The indie developed game is something that continues to get more and more attention here in the west. It seems that as games get more complicated by the second with bigger budgets, sometimes people just want to sit down and play something that reminds them of the old days. Indie games are a great way to accomplish this as they aren’t hampered by stockholders and overaggressive CEO’s.
Something that doesn’t get a lot of attention however is the indie market over in Japan. A lot of people credit Cave Story as the game that started the whole indie movement but japanese indie games don’t get a lot of attention otherwise. The truth is that it’s a flourishing market and if you consider the doujin game market in there as well, goes back quite a ways with lots of history. It is one of those games that we will be looking at today.
The first thing you will notice about this game is the classic look to it. The graphics certainly aren’t good in the traditional sense, but the pixel art is very charming and things move so fast in this game that you won’t have much time to admire the graphics either way. You will see some nice character portraits from time to time however.
The music on the other hand is wonderful. You will hear various different tunes when you reach different areas in the game and it’s all very good. Soothing, foreboding, action packed. It’s all there and the opening theme when you first start the game up is great and you might end up sitting on the character creation screen for quite a while just listening to it.
The game at it’s core is very simple. You basically keep moving right killing enemies and avoiding obstacles until you reach the end and then you fight the big boss at the end. However looks can be deceiving and there is a lot more than meets the eye on this one.
You will probably die immediately as soon as you start playing this game as I did. I was playing this like a normal RPG as I read nothing about it before I jumped in. I started talking to the people that were in the castle and soon the screen was shrinking and my character was dead. Then it hit me, this game is called One Way Heroics so it’s probably like one of those super hard games like I Wanna be the Guy or all those Mario World mods.
Well, thankfully it isn’t as randomly put together as those games, but it can get quite challenging. It’s very much like a traditional action RPG. You will find or buy new items, weapons or armor. You will fight lots of different monsters of varying difficulty. You will meet other characters along the way that you can even recruit to help you. These characters can take hits for you and having an extra hand around makes defeating the enemies not such a daunting task.
You will level up, get money, and the list goes on and on. An interesting thing to note about the levels is that you can trade them in at certain points for skill and stat upgrades which I recommend since levels don’t make a huge difference in this game otherwise.
The big catch here, as I mentioned earlier is that the left side of the screen is consuming the world so you always need to be moving forward. It’s simple enough to just run forward killing enemies but what makes it really difficult is that just like any good RPG there are towns and dungeons you can explore. Obviously they are on a much smaller scale than something like Final Fantasy, but you are going to want to explore them.
The reason for this is that all the best weapons and armor are either available for purchase or found in chests in the dungeons. The problem is that obviously these locations are enclosed so you need to get in there, do what you need to do, and then get out as quickly as possible. This isn’t a huge problem in towns but the dungeons are another story entirely.
They are usually filled with the more difficult enemies and you don’t just walk up to chests and open them. You have to bash on them until they break open which, for me, didn’t seem like a viable option until I had an axe. There is a skill that allows you to open chests and I will get into that later.
So you have spent way too much time in a dungeon, the darkness has swallowed up the entrance, and you are out of the skill you use to bash down walls. Game Over right? Well not quite, when you die is when the game gets truly interesting.
The first interesting thing being a nice little write up that will detail how the enemy that killed you ended up bringing about your demise. After that you can choose a quote where you can blame your equipment for you death or curse yourself for not using all the money you had.
Every single time you fail you are given a grade (hero points) depending on how well you did and there is a bunch of stuff you can do with this. You can open up spots in your Dimensional Vault, unlock new character classes, and unlock new slots for perks when you create your new character.
The dimensional vault is particularly useful as it lets you carry over items from your previous play though into your new one so if you manged to grab an awesome weapon out of one of those dungeon chests right before you got swallowed up, you can use it in your next play through!
There is no wasted play though here. Everything you accomplished on your previous game will make you stronger for your next one. You can bring over items, get more perks, and unlock classes with more abilities to the point where you will be wondering why you struggled so much in the first place.
It really adds to the addictive nature of this game and if you are anything like me you will keep playing until you complete the game at least once.
There are also multiple game modes such as ones that increase the power of the enemies but also gives you access to weapons dealers at the very beginning, the ability to recruit the king, as well as an online scoreboard where you can compare your runs against others.
For the main game itself you can also choose to have the dark lord appear only at the end, or have him show up periodically throughout your game to torment you. After you die, you can even continue your game in the same world you were playing in or have the game generate a totally random new world for you to play in.
Before you get into any of this however, you are going to have to create your character and the character creation here is more in depth than you would think for a game of this nature. You are going to have to choose from a number of various classes of which only 2 are available from the outset. The classes all of their own abilities and stats which can lead to vastly different play through depending on the class you pick
After you select your class you will apply various perks to your characters. These range from added bonus gains on level ups to entire skills such as the lock picking skill I touched on earlier. After a while you will even unlock mage classes and the like which add strategy to the game as they can cast spells but the spells usually take at least a turn to charge.
Turns are important in this game as it doesn’t quite play out like a real time action RPG, it has more in common with a rogue like. The darkness consuming the world as well as the enemies will only move with you so if you are in a particularly tight spot you have time to sit still, catch your breath, and plan out your next move.
This game has a lot more depth than one would think and it is extremely addictive. There is even a picture after you beat the game with all the various classes that fills in after you beat it with a certain class. This game gives you lots of reasons to go back to it and chances are that you will.