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2011 In Review 31: Grayscale 
 PostMon Feb 06, 2012 1:36 pm
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Grayscale Demo V.20010.png
This is a review of Grayscale.

Master K showed up in June and was another great addition to the community. I was impressed when one of his first posts was a thread asking how he could improve as an artist, and not one asking for someone to do it for him. He did reviews too, starting with one of my 2011 favorites, Willy Electrix's monochromatic "Castle On The Night Land". Willy suggested that maybe Master K could also benefit from a super-limited palette, and the result was "Grayscale".

The story is reminiscent of Pokemon (a fact that uncomfortably gets brought up in the game itself), though with a more traditional RPG twist. I'm not sure such a light tone is appropriate. It's cute when Ash sets out with his pokeballs on a quest to be the best Pokemon trainer there ever was. When mom gives you a butcher knife so the town guard will let you into the woods where you kill squirrels and look for a missing girl, it's a little more disturbing. I secretly hoped that the hero Brody was behind her disappearance and that it'd all come rushing back to him later, but to no avail. You thrash the fiend responsible and bring her home.. or leave her in the woods unconcious while you go get help. I didn't notice a difference either way, but having a choice is a cool touch.

There are a lot of cool little touches, by the way. There's an awesome Boss Battle warning that gets reused in "Forsaken", some spooky shadows in the windows of a mansion, and even a Slime Salad cafe where various game designer cameos hang out. Each of them says a few different things, which was another nice little bit of polish. You can even navigate a maze of NPCs outside of the King's castle and get infinite swords from the impressed guards. Really, the only negative thing to say about Grayscale is that it's unfinished. The hero gets stuck if I try to go into the mansion, I can't figure out how to get into the King's castle, and all around I have no idea what to do after I save the girl.

The hero is Level 99 for debugging purposes so all the battles are impossibly easy. I would've liked a little difficulty, however unbalanced it might be, rather than having Master K essentially hit the F4 key for me in every battle. Have a little confidence and try, or think of something to do other than battles. Maybe even do without them all together and just have a game where you talk to people and gather the pieces of information you need to pass on to someone else to advance the plot. Nine times out of ten, if someone posted a game like this I'd ask "Why would you post this?" but in Grayscale's case, I don't need to. Master K explains in the description,

Quote:

Grayscale is the first thing i've ever been serious about, and my first game. Behind the scenes, its a mess of textbox code and tags, which I hope to resolve. If you want extra slimebucks, Int and Agility, feel free to review. It will be appreciated by me, but please, go easy on me. Please let me know of any bugs I need to crunch, or any other issues. Alright, so enjoy playing the game. There is going to be more to come...hopefully...so if you like it, let me know. Might motivate me to work harder, and make something that I can feel glad about.


That's a great attitude to have, but this wasn't the best approach to get that kind of motivation. By leaving the battles in a debug state you're basically asking the player "Would this story be fun if there were a game in it?" and yes it would, though later on when you add that gameplay somebody's going to have to fight their way to story they've already seen, and that could be frustrating.

That said, there's obviously a lot of story still to go and the tree battle looks like it would've been awesome. There's not much reason to play this game yet, but I'm glad to see Master K's name pops up a few more times in 2011. Everything I see here suggests he's got talent, and just needs the right opportunity to make something great.

Score: 4/10
2011 Score (Per Jun 22nd): 72/100

Part of Gomey's 2011 Year In Review
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