Developer: Samu Publisher: Samu Platform: PC Review code purchased
Orogenesis is the term for when a mountain is formed, and a game of the same name was released a few days ago on Steam. Created by independent artist Samuel Turensky (who also madeMothlight), this game serves as a sequel and an expansion to the weird and somewhat sexual world he’s built over the last few years. It had a successful campaign on Kickstarter, raising over $3000 from almost 200 people with the promises of future updates boasting extra content and customisable housing. But how good is it?
Orogenesis is an RPG game set in the land of Meertha, one of several worlds within a bizarre universe. Life was simple until a great mountain erupted from the ground, bringing with it four orbs containing the powers of a god. Due to the mountain’s sudden appearance, many of the enemies you fight are demons summoned by said mountain or victims of the war that broke out because of the demonic invasion. Years later, the task of finding the Genesis Orbs falls onto Dude, a man who enjoys weed and jerking off in his treehouse.
The story is pretty basic: you’re a fat guy who gets roped into a quest with his best friend and a stranger to obtain godlike power. Along the way, you have the chance to help your fellow Meerthan by collecting meat, aiding unholy creatures and dismantling a crime syndicate. You know, like any other average RPG.
Once all four Genesis Orbs have been found, you can unlock one of four endings, depending on what you do and where you go. Just a word of warning: one of the endings involves pictures of dicks, vaginas, intestines, fingers and at least one anus. If you aren’t good with any of those things, then perhaps you should look elsewhere.
There are eight dungeons in total and four Orbs. Why explore all of them, then? In dungeons you’ll be able to grind for cash and find items that will help you on your journey, some of them counting towards one of the endings. But we’ll get to the main reason why later on.
The art style is like a coin. The overworld and its inhabitants are in a retro style with flat colours, while the combat has monochrome enemies and animations. A majority of enemies have their own unique attacks and animations; as an animation student, I can only begin to imagine how long it must have taken to make them with consistent shading. On the topic of animations, the status effects have animations as well. You don’t often see them in RPGMaker games, so it’s a nice touch.
Player housing is available with a choice of 10 possible designs, as well as a mine to harvest minerals, a small farm and the ability to marry one of the world’s weird single ladies. If you’re planning to save up on some high-quality equipment, don’t buy multiple house designs as it’ll put a serious dent in your wallet.
In Orogenesis, there’s no leveling up. To raise your stats, you’ll need to buy equipment and special rings. A majority of rings can only be found through exploring and murdering your way through whatever obstacle is protecting it. To make your health increase, you’ll have to clear a dungeon. It’s worth it for that extra 5HP and at least 10 pennies. For MP, you’ll need to collect herbs and hand them to a witch who’ll make it into a potion that raises your MP by 10. To sum it up, you have to explore and grind if you want a chance against some extremely difficult enemies.
Combat is turn-based like most games. Dude starts off weak and fat but over time he gains access to magic that can inflict one of several status effects and heal. He stays fat, unfortunately. His best friend Tea, a small tree person, is even weaker. Fortunately, he has the ability to lower his enemies’ defence. Then we have Pipe, a big buff man responsible for dragging Dude on his journey. You can either make him attack or…punch with both hands. It’s a valuable skill early on, but later in the game it’ll do little against enemies. Finally, there’s Grundel the dog, who can run into people. He can use only one weapon throughout the whole game, so unless you invest in a lot of equipment and buy spells for him, you have a slightly better Tea.
The combat and music is entertaining, but the game knows how to weed out those who think they can beat it by just mashing attack. The earliest example is an enemy known as The Unborn, a creature in a basement with an attack that hits everyone and has a chance to poison. If you want to beat it, you’ll need to clear the first possible dungeon, learn a spell and fight two enemies just to obtain a weapon that can deal more damage. But even then you’ll only go so far; this is why you’ll need to get into the habit of using status effects. Some enemies can be unfair, but they are beatable.
After playing through it a few times, there was one thing that just fell flat: the story. The story is basic, it has no build-up when it needs it and the final boss you’ll encounter on your first playthrough has no hint to being evil. It’s like the opposite of Mothlight; while Mothlight’s combat was tedious and the story held interest, Orogenesis has a basic but unfulfilling story and challenging combat. With hope, maybe he’ll make something that holds strong in both areas.
Orogenesis may have flaws, but it covers them up well with its art and music. You get your money’s worth.