Disclaimer: Prior to this contest, I have not played any of the games that have updated content, except for Vikings, which had a significant enough rehaul from when I last played it.
'Hero' by ncw64
I believe that the Heart of the OHR Contest has brought out a reveal of progression: design steps that many people take when they begin making OHR games, and then eventually evolve their mastery along many paths. 'Hero' is a first step of OHR games- everything about it from textbox size not cropping to the text, haphazard map design, unclear explanations of everything, self-insertion, crowded textboxes, a long, epic quest that a lot of people won't neccessarily see because of the aformentioned issues and others that have gone unmentioned. As Barnabus said before me: "What's an NWC? Don't give up, keep trying!"
'Aphophenia Demo' by guo
Aphophenia has the displeasure of being the second game I played after Motrya because I was determined to play all of the 'brand new' games first, then followed by the games that were already released but had updated content. I broke that rule early on, though, and then as I just said, I played it after
Motrya, so if you think this game got a bad deal due to fate...it sort of did. To be fair, I didn't immediately
play it after my Motrya run, waited a few days, maybe a week, then picked it up to do this HotOHR shindig. So far this is a lot of words about things not-Aphophenia, so let's get back on track.
Aphophenia is unfinished but kinda appealing in its own way.
...what, that's not enough? Now you know how I felt at the end, yo.
Aphophenia is unfinished and has a good sense of atmosphere and a bit of intrigue, but it is still very unfinished, more like a 48hr entry than anything else. There's sound effects and no music, and rumor has it that it's unintentional, that there's going to be music in a future update? If that's true, seriously consider using it incredibly sparingly, because the lack of such with the usage of sound effects makes this game far more compelling at a first glance. There's also tutorial information in textboxes, which is appreciated far more than I think sometimes we give credit for. Graphics are solid, if a little dark, but when the whole tone of the game leans towards darkness, this is probably intentional. I really don't have much to complain about them. I'm not sure how effective the combat is going to be past this demo. I do wonder where you're going with it, so consider it a great "Anticipated Game," but otherwise I can't give you a lot here. If 'Hero' is the first step of the Heart of the OHR, then Aphophenia is the first step in contest games (and it's a fairly good one, because contest games tend to live and thrive off of striking the hell out of a niche. Except for, y'know, this contest. 48hrs, bro!!)
'Eternity Fragment Prelude' by NayusDante
It's a word I use a lot with this game, for it is a narrative outside of a game, and with the knowledge that 'Eternity Fragment,' the in-game game, is supposed to be ridiculously hard and troublesome, it's difficult to wield my review paring knife accurately enough to make judgements between "this game has this design problem" and "this game has this design problem AND IT'S PART OF THE EXPERIENCE!" The boat, for example, oh yes the boat, the one part in this game that I've seen that was so deliberately placed and planned that it puts everyone, everyone
at a crossroads when they encounter the problem. It's either "screw this game I'm not grinding that out" or "...pffah better get to work" or "crap I better restart and not buy stuff." It's the look on everyone's face as soon as they hear the price that tells everything about what they did with their money. It's a completely different situation than starting the game with $0 and the boat costing $100, because you have the ability to screw yourself so completely that it's a deep, sinking feeling, when you find out the truth- that, somehow, you
are responsible for this obstacle, where you have nowhere near enough money and must grind or restart, that you
have errored, and not the game.
Is that a bad
gameplay decision, or a good
game narrative decision? It's a tricky thing to judge, and if it seems like a lot of the discussion is hung up on the boat issue, NayusDante, I hope you don't get discouraged and instead realize what you created, here.
