September 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
Okay for those who are veterans of Deviantart for more than 3 years you have most likely heard or seen Mikeinel’s art in some way or form. For those who know who I am talking about you have most likely played his finished game DeIz or stalk his deviantart for every post. I for one wasn’t one of those people, hell today was the first I found out about him, but I have seen several bits and pieces of his art and when I caught wind of a free indie game I decided to check it out.
For starters, DeIz is short indie visual novel about Ceil, a high school boy who has been infatuated with a female independent director that attends her school for 3 years. The story is mainly his struggle to snag the love of his life but of course other routes are available and each one have a flavor of variety that not many games (that I played) can give. Every choice and route I took and I managed to beat the entire game in 6 hours (after struggling) and I always demanded there be more; sadly that isn’t going to happen so all I’m left is a small hole and memorable events and a whole lot of CG’s (quite interesting I might add).
My first thoughts on the game was quite ruined the first time. I felt the story was lacking in the first five minutes and the names were ridiculously hard to pronounce. Of course this won’t stop me from finishing it and I had nothing else to do this Saturday. Pushing forward DeIz grew on me like a small adorable puppy on Christmas day. Surely enough I wanted more and I felt a bit of pained when I got a dead end route. My usual save and load wasn’t going to work seeing as I had many choices so when I got one route done or a dead end I started all the way from the beginning (an arduous task). Anyways, the game starts out with Ceil watching a film by none other than his long crush (Iris). It is pointed out that Ceil worked with Iris on the set of her first film and from that point he was infatuated with her, though being chicken shit as he is he kept the prop ring from that movie as a memento of her.
We are introduced to our first characters, Chamoisee and Cerise, both close friends of Ceil. Chamoisee is Ceil’s energetic male friend who has an obsession with video games like Ceil. Both Ceil and Charmie understand each other on a guy level and the two are great buds. Cerise is Ciel’s female friend who has a secret crush on our main character (big surprise), but their relationship seems typically on a friend level (mainly where Ceil is oblivious). Basically after the three get together and talk is when the decision making counts and depending on what you decide it will affect the story so I won’t go into details about that. I however love the trio as they each are unique but together are quite the formidable comedy duo!
So my praise on this is the character development. Surely the game is short but the characters are each unique and well drawn with their own quirks and personality and meeting more characters really made it fun; and with so many endings it was worthwhile to find different ways to end the game and have fun. Another great great plus was the internet and anime references in the game. From Black Rock Shooters to Caramel Dansen and even Portal 2, Mikeinel put his soul into adding as much of himself as possible. Black Rock Shooter became Black Stone Slasher and even Gurren Lagann became Gullen Raggan. It really made the game that much more entertaining to continue through and to find these random things was a reward in itself.
My favorite character was perhaps Cerise and her special circumstances that I won’t mention at all, but she however is close to Ceil up until an event that distances her from Ceil and Chamoisee. I was curious as to what was wrong after they make a hint to her “circumstance” and I attempted to follow through, sadly more than once to get it right but when I did I felt accomplished not because I completed the route I wanted but because I got attached to the characters in such a short time. DeIz does a great job getting the player attached to the characters or at least curious to find out. Cerise and Ceil really do make a great pair so much so that I can barely contain the spoilers revealed in this post.
Of course Cerise isn’t the only character in this game (will not reveal) that has a role. Almost all the characters have a role to fulfill… all except one… We come to my mysterious girl only dubbed “Her” by the creator himself.
Only known as the “Black Haired Girl” or “Her”, this character is by far the most unique one of them all as the player interacts with her on several occasions. I will reveal that her role is a sad one, one that makes me curse Mikeinel to suffer for! For the sake of this blog I shall simply name Black Haired Girl “Her” (as her original role was to kill the main character). Her’s role however changes and her role may be minor but she however made a big impact to me as being one of the most unique characters in DeIz. Her and Ceil meet on occasions throughout the game and when Ceil is down in the dumps about his one sided love situation she shows up and tells him that “He doesn’t belong here.” Huh… Doesn’t belong… What could it possible mean? At first I neglected her and payed no attention to it, but because I was playing blind I accidentally got her ending in which Ceil chases after her and she runs off to speak with him in private. At first I assumed Her was Ceil’s stalker and I foresaw a murder suicide but my expectation was way off as Her confronts not Ceil but the player that she isn’t real. That’s right, for the first time in my life I had been questioned by an in game character ranting about how she was fake and that her only role was having the knowledge of being a false person with false love scripted by the creator. Her role was simply a joke by the creator but to me her role was a sad one indeed that it was true; the love in the game was merely scripted and even she could not bask in it either since she was aware. It really hurt watching her breakdown as Ceil awkwardly comforted her in a confused manner while I the player simply was left speechless.
My biggest issue is perhaps “Her” which I already ranted about. My second issue with the game which i was disappointed in was that there was no sound. No voices, no music, no FX. Just pictures and texts. Surely the game was still a hit but I would have really enjoyed voices to give the characters more depth. With all those aside I don’t really have anything else to complain about. I’m not reviewer, and if I was my only review score would be Play it or Don’t, but surely this game deserves to be played and all this is purely my opinion and nothing more.
