Delinquent.rpg is a JRPG created for the OHR 2018 One-Room Contest by Pheonix aka Feenick (Labyrinthilium, Festivus, The Actor’s Daughter, Winged Realm, Witch).
The game begins with the protagonist, a fairy the status menu tells me is named Nassa, “cleaning up” before heading home from work (this seems to entail killing some sort of Blobs and Snakes). Part of the workplace is blocked off, but there is an exit to the outside world. There is a bit of visual wonkiness when the character passes through the exit (it’s as if the camera is struggling to keep up with where the hero has moved). By circling around behind the workplace, Nassa can enter the previously blocked part of the building (though a text box informs me I have no reason to be here “more than once a day”). There is a paperclip on the ground here, which Nassa speculates could be used to open some kind of house, but the item does not actually appear in my inventory after this. Exiting the building, I receive the message about not needing to be here two more times (each time being automatically moved around the map). A path to the west of the workplace is blocked by a small fairy, but this isn’t really explained.
Heading north takes Nassa into a town of sorts. To the southwest, there are more monsters to challenge. Just north from there is a sweets shop, but it’s closed. Exploring the alley behind the shop again prompts the message that I do not need to be here more than once a day and moves Nassa out of the alley. Heading north I found some detour signs pointing me down an alley I would not have noticed otherwise. However, when I try to enter this alley a text box tells me there’s nothing here and again my traversal is thwarted.
Heading south, I find a house. Entering the lawn prompts Nassa to speculate that the key should be hidden under a planter. Examining a pinwheel in the garden triggers a cutscene in which Nassa can’t find the key anywhere and has a pretty extreme reaction to this, before being distracted by two other fairies (Borde and Mary) fighting in the street. Actually they’re just arguing because Mary doesn’t want to test her new weapon by attacking Borde with it (this is a Chevkov’s Katana that never really goes off). Somehow these characters know I have lost something (apparently this is typical behavior for Nassa), and decided to tag along and help out.
Exploring a school building to the east triggers some dialog between the characters, in which Mary is called Burges for some reason. Someone sitting at a desk in this building tells Nassa to find someone named Rosa. The next room has some monsters to battle and a key item to find, but it isn’t the one Nassa is looking for. A vending machine in the hall sells restorative snacks. The back room just has some monsters in it.
When I return to the backstreets I found prior to looking for the key outside the house, Delinquent finally seems ready to let me explore some alleys. Entering one previously forbidden door leads to an office where Nassa can talk to an unnamed character who is sleeping at a desk. The character is testy and speaks to Nassa with a tone a familiarity, but we don’t get much insight into who this character is or what they are doing in this building besides perhaps being hungover at work (a sign outside calls this building “Titania Copse Relocation Group, 32nd Office”). Repeatedly pestering the character will cause them to reveal some info about Rosa (it doesn’t seem to actually be helpful however, Rosa only shows up when she decides to show up). The other nearby alley leads to some sort of basement. There’s a key down here, but again it’s the wrong one and doesn’t go into Nassa’s inventory.
Attempting to enter the copse near the start of the game now triggers combat with a group of small fairies. It’s easy to win, but it’s also easy to get your party members killed in the process. Having some Spicy items on hand is handy. There’s another key here, and – surprise – it’s the wrong one. The characters decide to go back to the house and look in the garden one more time.
Outside the house we meet the mysterious Rosa, who has the key and is a real jerk about it. There’s a cut scene with a neat but gratuitous monochrome effect. Then my party all died in this battle, and the game locked up whenever I attempted to reload. So I started over.
This time I assembled my party first thing, then committed systematic monster genocide so I could afford supplies to last me through the Rosa battle once I picked up all the keys. During this process, my characters were killed in a battle against a large number of monsters. Again the game would not reload.
So I started the game a third time, this time incorporating a strict Choco and Caramel regimen into my monster genocide and key monopolization strategy. This time I was able to defeat Rosa, and the game ends with a little more cutscene of Rosa and some expository text boxes, never showing us the inside of the house or resolving the thread about the person in the school looking for Rosa.
The art in Delinquent is pretty (reminiscent of anime and fantasy art) and leans heavily on grays and de-saturated purples and reds, which gives the entire game a brownish tint that isn’t quite sepia but still gives the impression of being “aged” somehow. The music is ripped from Star Ocean and Shin Megami Tensei, so there’s not much to say there.
Combat encounters are not random, but rather represented by wandering NPCs which Nassa can either choose to engage or not (though what formation Nassa will encounter by activating these NPCs may itself be randomized). This renders fighting almost entirely optional, except to grind up a level or two and some money for healing items (necessary for the final battle). In battle each character in the party can choose between multiple attacks, but the uses of these are not all clearly defined. This leaves it to the player to intuit the uses of the attacks via experimentation. I stuck mostly with attacks based around multiple hits or multiple targets, as I assumed these would be relatively efficient ways of destroying adversaries. While thankfully the combat in Delinquent is turn-based as opposed to Active Time, it still manages to move by a bit quickly and vaguely for my taste. I found it tough to discern who is attacking who, in what order, for how much damage, and why. Another point of ambiguity is Health – it’s referred to as “Motivation Points” in item descriptions; but for some reason this is abbreviated as DP in the menus, which was confusing at first when trying to determine whether to use a restorative item. The game automatically saves progress after each battle, and automatically reloads upon player death. Unfortunately this feature is broken; and, as a result, I had to re-start the game several times when I was almost finished with it.
The world and characters of Delinquent are intriguing sketches, but nothing is fleshed out enough for me to feel like I really know what is going on in this world. It’s clear Nassa and her friends are more concerned with goofing off than responsibility; but I don’t really know what those responsibilities are, nor does this really have any consequence in the game world. Nassa is obviously a bit melodramatic (based on her soliloquy after not finding her key), but it’s also possible to play the game for a while without ever seeing the protagonist’s name (though you can always just go to the menu and look). I played the game through three times and I never figured out what Nassa’s job was, and whose house exactly she was trying to get into (her own house maybe, though another character is mentioned while exploring the basement and then never spoken of again). Rosa is the most colorful personality of the bunch because she is over-the-top, even if she only appears in a cutscene and battle at the very end.
Delinquent.rpg has a good basic premise – mischievous fairies looking for lost keys while being antagonized by an obnoxious schoolmate. Its battle system is ambiguous but functional; though combat itself feels like an optional afterthought. Its world is structured openly, but the plot and progression are linear (though the fake keys can be collected in any order). I suspect Delinquent could benefit from integrating its battle system into its world a little better. If names of (and relationships between) characters and places were established clearly from the game’s outset, this alone would go a long way toward turning Delinquent into the game it implies it has the potential to be. Which I think is probably a pretty awesome game, and I hope to someday play it.
...spake The Lord Thy God.