Old School RPG With A New Twist – Prologue: A Guardian Story

I’m enjoying the strong presence of the indie game developers in the industry. They provide more choices, cheaper games, and unique takes on a wide span of genre. Prologue: A Guardian Story combines the mechanics of an old-school, turn-based RPG with an unorthodox narrative and feel. Made by Senshilabs, this game was made to fund a major project for their studio, but don’t think that this is just a bootleg game. You get a decent amount of content for $2.99 spanning 6 to 9 hours of gameplay depending on how much of a completionist you are.

Prologue Title Screen

Prologue Title Screen

This game has a different approach on presenting its story. It takes place in a University, something you don’t commonly see in other role-playing games. The protagonist goes by the name of Beam,  a university professor and an Alchemist. She needs to use her skills to defeat a mysterious group of cloaked minions who invaded their school. Sounds serious right? Well yeah, the plot does portray a hero’s quest, but Prologue delivered it with a balance of action and light humor. The story is written with catchy dialogues ranging from typical villainous punchlines to geek memes. It was intentional and was made to poke some fun out of the JRPG cliches. You’ll also control a rich variety of characters with different personalities. You will even have a cat to join your party, and we know that any game with a cat is a must-buy, right? Right!

Talk about post-fight punchlines.

Talk about post-fight punchlines.

Handsome Man.. Hmmm how suspicious...

Handsome Man.. Hmmm how suspicious…

You even have a chance to fight with a cat! What an offer!

You have a chance to fight with a cat! What an offer!

Even though the play time is quite shorter than a typical RPG, it doesn’t fall short when it comes to details. By exploring the different areas of the map, you’ll discover various places that make up a complete University like Library, Colleges, Gym, and Infirmary. Reading  the books give you a closer look on the history of St. Claire, the Saint from which the university was named after. You can also learn about the different regulations of the school such as faculty ranks.

The difficulty is pretty balanced, giving you a fair amount of challenge at the start of the game, but be watchful of your lifebar. Some of the enemies may die with just one hit, but they pack a punch if you give them the opportunity to strike back. Other than the basic attack and magic, you will also have Special Skills, which is performed using your SP Meter. The said attribute increases as you take damage, much like the POW meter of Samurai Showdown or Ultra meter of Street Fighter IV. This may turn the tide of the battle, but only if you live long enough to execute your skill. Grinding is inevitable but rewarding for dedicated players, for there is an optional boss that only a party strong enough to withstand its attacks can beat.

This boss is susceptible to Beam's water attacks, but one successful Triple Shot from her  spells "Game Over".

This boss is susceptible to Beam’s water attacks, but one successful Triple Shot from her, spells “Game Over”.

Enemies have weak points based on the attack's element

Enemies have weak points based on the attack’s element

Trivia: A lot of characters here in Prologue were based on real-life professors of Game Development, Multimedia Arts, and Mass Communications

Trivia: A lot of characters here in Prologue were based on real-life professors of Game Development, Multimedia Arts, and Mass Communications

Overall, this game is a good treat for both casual and hardcore RPG-players alike. Engaging storyline, intuitive gameplay, and well-written script all made Prologue a fun game. As a last note, you need to craft the ultimate weapons in order to unlock the true ending of the game. If you feel like getting lost, or you want to make the most out of your playthrough, you can check out this strategy guide written by the author herself. You can purchase the game on itch.io or Desura. Keep supporting the indie game devs! Enjoy! (~^_^)~

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A Delightful Board Game Treat: Sweet Sabotage

Last week, I had the chance to play-test a board game created by my two former colleagues, White Ravens’ Charles Cue and Ellie Licuanan. It’s called Sweet Sabotage. Basically, the object of the game is to earn the master’s favor by satisfying enough number of customers through serving their ordered desserts.  We did the playthrough in Tobey’s Game Cafe, a place where you can dine and play a wide variety of board games. Just the place we need. The video below gives you an overview of the core mechanics. Now who goes first?…. the hungriest player. :3

First-time players will have a slow pace at the beginning since you need to track several elements like the customer attributes and dessert  ingredients, but don’t fret. With just a few turns, you’ll be able to grasp the flow of the game and have fun for the rest of the time, especially when players are starting to sabotage each other. LOL.

Ellie Licuanan (Artist of White Ravens) explaining the core mechanics of the game

Ellie Licuanan (Artist of White Ravens) explaining the core mechanics of the game

Actual Play Test: When Player Put Their Game-Face On, Prepare for some Sabotage : ))

Actual Play Test: When Players Put Their Game-Face On, Prepare for some Sabotage : ))

Notable Stuff That I Like About The Board Game:

  • The unique theme of the game. I never thought that I’ll enjoy the role of being a butler.
  • The anime/manga art style. Nuff said.
  • The Sabotage mechanic itself. This adds twist to the game turning the tides for those who are about to win. However, this is not to be abused, for some cards work against your favor.
  • Packaging. All the parts were presented like it came from an actual cafe like the cake box, daily specials, and the menu booklet that is distributed to each player.
  • Not too simple and not too complex. You’ll understand the game soon enough to have more time enjoying the competition for your master’s favor.
Fun game and good food wit hformer colleagues and boardgame enthusiasts!

