Cracked into this with a fresh cup at the start of a new day.
Ooo... that new art and the clanky pipe-organ beginning that just descends into Lum's mad key-banging... how I wished that the title portion was longer just to hear the complete piece...
I had no idea what to expect as I'm the sort to usually go very light and very easy on the combats.... but after selling all gems and jewelry (and getting rooked on quite a few of those gems at 5pc each
), I thought I had everything bagged and fragged setting forth...
Like another reviewer here, my experience was sobering and instantaneous. I was -not- ready for the combats (I chose EASY encounters, rerolled only a few times to get a decently attributed character each time until my party was filled with a Paladin, Ranger, Cleric, Cleric-Magicuser, Magicuser, and Fighter-Rogue and thought that a few -5 and -7 acs were going to tip the scales unfairly in my favour), in which I was decimated thoroughly after the 1st encounter. I am not a great tactician, and am guilty of quickfighting combats if only to avoid the 'cast lightning bolt here, grab-and-tuck in a backstab there' means of forcing my way through tricksome fields, which probably only served to hasten my own demise.
The setting and set-up... superb. The art and sound... I cannot wait to see more.
Sitting here right now, I am not sure I want to edit my way to get further than the first 2 combats though. I will wait a bit, then choose my means of continuing. Not a disappointment, just surprised... especially after allowing me as a player to choose my means of security (a blanket difficulty setting outside the built-ins). Until then, I will simply be a fly on the wall
Dinner will be served shortly and I will return to this review after supping.Review Part the Second
-or- How I Learned To Stop Dying and Love the Combats
After reflecting on the matters at hand, I opted to start again with a new party and remain roll-statted (rolling attributes and settling with a good roll) which led to a new Paladin, Ranger, Fighter-Cleric, Cleric, Magic-User, and Magic-User-Thief to meet up with their compatriots in town. The lead-in to our mission was appropriately dramatic and critical, and so my intrepid group availed themselves of the local offerings before heading out.
At this point, I was sweaty-palmed and strategy-minded... and handily trounced an encounter that had been the bane of so many others before me. My rewards would be plentiful and gloriously subtle:
Beautifully-timed music, sound effects, luscious graphics (which was really the carrot I had been nipping for) and even more hearty confrontations awaited... the fruitions were worthy of any number of attempts to reach them, and I am sitting here not quite sure what to say. I will gather my words and continue after listing a few interesting observations:
* This project features conversational routines which play similarly to other offerings from the 2017 March 1-week challenge, yet in a differing format entirely. From a play pov, I spent a few of them with one finger a-hover, trying to decode every nuance of the choices available. Designerside, I was eager to experience these results as even now the conversation choices (especially those hearkening back to the Pool of Radiance days) seem underutilised in today's games. The dialogues Hans generates are both appropriate and pinpoint-accurate for the genre.
* Customised enemies are fun. As a player, I am not always privy to how many teeth rest in a menace's maw... and I like that. Frustrating? Betimes. Educational? Certainly, especially if I am only acquainted with the foe in name alone. Fun? Always.
* Stylisation: not much to say, except that so many of Hans' creations for FRUAdom routinely centre or include or describe the circle of print comics and for this I am ever grateful. His is a style all his own, and it was a consistently complete pleasure to meet my doom at the hands of his custom icons, conquer my foe in the colourful sprawl of his custom surroundings, and rise with the tale he told in an arc of his artwork. Pure Hans.
A short-length offering but one, as I experienced it, even more essential to the FRUA experience: Like so many of you authors out there, Hans' works are all his own and yet draw from so many sources that I gained the comfort of watching an old Hammer film, teeth on edge, even whilst the Oddities were pulling me down. As I have come to know, Hans may not have the loudest voice but he sure does appear in each and every one of his projects, by his own name or not. Thank you for this simply beautiful work.