Topic: Indie In Depth #2 - Iji, Pokemon Hunter, Sacred Earth: Bonds [Review] (Read 213 times)

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Download Link:  Iji

   A couple times through the years of this industry of independent gaming...and sometimes console work, a storyline takes place of a post-apocalyptic tone which preserves humanity as much as possible through a combined struggle; Iji, made by Daniel Remar, is anything but as the role of saving an insignificant earth from a deadly race relies on luck, and a slowly-changing young woman thrown into very deadly situation. Iji starts as the game's namesake enjoys a lovely walk through her father's workplace at a research facility with her sister...When all hell breaks loose with orbital strikes. When she comes to, her brother and only human contact, Dan, serves as a handler and lack of moral compass as the story slowly unfolds; aliens known as the Tasen brought about the Armageddon, and Iji's body was heavily damaged. Given cybernetic components from leftover technology from a race long past, Iji takes her nanogun and takes it to the invaders....or not.

   The gameplay is that relative based on your actions throughout the game. Blazing your way through the remaining sectors as a aggressor or pacifist is completely up to you, as the game provides upgrades and abilities to do either; by collecting blue nano bubbles, leveling brings about improvements through the several different consoles, from Attack and Asslimate to enhance damage and ammo, to Crack and Strength which allow for less lethal solutions through disabling weapon systems and kicking opponents out of harm's path instead of wonton firepowered death and destruction. The game's storyline, as well as Iji's character development, plays to that style as only certain bosses absolutely have to die. It's all up the player. Yet, while this game provides a very immense setting and plenty of significant (and rather humorous, at times) expansion, it leaves the game open for a lot more, when the fate of the human race seems quite set in stone during the first couple stages.

For such a well-developed game, it's graphics are as descriptive as they are simple, reminding a player of the earlier, story-driven and suspenseful days of Flashback and Out of This World than most, except combined into a feel for the exploration-heavy action games such as Bioshock. The arrangements are upbeat and emotionally-charged in all respects, only adding to the very horrifying and deadly environment Iji is now surviving within. I recommend this game, but as a fair bit of warning: Don't expect an easy ride, and make sure you play it more than once.

Judgement: 9/10

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Link to Thread: Pokemon Hunter

Halibabica's Pokemon Hunter is a slightly different rendition of the lovable furry animals we all know and love...soft and squishy....and introducing them to my good, old friend...



   That's right; Pokemon are a menace to humans everywhere on this world, so it's up to Eli, the Pokemon Hunter, and his friends to kill them all. Of the four characters you meet, each of them carry specific elemental skill traits, which allows them to pick up skills from books, acquired by exploring the map and solving puzzles. The number of skills your party gains are quite immense, but several of them do the same damage, some for an even higher cost than another skill down the line. Combat, as is similar to most of the RM2k games I've played, is relatively simple....except when the Pokemon evolve. A level of startegy is required in order to deal sufficient damage and manage MP consumption (which the game makes mention to in a cute little scene. ^_^) while not getting ripped apart by their much more powerful attacks. The attacks in question come from the Pokemon TCG, even with the small power numbers at the side which relates to an attacks overall power in this game.


   The storyline is pretty simplistic but presented well; go around, kill them before they kill us, come back to the witch lady for the next kill, add a new party member, rinse and repeat. The game then begins to pick up after you gain the first four characters and their immense array of abilities, combined with the rather powerful item drops from those pocket monster carcasses (Hint: If a Charmeleon evolves, pray for it's drop.). Overall, it's a pretty simple game, but let no one ever say that I don't like simple RPGs: It's worth a play...but also that I'm a fan of hack-and-slashing those bloodsuckers from Nintendo.

Judgement: 7/10


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Review: Sacred Earth - Bonds (Normal Mode)

Link to Thread: Sacred Earth: Bonds



   There comes a time in a developers' life when someone branches out from working with others and decides to make a game themselves, attempting to adapt new ideas and concepts such as an innovative combat style into a storyline loosely made. Although the game is meant as a way of exhibiting and testing the new system, the creator finds themselves making a game alongside. This is true for Skie Fortress, who has worked on three personal projects-which fell through due to bugs or lack of time- and two team efforts before this point which didn't work out so bad, and has released Sacred Earth – Bonds, a game incorporating several different elements at once.

   You play as two well-defined, half-demonic siblings named Veili and Gunnar Myrrine, who have entered a mysterious tower in the hopes of locating a extremely rare herb used to care their father. Along the way, they also encounter a strange party of people with a mysterious goal, including a demon with a grudge, and a gender-confused child with no family named Maron, who only knows the power as home. As you go up the tower, more of the characters in terms of personality and even overall interests and embarrassing moments are revealed, very much like how fifteen-year old still have a doll collection. Priceless. While the story keeps you very intrigued and is well-placed among the gameplay, sometimes the bugs interfere. I had to open my menu for Gunnar to read a book, which ruined the dramatic tension somewhat, but like with all game systems like RM2k3, it is to be expected. Although I did feel that the more causal, humorous moments were a bit forced, that doesn't stop this game from making even a good impression in terms of story; Simple, but more than enough to serve the purpose of this game, and to pull in the player.



