The RPG Maker series of tools have given the gaming community wonderful titles such as To The Moon, Mad Father and OFF. Unfortunately, what many people think of when they hear “RPG Maker” are the numerous cliché and meme games that have oversaturated Steam throughout the years. Those games do not use any original artworks or attempt to use plug-ins to add some more life into their projects. In the cases of To The Moon and Mad Father, default resources are used but there is custom-made content in the same style and stays strong to this day.
But then there’s a game like OFF, an RPG with minimalistic graphics, limited colours, hand-drawn characters and a memorable battle theme. It has spawned many fan-made games and inspired games such as Suits, a game with hand-drawn art that centres around different industries. Recently, a new game has arrived on Steam that can definitely be considered a success that grew from the work of Mortis Ghost: a game known as Mothlight.
Mothlight (formerly known as Feral) centres around a humanoid cat known as Enzo, who was kicked into the Black Sea but fortunately survived the fall. In this world, anything that falls into this sea from the world above becomes a metal known as Dreg ore, which is used to make everything from houses to weapons. Unfortunately, some people do not take to this well as “the dreg from below” is a sign of the apocalypse. Along the way you will meet three interesting party members: Idris, an exiled knight who has some lingering thoughts of the past, Lilly, a shotgun-wielding pyromancer who wishes to save her father, and Norby the dog. It does not look like a normal dog, but can be recruited early and makes things easier with its Annoying Chewing. Though everyone but Enzo has equipment that cannot be changed, you’re more than welcome to give them bracelets and rings that boost different stats.
The graphics are quite simplistic in design and colour, assuming you’re talking about the overworld. In the case of characters and some items, they are in black and white and have a hand-drawn style. This applies to attacks, each moment unique and sometimes bizarre. The background for each fight is a simple gradient, reminiscent of OFF which sported a solid background with a floral design in a different colour.
Combat is simple in this game, no fancy tricks: choose an action, fight. Instead of having MP, special skills require Rage. After a few battles, you will realise something: no matter what enemy you fight, you gain no experience, which applies to all characters. So how can you get stronger? To raise your HP, you’ll need Dreg. To obtain Dreg, you will need to either defeat a boss or condense three Dreg shards found in the overworld together. To raise your Rage, you’ll need to look around for Dreg Herbs and bring them to a pink-skinned lady called Margaret, who can be found in the mine area or in the town square. As for spells, you’d have to purchase them from certain shops.
The final battles felt bland, as there were only two options for a variation of Enzo: attack or use a healing skill. No fancy skills, no other party members, just keep mashing the spacebar and make sure to heal every once in awhile. No game is without its flaws, but personally that final bit of the game felt stale.
Mothlight is, overall, an interesting game to play. It has a balance of simple and complex, normal and unusual and has a pretty good soundtrack. Best of all, though, is that it’s free to play. If you enjoy RPG games and have some time to kill, perhaps consider playing it.
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