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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSat Jan 10, 2015 4:53 am
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Gizmog wrote:
I really want to play the entries before I vote on them. I'm hoping to complete my reviews before the end of voting, which you've graciously extended to the 19th. That's going to help a lot. If I think I'm getting behind, I might rush the RPGish reviews, but as of now my intention is to vote.


I don't think you should rush the reviews. Authors can learn a lot from your reviews, and I don't think you should undercut them for a contest (this one or the other one). I'd rather you give scores to a few than half-assed reviews to all.

charbile wrote:
Pepsi, I have nothing against giving games 1's. I know people will take it the wrong way because the turnout's low enough where 1's will be decisive. I don't know if that makes me an opponent of it to you, but it's really me being nice by staying away.


No, that doesn't make you an opponent. It says you don't like the games you give 1's to. The opponents are the ones who think I should stop bringing the contest back. I don't think that's you. I don't recall you saying anything to the contrary.

Regarding the 1's, if you really think a game deserves a 1, and you're not being harsh for the sake of harshness, then give the deserving ones a 1. I don't care if one person's score skews the average for that game, as long as that score is fair and representative of much, if not all, of the game.

If you don't think you can offer a fair score, then I respect your decision to refrain from voting.

My personal opinion is that no game is so bad that it deserves a 1 unless it fails at everything and I hate the experience (one game this year is begging a 1 out of me, but I may still give it a 2 because I liked the music it offered), and no game deserves a 10 unless it can't possibly do anything better. But that's how I handle evaluations.

charbile wrote:
Additionally, I'm not quite sure I understand the purpose of the contest. If it's meant to encourage people to make RPGs, but the method is to score them based on enjoyment, then it's a bit conflicting, isn't it? Scoring isn't encouraging, and the real enjoyment of the ohr is in making your own games, definitely not playing other people's.

Curious what you think.


The original purpose was to encourage people to start making RPGs again, and not just concept or joke games, which dominated the years leading up to the first Heart of the OHR. RPGs, after all, are what brought us all here in the first place. I thought a contest was a good way to light a fire under our butts in getting something finished. That's still, more or less, the point. The scoring system is there because it's a contest.

I agree that we're all here mainly to make our own games, but playing each other's games is sort of the point of the community. Otherwise, we'd all live in a bubble and never interact with each other. Sometimes, we actually want to know what other people think of our work, and sometimes we'd like to see that opinion expressed in a letter grade or a score (and definitely in a detailed review, hence the reason I like this year in review contest so much). Sure, we don't want to score low, but as long as the reviewer or scorer gives his score a reason, we can at least evaluate whether the thing that brought the player's opinion down is worth addressing--sometimes a player just doesn't get the point and will evaluate accordingly while others do get the point and will also evaluate accordingly.

Honestly, in the seasons when we have no contest, I don't think a score is necessary when the review says plenty. But scores do help the game's author catch a glimpse of the reviewer's opinion in a snapshot, so he can at least prepare for the reviewer's opinion once he begins to read about it. In seasons when we do have a contest, then a score is important, because how else can we figure out who wins and who loses the contest?

In regard to encouragement, scoring actually can be an encouragement if the author wants to improve and a score or grade gives him a fair idea on how much he needs to improve (thorough reviews handle this much better though--in the hands of a good reviewer, at least). It's only detrimental if the author is releasing a game for his own vanity and has no plans to finish or revise. But I contend that not even a review will help that author.

That's what I think.
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Metal King Slime
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 PostSat Jan 10, 2015 10:28 am
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Wizard Blocks! could've been more wizardy. Shoot some magic missiles, fire balls, something. Liked it a lot though!

And I'll do my best to get those scores in on time, Pepsi!


EDIT:

The Mantle Dwellers have invaded! Pretty good start. Next up is Gramfeld Cat and I don't know whether to be worried or relieved.
Meat, Cheese, and Silicon
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 PostSat Jan 10, 2015 9:39 pm
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Gizmog wrote:
Next up is Gramfeld Cat and I don't know whether to be worried or relieved.

Worried. Very worried.
Just FYI, I made it in one day on the last day of a one week jam.
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Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostSun Jan 11, 2015 10:02 pm
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Iron Galaxy
This game appears to be a really rough demo, and I'm surprised it counts as one of the full games for the contest. It might be really long, but it's a little too awkward to play through as it currently exists.

