make!

It also makes the #2 RPG mistake which is that everything is too damn slow and you usually end up just holding the space bar and waiting for it to be over.

Secondly, you need to decide what the hell kind of a game this is. If it's going to be a serious game, be a serious game. If it's gonna be a goofy game, be a goofy game. But don't sit here and expect me to enjoy endless discussions of the history of a race of GOD DAMN KIRBIES and their crocodile king! I can't take it seriously and it wants to be! And some of the stuff that would be funny if it were a lazy silly game isn't as funny when you've got troubling racial issues, like crocodiles eating Kirbies at the cafe.

The ultimate problem, and the reason I am writing this angry review instead of playing more of your game is that I got stuck. Made some bad choices equipment wise, decided to wander down to the castle and see if I could sneak in, blew some money on inn trips and the enemies did'nt give me enough money to recoup my losses. Most encounters gave me no money and took away HP which needed 30 KP to restore. One of the few battles I ran into that gave moeny had an enemy who did like 28 damage to my 42 health, and who gave me 5 KP. That meanas for every 3 times I die, I can heal once. That's not good. It also wasn't a lot of fun being in that basement with only one guy and with enemies who could stun me, and my only choice was to "ATTACK" or "DODGE". Dodging is pointless when you're on your own! Dodging isn't gonna kill the enemies any faster. And there's a chance they might hit you even if you try.

I feel like I might be missing out on a lot here, but I just don't have the endurance to hold the spacebar down for another twenty minutes to get back to where I was. I guess I would still suggest the game, if you're a fan of this longer kind of OHR Game? If you don't mind the game telling you about things instead of letting you do them? If you're a guy whose DeviantArt is covered with what you and your friends would look like as Kirby? If you're willing to be careful not to screw yourself over by EXPLORING THE WORLD THAT IS AVAILABLE TO YOU?! Then yeah, you might like it. Characters are cute and likable, graphics are pretty good. I actually could've done without the 8-Bitness, but I don't know if that was mandatory for a contest or what. Maybe I'm not giving it a fair chance, maybe it didn't give me a fair chance. Who knows?
Attachments
That's good advice.
That's good advice.
tkl0048.png (6.44 KiB) Viewed 2469 times
The thrilling conclusion to the first scenario: 4 points of defense. Yay..
The thrilling conclusion to the first scenario: 4 points of defense. Yay..
tkl0041.png (2.7 KiB) Viewed 2469 times
Social Undertones: Blurby = Black Kirby
Social Undertones: Blurby = Black Kirby
tkl0036.png (6.64 KiB) Viewed 2469 times
This... is the end.
This... is the end.
tkl0053.png (4.54 KiB) Viewed 2469 times
Bonus bug!
Bonus bug!
tkl0055.png (5.6 KiB) Viewed 2469 times
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FnrrfYgmSchnish
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Post by FnrrfYgmSchnish »

The game's title is The K'hyurbhi Lands. (There actually is a game titled The Kirby Lands, which is what I thought was being reviewed when I clicked this... "oh hey, someone finally reviewed that old hunk of crap that I made over a decade ago... wait, no, that's not the awful MS Paint title screen of The Kirby Lands... this is a different game, nevermind.")

[s]"basing character design on Kirby"[/s] "basing the design of K'hyurbhis and maybe Blurbys on Kirby."

Yeah, the intro battle with Numm is too long. I should go back and change it so that "King Numm: unbeatable version" is a lot stronger than the real version you fight later so that it's more obvious you can't win (and so it ends quicker.)

Whoops, I missed the "you can open the menu on the title screen" thing.

Yeah, I guess making people go buy stuff right away probably isn't the greatest design decision... to be fair though, I was trying to make this "8-bit" and basically every 8-bit RPG starts you off with even less equipment than TKL and forces you to go buy stuff right away if you want to live against even the weakest random encounters.
I could probably set up some "default" armor for everyone (probably the same basic body armor sold in the first store) and have Nummy give you some free food for your journey when he sends you off, to lessen the "must go shopping right away" effect a bit and make it so you don't necessarily have to be running back to the inn to heal if you didn't buy any Yums.

Automatically closing when you die: also probably a bad idea, I should change that so it has an actual game-over screen (I completely forgot to add one before uploading this...) and then goes back to the title screen. The title screen itself was a very late addition (in the last few days before the contest due date, if I'm remembering right), though, so I'm not too surprised that there's some issues with it.

Yeah, I've noticed Christy is too hard, especially for a boss that's *supposed* to be weak. She will be toned down in the next version.

