The Old Mask Unveiled
This 20-minute “visual novel” is very text heavy so you would want the dialogue to be entertaining and not bore you into spamming the action button like many games do. However, ScarymanMEOW manages to start the game off with a quite intriguing story plot in which two inspectors, Kaldin and Zevin, are sent out to investigate murder at a tower. There are some witty moments of humour as well as a nod to Dragon Fantasy early on. I can only assume the 8-bit graphics were influenced by that too.
The game starts off in the lobby of the tower in which you need to gather information about the murder as well as trawl through books and other objects. Sooner or later you’ll need to start using the menu, the equipment screen makes for some interesting observation.
The basic gameplay consists of you go from person A to person B to person C and try to unlock new information which opens up dialogue between other NPCs in the tower. This is all well and good but I found it slightly overwhelming with the names and description of the many people involved in the plot but that passed quite quickly as the plot pushed on. The game also has the fetch quests RPGs are renowned to have but it doesn’t take long to get what you need thankfully.
The game has generally a good atmosphere going although I found it hard to associate inspectors with medieval-type of graphics but I guess it ties in with what’s come later in the game. Animations are decent and sound effects are used effectively (I did jump and not urinate at one point).
As the game was laden with text, I checked for any spelling or grammatical mistakes but could only find one which made the game more enjoyable and kept a nice flow to the story.
Towards the end of the game, a long cut scene takes over which for me, ends the game too abruptly. I was left confused and felt the story hit a brick wall and crawled towards the finishing line which is a shame as I felt the story was going at a fairly decent pace and was building onto something but oh well, maybe it was intended all along or maybe I started to skip some of the dialogue (by mistake, of course).
The Old Mask is definitely worth playing if you’re looking to pass 20 minutes playing a pacific game but the story falls flat at the end so it’s difficult recommending others to play this for that sole reason.
Overall verdict: average
You can download The Old Mask at RPGMaker.net