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Posted on Aug 21st 2023 at 06:46:42 PM by (koola6)
Posted under This Way Madness Lies, This Way Madness Lies, Zeboyd Digital Entertainment, Cthulhu Saves Christmas, turn based RPGs

As I have noted in previous articles, my personal favorite type of video game is a turn-based role-playing game. I personally prefer the ones that are not strategy-based, but I have had some fun with all of them that I have played.

I prefer ones that change up the gameplay just a tiny bit, but not too much, have good humor, are short, and are genuinely fun. It's hard finding a good balance of all four, but there are a good few games that hit that balance (or at least get really close to it). Some examples are UNDERTALE, DELTARUNE, Helen's Mysterious Castle, and Dicey Dungeons.

There is exactly one video game company that makes games that hit all of these pillars with literally every single game I've played from them, and that company is Zeboyd Digital Entertainment. I could go all day talking about them, but this article is about their newest offering, This Way Madness Lies.

This Way Madness Lies is a turn-based RPG about Shakespeare and magical girl anime, which is funnily enough not even the strangest premise I've heard from Zeboyd. (Cthulhu saving Christmas, anyone?) This strange premise, in my opinion, already helps with the humor a lot, but even if it weren't there, I would still be laughing my butt off because almost every line in this game.

Given the subject material, you see a lot of Old English in this game, which might seem like a drag, but the game actually contains a translator for it. A minor complaint I have is that, as an English nerd, I can actually read a good majority of the Old English, and as such I have found out that some of the dialogue has a much simpler translation than I would have preferred or straight up has a different meaning. This isn't a real issue however, as even if you don't know a lot of Old English, you can mostly grab from context what the words mean.

The combat system in This Way Madness Lies is a masterclass of turn-based video game combat. Returning from other Zeboyd titles is the Unite command, in which multiple team members can combine their powers to make combat more interesting. All of these are super strong, and very fun to use.

There is no MP (or equivalent) in This Way Madness Lies, which at first might seem like a bad choice, but the way they compensate for it is very interesting, unique, and well-made. Every time you use an attack, it weakens. This is something that I think is done very well in this game. I can tell that a lot of work was put into balancing everything.  Toof often, in other turn-based RPGs, I find that multiple punishments for using moves often are enforced: MP (or equivalent), and a move limit. I don't think that move limits are a good idea for turn-based RPGs, as they often ruin the fun in them: you are forced to use a different, weaker move, and this often feels very limiting. How this differs from making the move weaker is that making the  move weaker punishes the use of it, but you can still feel the power of it, and oftentimes (as in the case of This Way Madness Lies) there is a skill that can refill how strong your move is.

Lastly is the length. I don't have too much to say on this one that hasn't been stated at length by countless others before me, but even ignoring our shortening attention spans, shorter games are a good thing. A lot of us don't have the time for a grand 80-hour RPG, some something that you can finish in 1/8 the time.

I very much enjoyed This Way Madness Lies, and I hope you give it a try. It is one of my favorite games now.

I've been koola, and I was recieved this game for free, so I pretty much had to review it.

(I would have positively reviewed it anyway. I love this game.)


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Comments
 
Big fan of Zeboyd ever since Cthulu Saves The World, with Cosimic Star Heroine really proving to me how solid their games are.  TWML is definitely on my list to play, and I won't mind (too much) paying the premium for the likely 'Limited' physical release Smiley

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