Other than that
, the graphics are solidly well done with the exception of the floor tiles in the main castle, but again, is it a bad design decision or a good narrative one? (Unfortunately, I think I'm siding with 'errant design' here.) Something truly impressive is the apperance of the glitched
enemies, once I started thinking about it. Those enemies don't just look like someone took an enemy portrait and haphazardly cut and paste, no: they look like familiar (in the sense of 'wow those aesthetics are perfect'), legitimate glitches that professional games have
and sincerely do not want
, and you have it, and want it so bad. Driving back to gameplay discussion, I fell off the meta-truck when the only enemies around me were stealing $100 pretty much every fight, because then I was less enthused about grinding (and those who watched me play it on livestream know that I love me some grinding), and found it harder to progress as a whole.
Admittedly, I stopped playing due to time constraints, but I definately want to finish the game for one thing, one moment, that I don't know if it exists in the game, but I look forward to it so much
and if it's not there
I'm going to be crushed, but at the same time I have faith that it does
exist. I almost don't want to type it for all to see-- for you
to see, NayusDante, because I'm fairly confident that you'll reach that point and make that decision anyway
. But, here it is, for posterity:
I want to get to the point of the game where the narrator quit. It's the last boss, from their words, but I want to reach that point and read that narrator's text, preparing their mind and talking about what they felt when they quit and etc. etc. etc.
'Legendary Heroes' by Spoonweaver
I said all that stuff about Heart of the OHR progression and while I sort of cheated 'Eternity Fragment Prelude' out of a proper context (it's postmodern, outside
of the progression; so meta
), 'Legendary Heroes' fits next to 'Hero' as an alternative to 'new games.' It's the new game with a more focused narrative, clean graphics (even if you note that some of the walkabouts look pret-ty familiar, but I won't hold that against you, really), and an overall better sense of construction and form. Battles are faster
and have implements that I like, such as the added fire damage on some of the weapons actually activating more than once every five battles
. I know you lamented the non-use of sidequests that some people employed (or didn't employ, should I say), and then I went and did the tree sidequest and it didn't complete properly, and you know that, so...staying on topic of sidequests, we both know that I didn't get the chance for the hobo to give me an item from the trash piles, but the random generator (or whatever you coded in its stead) hated me and I didn't get to see it. It's "six one way, half a dozen the other" because while I could have stuck with it and kept going in and out of buildings until our hobo was rooting through trash, but in general, unless there's a reason to return to that city (there isn't), then people are likely to move on.
THAT BEING SAID, there actually was
a reason to return, and it's subtle, and I think if the game were longer more people might have realized the subquest potential. There was one in every city, I believe, or at least planned for the third city. Once there's a pattern of "here is something extra in the city," then I believe people would be more studious about finding them...but three points is where things start to become a trend and the brain picks up on it, so the first two cities may be casualties on the backs of that. (I wasn't down for grinding rat pelts, though. You need 20 of them, fine, it's not a 100% drop, less fine.)
I feel a little bad grading LH this low, but what can I do? Gotta follow the Heart of the
'Skyfall' by Mystic
Skyfall has many trappings of a new game, namely a lack of polish. It does introduce new concepts and proper nouns fairly painlessly, so it's got a leg up, there. The combat is okay and has enough nuance (well, as far as 'basic OHR battles go') to where I can begin complaining about specific issues, such as the third party member being pretty useless once he runs out of MP if I remember correctly. Another peeve that is going to see a lot of use from here on out, and not just in Skyfall, is lack of documentation, by which I mean "I don't know what these attacks do
" The secondary attacks of the heroes, the ones right under the default attack, not always clear on what they do for Marissa, and Levan's took a bit of figuring and experimenting. Your enemy graphics are better than the hero graphics, and the disconnect between what the walkabouts look like and what the hero graphics look like makes me o_O every time. I wish it didn't, because I sort of like the full 'chunky' style of the walkabouts, it gives them depth as opposed to being rail-thin or microscopic or blocky as hell.
'Skyfall' is unrefined ore: rough and dirty and a pain to haul out of the ground, but if you can haul it out and clean it up and smelt it, it'll probably turn out to be something good. Probably. But it's gonna take a lot of cleaning.
'Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana' by FnrrfYgmSchnish
'Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana' shares a spot with 'Vikings of Midgard' for "games that I played the longest for the Heart of the OHR contest" (runtime of four hours for each game). And then there was still much more to be played and found, but ultimately I had to move on in each case.
'Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana' is a natural progression from every other game listed before it in this voting, a fabled 'Step 2,' where polish begins to come into play and battle mechanics are eased up on, where gimmicks that don't work are largely removed or altered so that they do work, and the graphics kick ass as well. EIGHT BITS. Everything looks great in this game, the weakest spot is likely the hero graphics, sadly enough. Dungeon design feels like commercial design, somehow. It's the hardest thing I can't put my finger on, and it struck me really early in my playthrough, in a chapter 1 cave where I noticed the patterning of the walls that were in areas that my hero couldn't even reach, the twisting an turning of them even though a plain straight wall would have sufficed, but the bit of 'clutter' gave the area a thicker, richer feel. I should have taken screenshots to show what I mean, because I know when I was livestreaming the game I stopped to go "look at these cave walls!!! they are pro!!!" It made me feel like I wasn't playing an OHR game, and I'm sure many people by now think I'm nuts for tripping out this much about cave walls
, but it's what happened, it's the truth. On top of the graphical gloss, there's bits of polish that I personally like, such as the elevator animations, facial/reaction expressions for the characters, special animations where needed, so on. Walkabouts are pretty incredible: Senor Death is probably the best of the lot due to his unique style, animation, and just how well he's mirrored while in combat. Senor Rialgo is probably the second best walkabout, just look at that confident grin as he walks around, and he fills the entire walkabout space, making him look massive.
Back to talking about battles, because I didn't cover them all that well above. Stealing is actually useful, that helps immensely, and even though stealing money becomes pointless after a while, it's a boon in the early game. Senor Death's elemental spells are annoyingly weak and in Chapter 3 were just hitting against some enemies for 0 damage, and since they're what I'm supposed to rely on for him it's a little irking, though future weapons help his regular attack power and give him some versatility, through the Vampire Scythe cleared up a lot of my complaints with his basic attack. Something that rears its head again is DOCUMENTATION
, I like knowing what status effects do, or just more information on some of the attacks in general. Senor Death's gravity attack actually works
and I was pleasantly surprised at that. I'd like to use the nauseous spell, and I did several times despite not knowing what it actually did other than inflict nausea which did...something, I don't know what. Still, Okédoké got me into journeys of attrition: where I find myself expending resources (MP, items) in each fight, and I'm never at full HP or full anything, and each journey away from the Inn is like "okay how much farther do I think I can get on my supplies." 'Legendary Heroes' had this, I suppose, but it wasn't as compelling to toy with as an idea as 'Okédoké.' 'Eternity Fragment' also has this once you get party members, but again, 'Okédoké' gets it started much quicker.
The one thing that's going to hold Okédoké back is its writing. I know it's a silly style game, and I let fart jokes waft past me like a fart in the wind, though I think I would dread a character arc around Senor Rialgo. Okédoké reminds me a lot of 'Vikings of Midgard' in its writing, sans OHR Community callbacks and more pop culture-ish references, which is probably better if you're not in the OHR at all, though everyone's milage may vary. Schnee's writing is pretty bad when it's focusing on her breasts, she's okay otherwise. I don't even know what 'Jiggle' does, by the way, I'm assuming it's a stun that only works on human enemies. This next complaint is sort of a combination of 'writing problem' and 'mechanics problem,' but Chapter 2 has an incredible lack of direction. You have to speak to a cop who tells you where to go next, but before that you need to speak to two guys in a house that's hidden behind the car rental place. There's no indication, though, that you need to speak to these guys to progress, other than curiosity, and there's no indication that you're then supposed to talk to this one cop who's casually walking about the south side of town and looks like any other cop.
