Paladin Dream – A Review and Interview

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. 🙂

Humble Bundle

This blog post has an affiliate link which if you use and make a purchase will supply me, the owner of a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website. You can find further information on my affiliate usage here:

I love video games. In fact, there are very few that I have played that I do not enjoy in some manner. That was how I first stumbled on Humble Bundle. The promise of a variety of games easily pulled me in for a fairly inexpensive amount of money. It was even better to find out that some of the money I was spending was going to a charity. I love to support a charity when I am able. When Humble Bundle added more than video games, I was super excited. I have purchased quite a few of their book bundles now as well.

Now the catch is Humble Bundles change regularly and while some of them are amazing, some of them may not be for everyone. The important thing is to check regularly and see if you can find one you like. So is Humble Bundle worth using? If it has something you like? Yes! It very much is.

Right now they have the Find a Cure bundle which has tones of assets people who are looking to create games can use!

If you are interested in checking out the Find a Cure bundle and gaining hundreds of assets for your future game, you can find it here!

Final Winter – A Game Review

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!

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