   Gameplay is fast-based in terms of both exploration and combat; field tools have been implemented and scattered around the tower allowing access to formerly-unreachable areas, such as the Ether Shot for hitting switches from afar, or the wall-breaking drill. The whole time you climb up the treacherous floors-except in specific areas with a save point- the encounter bar on the left continues to rise. Once completely filled, a battle ensues with up to four enemies..but don't expect your general means of combat; Once you've used the attack command three times, the sequence of abilities change so you have no choice but to use your ether points for spells and outburst attacks respectively, which also requires proper, and sometimes extreme magic point management. Using Soul Points gained from enemies, they can increase health and stats on regular intervals, or increase skill ranks, gaining new powers. After twelve outburst attacks have been used, the commands change once more, invoking a even more powerful, and a more costly EP-costing technique and special command. This timing aspect, alongside careful EP management and consistently-important system of elemental resistance even considering the floor of the tower itself is hampered by the heavily-reminded fact that the enemies are faster and also have powers of Ether. This game is still kicking my kiester after several build-ups using a little farming, and I'm playing on Normal....and yes, he also made three difficulty modes. The special accessories are already provided for you, such as elemental rings into a specific resistance, and other special traits like regenerating HP or immunity to criticals. Ether Shards are used to improve the ranks on weapons and armor, but are to be used sparingly. While I love these new concepts, the multitude of new ideas might overwhelm new players who only get to see a tutorial only twice between the course of the game. It also doesn't help that I have to press Ctrl-Alt-Delete and End Task to end this game, with no inherent Quit command when not in full-screen.

   Something I find quite innovative about this RPG Maker game is the use of voice acting for combat quotes and attack sounds. While a clear distinction of the amount of work placed into their game, I have been wondering as to why the characters themselves weren't given voice acting during cutscenes; I felt that as Velli's needed a bit less fire to it and a bit more play, since she likes danger...Gunnar's was spot on. The original soundtrack is pretty memorable, and proper emotional context is associated with cutscenes and certain battles...My only gripe is when the soundtrack or voices or slashing sounds skip and play twice; a bug to be sure, but irritating.

All in all, this full game is a very pleasurable experience, and a success in my book. I would personally love to see this game worked upon-in terms of story, gameplay, and improving the general technical aspects of this game- not to mention the overall universe that Skie Fortress made, to create something truly different and wonderful.


Judgement: 7.5/10
Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 09:08:08 pm by Aurabolt
I am not a Bodybulider!!! -Sabin
I'm your boss now, kupo!- Mog

Games/Demos reviewed:
A Home Far Away (Demo): 7.5/10
Alter A.I.L.A: 9/10
Rainbow Nightmare (Chapter 1): With Bugs: 7/10, w/o Bugs: 8.5/10
Hero's Realm: 8/10
Iji: 8/10
Pokemon Hunter: 7/10
Sacred Earth - Bonds: 7.5/10
Want your game reviewed? Read Indie In-Depth here.
http://www.gamingw.net/forums/index.php?topic=75160.0

If anyone wants a good, analytical look at their game from a gamer's perspective, PM me and point me to your thread, or I'll just work it out with you. I love to review and play great games, you want feedback. It's a win-win right?
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The newest version of PH is actually pretty good.. Was it released already? I just saw screenies months ago.
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You didn't mention the music in Iji :O thats like one of the best bits! and secrets! HUNDREDS of secrets!
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  • Avatar of Aurabolt
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Mentioning the secrets, considering how many there are, would be a little spoiling. Not to mention that the game's music would'nt play for me. I eventually had to download it separately. It was pretty good.

Sorry about that; at time of when I played, I was only able to work with gameplay and style.
I am not a Bodybulider!!! -Sabin
I'm your boss now, kupo!- Mog

Games/Demos reviewed:
A Home Far Away (Demo): 7.5/10
Alter A.I.L.A: 9/10
Rainbow Nightmare (Chapter 1): With Bugs: 7/10, w/o Bugs: 8.5/10
Hero's Realm: 8/10
Iji: 8/10
Pokemon Hunter: 7/10
Sacred Earth - Bonds: 7.5/10
Want your game reviewed? Read Indie In-Depth here.
http://www.gamingw.net/forums/index.php?topic=75160.0

If anyone wants a good, analytical look at their game from a gamer's perspective, PM me and point me to your thread, or I'll just work it out with you. I love to review and play great games, you want feedback. It's a win-win right?
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You should also put up download links or links to the game threads. (I know Iji and Sacred Bonds both have threads in IGD forum)
Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 01:26:36 am by Strangeluv
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