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Preview RPG Codex Preview: Dr. Dungeon's Madman!

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Tags: Dr. Dungeon; Madman!

    Esteemed community member Deuce Traveler has written up a short preview for the upcoming Ultima-style retro RPG Madman! by Robert "Dr. Dungeon" Deutsch​. (We have a dedicated thread about Dr. Dungeon's games on our forums, in case you didn't know.) Here's a snippet:

    You are a lone hero, declared a Madman and exiled from your home due to the belief that your actions have led to the death of a sibling. Certain in-game events call your sanity into question, like when you dream of having conversations with your supposedly dead sibling. However, it is not just your own character who seems a bit off. In your travels you will encounter NPCs with their own oddball eccentricities - characters who espouse strange philosophies, or throw off their initial shyness to participate in drunken parties, or partake in hobbies such as overly enthusiastic metal polishing. You actually can't play your own character in a straight-laced manner, as the game requires you to occasionally perform criminal acts and be caught in illicit activity. And yet all is not well in your character's adopted land. Monsters roam freely and are often encountered along the borders of civilization. Citizens have gone missing and require a hero to come to their rescue. This, of course, is where you come in, as the locals can't solve these issues themselves. [...]

    The game also has puzzles, which are better than its combat. You'll really have to pay attention, even with the game's very effective quest log system. Although at times the quest log practically walks you through the steps of your current quest, in general the clues you receive tend to be vague, and you will often find yourself having to go back to the quest giver and pay greater attention to his dialogue in order to piece together what you must do. The game has plenty of fetch quests, but there are also puzzles which pose a larger degree of intellectual challenge. For instance, at one point you're required to insert artifacts into some niches in the ground. You are not given much of a clue as to where these artifacts are, but if you've been paying attention you might realize that some seemingly worthless artifacts you saw before have the exact same shape as the tiled niches. Some quests can be frustrating in their logic, however, such as when you're required to leave the domain of a strange race, who send you to solve a series of puzzles before you can get an important quest item from them. I found this particular set of quests to be quite nonsensical. But then I remembered that the game was called Madman! - nonsense is kind of the point. [...]

    So, would I recommend the game? It depends. Action-RPG fans are not going to be comfortable playing this game and should probably avoid it due to the interface, graphics, and simple plot. However, I think that those who enjoy firing up the early Ultimas or Might and Magics would be comfortable here. Also, if you've played any of Dr Dungeon's Ultizurk games you will be right at home, as his unique writing style and sense of humor is instantly recognizable. There is even a suggestion in-game that your character in Madman! is the same person as the protagonist of the Ultizurk series, though with a scrambled set of memories.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Preview: Dr. Dungeon's Madman!
     
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  2. Morkar illiterate

    Morkar
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    Hey, finally a preview about a real rpg!
     
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  3. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Kinda crazy, I know. ;)
     
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  4. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    This game makes Cleve look like Monet.
     
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  5. Excidium P. banal

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    Some aspects described in the review make the system sound p. bad and my God there's that awful projection again. Also for a game being praised by puzzles that "are better than the combat", no dialog parser and quest log sounds p. :decline: and make me not even want to know more about the combat. Disgusting grid inventory too.

    I am unimpressed (except for the fact it's apparently all made by a single dude)
     
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  6. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    The game would have fared much better with drawn portraits. This My-First-3D-Model stuff is always very awkward.
    Don't know if that already is the uncanny valley or if it fails before that.

    Other than that, I might be interested.
    Desura is always fine :)

    Btw.. is there some website to follow this?
     
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  7. Excidium P. banal

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    Looks like Poser characters...I understand if the guy doesn't have a dedicated artist but I don't understand why have those things on the screen at all. Will the dev implement paperdolls down the road?
     
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  8. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Yes, the RPG Codex.

    He does have a website though: http://www.machgryphon.com/
     
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  9. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Regardless of the visual quality of the game, it would be good if such a game would take profit of the new PCs capacities, in order to produce a really complex game.
    I mean, back in the old days of floppy disks there were only a few things that a game could do, in order to, literally, save disk space.
    Nowadays, with all the capacity at our disposal, it would be fun to render these games to a new degree of complexity. Like raising a family, managing an estate, etc... Almost like a Sims/strategy/RPG/management hybrid.

