Huh, it seems plowing through miriad of copycats and lazy-ass creators CAN lead to something interesting...
There i was, sitting my day off, looking for a game to bash on in the comment section of the Neco's channel, decided to take a peek at the first part of that game's let's play and... got myself unusually enthralled by this wonderfull game.
This is the part where many might say: "Oh, come on! It's just a small, buggy RPG maker horror demo. Yeah, it looks preety, but it lives on the carcass of trial and error gameplay, try playing THAT for more than a couple of hours!" And, indeed, they will be right. This beast really is hard to handle for the hands of normal gamers for the reason of it's savage nature towards player - win'or'lose coin flips that can potentially decimate the otherwise lucky run, enemy attacks and no-escape-trap-rooms that can do the same, constant reliance on luck in terms of getting restorative items and overall chaotic structure of the gameworld rules are to blame.
The thing is... It all works in the end, at least for me. Yeah, these gamedesign decisions are usually pointed as flaws, but here, they are actually really good supplements to the main source of fun in this game, all thanks to these aspects of narrative:
1. Subtlety is strong in this one - the amount of death-screens one will face is reflected onto the game's world - notice, how almost every corpse you find has a strong resemblance to your own sprite, how every ghoul enemy pleads for death if intimidated all while wearing your distorted face, how, after failing "the save throw", you, completely decimated, can end up in the dungeon full of what looks like copies of yourself. Also, every book you read is dictated to you bo some sort of narrator, who actually tries to convince you that it is what YOU think, without any way to confirm the information yourself... As if the Mercenary (the hero of the game) is nothing but a fragile shell, manipulated into doing what the unknown entity wants.
2. The overall mocking attitude of the game towards the player. So, you want to jump down the hole into the fecal pit? Sure, go ahead. Ooops, you can't get out now. Oh, you've won the coin flip? Here take this book that you already have. My my, you grew confindent enough to engage every enemy on the level? Oh, you've missed once and now you're dead, what a pity! Yeah, this game tries to pull out the rug under your feet, but does so to a certain extend. Breezing through the demo without major loses is very much possible, and is actually satisfying - being able to counter every bullshit the game throws at you makes you switch sides - you become the one mocking the game.
3. Interesting approaches to decision-making. Although few due to the game's shortness, there were some moments that made me really satisfied from the sheer ambiguosity they present. The most notable example is this - at some point, you will be given the option to trade your party-member for some sort of probable benefit. You can get a weapon, and it is really powerfull... in theory. In the end, you are left without a reliable way to dispose of Guard enemies by trading an additional life-saving attack, as said weapon won't kill them outright, and, despite it's much bigger damage, you will still have to rely on dismemberment in order to not die in 1 hit. And you soon find out that your standart sword is as efficient at dismembement as that overkill weapon. Plus, you get it at the end of the demo. Haw, haw!
These three points alone are enough to hook me up on this game and to stay hopefull for it's eventuall full release. This may very well turn out to be the new Witch's house, Mogeko Castle, Middens or Ib and become the first one with the most complex gameplay so far. My hopes are high for this game, and i really wish for it to become more than a demo.