Judge 1: Darrman
There’s clearly the basis of a good chapter here. Your party has to get into the tower and kill the boss, but there’s no obvious way to get there. Only by killing the sub-bosses, in this case various elements of golem, will the path forward open. However, after the third golem dies, things begin to unravel.
The Wind Golem is the strongest of the four. Killing him is difficult – hit rates are shaky at best here and his evasion is sky-high – and it achieves absolutely nothing except for him dropping his tome. I was expecting a bridge to appear to a cracked wall on the other side of the map. In hindsight I should have had the berserker swim over there sooner. The boss also behaves unusually: he is a dragon, and behind the cracked wall is a wyrmslayer. Yet it cannot slay the wyrm. He is instead weak to bows, despite not being able to fly.
There’s definitely potential, but another round of testing was sorely needed. A shortcut between the left and right sides to reduce the backtracking would be especially welcome.
Presentation is clearly a focus. The status screen and battle frame have both been modified, the character portraits are of high quality, and the music choices are good. What brings this down from a 5 are the various placeholder elements. Most playable characters have an empty mini mug; most enemies have none whatsoever and display glitch graphics. The final boss also doesn’t get boss music.
There’s basically no story. We’re the legendary heroes from a bygone age fighting the villains… and that’s it. After a short world map scene, we’re straight into gameplay. There is one line of dialogue afterwards, when the dragon appears. Character descriptions establish characters and ensure a point.
Total Score: 9/20
Judge 2: MCProductions
Backtracking Hell kills what is otherwise a very solid concept.
I love Blue Druid’s work and they absolutely continue to impress.
Total Score: 9/20
Judge 3: 2WB
Proc skills. Tedious Wary Fighter bosses. Enemy with crit+15 and luna. Enemies with killer tomes such that only two units can properly participate while the terrain and their superior movement means the only play choice is to bait.
For everyone else’s sake; to recap, criticals and proc skills both suffer that a random event with next to no mitigation method causes one of my units to die after I’m a halfhour into the chapter. I do not feel challenged by this, I feel like my strategy and tactics are a frog now being ridden by a scorpion.
Oh, Elfire is effective against horses! I would have loved to know that at any point while I was dealing with the SE island before I was almost done with killing all the generics on it.
Shine inflicts debuffs and doesn’t say it does – -4 mag and -4 res.
This doesn’t actually matter because of other things, like most of the units having pretty poor hit or enemies with high evasion making me really regret not buying a full set of irons due to the constant fear of a random miss ending my run. Though there’s enough units and heals that this is basically impossible, to note.
So I kill three of the Golems and the massive shrine in the top-right opens up which feels.. odd and off to me.
The Wind boss has 78 avoid. The two units on my team with over 16 skill die in one round to the unit. My best hit/damage ratio is, once again, to have Dorian sit there for many turns relying on a 65% hit to connect. Fun! This is made even better because the boss has Aegis to make it even more tedious.
I had the distinct pleasure of dogpiling that particular boss with five units when it was near dead and they all missed, so I had to reset for a second run through.
I really liked the way the reinforcements were handled to a degree that I did not have the ability to appreciate on the first attempt.
I have no idea how I’m supposed to deal with the four thunder knights since they don’t get pulled: Are they nevermove or some unique AI that makes them dogpile? I don’t have many units that can survive multiple attacks.
The bait and switch on the boss’s identity/stats was so nice. Particularly, it was a kindness, because the replacement is much easier to fight. I was really wondering how I was going to deal with 45 atk / 31 spd / 104 avoid … but 36 atk / 16 spd / 62 avoid is much better. In that it’s *possible* for me to fight.
Of course, “possible” doesn’t really mean “probable”, because with 26 defense and its other numbers, the boss one rounds multiple units, doesn’t take damage from most of them, and has a critical chance that will result in instant death.
Oh, and my best hit rate against it is under 50. Very cool.
Like, “did you playtest this without savestates” comes into mind. Because the only strategy I have is one that will steadily build chance of failure. So after I get to the end, I have to go all the way back to the beginning, to see if that one little cracked wall hint is something, especially because the shop doesn’t sell bows.
Oh good it has
-15 light runes (i’ve cleared the whole map)
-a hammer (not effective vs the boss)
-a wyrmslayer (not any better than the steel bow and still requires luck to win ie. getting enough hits before it breaks)
cool. cool cool.
Even better, the wyrmslayer isn’t effective against the boss, so taking actually 20 turns to go down and back was ACTUALLY POINTLESS.
I literally won more off the back of **breaking the boss’s weapon** than anything else, because doing so allowed Fatima who could double the boss attack. Except, efficiency-wise, Dorian would be a better wielder of the Wind Sword due to his higher magic, but I have to dogpile as much damage as possible on the boss in as few turns as possible because he’s on a throne and heals a ludicrous amount of HP each turn, to have a chance of accommodating for the vanishingly small hit rates of my units.
If my best strategy for fighting your mid-bosses is to tediously End Turn while I get minor chip done during enemy phase, you have failed to game design. If my best strategy for fighting your boss is to break its weapon then I just don’t know what to say.
your title screen music hurts my ears
it’s really quality and mixed
but the left ear flute causes me active pain
The armory sells tomes and the vendor sells swords and they’re both shops :(
The units mostly have default palettes. Their mugs are gorgeous, but most of them lack minis.
The palette is really pretty. Everything stands out – I wish the Forts were a bit brighhter on their rooftops particularly but then the vendor would look out of place.
The Gremory’s moving map is Raynah’s. Enemies don’t have generic mini portraits assigned and this makes the minimug box regularly display a bunch of garbage pixels in a bad palette.
The music is just good.
So short! It barely exists! There’s really not anything to say about it because it’s so nonpresent. There’s no ending, either.
Total Score: 9/20
Judge 4: theghostcreator
It’s not great but it’s serviceable, it’s just a bunch of isolated rooms with bosses you have to kill. Most of the characters were fine but there was a big hitrate problem against all of the bosses, the highest hit I got against the final boss was about 47 with the silver bow guy.
Great presentation overall, good music, map, eventing, and portraits, although none of the playable units had minimugs other than one or two that had very sloppy minis, which I deducted a point for.
Meh. It’s not great, the story is basically just an exposition dump and that’s it. You get some lore then you go and kill the bosses, it doesn’t feel finished tbh with how none of the units ever speak and yet they have full descriptions.
Total Score: 12/20