    Sure, this kind of thing would be too hard on a single programmer. But the development staff in other games could do much more than the usual cliché of "epic save-the-world/kill the evil dragon warlord/attain divine status". Just saying.
     
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  10. iZerw Cipher

    iZerw
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    What?! I mean how? Quite interesting...
     
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  11. Excidium P. banal

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    That is cool and all but it's a lot of effort for something that completely flees the scope of a CRPG.

    That said it's the exact kind of thing I can see an Ultima fan doing. :M
     
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  12. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Well, don't forget that a concept can be deemed absurd for an CRPG until the time when a developer succesfully manages to implement it. From that moment on it becomes a standard for gameplay.

    I remember that, when the auto-map feature first began to be implemented in RPGs I heard some gamers complain that, despite its utility, it would cut on the "realism" of the game and that it would oversimplify the games.
    Nowadays, which programmer would be fool enough to create an RPG without automapping?[/QUOTE]
     
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  13. karnak Arcane Patron

    karnak
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Grrr... I'm so noob at this that I still don't know how to quote properly. :oops:
     
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  14. SuicideBunny (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

    SuicideBunny
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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Torment: Tides of Numenera
    those poser portraits look jarringly out of place...
     
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  15. Davaris Arcane

    Davaris
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    I like the posts in their thread and want to see what kind of game comes from that.


    How about auto-compass? :troll:


    At the indie level, I'd tell devs to do whatever they feel like and hope they have fun and make something unique. But that's just me.
     
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  16. DrDungeon Developer

    DrDungeon
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    Don't worry - the Poser characters are gone forever. I didn't like them either.

    Some of the screenshots in the preview are older. You can link the site to see the newer ones. Someone should link some pics from "The Great Ultizurkian Underland" to see my portrait-drawing skills in action. :)

    I needed half-decent looking portraits because the NPC's had to have certain expressions in order to get the mood across. (Archie like the used car salesman, Tammy like the sweet country gal, Leodalf like the mystic mage, plus a number of crazy-looking people and even monsters, etc.) Even with the new (rather expensive!) modelling software I used, it took a long time to draw up each portrait. The reason I dumped Poser is because they all look like, well, poser characters or Barbie dolls.

    I'd hire a real artist, but several of the 900,000 downloaders of my previous games over the last 15 years "forgot" to buy the games.

    If all of them bought the games, Madman would be another Baldur's Gate or FallOut 'cause I'd have about 20 guys working for me.

    I'm thinking of releasing a little test-demo as I'm still working out the details of e-commerce on the site, and possibly Steam, for the official release. It would be a little teaser where part of the game could be played to see how it actually is in action.

    If all else fails, I guess I'll walk into CDProjekt with Madman and ask the developers there if any one of them, working entirely by himself, can make something like madman, and if they can't, hire me! :)

    Almost happened at Origin when they were alive thanks to Harvey Smith, but I'll detail that in the other thread. They know how insanely tricky it is even to make a simple game.
    (They wanted me to join the crew making something they were calling "Multima" at the time, or Harve's sadly cancelled "Technosaur")

    Let me know if anyone would like to see a mini test demo before the official release and I'll see what I can do.

    Thanks a million, Deuce, for writing the honest preview! And thanks all here for your comments. I vowed I would take seriously the comments of potential players, and I shall!

    ***************************************************************************************************************************************************

    One last quick little story related to the above. A long time ago a friend told me something about "Punk Rockers". I'm not into punk, but he said something interesting.
    When you go to a big-name concert, what happens at the end? The band quickly sneaks out back, hops in a limo and away they go.

    My friend told me that at a punk concert, when its over, the fans come right up on stage and jam a little with the punkers, "Hey man, that's cool!", get to play their guitars, etc., and they really get down and friendly with their fans, intead of remaining aloof like the big-band names.

    I like to thik of myself as the "Punk Rocker" of Indie games.

    How many developers are here shootin' the bull and "jamming" with their friends and fans? -Dr. D.
     
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  17. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Now that's interesting! Please do.

