demo, Game Reviews, games, indie, Reviews

Love Ritual DEMO review

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the silence, but life has been busy. Today, I am going to share a little demo with you, which I have truly enjoyed. I am hoping for this to be a little warmup for me – and, if luck allows, in upcoming weeks there will be more posts!

Click on the picture to check out the game!

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Today we are going to talk about the demo for game called “Love Ritual” by Xand. Love Ritual demo is not very long but it does give you an idea where the developers want to take it and what you can expect from it. You are welcomed by beautiful backgrounds and sprites, including subtle animations which add up to the feeling and expression of the game. It is always hard to create a visual novel that tells the story the way you want it to be told, but Xand’s approach surely seems like a good one. Personally, I always enjoy it when visual novels have little details like that.

For me, art style go towards realistic while not losing the appeal of less realistic styles – it’s somewhere in between and I think many will be able to enjoy it. Writing is clear and even in the demo, I haven’t spot any typos, mistakes or anything like that, which is a big plus.

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I really don’t want to focus on the story too much, as I don’t want to describe all or most of the demo. I want you to dive in and let the atmosphere pull you in. Personally, I was really sad when demo ended – I wanted, even needed more, as this game did nothing but amaze me and I desired more. But, we all gotta be patient!

Nevertheless, I probably should tell you a little bit about Love Ritual. This is a little detective merged with romance story, and we are in the shoes of a sweet Riilai, who is called to solve a mystery… and in the process, meets two gentlemen, a very, very interesting gentlemen…

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Demo gives you a feel of aesthetic, a couple of choices, and let’s you get an idea what kind of protagonist Riilai may be. I am looking forward to the release of Love Ritual!

Note: I have been contacted by the developer, but of course, demo is free of charge, so this is not #ad. The game looked interesting, I played it and genuinely enjoyed it. I decided it deserves a little blog post.

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Game Reviews, games, indie, Reviews

Adventures of Pixels

Pixel art adventures were one of the very strong milestones in the history of video games.  King’s Quest or The Secret of the Monkey Island are a great example of that. Nowadays, it is mostly that indie developers try to bring them back. Pixel art adventures made by indie developers are succesful because they bring back what was the secret of succes of old adventure games: freedom and innovation.

Don’t get me wrong – AAA games are innovative from time to time. But, very often, big studios are scared of trying new things, fresh ideas and going with the idea in hopes player will love it. Back in the day, nobody knew what people wanted because the whole market and playbase was still in the making. Possibly why Sierra created all kinds of different adventure games, of different themes (fantasy theme, police theme, space theme, etc) to gather a full range of audience, people of different tastes and likes.

Indie developers do not have an easy job either. It is often working two jobs, and putting your passion first. But in the case of an indie studio, where you do not have to worry about paying hundreds of people, just couple – you can allow yourself to take risks. Maybe not big risks, because you still need to eat, but this is how pixel art game suceed.

The sad true of success of an indie developer is to create for passion and for love for creating rather than making enough money of it, although for many of them it does pay off. It is a mixutre of skill, dedication and sheer luck.

But, pixel art adventures became a well known genre created by many indie developers.. It is a one of those smaller risks, because of the popularity of the genre. Turns out that a lot of us, especially us gamers remembering the times of first pixels, don’t mind lack of 3d high quality graphics, if the story or gameplay or both are stunning.

And today we are talking about something stunning.

There is a very skillful creator called Octavi Navarro that has worked on quite a few such productions, like Thimbleweed Park, and is a truly talented individual. Recently, he has released his second short game called “The Librarian”, and on this ocassion, I decided to write this little piece.

Navarro has created two short games, but it’s shortness show you just how time consuming and how tough it may be to create game on your own. Yes, Navarro created almost all of the assets by himself. Fonts were done by SomePx, and some of the sound effect were taken from royalty free assets.

First of his games is Midnight Scenes.

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Midnight Scenes is Navarro’s first game and much more spooky one. Of course, point-and-click horros are not fully scary, but they do not intend to be. They are about building atmosphere, and Octavi Navarro has a tremendous talent in that. He builds atmosphere so perfectly it makes you shudder. I am amazed at how many little things his games have that help set the atmosphere.

You follow a story of young woman being stuck on a road and… some very interesting events happen. I am really curious about the story and all the things that weren’t said.

Midnigh Scenes is a very short let intriguing story, and feels like it has potential for much longer, bigger game. I would love to see what could be made out of this, and how the story could develop.

His newest game, The Librarian, shows even more professionalism and beautiful design.

