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About the Story
A light dungeon crawl. Tap spell gems to defeat monsters!
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
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The Vambrace of Destiny is a dungeon crawler adventure, with limited commands and filled with puzzles. You must go through the different levels of the dungeon, fight monsters, discover treasures, and gather all the spells.
I did not reach the ending. The current review only account for what was played.
Until I reached the second level and was essentially stuck, banging my head against the wall because I could not solve the puzzles, TVoD was quite an enjoyable light parser (especially for a parser-adverse/noob like me). It has limited commands, which are essentially shortcuts; a visible map on the screen (at least in the play online version), which showed where you are and what rooms you discovered, and reasonable logical puzzles (even the one I got stuck on...), and hints (external document).
The logic of the game is relatively simple: explore the dungeon, find a monster but can't fight it, explore some more, find a spell, fight the monster with the spell, go to the next bit. As you advance further, the puzzles require extra steps to be solved, often with combinations of actions or "passing a turn". Even if some puzzles required retracing your steps to unlock further parts, they were quite enjoyable to solve!
I still spent enough time faffing about, pressing the wrong direction on the screen, or forgetting to press a certain command, or just not getting the puzzle, that the clock ran out before I could reach the end. Starting level 2, the puzzles leave the beginner level... I think I managed to visit 1/3 to 1/2 of the rooms of level 2 before I gave up.
Still, I had quite a bit of fun, and breaking through the blocks on the path, defeating the monsters, and finding the treasures, were pretty satisfying! Level 1 is a hoot!
I really appreciated the simple commands (the investigrab especially!) and how merciful the game was (you might not manage to solve a puzzle or finish the game, but you won't die).
I want to revisit this game down the line (aka when a walkthrough drop - the hints are not enough for a noob), because I really want to reach the end.
[Originally played on 1-Oct during the IFComp]
This game by Arthur DiBianca has you exploring a multi-layered dungeon while collecting glowing gems of mysterious power (which are attached to the titular Vambrace).
Its big innovation is that there is no need to hit enter; one key is one action. This isnít the very first game Iíve seen do this (there was a game in this yearís Parsercomp with the same concept), but I think the execution is great here. I feel like care was made to make the commands easier to remember, and I like the gradual reveal of more and more powers/keys.
Making a game like this takes a lot of talent and skill. I recently tried adding a Ďlimited commandí section in my own game, specifically emulating Arthur DiBianca, and it was by far the hardest part to code: coming up with interesting puzzles, doing a lot of timing and such. Itís quite hard.
But it comes off great here. Most of the puzzles involve defeating foes or traps in a multi-layer dungeon, and my favorite type of puzzles in the game is where you come across a foe or trap and think, ĎI know exactly what I need to solve this, but I donít have the capability.í Then later, you get a new power, and you can run back to the earlier area and solve it.
This author has a lot of good games, but Iíd put this in the top third or fourth of all his games.
The Vambrace of Destiny is a parser-based IF by Arthur DiBianca, published for IFComp 2023. The game is a dungeon crawler with a very streamlined execution. The writing and world building are both fairly minimal, and the normal Inform 7 interface has also been heavily modified to only accept single-button input, which makes the gameplay feel remarkably fast-paced and smooth.
The game is technically very impressive. Once you get used to how the game works, playing it feels like a breeze. Although the limited input scheme is quite unusual, I could see it working for a number of other kind of games on Inform 7 too. There's also a map screen that becomes updated as you keep exploring the game world, which makes moment-to-moment gameplay feel even cleaner.
One drawback of all this streamlining is that it really highlights the old school, essentially fetch quest-like and quite repetitive nature of the adventure itself. There are some fairly intricate puzzles which require you to do things in a certain order, or with certain timing, to mix things up. Still, with the minimal storytelling and minimal interface, I found myself slightly demotivated to continue after a point. I think you might have to love old school dungeon crawling just for the sake of it to get the most out of this title.
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