A Paladin’s Updated Steam Reviews: Duo Edition of Breath of Death VII: The Beginning and Cthulhu Saves the World.

Updated Steam reviews for two indie jRPGs.

I’m hoping this is the last time I have to try and update Cthulhu Saves the World. There’s been a curious bug where the Cthulhu review on Steam would switch randomly between a negative and positive review. It’s the only review I’ve noticed it doing that. So, I’m posting it here as my final say on this game and to make sure you get the correct review. I decided to also take the time and update the Steam review of Breath of Death VII, but not the original review it’s based on. So, you might notice a different tone and style between BoD and CSTW. As my thoughts haven’t changed on BoD since that review, I think my previous self remembers it better.

Read and Rate the Steam Review of Breath of Death VII

Read and Rate the Steam Review of Cthulhu Saves the World

Read the Original Blog Review of Breath of Death VII

A Paladin’s Updated Steam Reviews: Breath of Death VII: The Beginning. Amusing, if overly Repetitive.

  • Genre: 2D jRPG
  • Developed & Published by: Zeboyd Games
  • Platform: Windows only.
  • Business Model: Duo Pack Purchase
  • Copy Purchased by Myself

What Is This Game?
Breath of Death is a retro-styled RPG solo campaign game. It features a fast turn-based combat, graphics reminiscent of 8-16bit RPGs, many dungeons and locations to delve and many more features. Its also a parody of other RPGs that came before, hence the the ridiculously long title that is apparently part of a series of games. I can’t imagine what game they could possibly be poking fun at with the title. The game takes many chances to poke fun at itself, at other RPGs and the characters as well. They also like to break the 4th wall from time to time too. But it all fits into the universe somehow without feeling awkward or thrown in. The campaign itself is around 4-6 hours with additional modes and difficulty levels to keep you challenged

Combat
There are quite a few interesting features to the combat and leveling up system. The leveling up system was fairly deep but simple to understand in this game. You had two choices anytime your character leveled up and each choice had its trade-offs. It could be that the one spell hit all enemies but for lower damage or you raised specific stats. This kept things simple when leveling up and I rather liked it. The leveling system seems to end at level 30 though and after level 30 you just get a simple stats boost. Which I actually like that the end of the leveling system is reachable. Some games have the end levels at such a high level you have to do a ridiculous amount of grinding to get the spells you want. BOD, thankfully, avoids doing that.

The turn-based combat system has a combo count system. The higher your combo count from attacks, the more damage certain combo-breaking attacks did to the enemy. And you have a pretty wide array of spells to choose from. However, some of these spells included combo breaking so you had to plan out how you were going to attack your enemy as well as keeping your companions alive. You’ll need to pull off those combo-breaking moves at the right time too because as each turn passes, your enemies grow in strength and hurt harder and harder every round. So this prevents you from using any sort of tanking strategy, you’ll have to take them down quickly.

Overall though, I didn’t find the combat system as satisfying as I would have liked. It was challenging enough, but I felt like it was in constant conflict with itself. Reason being is that in order to regenerate your magic points, which are needed for your techniques, was difficult to do. You couldn’t regenerate your magic points without either visiting an inn, finishing a battle quickly or find a save point. There were no potions to recover them. So even if you try and conserve your magic points, this can get you in trouble as the monsters hit harder and harder each turn. The conflict, to me, is that your only viable spells in this game are damaging attacks but so very often you needed to use very costly spells in order to survive all the monsters. This could lead you to getting stuck in the middle of the dungeon if you ran out of magic points all of the sudden. I felt like there should have been something added to make the techniques more interesting, rather than they just be primarily damaging attacks, healing or stat boosting abilities. Lita did have some techniques that let her bind or put enemies to sleep, but far too often the enemies would resist or be immune to it, so I quit bothering using them as the game progressed.

PC Settings
Breath of Death VII has fairly basic settings, unsurprising for a 2D game. It only supports 1280×720, 640×360 and fullscreen mode stretched. As BoD is light on effects, there isn’t any other visual settings to customize. The game does run superbly though and is very well optimized. Remapping and controllers are supported as well but not mouse inputs. It’s also got a reasonable soundtrack for such a “budget” game. I didn’t encounter any crashing or bugs during my playthrough.

