PEGBRJE: Crystal Story: Awakening and Make It Last.

Do I have stories for you, Udon.

Crystal Story: Awakening is the first in an episodic RPG adventure spearheaded by ‘Bred Frown’, a solo indie dev based out of the United States. Following the tale of Mina, players will attempt to open a locked door by finding key fragments in the hopes of uncovering what exactly is going on in this world and hopefully save it from ruin. At least, that’s what the small fairy says.

As his small protagonist, players will be venturing throughout a purple mystical world to find these key fragments, following a relatively standard adventure RPG formula seen many times across the years. This will involve acquiring new abilities such as a fireblast, shooting across the screen to ignite the first thing it hits, and a sword that can attack and cut through trees. These two powers will be the basis for many of the adventuring puzzles that need to be solved, and thanks to the four paths there is a decent amount of backtracking and interweaving to find how each of these powers will find the pieces needed to move forward. Each path has their own dangers as well to overcome, from traps that need to be juked and jumped to enemies that need to be destroyed or stunned in order to bypass and continue onward.

All of this culminating in the acquisition of three key pieces to unlock a boss that alters the game completely (if you are wanting to avoid any spoilers possible, now is the time to skip). Instead of a roaming adventure, it suddenly becomes a turn-based combat scenario, complete with the boss being across from the player and the chance of misses on the standard attack. When the boss attacks, however, the game suddenly shifts in to a mini-game centred around the puzzles that had been completed throughout the previous region. If this all looks somewhat familiar, it gave me slight Undertale vibes in its execution; turn-based combat that utilizes different mechanics in order to avoid damage rather than relying on constant back and forth. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air, and the fact that it uses those previous mechanics is also a fantastic way of allowing players to utilize those skills in a critical moment.

Upon completing the final boss, the world shifts and opens up in to a new narrative segment to set up for the next episode, and promptly gives Crystal Story: Awakening a solid foundation to continue onward. It’s art is all gorgeous, especially in the little cutscenes, and the audio helps to craft the world that they wish to tell. Some of the puzzles can be a little easy to miss if you get a bit overzealous, which can add to the length, but in general the episode can be completed within the hour. With the second episode coming some time within the next year, if you’re curious to see how the plot unfolds before its release and love RPGs that utilize their mechanics in multiple ways, definitely try this out.

Y’know I swear I’ve seen that shirt pattern on a cup growing up.

Make It Last is a visual novel created by Strawberry Dagger Studio, an indie studio based out of the Pacific Northwest that we’ve seen featured in the bundle previously for their work on Destiny Fails Us: A New Life. This time it’s more of a linear adventure, as we follow the lives of Harvey and Jordan as they reminisce on their times together that lead them to this moment.

The life and times of these two is outlined early on, with a prelude about their childhoods growing up in a time in which being attracted to men was not accepted well by many (do note that this ‘time’ is still now unfortunately, but I’m inclined to think this is more 90’s centric due to Harvey’s wardrobe). The story begins in full when we see both of them as middle-aged individuals starting their day while preparing for their daughter’s visit for dinner. The story flips between Harvey and Jordan’s point of view with both looking back on what lead them to this moment in their lives, such as their times in college first meeting, moving in to a new home, and other significant events that hold meaning to their hearts. The player has a few inputs here and there, mostly revolving around choosing where a ‘search’ will be initiated first in the different scenarios, but ultimately it has little impact on how the plot will unfold, at least to the best of my understanding. The title is more about exploring the relationship that these two have culminated, and enjoying the little adorable moments that they shared and what they might share as time moves forward.

It’s hard to comment heavily on what happens in Make It Last without spoiling much of the story, doubly so since it’s a relatively short story at under an hour. Yet within that time we’re able to see how they’ve arrived at this moment while exploring the new events that occur with their daughter. It’s definitely a touching tale, extremely sweet and ends on a very adorable note that I can definitely see moving many to tears. While the decisions aren’t huge, they’re little pieces of fun to keep the player intrigued in what they could change, and if you’re wanting a lovely tale about two men growing old together then this is definitely the tale for you. There’s also a free ‘prequel’ as well for any that are looking for more, so check that out if invested.

L i n k o p e d i a

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.