In Iron Galaxy, you play as a few squads of fighting robots that are like something out of Power Rangers or Voltron. You pick some robots, then get thrust in to a tactical-style battle that turns out to just be the method by which you enter in to standard OHR battles. I was disappointed when the game had those instead of a more traditional strategy RPG system, especially since the battles themselves are poorly executed. MP costs make no sense as damage is all over the place, and there are no descriptions of what any skills do, so its just selecting random things and wearing down the incredibly high HP on the enemy units. Numbers pop up after almost every attack, but I didn't know if they were HP, MP, Speed, or what. Similarly, the character selection at the start of the game was bad since I had no idea what I was choosing between anyway.

I would encourage developers to try out unusual aesthetics like this for their games, but if you're going to do it, you have to make sure the player can get in to the game. I don't understand enough of the Japanese words the attacks are named after to understand what they do (and it might not even help). There's something to be said for throwing a player to the wolves, but if he just gets torn up with nothing to grab on to other than that, it's a little lame.

The SRPG segment is just npcs walking up to initiate combat, so there's no depth beyond standard OHR fare from what I can tell. This game needs to go back to the shop.

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1. Dungeon Cards
2. Okedoke
3. Iron Galaxy
My website, the home of Motrya:
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Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 2:57 am
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If I remember right, I hated on this game the last time I played it. Was loving the hell out of it this time, till.. well..

Carcere Vicis is reveiwed!


EDIT:

and now Iron Galaxy joins The Ranks of the Reviewed!

Please finish this game!
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 3:52 am
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Pepsi, I get the feeling I'm the first to question it. Am sure most everyone else would get caught up in 'how' scoring works than 'why'.

Honestly, I think most developers live in a semi-bubble. But that's people in general, right? Feedback's a funny thing, and I think it's a bit of a stretch to say most authors here use it to improve. If anything, it's just another thing to fight over and think less of everyone else about.

Hue hue hue, time to review more games....... but seriously, you think playing each other's games is the point of the community??
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 4:02 am
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Spy Game

I disagree with Giz about this needing to be 90% story. I can understand the thought, as this is the first game with what feels like a coherent one, even some world building--all wrapped up in a pretty little package. A contest game package. So all praise aside, it does feel a bit empty, underdeveloped, short, rough around the edges, but with an interesting mechanic.

It's because of this mechanic, the ability to assume other people's identity and the two puzzles involved, that there's room for more than just a story here. Roaming around the lab in disguise gave me a metal gear feel. The lack of fights, mystery setup, straight-forwardness of it convinced me to explore and resist the 'this is going to waste my time, i want to quit' reflexive I usually have after the first several text boxes. The twist on my expectations (where you're caught) kept me going to see where it'd end up.

And it's nice that it concludes. A bit ambiguous, sure, but I feel like it's an added bonus that didn't have to be there, to at least demonstrate what the concept could achieve with more work. Definitely could use some design documenting, but which game wouldn't?

Has potential. Sephy is top tier. I'm curious what parts Mari did, feels like a Sephy game. But isn't that what collabs fall into? Someone has to take the lead.
Metal Slime
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 4:12 am
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Pepsi: If I get through the hotohr games in time I'll vote.

--

You can read my votes for Spy Game and the other collab games here. That pretty much continues to reflect my feelings on these games, but I'll go ahead and expand on my thoughts. I beat them back then and don't really feel like replaying them for various reasons (CV is too buggy, Spy Game is an adventure game with minimal replay value, etc) so this will just go here in the thread with no screenshots. I'm lowering the quality bar of my own contest, apparently.

Also I reviewed Samanthuel's Lovely Home.

--

Spy Game

Spy Game is an adventure game where the core mechanic is the ability to make yourself look like the other characters. This mechanic is awesome because it lets you see how the different characters interact with each other, which allows for an awesome way to flesh out character relationships in an interactive way. The game is so short that it doesn't really take that much advantage of it, though. Just enough to show your the potential.

The core puzzle of the game is exceptionally short, but it does require some trial and error to figure out what characters to put where. That shortness works to its advantage since there aren't really enough combinations to frustrate the player, you can figure it out through trial and error just as easily as logic.

In other words it's the perfect contest game. It's not so long that anyone would have time to get sick of it, small enough that no one can really get stuck on it, it has a novel gimmick behind it, it looks and sounds great, and the plot has a beginning and an end. There are a few bugs in the game from what I recall, but you mostly hit them when you snoop around the cracks of the blatantly unfinished lab so just be sure to save before going in there since I don't think they fixed the game after the contest.