Miscellanious things...I beat up two of the gangs (pirate, ninja), and forgot all about the third (caveman) and didn't even realize there was a fourth (gecko). Did I even need to fight any of them? I don't know. I completely missed the buried sword, but that one was my bad. I liked that, at times, there were multiple paths to take in the story: at the border crossing, I could either plow right through, climb the fence, or take the underground tunnel. I opted to climb the fence, leading to a fight with an F-16 that was pretty challenging (I scraped by the skin of my teeth, if I remember correctly). I got Senor Death before heading north of the first town, which I was then informed that I just got saved from being mugged and knocked unconsious. I liked the travelling sequences between chapters (where you're in the car and you're going along the road), though there could definately be more to them, such as the party passing by some more interesting scenery or some kind of Earthbound-ish coffee break text or something. I liked it as-is, though it could be better. The one thing that helped save Senor Rialgo for me is the smallest detail of sleeping in an inn: he doesn't get a bed, he sleeps in the bathroom. While I could just sort of hold spacebar through all the text that has to do with flatulence, that little detail is so appreciated.
As for the score I'm giving Okédoké...I'm conflicted, because I think 7 is too low, but 8 is too high? It'll have to be 7, due to the lack of direction and guidance you can have at times. It has an amazing amount of polish and composition otherwise, and really, the writing is
holding you back. Between Puckamon and this, you've got a solid background (coming a long, long way from The Kirby Lands), and if you could just tighten up the narrative and refine some of the humor? Daaaaaaaaang. But you're also going to run into the problems that 'Tales of the New World 2' has.
'Tales of the New World 2' by msw188
There's a lot of things I like about Tales of the New World 2, and nearly all of them is in the combat system. 'Step 2A' is TNW2, because I get the idea of what you wanted to do with the game started to conflict with what the base OHR battle system is capable of, and I mean that with no connotation added to 'conflict.' The best example I can think of is being able to Learn only one monster per fight. Maybe I'm wrong, and you really only ever intended to be able to Learn only one monster per fight. If so, it's pretty annoying, even if it does force you to make a choice of "which do I learn this battle" or "okay I'm going to keep fighting battles until I get all the monsters in this area." You did successfully implement the inventory system, which is great, though I think it has some bugs regarding item use in-battle? I didn't poke at the "unfinished" entries in my Items list in battle, because I was pretty sure it'd break things.
This game, unfortunately, has the worst case of "holy fuck walls of text" out of all the entries. There's a lot of words, yes, but the primary problem, aside from there being so many of them, is that they're all crammed into textboxes, and you write sentences that cut off at the end of the textbox and resume at the next one. There's no "stop and think" part, because it's all running together. Breaking them up into textboxes will help your organization, and might help in you shaving down the nonessential parts. The flipside of that coin is that I think there's some genuinely interesting world lore in bits and pieces of the text; one thing that lept out at me was the elven naming conventions with regards to magic. I love little details like that, and sometimes it's unfortunate that to get the whole 'punch' of the lore, you really need
that many words, and I empathize with that. I don't know how it can really be fixed though, other than breaking it into multiple boxes, and perhaps spreading it out over more NPCs? I don't know and I am incredibly unhelpful at this right now.
'Chronoboy Adventures' by Chronoboy
Chronoboy Adventures crashed on me before I could get into a proper battle (not counting the one you lose as part of the plot), so my review of this is fairly disjointed. It shares 'Step 2A' because it wants to do a lot with the engine and is held back. The isometric graphics of Ultima contrasted with the original graphics prior to it, and it hurts: I would almost prefer it to stick to one style, even though I'm sure the emphasis is on "man what a different world this is." I wish I could have seen more of the moral system in place, but everything about Chronoboy Adventures, once I got to the Ultima world, is so slow
that I couldn't bring myself to opening it again. Good luck with the real-time day/night system, but I'm going to say this now: while it might provide interesting results and quest choices, the reason such a thing would work on a commercial level is due to the volume of players, providing many more chances for every little detail and quest to be found. Am I saying the idea is too big for the audience? Maybe. I do believe it could still work out just fine, but you'll have to hold our hands regarding the quests just because we are so few, unless you're planning on releasing it on a much bigger stage. (After writing this, I went back and played until I got some equipment and got into a battle. And got thrashed. Oh well.)
