Phantasmaburbia for Windows sounds disturbing. It aims to take the tropes of RPG design and give them quite the shake: no NPCs, no shops, just one town in the game, a lack of grinding, and spatial manipulation puzzles that require logical thinking. I’ve seen some rather polarizing comments on the game from consumers and developers and wanted to start a discussion here on it.
I’m not a big RPG gamer, but I do love platformers. So I became intrigued with Phantasmaburbia when platformer-intensive developer Kyle Pulver told me he really enjoyed it. “It felt like an arcade style JRPG. Progressing in the game is quick and streamlined, and I never felt the looming grind that I usually experience in typical RPGs.”
He continued, “Each [battle] had their own unique mechanics which kept it interesting. I could never just brute force my way through a major battle. Some attacks in the game have real time interaction elements, like deflecting projectiles with your mouse, which kept the battles really engaging. Also the puzzles were pretty well thought out, and I felt clever solving them. The player’s path through the game is also totally open, so there are a lot of puzzles and battles that I didn’t even see.
“Some RPGs I’ve played I just wanted to hold down a fast forward button most of the time, but I didn’t feel this way about Phantasmaburbia. Every bit of the game felt like it had a lot of love put into it, and the fact that it’s mostly made by one person in Game Maker is incredibly inspiring. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I didn’t mind the occasional bug or hiccup.”
So that’s Pulver’s take. What’s yours? RPG lovers, does the removal of so many design staples make it a better or worse game? Oh, and those hesitant can try out the free demo and vote for it on Steam Greenlight if they like what they see.