The last paragraph is spoilers relating to the ending so don't read it if you care about that stuff. My biggest complaint against the game is that it sets up a pretty brutal government, but then allows the main character to leave her mandatory post with little consequence. It doesn't really match the world they set up. I've since softened to this aspect by just assuming they just didn't bother to explain all the gory little details involved, but it still kind of bothers me.
Slime Knight
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 4:23 am
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Did a lil' review of The Pumpkin Warriors Here
Metal King Slime
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 PostMon Jan 12, 2015 4:24 am
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Forgot to post it here: Gramfeld Cat Went To The Moon and Got Reviewed!

EDIT: And keeping with the space theme, Doom Guy Went To Mars and Got Reviewed (But His Game Is Broke?)
Metal Slime
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 PostTue Jan 13, 2015 4:52 am
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Zero: Secret Pasts Collide

Hawk and Giz have written at length about this... will try not to repeat.

While the graphics and music are ripped from final fantasy, the text box portraits are hand made and look like someone painted eyes, a nose, and mouth on their thumb.

I left the game running on the title screen, crashed game.exe after a while.

The scream sound fx is hilariously bad, is good for a laugh

The title page says it's from 2001-2014, 13 years in the making?

ANYWAY

The entire thing feels like someone wanted to make their own Final Fantasy game. Various aspects are reproduced, like setting two main characters as lovers who can't be together, the king's assistant or cleric or whoever is evil because he kills servants and hates magic, even down to scripted elements like how a npc twirls to dance, blue haze flashbacks.

But the author fails to capture what makes the genre work. Every thing's over indulgent: maps are too big, lack of direction--don't expect me to want to explore before i'm ever given a reason or clue of what's going on, what the game's about, no it's not enough to know it's rpg time, you've got to SET ME UP with a conflict a goal a drive SOMETHING

Fantasy names are tossed around so much i can't keep track of who's who. It's okay to use fantasy names, but introduce the character first. If I hear about Lord Spargo and Sir Caralot and Kruss and YOU KEEP TELLING ME THINGS WITHOUT SHOWING and all the others, and have yet to see them as characters or who they are in terms of the story... it's a hot mess.

Damn it, look guys. A plot is very simple: there's a conflict--stuff happens. Telling me what's happened is exposition. It's fine to have some, but know when you're doing it, and make damn sure you know why. Really think about it. Ask yourself, should i really be telling them this? Is this entertaining? Do they need to know, and if so, is there another way I can show them?

You get a flashback of the lovers meeting as children in the intro. Didn't need to see that. Added nothing. Could have expositioned it in a line of text. Could save it for when it would be interesting as a revelation later on. Nope. nopenopenopenoepnepone.

I'm sure it's a rpg with some playability. More than can be said for a lot of ohr games. Kudos. This is great, for the ohr. And I agree with Hawk about being able to look past the rips.

A game is a combination of all its elements, meaning graphics aren't everything. Story isn't everything. Neither is sound. The play and context can save it all. Context is risky, because everyone has their own personal preferences. It's why most commercial games that bank on you buying try to be a bit bland and seemingly edgy but not really. The play is absolute. It is the fundamental thing you can't get wrong. It's what's unique about video games as a medium. If you mess that up, it doesn't matter how long you make the game, whatever else you pad it with.

I don't want to hate on this game, maybe on another day I'd give it a full playthrough, but it's really putting me into a bad mood.

5/10 lol but seriously it's whatever level of stomach you have on any given day for playing someone's attempt at making their own rpg, who's still learning how to make games.

Wanted to keep this one short. i'm such a mess.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostWed Jan 14, 2015 8:41 pm
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Batman & Robin

I feel like this game could have been decent, maybe if it had more polish, maybe if it were made in a different engine, and maybe if it weren't an RPG at all. The Megaman-style progression fits Batman pretty well, and though I'm not familiar with most of the characters, the goofy qualities of the game are probably not out of place. There are all kinds of rushed, niggling flaws that drag Batman down.

Probably the biggest overall problem is stat balance. It's not uncommon for OHR developers to pay no attention to what values mean in their games or just not put in enough research to notice they're still making errors, and this is yet another example. Raising strength by a couple of points makes little difference in damage dealt unless the HP values in the game scale REALLY low, especially if variation is used. Defense has to be raised significantly to make a difference. Small changes to Speed are extreme. I bring this up because it's painfully clear when raising your stats that they mean baloney, at least in the short term. It's unsatisfying to invest your stats in something and see no payoff.