    P.S. You can read a bit about Technosaur here: http://www.polygon.com/2012/9/28/3425300/the-mirror-men-of-arkane
     
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  18. taxalot Gone forever. Patron

    taxalot
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    Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    I hope I am not derailing the thread, but weren't there plenty of turn based shareware RPGs in the old DOS era that most of us never heard about ? Hunting them down could be an interesting task.
     
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  19. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

    Deuce Traveler
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Interesting, yes. But only rewarding if some of them are entertaining. I enjoyed playing DrDungeon's games, but a lot of shareware RPGs weren't very good. I found a little known set of turn-based RPGs called Aethra Chronicles that I think I'm going to try here soon, however.
     
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  20. Davaris Arcane

    Davaris
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    IMO a game that is finished and only needs money for art, makes a solid case for a crowd funder.
     
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  21. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Here's another one: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/inde...e-retrospective-at-hardcore-gaming-101.73180/
     
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  22. DrDungeon Developer

    DrDungeon
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    Here's another review from a fellow developer. This was a little while back and the issues raised have been addressed. Additionally, many new overland graphics and areas have been added, from towering cliffs and plateaus in the desert to deep forests with paths, broken cobble highways, jellyfish in the waters, swamp lands with stinging insects, and even snakes that eat butterflies and can be trampled underfoot. Here's the review prior to all that:

    I finished Madman (and hit the cap just before the end).

    First and foremost I can consider Madman a monumental human achievement of sorts, to think that a single person could create something of this scope and scale on his own is totally inspiring/mind bending, and obviously I totally appreciate the sheer difficulty of it.


    Things I would consider tweaking:

    - Cash; I had around 70k by the end of he game, after level 8 or so I felt pretty rich (I’d love to hear your thinking/experience on this issue).

    - Monster re-spawning. I thought re-spawning was way too fast. In my opinion this is going to artificially shorten the game by pushing players to the level 20 cap quickly.

    - Walk speed. I thought the actual walking mechanic was excellent (in fact I tried to mimic it to some extent in my own game). And while I appreciate that you give the player the option to choose their walk speed I’d strongly suggest that you remove the option and place the walk speed at the lowest setting.

    The slowest walk speed still feels totally adequate and fast enough (believe me because I hate slow walk speed, in fact I can’t even play eschalaon book I for that reason). How large your world feels depends heavily on how fast you can walk across it, so by allowing the player to walk faster you’re making the world feel smaller (and it’s not small, in fact it’s huge!).

    In addition the spell that allows you to move fast will only become more important to those inclined towards speed.
    I’m estimating that Madman took me around 12-16 hours from start to finish. I would say that by setting walking to slow and reducing monster re-spawn a little, it would easily have taken me 20+ hours.

    - I thought protection was a little overpowered. It seems that the duration range for protection is pretty wide, sometimes it wears off in 2 turns other times it seems to stick indefinitely, so I would suggesting narrowing it a little; even if it only lasts for 2 turns it’s still incredibly useful.


    Overall Impressions:

    The ending was excellent. It was fun, compelling, and it tied the whole thing together in a very logical/satisfying way. The (spoiler) animation sequence was great, I thought the kind of slow pace of it was also good because it gave you time to contemplate what was happening and what had already happened.

    I also very much appreciated the 1st person narrative quest log stuff, specifically I’m thinking about the 2 part letter just prior to the ending sequence. (Spoiler). So as far as endings go in rpgs I’d rate Madman very high.

    On the whole, combat was probably my favorite aspect of Madman, especially after I acquired all the spells. The spells, in my opinion, give the basic mechanics (which are rock solid to begin with) added depth and dimension.

    Writing is top-notch. The peach farm quest is a great example of this, at first I thought the mage the farmer was referring to was the one at Cliffside, and I get the feeling that you kind of intentionally misled me at first. This made stumbling upon the real mage in (spoiler) a lot more eventful and rewarding.

    The way you chain together quests (or parts of quests) is really cool, I actually wish I would have implemented something like that in my game (too late lol).

    In fact your story was so well done and interesting that it made me realize that my game's working main storyline sucked, so I’m going to heavily rework it.

