Alrighty so lets address the title of this post first and foremost. Exciting games for everyone? There is no way that the creators of Emberwind also have a game that your children could enjoy. Well my dear reader, you would be wrong there.
I spent a lot of time at the Nomnivore table during MomoCon, probably more than my poor feet had any business standing around. And it was certainly worth it. I not only got to discover my new favorite table top game, but also a cute card game that I intend to pick up at some point. Some point soon, once I recover from convention and moving expenses. (Never move a week after a con, it hurts your wallet.)
So as I have done with my previous MomoCon posts, I will allow the dev of these super exciting games to tell you about them rather than try to explain them myself.
I strongly suggest you check out these games. Do it, you know you want to!
Paladin Dream is a turn based RPG in the style of all the old favorite classics. You play as a Paladin going on a journey to find out the meaning of a dream he has been having repeatedly over the years. He leaves the abbey where he has spent his entire life and heads out to find the reason for his dream.
The game was made with RPG Maker, which I know, can leave you questioning how good it really is. But Paladin Dream is a pleasant surprise. With about five hours of gameplay and original music composed by the creator, Paladin Dream stands out where many RPG Maker games may leave you wonderful what the heck you just spent money on.
With an original soundtrack composed by creator Matthew Myers, the music alone is enough to make one want to continue the game.
So is Paladin Dream worth playing? If you enjoy a classic turn based RPG feel with a nice story? Sure is! I would suggest you pick it up sooner rather than later.
I was lucky enough to be able to get some questions answer by the creator of Paladin Dream. Here is the Q&A I had with Matthew via email!
Tawny: How did you come up with the concept for Paladin Dreams?
Matthew: Creatively, Paladin Dream(singular, not plural) was inspired by a short story in high school during a King Arthur unit in English class. There are some significant changes and expansions from that story, but the concept of the dream duel to motivate the heroic quest is much alike. The main character, Josiah, is loosely inspired by personality traits of Christian athletes I was around at a job I had living in Texas. The areas he explores are influenced by my experiences traveling in Italy, which included cathedrals, castles, walled cities, mountains, fields, farming villages, and religious art.
When the COVID quarantine era around March 2020 started, I realized I wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile, and took the opportunity to try something I wanted to do for years, which was to make an RPG. I also had family members who were sick at the time (they recovered, fortunately) so it was a stressful time when I was looking for an imaginary escape. The rest was learning, planning, and asking for help.
Tawny: What did you use to make it
Matthew : I used RPGmaker as an engine to develop the game. RPGmaker is a great tool for (surprise) building RPGs, where you can easily create exploration and combat systems without having to do any programming. It allowed me to immediately focus on what I was excited about, which was telling the story and building the world around it.
For me RPGmaker is a wonderful storytelling platform, even when the subject matter isn’t necessarily a medieval fantasy like Paladin Dream. Before this project, I was inspired by Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, which is essentially an RPGmaker-made documentary game about a real-world American tragedy. I appreciated the way that game handled mature themes while being truthful, and felt that if someone can turn a school shooting into an emotionally powerful RPG then anything is possible.
Tawny: How much of this game did you make yourself?
Matthew: I conceived the story and wrote close to 8000 words of dialog, designed more than 100 maps, devised the combat logic featuring over 50 enemies, and composed all the music myself. Before Paladin Dream, I served as a music composer and producer professionally for numerous games spanning a 15-year career. I also did all the bug fixing and other thankless tasks. I can’t take any credit for building the engine, the many modification plugins I used, or the art assets (whether licensed or commissioned), or the sound fx. I also (obviously) didn’t sing the female vocals in those songs.
With the RPG genre, it seems inevitable that people will compare it to something enormous like The Elder Scrolls, and there’s no way one person in their spare time can do the work of a huge team with millions of dollars. For me telling a short but polished story was more important than churning out hours and hours of quests both as a developer and in terms of what I’d want to play. To that end I was inspired by Dragon Quest 4 in particular, which features a few small adventures that feel like they could be their own small game.
