Monday, 29 September 2008

next stop: adventure!

So, I've been playing a little bit of Magical Starsign. There's nothing wrong with it, that I know of. I see cute things in it. But, especially compared to the Mario RPG I was playing earlier, it's not compelling.

Oddly enough, I think part of the reason for this is the lack of save points.

When throwing babies, you can only save at specific spots. These spots come quite frequently. And because of the way the mini-map on the top screen shows you the general shape of areas even if you haven't explored them yet, you can always see your way to the next save point and roughly how far it is.

This gives the gameplay a "maybe just one more" feeling. You can see the next safe stop point. It's right over there! It's not that far! You can go just that much further, can't you? Sure you can!

And quite commonly, these save points are at the 'end' of an area. So, maybe I'll just peek through this door to see what's outside this area... Oh, there's the next save point... it's not that far... Maybe just one more...

There is a constant feeling of achievement/progress as you reach them, and a constant temptation to push on just a little bit further. That's addictive.

At the same time, things are kept light and non-threatening. You know you'll pretty much always have a save point right before encountering a boss. You don't have to worry about too nasty a surprise showing up and disrupting your progress.

In Magical Starsign, you can save anywhere. If you're paranoid enough, you can save every few steps through a dungeon, just in case something really horrible appears. But saving isn't that fast a process... it gets tiring waiting for it to finish. Also, since you can save in unsafe places and you don't have tons of save slots, what happens if you save in a place you can't get back out of? Is that possible? I don't know. I still haven't played very far into it.

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