Tag Archives: RPGMaker

Last Word

By Twelve Tileslast word

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Bowtie-sporting photographer Whitty Gawship finds herself invited to a wine-tasting party at Sommerhaus, the estate of Professor Chet Chatters. Also attending are leading members of some of the most elite, well-spoken members of St. Lauden society. Actually, Whitty finds their piercing “discourse” somewhat intimidating, although she does pick up some interesting gossip and befriend Seymour, the young master of Saymore house. But in the midst of their socializing, the guests find themselves interrupted by the voice of their (previously absent) host projecting from an unusual device on the wall–a voice that declares Professor Chatters’ intention to keep them all there while he tests his new device on them. Now Whitty must develop her own skills at discourse if she is to successfully unravel what’s going on and how to escape.

Last Word might be the most unique RPG I have ever played. It’s an RPGMaker game, and has the basic controls and such that you’d expect from such. But the entire course of gameplay (which took me about 4 hours to complete) takes place in a small collection of interconnecting rooms, and the majority of the game is social interaction between characters. You explore, gossip with the other guests, and learn about new topics, constantly expanding your perspective on what’s going on and learning some interesting history in the process (well, history of St. Lauden, not actual history, but still). One of the most interesting facets of the game is the “combat” sequences. To advance through the game, you have to engage in “discourse” with various individuals (and you’ll probably have to do it more to level up enough to succeed on the actual target individuals). The actual mechanics of this discourse are pretty interesting, but quite manageable to grasp as well. My one real complaint about the game is that it is voiced–but not with people saying the words, just with a series of “hems” and “haws” that gets really old after the first two minutes of gameplay. Still, on the whole if you’re looking for a different take on the PC RPG, I think Last Word has a lot to offer.

NOTE: Last Word is available on Steam, and you can also find out more about the game on Twelve Tiles’ website.

 

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A Bird Story

Created by Freebird Games

One day on the way home from school, a boy finds an injured bird in the woods being chased by a badger. He chases the badger off and, on the way home, finds he has a hitchhiker in his backpack–the bird! Trouble is, animals aren’t allowed in his apartment building, so he’s got to be careful bringing it home. The boy gets the bird settled in on his balcony, and the two begin to strike up quite a unique friendship while the bird recovers from his injury–a relationship that will take them places neither of them could have previously imagined!

I’d never heard of A Bird Story until I happened to stumble upon it, and honestly wasn’t expecting much, although it had received very positive reviews on Steam. . . . When I actually played it, I was utterly blown away. This is an incredible, genre-defying short (1 hour or a bit more; I didn’t time myself). It’s technically an RPG-style game as far as the game engine is concerned, but the feel is much more that of a visual novel. A lot of the time, you’re just watching the action unfold, and when you do need to do something, it’s pretty clear and simple. Plus, it’s completely wordless; the creators use ambient noises, music, gesture, and facial expression to move the story along entirely sans dialogue. Really, it’s the sort of thing you wouldn’t expect much from, but the story’s sweet, expressive, whimsical, and kind of surreal in a way that’s really appealing. Combine that with some breathtaking scenery and a gorgeous soundtrack, and you end up with a game that is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. I don’t think A Bird Story is for everyone–if you like to always be doing something when you’re playing a game, or if everything must make perfect sense, you’ll probably hate it. But if you like a unique short story with a great atmosphere, I think this would be an enjoyable choice–I certainly enjoyed it greatly myself!

Note: Personally, I’d recommend playing A Bird Story in one sitting if possible. It’s short enough that you can, and I think it’s easier to follow that way.

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