Little things wear the game down too. Batman & Robin has some weak art (though some of it is nice), some of which appears really early on. It's jarring how the title screen looks so great then the characters and portraits look so amateur. The Clayface battle also shows some of the lack of polish directly: just watch how the arms float on their own when they're clearly meant to be connected. This is not entirely the author's fault as this kind of thing is wonky in the OHR anyway, but it still looks unprofessional and sloppy. There are numerous spelling errors, some related to character limits and some not. Had I paid for this game, I would have wanted my money back.

When you're making a fan game, you're always going to get some leeway from fans, but as a guy who doesn't care much about Batman and does care about RPGs, I found this title very bland and didn't get much out of it. On the other hand, it's a complete game, so that's something.

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1. Dungeon Cards
2. Okedoke
3. Batman & Robin
4. Iron Galaxy
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Metal King Slime
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 PostThu Jan 15, 2015 9:27 am
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The Pumpkin Warriors is reviewed!

Next up is Dragons by Guroo. No idea what to expect from it, but I think it might be my last HOTOHR entry, so my votes might be coming soon. It's weird to have to start thinking of games in terms of points, I think it's a lot easier to review if you just talk about the things you like and didn't like without getting into that whole mess of.. "Well, I think this game is a 6, but that other game was a 6 and I liked this one better so I guess I oughta give it a 7, but it doesn't quit feel like a 7". I'm not even sure what I would say has been my favorite game so far. Carcere Vicis was fun till it broke, Dungeon Cards had good mechanics but didn't really move me emotionally. Megaman Sprite Game was very true to what it was trying to be... but do I want people to think I only like joke games?

Oh, the drama of it all!

EDIT: Has anyone been able to download Dragons! yet? Is CastleParadox down maybe? I guess I'll try again tomorrow.
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostFri Jan 16, 2015 12:58 am
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Megaman Sprite Game

So, I took one look at the title of this game and its screenshots and was pretty sure this game would be an awful joke game like so many that have been released for the engine. I'm glad the creator was able to prove me wrong and make a really fantastic joke game instead. Fortunately, you don't have to care about Megaman to enjoy this either. Partial knowledge is enough.

Megaman Sprite Game pays homage to a lot of games, particularly Mother 3, Barkley: Shut Up and Jam Gaiden, and probably some troll game like NIER. The humor in the game is very straightforward and awkward, sort of like the average recent Adult Swim cartoon, but it's pulled off very well with appropriate writing and excellent timing. There's a lot of great meta humor here that I would hate to spoil, though having to replay the game if you stepped on grass (hilarious in concept) is a bit much when the really great parts of the game haven't sold you on this.

Of course, Megaman Sprite Game isn't just silly and jokey. It's a very impressive piece of work that shows some good knowledge of the engine. There are a lot of NPC animations that probably took the creator hours to get right, some nice subtle scripting (like walking diagonally up stairs and slowly through ball pits) and some surprisingly well-imported realistic graphics. The final dungeon of the game does a great job setting a creepy mood and sense of scale to close out the tale, which I had oddly found myself quite invested in by the end.

Overall, this is probably one of the best games made for the engine, and if not, certainly one of the top joke games. Megaman doesn't provide much challenge in its combat, but this is basically appropriate for the tone of the story. Anything other than fast, silly fights would have distracted from its comedy. It's a nicely paced, clever comedy game that tickled a lot of my buttons. I approve.

Leaderboard
1. Megaman Sprite Game
2. Dungeon Cards
3. Okedoke
4. Batman & Robin
5. Iron Galaxy
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
Liquid Metal Slime
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 PostFri Jan 16, 2015 1:34 am
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Stand

Glancing at the other reviews, I don't have a whole lot to add to this one. Stand is a very incomplete demo of what seemed like an interesting potential horror/action RPG blend about a miner, but what we have to play here is just a couple of minutes setting things up.

The game uses a custom battle system, but it doesn't currently do anything that standard OHR battles can't and didn't seem to add much to the graphical presentation other than size, so it's hard to judge right now. It's a 2D sidescrolling game like Zelda 2, which is a fine way to present things, but only seemed to be limiting exploration in the demo. Basically, there's not much to say; sure, it's functional for the most part, but it has no meat to chew. Put out a finished game and we'll talk business here.

Leaderboard
1. Megaman Sprite Game
2. Dungeon Cards
3. Okedoke
4. Batman & Robin
5. Stand
6. Iron Galaxy
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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