Tawny: Being a turn based RPG, it’s easy to guess you may be a fan of that genre what’s your favorite video game?
Matthew: I’ll answer this question with a shout-out to an obscure title I grew up fascinated by, which is Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders Of Khazan. Imagine something like the original Final Fantasy on NES, but with more of an open world and more effort placed on the writing. The encounters featured prosaic passages of text like a visual novel, and the combat system was wonderfully deep. The graphics were generally primitive, but the incredible lore and logic breathed life into the world. Sometimes the best graphics are the ones you imagine in your mind, right?
Tawny: Were there any particular influences when you deigned Paladin Dream?
Matthew: I lived in Boston when Bioshock became popular, so Irrational Games creative force Ken Levine was a big influence on my game design philosophy. Comparable to Bioshock, Paladin Dream has no cut scenes to passively watch, everything that happens in the story is a playable event. Also similar is that the player explores a relatively small region of a world rather than a full globe. My favorite Levine quote which I’ve taken to heart is “If you want people to follow your plot, then it has to be really f***ing stupid.” If you watch Indiana Jones and pause the film at any moment, Jones is looking for the ark. Similarly, if you ask what Josiah is doing at any moment in Paladin Dream, he’s looking for the meaning of his dream.
Tawny: Do you intend to make anymore games?
Matthew: I am still under publisher contract to provide support and updates for Paladin Dream for a number of months, so I’m trying to keep focused for that reason. I have several other game ideas that would be cool, so we’ll see what happens in 2022. 🙂
With the New World come to an end. It’s time to look back and consider what I think of Amazon’s new MMO which is slated to come out at the end of the month, after being pushed back from the spring of last year. Now this will be far from an in-depth look in to the game. However, I will state my honest opinion about the upcoming game.
First New World has your usual general MMO feel, quests, PVP, PVE and so on. Though the setting, while fantasy based, has a realistic feeling to it in the clothing and armors. While there is magic, none of the clothing seems to have strange floaty or glowy things that tend to make no sense.
Having done both the alpha and beta, I can say the game has improved beyond a doubt in the last year. The character creation has a fair variety of options. While no Black Desert Online level of character creation, it has several options. Even allowing the ‘female’ body type to have facial hair.
The game play is mouse based, your main attack is on the right button and your block is the left. If you have played The Elder Scrolls Online you may be familiar with this basic concept. There are also talents locked to keys and numbers. The combat has an ESO or Neverwinter feel to it, though with the ability to dodge being much more fluid than the other MMOs with moused based combat.
New World also has a heavy focus on crafting. You are expected to craft your own tools by gathering items around the world. You can also set a respawn point by setting a camp in different places around the world. In these camps you can do basic crafting and even make food. Other MMOs have done some highlighting of crafting such as Archage, but I believe New World has managed to fit it more comfortable with in its overall game play.
So the final verdict. Is New World worth playing? Very much so. Amazon has created a perfectly playable MMO. Which is great given the recent mass exodus of players from World of Warcraft looking for a new home after lawsuit conflicts.
My one complaint. You can’t swim. You walk along the bottom of bodies of water.
So every now and then I like to play some really obscure games. For no real reason other than the concept amuses me or the game play seems to be interesting. So when I got a message from Scott Ullenberg of Horse Power Games I figured I could give his games a look. Now I can’t lie and say I played all of them, but I did give Dungeon Rescue, Sumoo Warriors and Lazy Quest a try. He also volunteered for some interview questions, which I will add to the end of this.
As a whole the games are all reminiscent of old school NES period RPG games. The graphics are pixel art and the controls have your basic RPG feel. The stories are different but entertaining and as a whole I would say they are worth playing if you are looking for something to spend some down time on.
Tawny: How did you come up with these crazy game ideas?
Scott: I’d like to say that I do a lot of work on these ideas, but I get them based on several things. It comes from making a game that I would like to play. The idea for Sumoo Warrior came from wanting to make a role playing game like Pokémon, but with a twist and Cows just seemed funny. Okay, the ideas are sometimes funny or wanting to make a unique game.
