Enjoy drudging through retro games? What if they have excellent modern 3D graphics? That’s the proclaimed intention of Light Fairytale, a new Japanese-styled RPG.
These days, making a modern RPG with fancy graphics seems a little more common place. People may easily mistake it for being easy due to the availability of free tools like Blender or high end frameworks like Unreal Engine. I see lots of projects start up only to bomb out due to lack of support or dedication. The author of this game recognizes this, and while he’s still paying freelancers to do some of the work, most of the game is obviously his doing. Like Tears of Avia, this game is also made by a Brit (at least I assume so given that the Kickstarter page uses Pounds rather than Dollars). And like Tears of Avia, this game is also underfunded at the moment, though it is rather early to say.
First, here are the details:
Itch.io site (includes link to playable demo)
And there’s a Patreon link on the official site, though it’s for the company in general. The game is targeting Steam (Windows, Mac, Linux), PS4, and XBox One, set to release in 2017, but of course, indies are notorious for setting back deadlines.
My “quick” analysis
I like supporting indie developers. Not to say I agree with the premises of their stories or where they go with their games, but I do like seeing individuals dedicate themselves to accomplishing major goals such as making a full-fledged game, especially of this caliber. Light Fairytale is no exception. Immediately, I can see tons of work poured into this thing. Is it the right time to show this game? – Sure. There’s even a playable demo (see the itch.io site).
While this game had publicity on Siliconera (which, by the way, is thee best source for gaming news. Forget about places like IGN and Gamespot), time will tell if it can accumulate a fan-base fast enough to secure success for its Kickstarter campaign ending in 26-days from today (Sept 23, 2016).
The dev wants to keep the game easy to learn but hard to master. Unfortunately, the turn-based gameplay may be a bit boring to some. You can check it out in the video of the first battle scene:
Yes, it’s slow, but at least it’s an explorable world. Yes, the dialogue is that of any typical indie game (you can these devs don’t write stories for a living). If you don’t mind the slow battles or the uninspiring dialogue or the unusually tiny font size, this is certainly something to look into. I would definitely change the font size. The slow battles are a nice thing for any “casual” gamer (let me rephrase that: gamers who don’t want fast-pace games) as it gives you all the time in the world to pick a course of action. That goes hand-in-hand with the simplicity of the battle modes. That said, this game’s unproven potential relies on it having a good story.
That said, the rest of the game is a bit of a black box with regards to the story: it’s about some guy (and his girl friend) in a dying underground world. That’s about all I know (and maybe there’s not much more or maybe there’s a lot more). I understand not wanting to spoil things for the audience, but having seen creators hide their stories on a number of occasions, I believe this really weakens the overall support. People are clamoring for story and character development, so even a relatively simple game with those two features would go a long ways (and those are words from “hard-core” gamer friends of mine, and I quite agree), but I guess that depends on the target audience (some people don’t care). More updates may give more story details, though I would have liked to have seen more prior to the Kickstarter campaign launch.
It’ll be interesting to see how this game fares in the long run given that it’s a shiny black box. I’ve known about the arrival of this game for quite some time (via exploring IndieDB), and while it’s attracted more attention than ImpositO – another JRPG that, in my opinion, had better graphics but failed miserably at attracting attention – it doesn’t promise anything that makes it stand out from the universe of for-pay games, though it’s excellent graphics make it one of a handful of currently-in-development indie games (at least on IndieDB) I’d consider worth investing in.
A game needs a hook to get people to come back. It’s a lesson learned from Starfighter visual novel, which basically says, give people a reason to keep track of you. It’s not simply advertising. You advertise to get the word out, but once you get people interested, you stop advertising to them and start selling them on the idea. That means showing progress, writing blog posts frequently, and giving fans a reason to keep up. Indies are bad with marketing campaigns. A dedicated marketing person is needed, but that’s difficult for one-man-team shops. Stay tuned to see if he starts a blog.
Part of the problem is that people don’t pay for games much anymore. The market is progressively turning against game devs even as the number of game creators has grown to more than ever before. The free distribution has led to many big game companies resorting to harsh tactics to prevent copying. Indies can’t afford to bother their audiences like that. But there’s another technique around this for Indie – and it’s a lesson that the Starfighter visual novel creators also learned – Sell tangible mechandise. This game isn’t at that stage yet, and as far as tangible goods, there is only an art-book promised on the Kickstarter page. But time will tell what this creator has up his sleeve.