Developer: Zeboyd Games
Release Date: 7/13/2011
Rating: Everyone 10+
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The Good: Great use of the license, funny dialog, amazing music, varied graphics and environments, lots of attacks to learn and party members to find
The Bad: Graphics grate on your eyes after awhile, gets very hard, random battles bring the experience down a lot, doesn’t require much strategy to win battles
The Cthulhu series from H.P. Lovecraft hasn’t seen much love in the form of games, but indie developers Zeboyd picked it up and turned it into a whimsical/parody 8 bit RPG and it’s done very well. You play as Cthulhu and pick up many party members along the way, but the whole point of the game is the great dungeon crawling that harkens back to the 80’s. You can attack like any RPG, but you have Tech attacks which are more powerful, magic, and then you can Unite with other members to combine devastating attacks. There are a ton of different attacks you learn when you level up, and you get a choice between two different things to level up with either stats or an attack, so by the end of the game, each member has a huge arsenal to use.
The game is very close to the mythology with bosses that are from the story, towns named after the exact towns from the stories, plus the art style matches. The music is amazing with sweeping orchestral scores (in 8-bit midi audio mind you) that really moves you and sounds great. The story is hilarious with Cthulhu trying to redeem himself and become a true hero to raise his city of R’lyeh, but his interaction with characters in the world is really funny. Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without a huge over map to explore that has some secret dungeons, plus the environments and dungeons vary with lots of loot and chests to find.
However, the game’s biggest flaw is the extreme difficulty later on in the game, as well as the constant random battles which really drag the experience down. The devs tried toning this down by disabling random battles after you do 25 of them, but you will probably go through a dungeon before you hit that number. I also didn’t like how if you don’t level up high enough the end boss is impossible to beat, but each dungeon just really racks up the difficulty and requires you to grind a bit to get through the dungeon. I also didn’t like how you don’t really need a strategy to beat the enemies because you can just use the same one over and over through several dungeons. This causes the feeling of repetition to set in and makes you want the game just to end a little faster.
While the visuals are nice and give you a feeling of nostalgia they don’t look good in HD and the lack of battle animations, and everything that goes along with 8-bit graphics grates on your eyes after awhile. However, the Cthulhu license is rarely explored so any game to do so is welcomed, but this game is probably for hardcore RPG fans.