Judge 1: Darrman
This is a tough submission to grade. I would consider this to be a good submission, but the difficulty is very high and I felt it was slightly overtuned. The party is split into two groups: one at the bottom of the map and another in the middle. The bottom party is competent, while the middle party is always in danger. If two blue or green units die, it’s game over: the middle party must protect two green units. The goal is to capture the boss. However, he will flee if threatened. If he escapes, it’s game over. The timer for this is tight: he will flee on turn 7 at latest and will escape in three moves: on turn 9. He also cannot be lured away. The highlights are the new staves. One targets any unit and lets you warp them up to four movement points away. Enemies can be pushed away and allies pulled to safety alike. The other new staff targets enemy weapon rank. When it hits, the enemy loses three weapon ranks. The difficulty never lets up and enemy density is high: any slip up means death. The reinforcements also never end, and only two units have any significant durability. This resulted in many resets before victory.
The portrait quality is high, and when custom music is around it is of good quality as well. The status screen has been given a shake-up: most notably, many of the text boxes have been expanded to fit in items such as stat formulas and a numerical class cap display. Some items even have multi-page descriptions. The score here is brought down by usage of a lot of vanilla music: the battle themes are the worst offenders here, though with the battle animations disabled by default, it is somewhat mitigated.
The story here was good and ties into the gameplay nicely: the split party, wagons to protect, and chapter objective all align with the story. The ending scene set up for a potential continuation: the bandit captain is not the leader. The ending scene also takes deaths into account.
Total Score: 12/20
Judge 2: MCProductions
Goal is capture boss, boss will attempt to escape, enemies are pretty strong, if boss escapes or you kill him it’s game over. If you like a challenge, give this map a shot, as it is definitely the hardest submission I’ve played yet, and unfortunately it’s challenge is why I don’t rank it high. I do not have fun when 80% of my characters die to a gust of wind when the enemy density is so high.
I hate how cluttered the mug box is with modern Skillsys hacks, and this game has map anims on by default, leaving you just staring at GBA sprites the whole time.
Mercs again to protect a merchant caravan from bandits. Bandits attack. Simple and to the point, I approve.
Total Score: 11/20
Judge 3: 2WB
There are so many mechanics going on with the *victory condition*. I really like this but I feel as though needing the multiple boxes to explain how the game works makes me concerned it’s a bit complicated; but on the other hand it’s not COMPLICATED, just explaining the specifics.
There’s so many things running around that I feel really overwhelmed and feel inadequately on-boarded to the game’s list of changes. I still don’t feel like I understand what the glancing blow text is supposed to mean for reliability or when I should expect units to take damage – and its rarity due to units having mostly decent hit rates doesn’t help that.
It’s also just… really dense. I understand the Plan feature really lets me break things apart, and dissect when what enemy will do what action, but I can’t control all the variables like Plan lets me do – I can’t perfectly predict the AI or the random results, for example :p
But it really suffers from how many mechanics are new, adjusted, like…
Basically, I had to die at the chapter three times before I could actually start playing the chapter. That’s…not great.
The existence of the Plan-Act/Future buttons makes strategizing for future events possible but it *feels* a lot like cheating to me – I know it’s no different the turnwheel in terms of the shenanigans.
It feels awkward to have a party of promoted units where every enemy is about as threatening as your units are despite them being unpromoted; but in the “oh, that messes my usual expectations” way.
The chapter is also just. Really hard. It’s not tedious, and is quite enjoyable, I just. Kept dying. Over and over and over and over and over. Some attempts took close to an hour.
I feel like I spent more time on this than other submissions that I extensively lambasted for being too long; and my screenshots corroborate that theory.
The party, overall, has an extremely difficult time facing any enemies in front of them and that makes it really interesting, but it also makes it extremely hard to gain any amount of ground and therefore extremely painful to complete the objective which has a *very* restrictive time limit.
This combines with the liabilities that can’t move and the difficult opening position and the requirement to hold multiple points and the constant enemies from the west making choking there unviable to make a chapter that is extremely punishing and required me to reset a lot to get..anywhere with it.
When I wasn’t extremely frustrated from how much stuff was happening all over the place that kept killing me relentlessly, I was having fun. But I really can’t emphasize enough that I just was not enjoying myself at all for most of this, because of… really, each thing that happens.
The boss runs if you charge up the middle, so you’re forced to go around the right. But there’s two green wagons in the middle and you can only let one unit die, so you have to abduct one of them out of the crossfire somehow.
Then you have to have a strategy for actually dealing with both the enemies from the north and the reinforcements from the west.
And you have to stabilize that whole situation in just a few turns, because you need to send a considerable number of units up northeast to be able to actually damage the boss enough to capture him.
The chapter is EXTREMELY GOOD, the mechanics are VERY interesting, and not doing well is usually a clear *decision* error. But the chapter overall is HUGELY overtuned and this ludicrous play level requirement saps a lot of the *enjoyment* out.
As an example, if suspend loading was from player-turn-start so you could mess up and die in enemy phase and not lose all your progress, it’d would be way more approachable. I understand that the plan feature is meant for this, but it’s hard to think of things to check for while planning, and it’s nigh impossible to remember all the AI rules (to say nothing of the huge number of people I know who don’t know them).
Every song is good and has a decent audio balance compared to the other noises. They’re all interesting songs and lack nothing.
Though I’m getting REALLY sick of the player phase theme due to how long I have to hear it while strategizing. I’ve had multiple turns where I hear multiple whole loops… over and over…
Everyone’s mug is fairly polished and carries a unique feel.
The map is gorgeous; there’s way too much advance polish on “hey look, feature that lets you actually scout for information at a reasonable pace without having to just do two runs of the chapter”.
Honestly the only problem is there’s so much of that that it’s kind of overwhelming and not something I can really “get used” to working with in a short time frame.
Everyone has a good battle palette; which I was kind of afraid wouldn’t be the case when I saw animations default to off, but they’re just nice.
It kept going! But it was really good and clean and polished and I loved the interaction between basically everyone, their characters were well set up and introduced cleanly and … I had over 300 screenshots before receiving control. It was just too much.
I don’t *have* feedback for it. The opening scenes for this are all actually great. I just want literally half as much of it, or for it to get spread out a bit over the chapters (that you don’t have) or turn events (which wouldn’t jive well with the gameplay).
The ending is way shorter – and much stronger of a sting for it, and just works well. It’s not got any problems but it doesn’t really “resolve” anything that’s going on, so it feels a bit… limp.
Total Score: 16/20
Judge 4: theghostcreator
No. This was not built for the no save states rule in any sense of the word. Not being able to lose even two units is hell and I can’t imagine this was properly playtested with the clause in mind. Having to capture the boss is also incredibly annoying and just drags the map out. Other than that the gameplay is just kinda bland, not a lot of interesting stuff.
Pretty good but there were some minor hiccups.
Fine but it drags out far too long for such a simple premise. There are too many characters here to individually go over each of their bits.
Total Score: 10/20