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Review: Equin- The Lantern
nb. I don't know what "presentation" is, if not graphics or sound, which are covered later on, so consider this my "introduction".
Having bought the full version of this game, I thought it was time I gave it a quick review.
The only difference between the demo and full versions, is that the demo ends at floor 15, while the full version goes on forever(?). Those who do buy the full version will not be disappointed with the range of additional monsters / items / traps / etc that continue to appear after level 15.
The game is essentially a typical Roguelike, but with more traditional RPG combat elements. Most of what you'd expect is there - including a very wide range of monsters, potions, weapons, treasure, traps, shops, etc. Conspicuous by their absence are hunger and thirst, but that's actually a good thing - I hate micromanaging food etc when really I just want to go kill some monsters. There are 3 character classes to choose from - the warrior who is tough and can use two handed weapons; the wizard who is weaker but can use *extremely* powerful magic; and the thief who just sucks. There are some negatives though... I don't like that you can't use items during a battle (meaning no healing mid-battle, except with a certain very rare item). It would be useful if the spacebar served as a "wait" button - taking a turn without actually moving (most roguelikes have such a function). A map would be very helpful too. It would be nice if there were some ranged combat - there are bows and magic spells, but they still only work at close range. There are also one or two glitches. For example, once an item is equipped, you can't unequip it - so if you're holding a shield, that stops you equipping a two handed weapon, until you find a ring/gloves, which occupy the same slot as a shield, but don't stop you carrying a two handed weapon. A more helpful glitch is the one that allows you to enter a fire/poison/spike trap without taking damage, provided you enter combat immediately. Anyway, despite these criticisms, it's actually a lot of fun to play. There's a huge amount of "stuff" crammed into the game, so you always feel like there's more to discover. The difficulty is nicely balanced - you can find some powerful weapons early on that allow you to coast through the first 20+ floors, but by later levels (floor 47 is the furthest I've got so far), things will still be getting tough...
The resolution is very low, but all the graphics are well drawn and animated, and there are some neat effects here and there (eg. the transition from overworld to battle screens). Smoother movement / scrolling would have been nice, but it's not a big issue.
The music is nice enough, and there are different tunes for overworld / battle / boss-battle etc. It does get a little repetitive though. The sound effects are also suitably retro, and in keeping with the visuals.
This isn't a game you're going to play non-stop, for days on end. However, it is a game that will keep you coming back for one or two quick games, over and over again (I guess you could call it a "coffee-break game"). Playing a long game can get tiresome because the gameplay is quite simple and repetitive, but you always come back to see what new items, monsters, etc there are to be discovered (getting a highscore is not really what motivates you).
Overall, I think it's a very good game - probably my second favourite roguelike (after "Lost Labyrinth"), and with the full version costing less than a pint of beer, you really can't go wrong.
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