4x4 Archipelago

by Agnieszka Trzaska profile


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A long, complete Twine RPG with multiple classes and quests, October 10, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

Last year, the author released a game called 4x4 Galaxy, where you played a star fighter visiting 16 planets (arrranged on a grid), battling, gaining weapons, having different skills and different quests.

I really enjoyed it, but it got a bit tedious near the end of each playthrough.

This game is better than that one, though. This is a fantasy version and has more variety and more descriptive writing. Not only was I not burnt out by tediousness at the end, I was trying to find ways to extend my gameplay.

My character was a swashbuckler, and I focused a lot on combat. You start out with very few hitpoints and a couple of basic attacks, but enough to have some strategy (for instance, using a sword gives you the option to stun, while with a bow you can ignore damage reduction). By the end of the game, I had several legendary weapons, and could switch between sending out a half-dozen arrows from a giant's bow and using a finishing strike with 'the really really big sword'.

There are a ton of sidequests and they have excellent rewards. The main goal changes from game to game; mine was to assemble four pieces of a pirate's treasure map, and that involved things like becoming famous and defeating a pirate's ghost.

I did get really frustrated near the end of my several-hours playthrough when exploring the optional area (Spoiler - click to show)Coral Cove, which is a (Spoiler - click to show)maze with a kraken that attack randomly while walking around. I got very lost, and I gave up on it. In a future playthrough, I'd probably just map it out.

I don't think this game is for everyone; the opening is kind of overwhelming in terms of sheer number of options to try, and there is a lot of grinding, but I always enjoyed grinding fantasy RPGs as a kid.

There were a small number of errors. At one point </span> was used instead of <span>, leaving some raw code; a pirate threatened to conquer the land of [undefined], and a lot of dungeons that had events in their first room ended up overlapping the text compass. But these were minor in comparison to the very large amount of material in the game that worked great.

As a final note, the core gameplay here is similar to Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies, so if you like one such game you might like the others.

Comments on this review

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Andrew Schultz, October 18, 2021 - Reply
Coral Cove is hard, but it's fair. I got frustrated with the tentacles(Spoiler - click to show), but you can deal with them so they don't drain your supply of healing spells/potions.

I found myself replaying a few times with different classes. Swashbucklers (Spoiler - click to show)are the best for getting a quick start once you know what you're doing, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the "worst" combination had some nice tricks to gain experience. So I think it's balanced.

I don't feel 100% comfortable writing public reviews about other IFComp games until it's over, but right now I just want to mention I really like how the side-quests change with each play-through, and that can affect your strategy.
Agnieszka Trzaska, October 10, 2021 - Reply
Thank you so much for your review! I'm glad you had fun playing my game!

Thanks for mentioning all the issues, too. I posted an update earlier today in which I fixed one instance of superfluous </span> and the issue with [undefined], I think (the one I fixed was the lich at Necromancer's Folly, with the following line: I may finally be able to leave this accursed crypt and rain destruction upon the people of [undefined], which of course should end in the island's name).

As for the overlapping compass whoops! I was sure this wasn't happening any more. The compass is at a fixed distance from the bottom of the screen, so that the links are always in the same place. I think adding room names to the dungeons (this was a last-minute change) might have messed this up again, so I'll take another look.

As for the frustrating part: (Spoiler - click to show)drawing a map of Coral City is definitely a good idea. There is one twist to navigating that area the key is (Spoiler - click to show)paying attention to how long the current carries you in which direction when you travel. I also have a hand-drawn map of Coral City from when I was implementing it, I could re-draw it in better quality and post it somewhere online.
MathBrush, October 10, 2021 - Reply
I only saw one span, and that was definitely the undefined quote!

Thanks for the tip on the city, I plan on replaying as a mage after the comp and I'll definitely explore the city then!
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