DeIz for another word is simply a game made by a Deviantart member who simply rushed something that could be more, but what he showed the world was simply a game that made me attached to the characters and story much faster than any other game itself. I for one don’t plan on getting rid of this game anytime soon and I will definitely spread the word on this game to those who read this. Mikeinel you have a fan for life, but I honestly do despise you for “Her” route, but nontheless you are a genius and I hope more from you. Without further ado I gift you with fanservice and the link to download the game (click the image for the link). I’m Edwin Vega and I’m here to say that it’s a trap! (you’ll know when you do).
May 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
There have been many roleplaying games that follow the same unexplored RPG equation of dungeon crawling, grinding, and enraging boss fights that just makes a player rage and stock up on potions from their local item shops. The adventurers have all the spotlight and don’t give any for the unsung heroes that made their conquests possible, in Recettear the RPG system is revamped for something uniquely different. The game starts off with the main character Recette who is greeted by a loan shark fairy named Tear, who demands to collect her fathers debt or else repossess her home and force Recette live in a box (Click the image above, sums up how I felt afterwards, not my artwork). Unable to pay the money Tear offers Recette a solution by transforming her home into an item shop, thus beginning the game.
The game mechanics are quite simple to get into, with only 3 buttons to use (aside from esc), and the characters themselves are moe to the core. This game is obscenely cute, from character modelling to the art work, hell even the monsters are cute (to an extent) the game is cute from beginning to end. The thing that isn’t cute at all is the weekly collection that is done once a week; this gives a sense of dread when you have horrible sales and you haven’t met your quota for that week. What gets even more depressing is when you fail to pay the collection your house is repossessed and shows a cut scene in which Recette is living in a box.
The strong points of the game in my experience is to piss you off when a customer storms out, make you overly happy when you hit it big on a sale, and make you cry when its game over; this game is a highly effective way to kill time and even addicting at times. Emotion is key to any games overall enjoy, why play a game that you can’t have fun in and make you say “That was majorly fun”, Recettear pulls this off really well and I enjoyed it from beginning to end. The item shop can be expanded to fit more items, you can change your flooring and walls to add an angelic feeling or a dreadful dungeon feeling that affects how many customers you get for that sale. There is also a combo chain that goes into effect with each sale that affects your shop owner xp with each level unlocking you certain perks to help you reap in the Pix (Recettears money), sadly this chain can be restarted if a consumer is displeased with the price or storms out. With many perks, items, and a variety of clients the game is easy to play but difficult to truly master.
There is also a dungeon diving side quest where the player hires an adventurer and goes questing for items; simple enough until you add monsters into the formula. Each time you go into a field the maps always change so you never get into the same path again, to go onto the next floor you must find a portal that will warp you to the next. Before going into the dungeon the player can bring along certain items like food to help him in his journey, but this takes up space to an already small inventory. The dungeon system is well done, overall the game is well done and there are not many bugs, most you own’t even notice, but I was disappointed in the dungeon crawling that I’ve come to know in every other game and my ever small inventory space became a dreadful game of swapping items. You can only fit so many items in your inventory when you go to a dungeon so once it fills up you can’t pick anymore without tossing swapping things out or removing them entirely. Its a fun mini game nonetheless but you can’t help but get pissed because you find a valuable item and you have to make a decision to sacrifice something from your inventory; seems like an easy decision but some items can be combined for crafting so the situation can be complicated.
The game has a variety of memorable characters, items, and monsters that are fun. My adventurer Louie who is the starter adventurer and the most funniest character there is. Louie is a poor and untrained adventurer who has not earned a place among the Adventurers Guild to earn work, quite a lovable character as he is poor to even buy food that he has to scavenge for edible grass and the like. Though there are many other adventurers each with unique attributes and classes, Louie was my favorite because of his pathetic but positive persona made him quite fun and easy to get along with. The game has many strong points but the ever skulking collection does not give one enough time to jump into dungeons and sell so one has to balance dungeon crawling and adventuring. Upon completing the game (which is somewhat short, about 6-12 hours), the game has an endless mode in which you no longer need to pay your debt and gives you time to explore dungeons and sell what you want to earn a profit. There is also a mode called New Game+ which allows you to start a new game with your hard earned stats and level but you still follow the story; there is also a survival mode that pins the player up in a never ending weekly collection that increases every week until the player fails. Survival mode is still similar to the game in which you can sell and dungeon crawl but prepare to be mad and cry yourself to sleep when you fail eventually; still a nice mode to play.
Recettear has been one of the most fulfilling and raging games I have ever played. I highly recommend it because its quite fun and honestly cheap, $20 US. . Also if you have not clicked the image above then do so, I enjoyed the comic ^^ As Recettes slogan goes “Capitalism Ho!” and have a great day.