Another double feature today! First up, a voxelized update to a classic adventure, then a moddable hack 'n' slash RPG!
It's a shame that things ended like they did for Zelda 30 Year Tribute. It comes as no surprise, but it's still sad. Understandably, Nintendo has every right to protect their IP, and if they let this title slide they may find it harder to stop more nefarious uses of their content/assets. The idea behind the game is (was) really cool though, and plainly demonstrated that people want something like this available on current platforms. Hopefully Nintendo considers the work of Sam and Mike favorably when the official remake inevitably surfaces.
FLARE goes the other way (avoiding the dreaded copyright monster) by using a number of publicly available assets. The game is also moddable, allowing others to create new content to add or change the base game.
The game itself is an isometric hack 'n' slash RPG in the vein of Diablo. You can choose from a number of classes starting out, but you have access to all the skill trees (assuming you meet the requirements) which allows you to tailor your character as you wish. I absolutely love RPGs that allow this level of customization (Champions Online, Divine Divinity, Gothic and Fallout all fondly come to mind here), though I realize for balance issues many games are developed using class-based systems instead.
Controls are fairly intuitive, and you can change keybinds or even use a controller. Surprisingly, there's a relatively robust number of settings for audio and video too. Attacking takes a bit of getting used to as your character will just swing in the direction you're facing instead of hitting the nearest enemy. Sadly, this is a modern comfort I've grown accustomed to (and didn't realize until now). The game does offer some quality-of-life features though, including an auto-save when changing maps and a fairly generous respawn system.
The gameplay (at least early on) is a bit slow. Those used to the rush-through ARPGs with new skills and level-ups thrown at you every 2 minutes (Marvel Heroes for example) will likely find this game unbearably sluggish. I grew up on oldschool RPGs and early MMOs where grinding was a prominent feature, so I'm not terribly bothered by it (though I felt the episode dragged a bit because of the pacing).
FLARE seems good enough to take a longer look at though, and when I have time to get farther, I'll talk about it in a later post.