Thursday, 22 May 2014

Sanctuary RPG [Review]

Graphics! Pffffft... we didn't need them in the 80's, what's the point?

I was recently asked to review Sanctuary RPG by the chap behind it, and because he asked so nicely I gave it a shot. I am not the biggest RPG fan, I simply lack the brain power and imagination that the genre requires from its fans but seeing as he took the time to ask, I would do my best.

I can count the number of text based RPGs I have played on one finger. It was back in first school and it involved a BBC computer and a game about an evil Witch... all I can remember is typing words like 'bum' or 'willy' and the aforementioned Witch getting a bit narked off. SRPG was a very different experience to this... apart from the Evil Witch... this game totally has that too..

The thing I remembered quite clearly about the genre was that it was extremely difficult and incredibly picky about what language it could understand with such annoyances as 'go right' being not the same as 'turn right'. Thankfully SRPG doesn't rely on typing in paragraphs of robotic scripture, it favours presenting you with your available options which makes a hell of a lot more sense... even to a brain-dead like me. The game holds your hand at first to get you familiar to its interface and gives you advice on the first handful of enemies, which was very much appreciated.

Graphically its, well, ASCII text & pictures. If you are a fan of white text on a black screen, I can safely say this game will blow your mind. When images are rendered in ASCII graphics they are clear and easy to interoperate... um... not much more to say really... TEXT...

Gameplay was great fun, the game has a very satiric tone and constantly makes light of the ridiculousness of playing a text RPG in 2014, and at times I was genuinely laughing out loud. There is quite a detailed combat system under the satire that requires some very strategic play, you have to create chains of attacks and dodge with care as the game is punishing when it feels like it. My first character [Chuck Norris the warrior] had his arse iced shortly after the tutorial sections, mainly because he loved hitting things... man, he really loved to hit things... R.I.P Chuck.

Music is nice and is probably not in keeping with its text based origins, but I welcomed its inclusion as otherwise my 2014 cyber-brain may have imploded from under stimulation. Its a lovely set of tunes and some pieces were very charming indeed.

Overall I had a great time with this one, it knows its place in 2014 and has been presented in an 'easy to use but hard to master' manner, you won't waste time 'walk forward'-ing into walls but you will have to engage the old head-meat to take down the monsters you'll meet along the way. The game makes fun of itself and its a nice touch, especially for me as the genre has always been a little too, um, well dull really... I was a Sega kid, fuelled by 16bit graphics and ATTITUDE!!!, I certainly didn't have time to hunch over my Apple 2 typing at pretend people... but this game was good fun, and like my favourite game [FTL] not afraid to kick your arse once in a while.

Give it a shot, for what its worth, I recommend it even if it doesn't seem like your usual jam. I can safely say it my TEXT BASED RPG OF THE YEAR!...

Grab it from HERE

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