'Viridia Chapter 2' by Baconlabs
Like I said earlier: "'Step 2A' because it wants to do a lot with the engine and is held back." I like the idea of a support-based RPG, but good god the default OHR battle system, using enemies as your allies that you need to support, is the shakiest of bridges. Can't see their HP, though they do medic calls, so I can't say it's completely ignored. Then I'm given a party member who does a lot of direct damage, so the complete support aspect isn't there, I'm now practically playing a more regular OHR game...really, this is the
game of the contest where I'd say that making it in a more flexible engine, or just divorcing it from the default battle system and coding in a custom one with plotscripting would be better. 'Viridia' sticks to the heart of the OHR, but suffers for it.
I too, thought Tyler was a woman. My bad.
'Viridia' is getting a full point on the power of its walkabout graphics, almost. But then, the tents are comparitively worse, so what's going on here?? I was going to write something about the text, but then I felt a strange sentation, so after I wrote those double question marks, I fired up Viridia once more with a clear mind, and read every bit of text. And it was good. I was prepared for it, I suppose. Upon a second reading, it clearly covers who's in the conflict for what reason, and then works down to a more personal level really nicely. So...the intro text, I think, I'm going to go on record and say it's very well done. A second playthrough of this game really helped me, perspective-wise, with regards to grading it. It's like "oh, now I know what I'm getting into, better step back and watch the world unfold in front of me instead of being instantly ready to connect to a protagonist." In fact, all of the text, with proper voice and respect to writing, is the best in the contest. Go around inside a tent when you can, talking to the mercenaries in their beds. There's some good stuff there. You literally got an entire vote change off of a second playthrough here, Baconlabs, and I feel like a bit of a butt. Even if you never make another Viridia, keep writing
, I want to read more of it. It owns.
'Vikings of Midgard' by FenrirLunaris
I guess you can call 'Vikings' 'Step 3,' if I wanted to be a dork and continue the step motif, and I am a dork, so hey: 'Vikings' you are 'Step 3' in the progression of OHR games. Women want you, men want to be you. And vice versa. Do I have to mention the graphics? I sort of have to mention the graphics. They are great, of course- I'm a particular fan of the underwater area, with the coral wall coloring. References abound, and it's an easygoing game, one you can easily play for four hours straight, which I did, so...congratulations! I'll return to it sooner rather than later, actually, because the unfortunate thing about my four hour mark is I was seated with a party full of characters I had not used, sans Frumpy.
I should give it another go, since Styrge seems to have backup healing capabilities, which I...forgot...about, after reading the readme. I'd like to use Styrge more, and Eric if only because I like bards in general. Stealing is useful in random encounters though, so I'd miss Bram if I replaced her, and offensive magic is incredibly useful everywhere
so the Shaman would have to stay, period. And then I'm low on tanking ability in the first party slot, and that slot gets hit a lot
, so ditch Frumpy for someone with HP, but then the best healer in the game got trashed, and, well...there's more to party composition than I allowed it, because I was boring and went with Kitt/Bram/Frumpy/shaman. I suppose without Frumpy and with Styrge and liberal amounts of potions, things could work...some of the harder battles would probably wreck me, though, with an inability to keep up the healing. I would miss the hell out of Bram, though, and her ridiculous +super speed buff. Holy hell that thing is murder.
Regular random battles go by as quickly as I mostly expect them to, so even though there's little to them, I've got the strategy down. I like the fact that you've made multiple boss monsters to clear an area, such as the first forest had...what, the tunnel worm, Chainsaw Jack, Shub-Niggurath, and...I want to say there's another I'm forgetting, and they're all in that one general area. It's unique, it keeps things fresher as I'm going along.
