Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aldorlea Games Has the "Laxius" Force

We all have video games that stick with us from our childhood and throughout our life.  For me, it's always been about the role-playing games.  While most RPGs focus solely on "go from point A to point B, fight monster C,"  they still have great stories that make you feel as if you're playing a book.  Hours upon hours of gameplay can be spent and you'll still have more story to uncover.  While some RPGs today don't have those intertwining stories that can be seen all the way back from the NES, one storyline has a massive one:  Laxius Force.  Just how massively awesome is it, though?

I started out playing Laxius Force, which you can try a demo of here.  The first thing I noticed was the graphics.  The character introductions are hand drawn.  While this might first seem like a bit of a set back,  it actually gives a really home-y type of feel to the game, like it was personally made for you.

As soon as the game actually started and the story got underway, I felt like I was back playing my all-time favorite game, Dragon Warrior III.  I played that game for countless hours, going through the story and feeling like a triumphant hero.  Laxius Force has this exact same effect, but makes me feel like someone made it just for me.

All of my excitement made me look at the rest of the games in Aldorlea Games' line-up.  I saw a huge, intertwining plot that seemed to be years in the making.  This type of storytelling is ridiculously hard and brought up a lot of questions.  So, what I did was ask:
Your games really bring RPGs back to what many call their roots.  I reminisce about my favorite Super Nintendo and Nintendo RPGs simply looking at these, especially the Dragon Warrior series.  Were these types of games your main influence when crafting them?
Definitely. In fact, not really Dragon Warrior in particular, but more the early Final Fantasy (4-6), Breath of Fire, Phantasy Star, Shining Force. I was and still am an avid fan of them.
Speaking of RPGs what would you list your top 5 favorite RPGs of all time to be?
It would be a mix of jRPG and PC RPG.
1.       Phantasy Star IV – this game has the best story I know. Plus, I loved the characters and the little pictures all throughout. Colorful characters have always been a must to me, and therefore something I make sure to put in my games.
2.       Might & Magic 6 – the vastness of the quest and world always made me love this game to bits. Again, vastness is something I love in a RPG, it is visible in games like Laxius Force and Asguaard. Too bad really big RPGs do not fit in the mold of casual gaming portals.
3.       Shining Force – awesome characters and tactical battles.
4.       Daggerfall – I used to love how much freedom you had in this game, both in creating your character and exploring the world.
5.       Dragon Force – again a game with fantastic character designs and great tactical battles.
RPGs are extremely carefully crafted, with specific detail to story and characters.  How much time goes into the stories, universes, and characters you’ve given birth to?
To be honest, I’ve been writing stories since I was a teenager, polishing them over the years. Whenever I pick one of them to turn it into a game, the universe, the characters and the stories they evolve in, are the result of years of polishing, tweaking, and editing 
Mah boy!
I used to have to walk quite a lot to go to work (or to the University) before I turned indie, and during those moments, I could delve entirely in my imagination. It helped a lot in creating universes and characters with depth.
Which game has been the most epic so far, in terms of both gameplay and plot (if there is a different answer for each aspect, that’s cool, too.)
For gameplay alone, I really like Dreamscape. I do not know if you could call it epic, but it’s definitely intricate, full of puzzles and riddles. With quite a lot of battles, too, aha! I recommend any fan of the 16-bit console systems to give it a try urgently!
As for plot, easily Laxius Force III. This game is the culmination of a saga that has been going on for 10 years now. The final chapter, without giving away any spoilers, is easily the most epic piece of work I’ve ever written.
Which one has been the most fun to make?

I would say Dreamscape and 3 Stars of Destiny. Dreamscape because I had a lot of fun coming up with the puzzles and different worlds, such Ancient Egypt, London in the days of Jack the Ripper, or a lost island.  
3 Stars of Destiny, because this game involved the characters of the Laxius saga in their early years, and I had a lot of fun writing the scenes and dialogs. Plus, the game itself had pretty odd moments.
Where does the inspiration for a project usually come from?
I tend to get inspired by music a lot, I would say more so than with games and movies. Put on some music that moves me, and I can get ideas blossoming in my mind quite fast. But in the case of my games, the stories and characters mostly come from years of story-writing, as I’ve explained above. 
On top of that, I’m a fan of horror movies so I also like creepy atmospheres – Dreamscape, 3 Stars, Laxius Force all have some very creepy moments.
Do you personally make the graphics? I noticed that one of the bosses for “3 Stars of Destiny” looked hand-drawn and shaded to perfection.  We’re so jealous of the skill.
Thank you very much for the nice comment! I’m also kinda jealous too, which probably answers your question. I usually commission freelance artists for both monsters and characters. The boss you liked was designed based on a draft of mine by an artist who also worked on the game “Asguaard”. I’m glad you like it, I thought it was awesome when I first received it! 
So yeah, one artist is usually in charge of the monsters or the characters. This is why you get a different style between, say, Millennium and 3 Stars of Destiny.

I got the answers I needed.  Here's the answers you need in today's breakdown:

Artistic Style - The style is really good.  I don't feel as if it would do the game justice by judging on the pixels and the actual game.  The hand-drawn characters and monsters, some of which can be seen above.  But while it does give us that personal feeling, some characters could have been polished up a bit more.

Gameplay - This is one of the only lacking parts of Laxius Force.  The gameplay suffers from being like other RPGs and being a little redundant at times.  Battle, collect, upgrade, repeat type gameplay will sometimes happen to you.  It does give you options at the beginning of battles to do "special" moves like throw a rock, though.

Does Anything Make It Different -  It's an RPG, and these games always differ from each other.  The story is totally different from any other RPG you will play and it is extremely well thought out.  The hand-drawn graphics also give you a big boost to a "different" type of game.

Overall Game Quality - The title is really good and solid.  It plays like most old school RPGs do, which is perfect in my opinion.  I think some of the character introduction drawings could have been a bit better, though.

Re-playability - It takes hours upon hours to play through this game, as does any RPG for that matter.  It has great re-playability as you can always try out different approaches to each situation.  The possibilities are endless, but the game is still LONG for all of you non-RPGers out there.  Is that a word?

Is it better than Green Lantern?   Well, duh!

Overall Grade:  8.1 We really loved the game, but the gameplay could have used a little boost to make it different from other RPGs.  The hand-drawn art was a great touch, but some could have been "touched up" a bit.  We still loved how it kept true to the old role-playing games and the variety of characters, locations, and enemies make this a very addicting experience everyone should try!

You can find Aldorlea Games at their site, Facebook, or Twitter.

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