"Enemies can stun you and do half your damage in one hit"--again, what enemy does this?? [s]I know the Papoogs can (very briefly) stun you, but they should not be doing massive quantities of damage ever. I remember them doing very low single-digits of damage per hit (like 1 or 2), and sometimes getting an extra hit or two, but even with the best-case-scenario for them they should never ever being taking out 50% of Nummer's full HP in one shot.[/s]

EDIT: Figured out how this was happening. I'm guessing you didn't buy any armor for Nummer and then got really unlucky with the Papoog's extra hits and the OHR damage formula's randomization. 14-15 damage (right about half of Nummer's max at level 0) is literally the most damage a Papoog could possibly do if you don't have a single piece of armor equipped, if both of their extra hits triggered, if all three of those attacks hit, and if all of them ended up with 20% extra damage due to the OHR formula's randomization. Assuming none of those hits ends up as a critical (it could be even worse if they do), but there's only a 5% chance for each of them so that seems even more unlikely than the "three hits, all of them connect, all of them do max damage" situation already is.
(Sorry for accusing you of exaggerating the damage in the previous version of this post--I honestly did not realize just how bad Papoogs could be if you made the mistake of not buying any armor for Nummer, since I always made sure to buy at least the body armor in every playthrough, and everyone else who playtested the game bought armor for everyone except for one time when someone decided not to get armor for Upchukk. Papoogs shouldn't be a problem if I make everyone start out with their first piece of body armor already equipped instead of making you buy it at the store, though.)

Yeah, Dodge is pretty useless, and not just when you're alone; the only time I ever use it myself is during the rematch with Numm when I know he's going to target Nummer with his next kick. Maybe I should change it so it (sometimes?) chains into an attack after the evade boost wears off, so Nummer's dodging attacks and then getting in a sneak-attack of his own in response, or something like that.

I'm glad you didn't play Kherber's scenario first (...or at all?), because if you tried holding the spacebar in the random encounters he runs into (instead of running away, as suggested by the game before you start that part) you would have died quickly and often.

...wow, did not think of the "Blurby = Black Kirby" thing before *at all.* XD

Where do you get "crocodiles" from? The Numnums have bird legs and big plumes of feathers on their heads... at least call them dinosaurs or something.

I do not get the "a game must be ALL silly or ALL serious, exaggerate TO THE EXTREME!!!" mindset that a lot of people seem to have, at all. I got the same sort of response with Puckamon ("not exactly the same as a real Pokémon game, but not a completely stupid joke-game parody either"... and somehow that's a bad thing?), and it confuses me just as much now as it did then. Games that are pure seriousness all the time usually bore me to death, why would I want to make one? As for pure silliness, Okédoké is already close enough to that for the most part (Burger King sidequest, fart-fighting, boob jiggle attack, etc.)... TKL is supposed to be a different kind of game, not just "Okédoké, on another planet, with things that look like Kirby."

Thanks for pointing out bugs and game design issues here and there, not just going on about how K'hyurbhis look like Kirby the whole time.
I was aware of a few of these problems, but I completely forgot that I had left out a real "game over" screen and had no idea you could still open the menu during the title screen. I'll try to fix some of the problems mentioned (title-screen weirdness, no starting equipment/needing to shop right away, intro Numm battle too long, Christy too hard, Dodge sucking) at some point before I upload the next version.
Last edited by FnrrfYgmSchnish on Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
FYS:AHS -- Finally starting on Yagziknian caves
Puckamon -- Not until the reserve party is expanded.[/size]
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Gizmog
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Post by Gizmog »

I'm sorry I'm only getting to this now, but I was afraid if I stopped to reply to comments I'd run out of steam and wouldn't be able to finish my reviews. I appreciate your apology about the Pagoogs. I know from experience how easy it is for stuff like that to slip through testing. What bothers me though, is that you'd accuse me of exaggerating to begin with and be so defensive of criticism in general.

I will admit, when I wrote this review I was a little bit "hotter" than I usually like to be. Still, my intention was never to hurt your feelings but to give you an accurate account of my thoughts and emotions when I played your game, so that you might be able to determine if I was getting the desired effects.

It's great that you read your reviews, and greater still that you acknowledge them, but I get the impression from your comments here and more so from your comments towards sotrain's excellent review that you're taking it very personally, and feel a need to "Defend yourself to the court", as it were. I'm not telling you not to feel passionately about your game, but you need to be careful.

Whether they love it or hate it, you're never gonna agree 100% with your players. What's more, you're never going to be able to talk to everyone who played your game and convince them to your point of view. There's a great bit at the end of Retsufrash videos, where Slowbeef and Diabeetus make fun of the incongruity of voters and it really opened my eyes to how pointless the general public's feedback is.

The guy who's like "I HATE THIS GAME AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT" might give it 4 stars out of five. The guy who says "This game was the best, now my laptop is full of cum!" may only give it 1 star. You're never gonna reach both of them and the best you can do is get your game to the place you're happy with it and forget about what everyone else says.

