Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nightbound (Review)

"Nightbound" by ProP is a text based RPG launched for the 2017 IF comp. I played this next because it appeared near the top of my randomized list.

This is a solidly coded RPG set in a traditional, but not entirely cliched, Tolkein-esque environment. The player can choose from one of three classes to start (fighter, rogue, magic user) and can partner with a diverse selection of travelling companions met during the game. Near the start of the game the sun has "gone out", casting the world into permanent night. The player is recruited to solve this mystery and dispel the curse.

"Nightbound" is complex enough to require nearly two hours for completion, and may have some additional replay value. The player interacts by clicking on a text menu near the bottom of the screen. Additional click-options might appear by hovering over significant words in the room description, which simulates a more careful location search.

More about my personal experience after the break.

I played a rogue, and partnered with a magic user I met early in the game. We stuck together until the end, as I had been warned by the text that he would not rejoin me if I ever abandoned him. I enjoy a really professionally written RPG. I spent hours playing "Baldur's Gate", back when it was released. But I've been disappointed with many of the amateur RPGs I've seen entered in this IF competition. "Nightbound" approaches a level of professionalism that makes it a real treat to play. In addition to the main quest, there are numerous side quests for the player to pursue. The world model is robust enough that the player does not get bored just hitting "attack". I noticed a few text bugs, but not enough to distract from the overall game. As word of constructive feedback to the author, I felt that near the end the combat system had become unbalanced in favor of the player. I killed the final demon in one strike, which seemed odd. Overall, I expect this will place in the top quarter for the competition.

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