Fun game and good food with former colleagues and boardgame enthusiasts!

Right now, White Ravens is running an IndieGogo campaign to push the project to full production. Visit the link to see more details about the game and the talented people behind it. If you find it enjoyable, why not give your support? They have a wide variety of perks to choose from. Let the quest for the best maid and butler begin! (~^_^)~

Photos Courtesy of: Ellie Licuanan and Sao Menguito

My ProjectHT Experience: An Insight on What It Really Means to Help

Last Saturday, I had the chance to help a group of advocates named Husay Talents, who spearheaded a project called #ProjectHT which aims to aid kids of unfortunate circumstances to unlock their full potential in the field of creative works. They can use this  as a tool to improve their well-being as well as their quality of life. I believe in this approach since it will be a lot more beneficial for people in the long run to acquire the skills that they may use to provide for their needs rather than just giving them what they actually need. It was a fun and fulfilling experience, and here I will share the insights that I’ve gained after participating in their activity.

Before that, let me give you a brief background on #ProjectHT’s ideals. The people behind this are driven by what I personally dub as “three pillars of goodwill” namely:

  • Faith: “Maniwala sa Husay” (Believe in your skills) – you should believe in your skills for God gave you these gifts for you to benefit and enjoy. This was the focus of Day 1 of #ProjectHT’s three-day class series. The volunteer instructors were able to bring out what these kids are made of which in turn gave them…
  • Hope: “May Mararating ang Husay” (You can achieve something with your skills) – hone your skills to make your dreams come true and lead a better life. This is the theme of Day 2. The instructors’ credentials proved that their abilities gave them more than enjoyment, and these kids can do the same as long as they have hope. They were taught out of goodwill which is a perfect example of…
  • Love: “Ibahagi Ang Husay” (Share your skills) – one form of love is to give something that you have without expecting anything in return. It doesn’t require any material resources to share something to others. Your skills may deem valuable as well. Share it to other people and make them realize the gifts that were blessed upon them. For the last day of classes, the students will have a song and dance performance showcasing what they have learned from the previous classes, an inspiring moment waiting to materialize.

The Things You Can Give For The Ones in Need

Usually, when I see a project like this, the first thing that comes into my mind would be to give financial aid. It’s a need for every outreach project, and #ProjectHT is no exception. However, there is something more precious that I can share to these children, and that is time. For me, it’s the genuine form of Love, and the advocates of Husay Talents have set a good example to the kids of giving your non-renewable resource for the sole goal of helping others. Witnessing this drove me to give as much effort and assistance as I can to push their goals forward. These people showed me that you don’t have to be financially abundant to initiate such advocacy. They were able to execute the project in a month’s time.

(Coach Gie taught them how to vocalize and the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.)

With all the bad news that are spreading throughout our country, it’s easy to make an excuse not to give a helping hand, but with the people who volunteered for #ProjectHT, I realized there’s always hope… a hope that people will share their skills without reservation for a good cause, that hindrances brought by poverty won’t matter anymore because of the efforts of goodwill, and that no one will ever feel lost because of the people who are ready to help to bring out the best out of them. The instructors totally inspired me, like Ms. Anne Gelli Dimapilis (Graduate of Bachelor of Music from St. Scholastica’s College, studied under Ryan Cayabyab Music Studio) and Mr. Bill Barrinuevo (4th-year student of BA Film and Audio-Visual Communication from University of the Philippines, Diliman, former member of the U.P. PEP Squad) who willingly gave their expertise to teach the students. I can see the depth of their proficiency from the pointers that they gave to the approach that they used to tackle the lessons. I’m amazed that they’re doing this without expecting anything in return, and it encouraged me to do the same. Maybe not for voice and dance lessons, but if opportunity arises and ProjectHT offers something that crossed my scope of expertise, then I’d be willing to teach these children.

(Coach Bill taught the same song but this time by dancing. The kids enjoyed learning both disciplines!)

A Seed of Hope Has Been Planted

As the class wraps up, I learned and enjoyed as much as the students did. I just can’t call it a “day” for I saw several lives changed for the better in a span of a few hours, and I’m grateful to be part of it. I believe a seed of hope has been planted on each of us, and it will grow and spread as these children show other people what they can do with their gifts. I can’t wait to see the other things that they can do. Husay Talents is with them in every step of the way.  Now I’m thinking of starting something similar on my own, but I still have a lot of things to know before making such initiative, so for now I’ll help this project spread hope and love to other people. Truly, this is one of the moments that restored my faith in humanity.

(Fun times with the volunteers, participants, Brgy. Loyola coordinators, coaches and the HT team!)

Now, for all of you who gave a nod in Husay Talents’ goals and visions, and wondering how you can help, don’t hesitate to inquire through email husaytalents@gmail.com or Facebook www.facebook.com/HusayTalents. You can help in cash, in kind or even volunteer to assist in their activities like me. Let’s believe in these kids’ talents, show them what they can achieve, and encourage them to share what they can offer for their improvement and the betterment of our society.

 

This blog post was originally posted in http://www.husaytalents.com – My ProjectHT Experience: An Insight on What It Really Means to Help