If there's something I noticed that you didn't, and now it bothers you, by all means fix it. But if there's something I didn't like that is your favorite part, don't feel like you have to try to win me over. Who the slime am I? One sliming person. No one to worry about.

As for your comment about the "ALL silly or ALL serious" mindset, that wasn't what my comments were meant to imply. There's always room for comic relief in a serious game or a somber moment in a comedic one, the trick is finding the right timing and balance.

There's a scene in Final Fantasy 6, when the party is riding on an Imperial boat to Thamasa. The Returners, bolstered by the isolationist people of Narshe and the ancient magic of the Espers, have forced the Empire into an uneasy peace, a peace which they're now trying to get the Espers to agree to. On a beautiful moonlit night, Terra talks to General Leo about her amnesia, and whether or not she'll ever be able to remember feelings like love again.

It's a powerful emotional dialogue, and when General Leo takes off, Shadow reveals himself and reminds her that some people would kill to be able to forget their pasts and start clean. Terra retires for the night, having plenty of food for thought... and then Locke shows up seasick and tosses his cookies off the side of the ship.

A lot of people hate that scene. They say that it's silly and undermines a great dramatic scene. I disagree with those bastards, it's a great sliming scene because Locke pukes. There's so much drama in the events leading up to it, and the Empire folds so quickly that there isn't a good climax to that pent up tension. The characters let off some of their emotional steam, and then Locke throws up. It's a great way to let some of the air out of the tires before they get to Thamasa, so it can be a kooky little fun village before Kefka kills General Leo and blows up the world.

There's also the Opera House fight against Ultros, a great comedic moment in the middle of dramatic ones. Yet no one would ever call Final Fantasy 6 a funny game. Without those comedic interludes though, the game would just be a sequence of bad things happening after another. It'd be melodrama, schlock, or worse! The comedy gives you a breath of fresh air and lets you dive back into the drama without drowning in it.

Early in Earthbound there's a similliar scene, where this little fly dude named BuzzBuzz who'd been helping you take down the bad guys gets swatted by some random lady and gives you a passionate dying speech. Even though he's really dying for good, and the scene is played straight and his speech is very sad, there's just a little bit of over-acting and goofiness to it that perfectly encapsulates the mixture of flavors Earthbound is going to be serving you for the rest of the game.

For a final example, let's look at the movie MASH. There's a scene in the middle, where they operate especially fervently on this Korean dude. You might notice, or might not, how emotional they seem in this scene as opposed to the other surgery sequences. In the the screen play and the original book, there's a reason for that. That seemingly anonymous Korean guy is Hawkeye and Duke's South-Korean friend, martini mixer and recent draftee, Ho Jon.

They took out the parts where the guy is identified as Ho Jon because it was too hard to go from crying at "Ho Jon got slime in the chest and might not live through the night" to laughing at "The camp dentist is gonna kill himself because he thinks he's impotent". There're still the horrors of war, and a powerful operating scene, but by making it impersonal they're able to keep the tone from getting too low in that section of the movie so that later on we can still be feeling what they want us to feel during the football game and the golf trip to Tokyo and so on.

The point I'm trying to make, is that every story has a natural inclination towards the comedic or dramatic, with an occasional pit stop in the opposite category to keep from going overboard. There've been things like All In The Family that try to have it both ways, but it's a very tough act to balance. Due to its simple cartoony graphics, the fact that one of the main characters is a drunk and yes, unfortunately because of the Kirby thing and the Pikachu cameo, The Kh'Yurbi Lands is a game that naturally skews towards the comedic.

When it doesn't immediately flow as a comedy, and then bounces back and forth so quickly from one extreme to the other, it creates dissonance. When there's serious political intrigue regarding the line of succession as if they were real people, and then a scene later the Kh'yurbis are perfectly happy to go to a restaraunt where their natural predators are sitting across the way, discussing and probably even actually eating Kh'Yurbis, as if they were the Roadrunner and Coyote punching the cartoon time clock it creates further dissonance.

The player doesn't know what the hell to think or expect, and so they aren't able to connect with the material. It's not that you can't possibly have it both ways, it's that in this particular instance there's not good pacing of when to be serious and when to be funny. OkeDoke is more easily able to go both ways because of the semi-realistic human characters who are grounded in a reality we can better relate to. Had they been more abstract, cartoony guys the game would be worse for it.

Likewise, if Shadow had been Ninja Kirby and the 3 Goddesses had been Kirby in his rock forms, it'd be a lot harder to be moved by the events that transpire on the Floating Continent. We have an idea of who Kirby is and what he does, to see him do differently is naturally inviting some of that dissonance in. Every choice you make will have an influence on your game as a whole, and you need to consider the impact of those choices instead of just making them radically and being upset when people point it out.
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