Tawny: What do you do other than create these games?
Scott: My full-time job is driving a semi. I know that doesn’t make sense, a truck driver who makes games. The job allows me time to work on them and it keeps me busy.
Tawny: Which of your published games is your favorite?
Scott: Like any parent, I don’t really have a favorite, but there are games that are special. Lazy Quest comes to mind. It is part RPG quest game and part Sims. It takes place in your grandparent’s house and you not only have to do things for them, you have to take care of yourself.
Tawny: Do you have more in the future?
Scott: I have several more that I’m working on. One is an isometric version of Spy Hunter. I have a horror game too.
Tawny: Your games are pretty niche, entertaining though, do you plan to expand at all?
Scott: I’ve made notes for a sequel to Sumoo Warrior and Duck Wars will eventually be an online multi-player. I will also be expanding the ‘one room-one hundred level ‘ series. Bumper Betty and Galaxy Pop are part of that. What that means is, when you finish all 100 levels, you get a code to send me and I’ll send back a Certificate of Achievement.
Final Winter came to me via a message reply to one of my advertisements. I never would have heard of this game if one of the developers had not reached out to me. Which is unfortunate because this game is probably the most fun I have had losing in years. Now I know what you are thinking. Probably something like. “You had fun losing a game?” Yes. Yes, I did. Some games you play to win but do not always expect to. Let’s talk more about this game.
Final Winter is a described as an RPG with Speedrunning elements on its Steam page. Though I would say it is more like a roguelike but you get 30 lives. A village is cursed and most of the people have left, though the remaining villagers and strangers come to the village hoping to gain rewards, travel in to the caverns one at a time to stop the curse. Here’s the catch, you only have ten minutes to do it! To do this, you play through a dungeon crawl, learning various skills which are inherited by the next villager when you die. I suppose I should say if you die, but I died a lot, it just became a when.
These skills you learn as you go allow you to find quicker ways through each dungeon level, eventually allowing you to easily traverse each level so it is entirely possible to make it in the limited time frame. They also made the combat to be quick. It uses only the space key, requiring you to simply tap it at the right time!
Beyond creative game play and story the soundtrack to this game is amazing. I particularly enjoyed the battle themes that played on each level while fighting creatures. The music fits the already amazingly designed levels, and the well-drawn characters and monsters.
This game is well made, entertaining, and inexpensive. It is a must play for fans of roguelikes, or speedrunners, or those who just want to experience a fast-paced dungeon crawler!
Final Winter can be found on Steam and guess what? You can also pick up the amazing soundtrack! I strongly suggest Final Winter for all gamers. And to keep an eye on Space Heater Games for future projects!
So I am pretty picky about the video games I enjoy playing. I am more of a story over game play sort. So the idea of picking up Rift World came off feeling a little like a chore. Oh great, a FPS, even with a fantasy feel to it I could not help but remember how much I suck at shooters. I simply have no aim. But in wanting to give this game, and it’s developers the benefit of the doubt, I played the demo. And I am glad that I did.
Now as mentioned before Rift World is a FPS were you play as a mage. You are traveling between rifts and use various magic spells to attack elementals and explode parts of the scenery, like barrels, creatures, and chests to add to your health and mana, which once full, go in to a spare pots for you to use when needed. Which I thought was pretty interesting. I enjoy the idea of being able to build one’s stores. It gives you a little leeway but also requires you to plan, unlike games that seem to provide you with a never ending supply of potions.
Now beyond the basic game play, you can double jump and dash. I found that in using these aspects I could make use of my time in the air, raining pewpew doom down on the elements who like to swarm. Oh yes, you need to be quick, because when I say swarm, I mean swarm; I had tiny elementals come flying at me so many times. However, despite continuous death, I had fun throughout the demo.
So what is the final consensus on Rift World? I am hoping to play the full game when it comes out. For now however, we are limited to playing the demo, which can be found on steam. Also if you want to support the game, here are the various links provided to me by lead developer Nick Paladino. https://linktr.ee/RiftWorld
One after thought. Why do I find rock slugs so cute?
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