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The most streamlined RPG ever?

Posted by Adam

This game by Nekogames strips away almost all visceral sense of narrative or mimesis. Little icons suggest swords and shields, but other than that there are no indications as to the nature of the quest, or the enemies. Each element of the game is represented on a grid. Loot is represented by rectangles with percentages. These yield money, experience points and when completed recovery points that increase attack, defence and the speed with which these recover. Keys may appear as loot, or be purchased from a key square.


Squares stand for loot, enemies, venders and power ups.







Combat involves clicking the mouse. As the player’s energy depletes, that of the enemy may start to recover. I found adding to the recovery (RCV) as points became available was more useful than favouring the attack or defence as was my starting strategy. Another time related factor was the Action bar. This limited how many rapid clicks in a row I could make. I soon began emphasising loot going to pay for that to increase. This helped my overall efforts because I could collect loot more quickly if I could click more frequently.

As the game progressed, I found that a more measured click rate, combined with a faster Recovery rate made quick work of my unseen foes. But some apparently random elements made the game more interesting. The Orange square was a gambling game, providing a chance for a big score. Mysterious black spaces would suddenly fill with venders offering the additional points for sale. Some items became progressively more expensive. The less expensive weapons and armour venders eventually ran out of stock.

I enjoyed this game, and more so when my frantic mouse clicking gave way more reflective play. It is easy to draw analogies to World of Warcraft, including the clicking on loot squares replacing the simulated travel across Azeroth. The rhythm of the game become  more elegant as the play progresses. It would be interesting to see an MMOG version of this. It also suggests comparison with both EVE online and Ian Bosgoste’s CowClicker. It provides an instantiation of my suggestion that a game be reduced to a spread sheet.

Spreadsheets are used to model games, as a quick search of Gamasutra reveals. This is suggested in several articles as a means to streamlining the design process. My question is if we reduced a game to a spread sheet, would it have the same expressive power as a written but unperformed musical score? Where is Benjamin’s artistic aura? Where is the fun?

I should note that the title of this post, and my introduction to this game was via Leif Penzendorfer.