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unfortunately, the link to the demo survey doesn't seem to be working, so i'll leave a comment.

this is a neat demo with so much potential, and the entire reason i'm reviewing it is because i adore the concept so much. the art style is a very interesting choice, and it does a great job staying faithful to its inspiration. the setting - although i do wish that more things could have been interacted with - was enjoyable for a first area. the music is also quite nice, too.
however, this is where my praise ends, but that doesn't mean i don't like it. it just means there's more things i'd like to point out that could be tweaked and/or developed more.

battle: 

- the battle system, as well as the UI, is a tad too confusing to understand. 
- the health for otto and the enemy should be on separate parts of the screen and not occupy the same space.
-  health(?) stats for otto and enemies are quite odd in the way that not much is labeled nor explained. it looks like jokes are recovering(?) enemy HP, but visually it doesn't make much sense. perhaps make a separate bar for an "entertainment" stat of some sort? maybe a "sense of humor" stat could stand in place for defense?
- as mentioned previously, not much is explained or labeled - this goes for both in-battle and in the overworld. even from my knowledge of reading the game's description, it did take me a few battles to realize what i was supposed to do in order to tell jokes properly.
- adding to the note above: a lot of the RPG magic, especially with the top-down turn-based gameplay, does come from the writing. without descriptions of what's around us or what other characters are doing, you're left to stare at a screen that plays an unspecific animation for an enemy attacking. in short, descriptive textboxes and/or tutorials would be nice.
- although i do think telling jokes is an appealing way to "attack", i do think that only telling puns would grow to become stale over the course of a full-length game (especially an RPG). do remember that comedy isn't just puns - it's an entire concept. i've listed below some ways to expand otto's comedic capabilities:
   - expanding upon the current method with humorous stories presented in an "ad lib" sort of way. instead of choosing a word or phrase, the player presses a button (say, the space bar), and depending on the timing the word changes. the "damage" (i'll call it "humor" for now) varies depending on the word/phrase that ends up being used: a "perfect" would deal the most and would be considered the most "humorous" phrase, with "early" and "late" dealing less; "early" could even be joke (accidentally, of course) made in poor taste, while "late" could be one that simply doesn't make sense!
   - more for the above: perhaps stories could be personalized depending on an enemy species, and have multiple phrases for each category in order to reduce repetitiveness.
   - have humor scale depending on your audience/troupe size? and maybe telling the same type of joke/performing the same action multiple times in a row would grow less effective?
   - have members of your troupe help perform pranks or somehow further work off of otto's initial action, as it seems uncharacteristic for otto to be commanding them to attack. perhaps certain members have certain perks that can increase humor dealt in some way.
   - for concepts below, i do have an "as game progresses, more actions/abilities become unlocked either through story progression or a leveling system" in mind so it's not just an avalanche of information at the start of the game.
   - allow otto to use objects and different actions for different effects. one effect i had in mind was a "stunned" status affliction, potentially where an enemy "has to take a moment to think about the joke." 
   - integrate a system to note a character's weaknesses, similar to jeff's "spy" command in "Earthbound" or the "check" option in "Undertale." for the game's context, it could probably be what the enemy finds funny/what would deal the most humor.
   - just in general have more diversity among what otto himself can do!
 - perhaps the "troupe" and "audience" could be two different things; the "troupe" is who's currently travelling with otto, and the "audience" is who's currently watching, i suppose?

otto himself:

- do note that due to the amount of content, we don't see much of him or how he interacts with things, but i do believe there can already be vast improvements to his character.
- otto's design seems rather odd. he's supposed to be a rabbit, which is understandable, but there are elements that perplex me. his ears, albeit long, are constantly down. is he wearing an astronaut helmet? why can't we properly see his face? why is he wearing what appears to be a dress with a bowtie if he's wearing a helmet? these make his appearance seem more alien-like rather than reminiscent of a cute bunny.
- despite being "quick-witted", an "aspiring hero" with "dexterity and comedic instinct", otto appears more "shy" in-game due to his speech patterns shown in dialogue. i wouldn't associate studdering with "dexterity" unless it was ironic, personally.
- this is more of a question, but i'm very curious about the design elements and inspirations that went into otto as a character. what's he based off of? why is he a rabbit? was there a certain comedian in mind when designing him?

other/miscellaneous:

- with the current amount of content, it seems that this is more of a "proof of concept" rather than a "proper" demo. it was mentioned in a developer content that more focus was put into developing the story and art style, which is fine, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of having an actual playable game. i do hope that the project does reach the stage of a "proper" demo, though.
- a lot of the collision with objects/NPCs is awkward - it's either too far away from the object or too close. a prominent example is the chest in otto's room or the NPC in the basement.
- assuming this takes place in the 1920s, i'd recommend researching many aspects of that time. from current events to fashion trends to standalone people, there's many things that could help progress in this game's atmosphere. 
- in particular, i think it would be helpful to research comedians from various eras and learn how influential they were and/or what made them so memorable. elements from them could aid in the development of the environment and characters!

as i said in the beginning, this demo has tons of potential if done right! i honestly absolutely cannot wait to see production on this game progress!!
i'm currently contemplating whether or not i should join the discord server and/or volunteer to beta test, considering i not only have my own things to work on but i also have the attention span of a goldfish.
nevertheless, best wishes on development!! <3

tl;dr: mainly nitpicking. awesome concept, mainly things about diversifying the battle system and critiques on otto's character himself

me playing the demo. it was really fun

Awesome!!! Thanks for checking out the Demo! We'll make sure to share it! We'll also be releasing another build over the next 1-2 months in preparation for our Kickstarter! It'll be an update having items, a new battle system, and polishing out the experience :)

ooohhhh i can't wait. The game was really fun!

