We don't always like being nonplussed

Sunday, July 31, 2011

RPG Maker Showcase: HiWIND

It's that time again: with apologies- the reason for which will become evident at the end -it's once again time for RPG Maker Showcase!

This weekend we're going with an interesting looking game called HiWind. (Well, technically HiWIND.)

What drew me to HiWIND is the row of question marks on the item screen- it reminded me of Mystery Dungeon games and their item-IDing system. The translated page seems to back this up, with the hint of a possible item crafting/combining system as well! That's always fun. So off we go!

...hm. To be honest, I've been trying to avoid things with young female leads. Not out of any misogyny, no- if I avoided games starring women I'd have no Metroid, no Final Fantasy VI... and I'd be very, very sad. I'm just hoping not to wander across anything that has that "Dammit, Japan!" kind of sexualization of very young girls. I don't want to have to be in the middle of one of these things and go "Well shit, here come the tentacles- gotta review something else." So let's hope it doesn't come to that.

The first character I'm asked to name is this unfortunate young man, who was born with one eyeball so close to the side of his head that he probably cries earwax. His name is Eruma-, which I think I'll render as Elmer unless directed otherwise.

She's Raru. I think I'll go with Lal, after Data's daughter. She's also... pretty young, huh? pleasenotentaclespleasenotentaclespleasenotentacles

After a brief narration which seems to mention types of containers if I'm getting it right, we open on Lal throwing a shitfit and calling somebody a fool/idiot/Baka, however.

I'm guessing that'd be this frightened looking girl in the beret, who is wearing glasses so tiny that they could not possibly be of any help to her. But no matter- the important part is that her name is Rika, and apparently she is a friend of Lal. Then, enter Elmer, who has a long conversation with Lal, resulting in this face:

I suspect he tried to use a magic eye puzzle. I can't even get those right and my eyes are basically in front of my damn skull where they belong. Finally I get control of Elmer, and the menu screen looks like this:

Top row: Item, Skill, Equip, (Something Else)
Bottom row: Status, Memo, Save, and Quit.

I think it's a safe bet we won't have Elmer for long, seeing as how he's Level 25 and has some decent looking gear.

Oh my is this ever gonna backfire on me. This? This is the ITEM MENU. No clue what ANY of these say or do, or why. I rifle through some surrounding containers and get an indecipherable thing, and learn that the local currency is (I think) called "Hesokuri." What, no Zenny? I loot everything in the building and then go out into town, which looks largely like town circa Final Fantasy one, but with crisper textures. All the other doors are locked and the front door is guarded, so I wander around and find an Elixir in a barrel, as well as... 200G. Yeah, G. So what the hell are Hesokuri and why do I need 3000 of them?

Finally I try a door that works, one to a building with a hammer on the front. I suspect item-crafting's gonna be a big deal, so that's promising. Everybody is asleep... maybe I shouldn't be skulking around stealing teddybears off the floor and dresses off the wall? Oh man, he's stealing teddy bears and dresses. It IS one of those games, and the final boss will be Chris Hansen. Just you watch.

Next floor down seems to be the workshop from the beginning, which I'm assuming is Lal's. I assume this because Elma seems a lot swordier, and he's he's giving me that distressed, dilated-pupils look at all the notes. Reading must be hard with eyes like that.

A little deeper and we find what looks like an airship, presumably the titular Hiwind! Elma's impressed. Then we cut to Lal and Rika on the deck of a ship- maybe the same one? And I have control of Lal. But no menus.

Then we meet Lal's father, who she doesn't seem to like very much. It's probably embarrassing in this world to have a father who isn't drawn like an anime stereotype and has all his eyeballs in the basically correct positions. Then she talks to Elma...

...and wakes up, back at her desk on the top floor. She walks downstairs and then screams at somebody for being an idiot again. I think this is where we came in, because here comes Rika again. But then we get Rika's mad face during the conversation, so it may just be that Rika does this every. Single. DAY, and is sick of Lal's bullshit. But then she puts on a face that's more like "I just can't stay mad at you... lead on, Lal! Your noble, long-suffering doormat awaits her orders!" ...maybe I'm inferring too much here, but either way, no fistfight between little girls for us, happily.

And now we get opening credits! I guess this has all been a prologue. And now I'm in control of Lal and Rika. One of the accessories Lal can equip- and don't ask me how I got it -is a handgun. I think she's got it backwards: the gun is the primary, the knife is the backup. At least if you're fighting in a non-silly non-fantasy society. There's a book on the table with a lot of incomprehensible tutorial and some sparklies laying around that may or may not be helpful. ...oh, and trying to nap in Lal's room crashes the game. Uh-oh. Even using AppLocale, my system is not taking kindly to filenames with kanji. That may cut the life of this project short somewhat.

We wander around town, draw water from a well, and have a long conversation at the gate to town. And then the game crashes every time we leave town. BAGH.

Never even saw the combat.

It's really a shame, because it looks like there's a particularly involving system here, and though the characters are largely recognizeable stereotypes, how much does that matter in a language you can't speak? In fact, it kind of helps But this is happening to me more often than not; lorca was my ONLY success so far. I'm going to have to try and work out some bugs before I next mess with RPG Maker games.

Next weekend: ...something!

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