Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Game Reviews: Nan Creatures

(Decided I'm just going to go ahead and do a couple game reviews in a row this week. It happens occasionally.)

Nan Creatures is a flash game that I'll admit right off the bat that I'm not really recommending. (You might notice that I've linked the hacked version from Arcade Prehacks; there's a good reason for that.)

Gameplay-wise, Nan Creatures is a mon game where your mons are basically the wizards from Ether of Magic Cards. (Except for variations in the card/move pools, they're essentially exactly the same, to the point where I'm wondering even more about what inspired what than I was in the EoMC post.)

(The above screenshot was chosen to depict as many of the mons from the game as possible in one screenshot, because I quite like the creature designs. Click for full view, obviously.)

The key difference is that since you can have a team, the gameplay is quite a bit more balanced. (If you haven't recently read the EoMC article, I basically stated that battles tend towards either super-slow and grindy or quick and swingy.)

It's very polished, though with a few oddities, such as the "immunity" status effect being both impervious to being dispelled and protecting from several status effects as well as its stated purpose of granting temporary invulnerability. (I'm not saying I mind the total invulnerability so much, but I'd rather the tooltips tell me it's there... and for balance purposes dispelling it would probably be preferable, no matter how awesome it is to put the whole team under immunity for two turns and just chuckle as the surprisingly clever AI scrambles into a defensive footing.) I particularly like the "combo" abilities, which allow one to use multiple cards/moves (and is an interesting demonstration of how much design space such an ability actually has*), though they'd clearly be far too powerful for a 1v1 game like EoMC**.

Quite a bit of fun once you've picked up the rhythm and felt out the game design, really.

So it's a shame that 1) the game is one that you'd normally need to burn hours on to get anywhere, and 2) technically it's an advertisement for a game you'd need to register and sign in to play properly.

See, there's no save feature normally, and you'd normally need to spend hours grinding to buy what you need to advance past the first few levels. And the game also has pesky annoying popup dialogues reminding you of this every time you do something that a normal game might remember.

So that's why I linked the hacked version, which gives you an easy way to win battles, and while it doesn't automatically give you tons of in-game money, hitting the "win battle" button repeatedly when you're in the post-battle screen actually gives you more to spend-upon discovering this, I easily made about 1.3 million in-game gold.

And even then, there's still the danged popups.

Such a shame, really.

I don't really know for certain if membership on the website requires any kind of money, but it seems rather likely. (And, of course, sometimes sites like that go down, orphaning games like this.) But if (and that can be a kinda severe if) you can get around the various problems surrounding the game, it's not a bad way to spend a few hours.

*To wit, there's the obvious combo move types (which I'll abbreviate "C"), C2 (make two moves in addition to this one) and C3 (make three moves, i.e. the maximum possible). (Note that using the two moves together effectively freezes the game because you run out of moves to use and then you can't backtrack. Not very good programming/interface/game design.) There's also "C1 plus damage," "C1 plus status buff," and "C1 plus negative status effect." In effect, a weaker than average normal move that also lets you use one more move. And yes, you can use these moves together with C2 to use your entire set of moves at once like you would with C3 and three normal moves.

**I know they would be because the closest thing Ether of Magic Cards has to the combo moves is the Wrath of God card, which forces the opponent to skip a turn and inflicts the most damage of any attack card. Two Wraths and a half-decent attack in one's opening hand is literally an instant win, and another card that forces a skipped turn can buy one the time one needs to draw that last bit of damage.

-Signing off.

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