There's a lot of interesting party members in 'Vikings,' and I'm sorry I haven't used them all. I like the "party leader has special abilities sometimes" and I especially
like that the party leader can provide different dialogue per the situation. I just left the topic of party members last paragraph, let's move on to...uh...
teleporting back to the main city with a recoverable item oh my goodness why don't more OHR games have teleporting
I'm at a loss at what else to say, because I know I could probably explore more about the combat if I used a different party, if I took the time. There's a boatload of items that I do get afraid to sell, I'm never sure if I'm going to find a shop that needs $50,000 and a Platinum and then one of the starter weapons I sold 10 minutes in. Why am I paranoid about that kind of thing? I can't think of a single RPG that does it, commercial or otherwise. (Sort of a lie: it can happen to the Samurai class in FFXI, but not like anyone here would know that.) I like that almost each time I get a new skill, it's through a cutscene or something similar. I think the only skill I got that wasn't
in a cutscene was HP Strike, which I got through levelling. However, I did abuse stealing Somas from a nice gal in the desert, sorry. The plot began to get more interesting once what happened to the original four warriors who were summoned, I'm pretty curious as to its resolution.
~ Just Gonna Keep Playin' It, Likin' It, Might Start Over ~
~ Best Game To Represent
The OHR? Probably ~
'Motrya' by JSH357
There's not much to say about Motrya that I haven't already said to you directly, JSH, and it will likely win this contest for good reason. But I will say this: I have a feeling that when Motrya 50% or 75% is released, you're gonna look back on this first 25% and go "damn...I could improve this so much." I don't really know if you think that now
, and I'm not even 100% certain on what I think is going to make you have that revelation. Part of it is that I believe the rest of the game is going to be... I can't say better
because it carries a connotation that the first 25% was bad, and it's certainly not. Perhaps developed
is a better word? It's hard to describe, but the overall quality, I believe, will go even higher from 25%'s heights.
There's still some stuff I'm shaking my fist at you about which you know, but because I like dragging stuff into the public, here it is: fuck [whatever enemy does the -spirit move], and goddamn tremor scroll immunity. None of that actually detracts, but you know I have to complain. It's gonna be Quite A Thing when physical attacks start being used in 25%-50%.
'Do You Want To Be A Hero' by Mogri
I liked DYWTBAH, I did. I beat a lot of it, and you were there. I used and liked buffs! I rammed my head against battles and kept going. I e-brofisted you over Pyotr, the best character in the game. I did give up on fighting that one enemy in world 5, but we can let bygones be bygones. I am abstaining, however, because when I submit these votes, I feel a bit like a judge, a public servant to the public knowns as "The Heart Of The OHR Contest 2010," and the public says this:
"Even James Paige once expressed a slight disappointment in the gradual reduction of games that actually use the default features to, you know, make an RPG.
That is what the OHRRPGCE was made for.
Now, this isn’t to knock the surge in alternative gaming styles. I loved Slimes. The games released for the 2009 8-Bit Contest were brilliant. But look at how many good RPGs came out in 2009. Okedoke, and, um…."
DYWTBAH, despite its fun combat, is not the Heart of the OHR. Every other game has stuck fairly close to it: Viridia's nontraditional battles are still held and use the battle mechanics, Motrya shuns traditional level progression and non-placed battles, TNW2 uses a lot of spell list editing and post-battle scripts to do what it does, Aphophenia has you recentering your aim after shooting your gun too much- through the default system. Had you released an expansion pack for say, 'Darkmoor Dungeon,' then I'd likely vote somewhere between 8 and 10 and you'd have second place, easy, though I think you're pretty much in second place as it is and my non-vote won't change things, so...y'know, it's fine, but I can't vote for it because I'd either rate it too low because it's not HotOHR, or too high because I'm trying to counter my low rating.