    The world itself is the real star of Madman. It’s completely open and gives you the sense of total freedom. I was really getting a kind of Ultima 7 feel from all of the little details/touches, which is great because Ultima 7 is one of my favorite rpgs in terms of an interactive worlds.

    I love crafting items, the forge and cooling in water was perfect and very original! Crafting, fishing, tailoring, etc all of this stuff is simply awesome! I love how you tie these skills to items that you’ve gotta use intelligently or talk to npcs to figure out how to use them.

    Another thing I thought was excellent was the way you buy and sell items by clicking on them, it’s cool because it’s just another way of connecting the actual game-world with the game interface(s).

    Your dungeons were big! I love big dungeons and I think your target audience of hard-core rpg fans will love them too. I also loved the big open rooms especially in caverns, it made them feel more cavernous. Also I thought puzzles had the right balance of difficulty (very tough to get right because you don’t want people thinking their stupidly easy but you don’t want them to get frustrated and quit either).

    The interface was functionally excellent, something I really appreciate especially when comparing it to uz4’s ;) Uz4's wasn’t bad, but it’s totally obvious that a lot more thought went into making Madman’s interface intuitive (which I know is super hard).

    And it must be mentioned that this thing is super super polished. Never crashed, and it was totally stable throughout and I experienced no bugs. Games like these are notoriously bug ridden because of all of their moving parts, but Madman appears bug free (though there was one tiny visual artifact thingy that fellow developer took a picture of and will probably send you in her email, I don’t think it’s really a bug though).


    Conclusion

    In my personal opinion their is no higher form of art than actually creating a tangible living-breathing world. I think all art: movies, painting, literature strives to create a world but non are able to match the depth and persistence of a game world (for obvious technical reasons lol).

    I just can’t imagine anything better than actually creating, in a nuts and bolts ground up way, an entirely persistent reality from one’s own imagination that other people can also experience. We are very very lucky to be able to do what we do!

    Overall I congratulate you for finishing this thing. I can imagine very few things a person could do (actually I can’t think of one thing) that would be as mentally, emotionally and creatively taxing as making a huge old-school open-world rpg.

    I mean, how many people can say they’ve actually made and finished something like this on their own in the history of the world, maybe 5 at most? Hopefully I will join you in this club very soon. Congrats!!!!!!
     
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  23. DrDungeon Developer

    DrDungeon
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    Here's one more from another developer:

    Dear Rob,

    I must say it was very entertaining to play such a fun, yet challenging game. After some trial and error and re-making my character once (in order to start fresh) I finally understood that the best way to play the game is to follow some of the ‘paths’ that seem to make it easier for you to progress. At first I was trying to play my own way, but then I realized that investing time at the beginning of the game to learn all the crafting/alchemy, talking to every NPC and paying very close attention to what they have to say, definitely makes the game so much more enjoyable.

    Story and NPCs:

    The background story of the character and her belief that her sister was lost forever and the guilt that she felt for her part in the event was very touching. I liked that the sister would appear in my dreams and comfort me. In a way the first person perspective helps you to get more involved in the story.

    Since my character was female, the sisterly love was felt much more strongly when I discovered Fiameta in the fiery world (after Maria caught me stealing - by mistake I might add :P) and I read the letter she had written, but never sent to her sister Wendy.

    This was definitely my favorite quest, helping to get the two sisters together was very sentimental. Especially because it was somewhat of a yin/yang type of moment, in which you have the ‘fiery' sister living in the ‘underworld’ with only her love of rubies to help her get through the days, while her ‘bubbly' sister sits in her labyrinth world feeling cheated for being cast out for her ‘witch’ antics.

    Yet they both yearned for that moment when they get to embrace once again. It brings an emotional touch (especially when playing as a female character), because it’s a reminder of the main character’s lost sister and her sadness for not ever being able to see her again. Besides, there is ol’ Killer to bring a stranger connection between the two witches present and my past ;).

    I didn’t get much of a sense of ‘madness’ when talking to a lot of the NPCs, I mean you get that they’re somewhat eccentric, but most seem very glad to let me into their world… Well, except the partiers at Cliffside, those were crazy!

