Felvidek Review

Felvidek Review

RPG Maker software has lowered the bar for creatives to tell their own stories with a system that cuts out many of the complex programming aspects of game design. Clever writers and artists can craft their own interactive stories. Working within the limitations of an RPG structure can be a large part of the fun, especially for players who love the genre and now get access to unique and personal stories.

There is no limit to the kinds of stories and visuals for games made in RPG Maker. The likes of Lisa and Yume Nikki began as simple RPG maker games, becoming cultural phenomenons. Surreal cult classics like the two Hylics games show that artists could combine various kinds of media using RPG makers to make something unique that is unlike anything in the market. It’s a very flexible system that can realize almost anything as long as the developer has the creative know-how.

What if there was a Final Fantasy-inspired historical RPG set in medieval Slovakia where the player assumed the role of an alcoholic knight? This is an unusual story about a wreck of a man and his priest friend who get mixed up in a cult conspiracy that not only explores his inner demons but maybe some actual demons too. Are gamers ready for this tale about vice and faith? Find out in our Felvidek review!

Developer: Jozef Pavelka
Publisher: Jozef Pavelka
Platforms: Windows PC
Release Date: March 29, 2024
Price: $10.99 USD

It is the 15th century in Slovakia and Pavol is a knight whose life is in shambles after his wife had left him. His only solace is the bottle and when he is at his lowest, he is pushed to investigate a mysterious fire that burned down the nearby abbey. Pavol is paired with Matej, a priest who has the unenviable task of ensuring he doesn’t stray from the graces of the orthodox church.

The investigation leads the duo to discover a cult and abominations that aspire to undermine the Orthodox Church and take over the kingdom. Pavol and Matej quickly realize the conspiracy reaches further than anticipated since the Cult of Zuran’s ranks have infiltrated some authority and citizenry. To make matters worse, the goddamn Hussites and Ottomans are always trying to invade the land and the officials are hopelessly corrupt.

Pavol and Matej will be tested spiritually, mentally, and physically. They’re a very entertaining duo since Pavol is a strung-out and brutal drunken knight who is fed up with his lot in life and Matej constantly berates him and tries to keep him on the straight and narrow, but even he sometimes has character weaknesses. Their dynamic is very entertaining and a lot of that has to do with the period-appropriate dialect that is hilariously articulate.

Felvidek’s dialogue is some of the funniest and most surprising ever put into an RPG. It’s got elements of operatic Shakespeare and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, meets The Canterbury Tales. There are some utterly crass moments and Felvidek isn’t afraid to indulge in some classic scatological humor. The colorful and gripping dialogue does a lot of the heavy lifting for the basic plot and it fits the classy and arty visuals.

Before you read a single hilarious line, the bold visuals will grab you. The graphics use monochromatic woodblock and ink-inspired renderings for the environments. It gives a palpable texture to the world and the picturesque angles invoke memories of 32-bit prerendered JRPGs on PlayStation… you know the ones. No game looks like Felvidek which makes the experience feel all the more personal, like an artist designed it with a specific vision drawn.

Character portraits are amusing and resemble highly edited photographs of real people in costumes. Many of these suspiciously feel like they may have been the developer’s friends or family, and their silly expressions and poses add to the charming experience of the game. The battle sprites and animations are done in first person and there was a lot of care put into each action the player takes to make it feel like they’re in the warped heads of Pavol and company.

There are FMV sequences that make use of PlayStation-era low poly models with chunky pixelated textures. There aren’t many, but Felvidek strategically uses them to convey some cinematic flair for pivotal scenes. The character expressions are deliberately extreme like some kind of medieval caricature art.

The striking and impactful visuals go a long way in Felvidek‘s flavor, but the incredible soundtrack transports the player to this sardonic alternative time in Slovakian history. The tone of the music is like you’re living out the broken dreams of a failure whose life has become a blur of mead, cheap whores, and heaps of sour cream. It ranges between somber and twangy uppity chaos done entirely with crisp acoustic instruments.

Felvidek’s gameplay will be familiar to anyone who grew up playing Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy games in the early 90s or RPG Maker titles like Lisa or Fear and Hunger. Players can run around maps, villages, and dungeons like a madman and rummage through pretty much anything, which is something you’ll need to do because resources in Felvidek are rare and precious.

There are no random encounters and every battle is predesigned. Pavol and his party don’t earn experience points after a battle and you’ll be depending mostly on loot or money drops. Since there are a finite amount of battles in the game, all drops from fighting are very important since gamers won’t be able to grind to outfit the party with all the best available gear and all the sour cream in the world. This creates a very palpable sense of tension in the world and makes every item valuable.

If you can’t make use of some items, selling them becomes an option. There is never a moment where you don’t feel like you’re safe and unstoppable. While you could always try to head back to the church to restore your health for free… but when in battle, be prepared to lean in on whatever resources you have to make it out alive.

Exploring and searching everything for anything useful is vital if players hope to stand a chance against any Hussite or stray monster that may surprise Pavol and the gang. Since you can’t level up, the only way to permanently improve stats is with one-time-use items that have to be found or earned from a side quest.

Felvidek is designed where battles are not that important. Apart from the chance for loot, it isn’t worth getting into a fight if you can avoid it, especially since some fights are impossible to win. This dynamic is freeing and not having to worry about grinding and focusing on the important parts of the story while still getting a challenging turn-based system made for an exciting experience. It shows just how much most RPGs can be bloated with excessive mechanics.

Combat is basic and relies a lot on hidden dice rolls. Missing can happen a bit more often than one would like. “Tools” is your MP and there are some weapons that use a turn to reload and some items can be used against foes. It is a very simple yet effective system that works well because of the careful balance. It can be too basic for some, but Felvidek is so short that there isn’t much time to build upon anything in the battle system.

For its price, Felvidek will get players their money’s worth, but RPG fans will feel how short it is and its lack of replay value. The story, writing, setting, and characters are so enjoyable that you’ll wish it kept going. Expect to complete Felvidek in about five and a half hours. In that time you’ll see all that it has to offer and feel the sting of having nothing left. It’s a good sign when a game leaves you wanting more and its price feels fair, and Felvidek is no exception.

Felvidek was reviewed on PC using a code provided by Jozef Pavelka. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Felvidek is now available for Windows PC (via Steam).


The Verdict: 9

The Good

  • Unbelievably cool and distinct visual style that melds with retro JRPG presentation
  • Hilariously sardonic and crass with some of the funniest period-appropriate witty banter
  • Tried and true basic JRPG turn-based battle system
  • No grinding or random battles
  • Great soundtrack that flawlessly puts you in Pavol's state of mind

The Bad

  • Slovakia is such and amusing and fun world that you won't ever want it to end, yet it does in under 8 hours
  • Low replay value


A youth destined for damnation.

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