Final Thoughts
Breath of Death VII: The Beginning is an interesting jRPG. There’s plenty of amusing references and humor to keep a somewhat dry story going. The battle system isn’t my favorite. I feel like their efforts to refine the jRPG typical battle system has created conflicts. However, it does make sure you’re paying attention but can be frustrating at times. If you’re into jRPGs, this is one to check out. It’s short and refined to a polished shine. Plus, its ridiculously cheap as it comes comboed with Cthulhu Saves the World. If you’re not wanting a 40 hour epic, give Breath of Death VII: The Beginning a try.

A Paladin’s Updated Steam Reviews: Cthulhu Saves the World. Perhaps the Last jRPG I’ll Ever Review.

  • Genre: 2D jRPG
  • Developed & Published by: Zeboyd Games
  • Platform: Windows only.
  • Business Model: Duo Pack Purchase
  • Copy Purchased by Myself

Overall Gameplay Thoughts
Cthulhu Saves the World is a game about Cthulhu, the great dark lord of the sith, a being so terrible that just being around him makes everyone go insane. So, how does one stop such unstoppable madness? Have a stranger zap his power away. Then make him become a true hero and his powers will return to him. Yeah, the plot is rather…unexplained. But that’s not important because we have madder things to deal with! Like groupies, heroes, undead monsters and Cthulhu saving the world. It’s a pretty fun and funny time, with plenty of references to go around. This is a 2D jRPG with a minimal upgrade system for armor, weapons and skills.

Combat System
Cthulhu builds upon the combat system designed in Breath of Death VII. Refining the lightning-quick turn-based combat to a new level. Now, there’s a new system called Insanity. When enemies become insane via certain abilities you can use, they take and give out double the normal damage. It’s a tricky trade-off to make sure you don’t accidentally power up an enemy before you can strike a killing blow. There’s also retries to start a battle over if you messed up too badly and some tweaks to status effects to make them more useful.

There’s also a fairly basic upgrade system. Everytime you level up, you get a choice of abilities to select and hopefully improve your combat performance. (Though I get the feeling that the wrong choices could really hurt you without you knowing it). Weapons and armor can also be upgraded from the shop and loot found in the world. There’s usually only a couple of choices per weapon and armor “level” so it comes down to what stat you prefer the most.

Boredom
I found that after 10 hours, the combat system was becoming too dull to work through. Half the battles were a cakewalk and the other half the difficulty would seem to suddenly spike and I would die repeatedly. It didn’t help that there was a constant rinse-and-repeat of entering battle, select the same combo of attacks and win/lose. Which has made me realize that perhaps jRPGs as a genre aren’t for me anymore. I used to enjoy them a lot when I was younger. Now? I find the repetition tedious. It’s a case where minimal visuals may have worked against the game, because there’s no interesting eye candy to watch. It’s a trade-off.

PC Settings
Cthulhu is very well optimized and won’t strain your system at all. Crashing and bugs should be rare as well. The devs clearly knew how to make a polished jRPG. That being said, the game only supports 1280×720 and 640×360 in addition to fullscreen mode. Frame rate is also capped at 60FPS. There aren’t any other visual settings to be found here. There’s also no mouse support but that’s largely unimportant. Remapping of keys is here as well as support for controllers. Separate volume controls exist as well. Largely bare-boned and mostly I just miss resolution options. Outside of that, it’s just fine.

Final Thoughts
I want to like Cthulhu Saves the World. I really do. But I think CSTW has indicated that the jRPG genre might not be for me anymore. The premise of Cthulhu stripped of his powers until he becomes a great hero is very amusing. But the game’s dry combat system is simply too boring for me to enjoy it. Especially when I take the experience grind into account. That all said, if jRPGs are your kind of genre, Cthulhu Saves the World is well worth checking out. Especially since it’s a combo pack with the other well done jRPG, Breath of Death VII: The Beginning.

Alright then. If Steam can avoid fracking up my Steam review again, I hope this is my final say on this series of games. Thanks for reading!

-KingIsaacLinksr

One Comment:

  1. I only played about 3 or 4 hours of CSTW, but, I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a video game. That game was hilarious!

Leave a Reply