    The ending of the story was unexpected. In one way I thought I had an idea that everything that was happening to me was more of a “dream” world, yet towards the end when I finally got to enter that dungeon from the Snow cave, I understood that there was something to those ‘alien artifacts’ I found at the Isles of the Gods, yet I was still not expecting the surprise of the final dungeon.

    Combat:

    For my second character I decided to be a Ranger since I realized that I had an easier time doing ranged attacks (personal preference). Besides, it seem only fair since most, if not all the enemies, also do ranged attacks. Although the enemies were a lot easier this time around (I played the previous 4.x version)

    I felt the re-spawn time is still too short/random. In rooms with a lot of items to pick up after the fight, I would try to walk away and then 7-9 monsters would be there again, making it a bit hard to move forward with discovery. As happy as I was to get the extra experience (which helps to level up faster) it gets a bit tiring fighting in the same spot for too long. The same applies to the number of enemies in a typical fight, 4-6 are good, but at times I would have to fight 8-9 and I felt that was a bit too much.

    Although I wanted to focus on being a Ranger, I did take advantaged of a few spells I learned while doing the quest/test for Leodalf, mostly the cure poison/disease. I didn’t have much need for healing spells since I had already invested over 2 hours at the beginning making hundreds of healing and mana potions to get me through the hard times.

    The other spell that I used a lot throughout the game was Protection, which at first I thought was just a simple invisible shield, only later I realized that the enemies could not hit me when protection was on me. In a way this made it too easy to level up, I’m still debating whether or not this was a good thing.

    I really loved:

    There are so many things I liked in this game, but for the purpose of quick-feedback here’s a list of the ones I really loved:

    All the crafting in the game, the attention to detail of every ingredient and all the helpful books giving you instructions for cooking bread and even making wine was such a fun thing to do. Digging for ‘gold’, sheering the sheep and making clothes was also enjoyable and it added a fun element to the overall experience.

    The lollipops and cigars where so helpful, especially after hitting level 20. I managed to save all the cigars. This came in handy later on in the last dungeons when I didn’t want to deal with more fights, I'd just light a cigar, make the monster go away and move on to the next task ;)

    Wendy the Water Witch's puzzle and labyrinth was one of my favorite things to do and WHAT A REWARD!

    The hidden doorways! I discovered them by hitting the walls a bunch of times… Brute-force always works ;)

    The very helpful shrines. I felt like I was at a casino, clicking and leaving a lot of my hard earned gold there, except I actually got rewarded every time :)

    The discovery that my precious crossbow was the key to finding the hidden vortex quarter in the Snow cave.

    Speed potions, very helpful to get around the White and Gold City.

    Some Suggestions

    Creation screen:
    Name area should have some ‘type’ feedback
    Class selection begins with “Fighter”, but Paladin is actually first on the list, either it should loop after “Bard” or show Paladin first so it’s not missed.

    Spells:
    I agree with my friend that the spells of protection seems a bit too powerful, you might want to consider giving it a 12-24 hour cool-down so that the player won’t take too much advantaged of being invisible every fight.

    Magic Armor:
    After finishing all the quests and getting my full-armor, I couldn't help but feel that a belt should have been included, I didn’t like not having a matching belt (but that’s just me).

    Tammy - ending story:
    Since I was a female character, the final resolution with Tammy threw me off a bit, you might want to consider reworking her “love for you” in a way that may sound like more of a sisterly/brotherly love more than an actual romantic love.

    Watercross first dungeon:
    Water tile @ 88 S, 81 E is walkable
    water tile @ 112 S, 79 E is walkable
    Water Witch Maze:
    Missing border tiles @ 808 S, 344 E
    Missing border tiles @ 900 S, 280 E
    Missing border tiles @ 825 S, 338 E
    Miscellaneous:
    Some of the dungeons mini maps show grass or other types of tiles/tiling artifacts (see attached pictures).

    Overall I truly enjoyed spending 20+ hours trying to figure out all of the fun puzzles and making my way around the dungeons in this game. I liked the dialog of the NPCs and the overall world design and environmental tiles. It was a lot of fun!
     
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