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The Librarian has one very specific feature that I adore. It is not as hard to tell a story, if you can tell it through words.Many mysteries and secrets can be revealed this way. Navarro shows his skill by telling us a story through no words what so ever. Midnight Scenes had very few words as well, but still they needed some because of how the story went. Librarian defends itself through it’s design and the only time you read something is at the beginning. One, short sentence and later you need to observe the game and solve puzzles to learn the story.

Both games from Octavi Navarro are beautiful, a bit spooky adventures that you need to check out. Details in character’s animation, beautiful art and other assets, and amazing design are what makes those games truly delightful. In anticipation I am awaiting Octavi’s bigger production, because I am certain it will be the real GOTY. Navarro is the artist you want to follow and see just how he will surprise you next.

Here is the link to his website, when you can see how to support him, see some beautiful pixel art and more!

Game Reviews, games, Reviews

How to get away with murder…?

The Deed is a short crime adventure created by Pilgrim Adventures, developer that have created quite a few rpg maker adventures. I think with accesibility of rpg maker and such engines, there is a lot of not bad but also not good games. It is not as easy to find really enjoyable and intriguing RPG maker adventure, and many dislike those games, right away labelling all of them as “bad”.  However, The Deed is ever so short game, that could take the place of one of those more unique adventures, from the art to the story itself.

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Do you like crime stories, figuring out who’s the culprit and all that? Good. This time you are on the other side. You are the murderer and it is your job to make sure you are not caught. What I like best about this game is that it is programmed well, so it’s not as easy as it seems to get away with murder.

Your character had a tough life as a child, and he has escaped his family house. Now, he is back since learning that all his inheritance is going to be taken away from him, and promised his cruel sister… He cannot allow that, and decides to put his sister out of her misery.

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It seems easy at first glance. You need to find incriminating evidence that will cover you and then you choose a weapon of murder. Simple enough, eh? Not exactly. Every little thing you did, and what response you have given anyone during your conversations, counts. And because you are that black sheep of the family, if police have even one small reason to be suspicious… you’re a goner.

The Deed is a short adventure for, maybe half an hour, maybe an hour. It surely has replayability value, and there are quite a few ways to reach your goal. There are also 17 steam achievements you may want to grab while you’re on it. But at the same time, you keep on doing one thing – trying to get away with murder – so after an hour or so, you reach the maximum of the entertainment the game can provide.

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If your evening is too lonley or if you would like to know how does it feel to plan murder – this short game is for you.. Original art, fitting music, despite it’s shortness story pieces and plot that you can learn if you care for it, and that gives your character the reason to kill… All that together is a nice piece put together by Pilgrim Adventures, and makes me wanna try their other creations.

There is also The Deed: Dynasty which I am planning to check out really soon so look out for the review!

 

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Magical Stories vs Creepy Novels {NaNoReNo 2018}

Every year, March is a magical month where people try to make a visual novel in a span of just one month!  It has been run since 2005 and every year plenty of visual novels are posted on lemma soft forums, home to RenPy users and lovers, one of the most popular software for coding visual novels.

Since I ADORE this genre of games, I am going to look through all the entries and see what interesting project I run into. Today we have Magical Stories vs Creepy Novels, so! I got for you some cute, fantasy stories and then, some creepy ones, too!

 

merFirst cute, magical story is Mermaid Isle. It is a very short, yet adorable little game about a girl who meets a mermaid. Doodly art really hits a spot and takes me back to my childhood and really fits the game! Beside the story between the girl and the meramid, you have mini game involving fishing! It is very simple and short, but very fun, too! Looking forward to further developments of Mermaid Isle. Check it out and see if you can catch ALL THE FISHIES!

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On the other side, it is time for our first creepy novel. Do Not Love – Violators Will Be Shot, is a game still in a very early alpha, however what I have read was truly exciting and intriguing. Just reading the descrption should interest you a lot! Right now, game is playable for 7 minutes, and has no art whatsoever. Maybe you shouldn’t run to download it, but DNL deserves to be bookmarked.

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Back to the fantasy land, we play Luck and Key! This was a very curious and interesting, though short adventure. It is more like an introduction to the story, with beautiful GUI, even though first font is a little tough to read. I admired the art, that was very specific but very lovely at the same time. It’s another one to bookmark, since the story ends abruptly, but I look forward to it!

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Spooks fight back with Neopraxia , a very cool somewhat futiristic story. Only somewhat, because beside the intro explaining story to us, graphics and all is more casual; or well futirstic/apocalyptic in a way. At this point in time, it is hard to tell, but the story is really interesting, and it is a good chunk of code, art and story made in just one month!

 

If you are interested in NaNoReNo you can check it’s official website here!

Hope you have enjoyed those short reviews – more coming soon 🙂