Posted: May 23
I don't know why people haven't tagged it this way, but its obvious that this game is a roguelike/lite behind the messages and themes that it contains. Jason Oda covers the whole story aspect pretty well in the about section of the store page, so I will focus my review on the game beneath the facade.
The game mentions that you take on 6 out of 11 levels, but these 11 levels appear to be split into two different types where there arent any major differences other than the graphics/map layout for levels of the same type. The first type being a tag/hide and seek with npcs and the second, more frequent kind, is an open town where you talk with the npcs and try to gather keys and information. This repetition would be boring if it wasn't for the short minigames in between.
There are at least 5 different types of minigames ranging from platforming to Galaga and these different types can come in varying difficulties. If you succeed at the minigames, there is much to gain, especially if you play them perfectly, but they can also be rather dangerous
First off of the roguelike checklist, randomness. Random characters, random levels, random npcs, random minigames, randumb... The first two don't really make a difference, but the random pcs are what make the game. You'll have to get clues and keys from these npcs, but not all are to be trusted. The npcs never seem to lie about information, so aside from getting some nonsense one liner that wastes your time talking to the npc, the worst they will do is sell you a trapped room. However, since you can get free, safe rooms from the rounds, the npcs really are the least of your problems. The information from the npcs will make otherwise random choices definite, but if you are really desperate for time or resources you can guess questions, although you don't really need to do that to beat the game.
The worst of all randomness is the lightning. These rolls will make or break your runs, they are the difference between having to focus all of your resources just to make it to the next level and being able to safely farm resources with impunity. Then there is the matter of having to find shelter in the storms. The randomness here has the potential to be more punishing when you have few buildings. Some buildings can take 1 or 2 lightning bolts and still stand for the next storm, but too few buildings and these tankier buildings are likelier to be destroyed. Despite all of the possible ways you can get ♥♥♥♥ed by the dice, you do have a decent bit of leeway to messup. Even if you get a few bad dice rolls, you should be able to make those up with resources from playing the minigames well.
Then there is the matter of death. You can use your various resources to get second chances once you 'die', but when you run out of those, you must start from the beginning. Additionally, the penalty when using buildings to revive gets increasingly severe, while using money to revive, while a static cost, will prevent you from getting more buildings/lightning.
What do you get for replaying this game? Mostly you just get to see different specs of story/dialogue; however, actually seeking out the in game diaries will be detrimental to progressing to the end, but I suppose that's just part of the message with this kind of game. You'll see the different level art styles and see some different minigames, but thats about it. Some roguelikes require you to play the game over and over to get direct benefits or crucial knowledge, but any useful knowledge is rerolled with each new game aside from knowing how to play a specific minigame.
In the end, its not close to being the hardest game of the genre since you dont need a truly perfect run to beat the game, but it isn't too simple either. Players have the option of playing the way the developer would, but you could also speedrun it too if you wanted to. Finally, for your own sanity, do not play this game in full screen mode unless you want to make it even harder, perhaps impossible.