Animation is a bit too slow!
it always takes forever to play the animations :/

great game otherwise!

Thanks for checking it out! We'll make sure to speed things up a bit! :)

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I like the gameplay, the style (which reminded of cuphead for some reason) and the feels that it is 90's. when it comes to fighting mechanics of the game i found it very unique. though there is some glitches/bugs here and there in the game. but for me, i think the game has a potential (like for real).

p.s game starts at 7:29

Thank you for this video. I was laughing so much at your play through! Your feedback during it was very helpful as well! Hope we can have you play it again when we release all the new updates we are working on.

While I do acknowledge that this a demo, and thus isn't completely finished, there were quite a few glitches, both visually and gameplay-wise that made playing this difficult. For instance, the card that shows up on screen when the battle begins didn't dissappear. It just stayed on my screen, blocking some parts of the game. Also, the collision detection felt weird, I couldn't walk quite right when there was a doorway or something else. Also, this is a bit of a small thing, but the animations for the enemies being hurt felt a little lazy, as the sprite just moved back and forth.


Again, I understand that this a work in progress, and this shows a lot of potential, but these are just a few things that I noticed. I'm still excited to see this game grow and change.

Thank you so much for trying the game! We plan to update the visuals and smooth over the gameplay glitches as we receive feedback like this! Thank you for playing!

BS"D

After downloading and playing the Monochrome RPG Demo, I very much look forward to seeing Otto's world fully come into being!

Best,
ruthrachelaa

Thank you! We love crafting the wonderful world of Monochrome and the city of Vaudeville! Looking forward to showcasing more!

Are you sure there is no virus? Windows protected my pc

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it probably did that because the publisher didn't put a certain thing in the files of the game its nothing to worry about it happened to me many time before, when it pops back up just click more info and it will let you continue hope this helps

Yep no virus! :) We just aren't approved on windows yet/don't know how not to make that pop-up appear (if anyone knows let us know XD !)

Hey there, just tried out the demo. I like the art style and the music is fantastic, not to mention how well this game appeals to my love for puns. Unfortunately, it seems I ran into a bug or two. For some reason, I couldn't move through my options in combat so I could only ever select Otto, choose to attack and go with the first option for my joke. When I confronted Gackels, the combat was further bugged and I couldn't select anything, leaving me stuck in combat so I had to close the demo. Still, I do like the concept here. Definitely interested in seeing more.

Thank you for trying the demo!!! Thank you we spent time with style, music, and narrative!!! For normal combat you should be able to use your mouse to choose between Otto's jokes and teammate abilities! We'll be fixing the Gackle's glitches!

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That's great to hear, I'll definitely check out the next demo build.

Awesome!!! Super happy to hear :D

Thank you again for playing!!!

Cool :-O

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Thank you!!!

This game leaves a lot to be desired.

First, the good parts. The game is very nice and reminds me a lot like Cuphead. And the dialogue, from what I've played, is amazing.

But that's about it. The game graphics, or at least some of them, look painfully like stock photos. The fighting mechanism is pretty confusing. I don't know why everyone is moving back and forth after my turn. Finally, couldn't turn the game off after I was finished. I had to use the Task Manager to close it.

Until these problems are fixed, 3 out of 5.

Hi! Thanks for the feedback! Glad you loved the dialogue! We'll be adding an updated battle system in the coming months (currently doing internal testing). We're also updating some of the original graphics! Stay tuned!

I wish that the text didn't autoadvance and wasn't accidentally skippable, but besides that the game was lovely! They style and animation is on point and I can't wait to see how this develops into a full game. 

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Thank you!!! We'll make sure to slow the text down and make the skipping more solid! :)

Heya!

I was just commenting to ask about a certain issue with the, erm. . . communications and all. I received a link to head to your Discord, but apparently the link destination doesn't exist. . ? Has it worked for others, or is it just a problem on my end? I get an Error 503 page whenever I try. 

Hi sorry for any confusion! You can join the Lobby Discord through this link:

https://discord.gg/aCRYePz

We had to close the original links as we were having too many people enter the Workshop Discord!

Hello, I found out about your project through Indeed, applied for testing the game, & played your demo.

Now that I’m done playing it, I decided to post my review on it along. As you read this review, keep in mind I think your demo did a fine job demonstrating what you wanted to do with this concept & I did enjoy my playthrough of it, enough to start thinking of concepts for the project.

 

Monochrome RPG Review

This will be long, so I’m gonna try to structure this review via sections & sub-sections as well as the order going from the least to most critiques/opinions & improvements I have about the subject. None of which HAVE to be implemented or even be considered until a later state of the game.

I. SOUNDS

*MUSIC

-The music is alright, but the theme downstairs from the basement party is a swinging jam, the best song so far. I only wish that the battle theme either changed into the basement jam or became a party version of the battle theme.

*Sound FX/Signifiers

-This demo needed more of them. Mostly for how Otto & enemies react to damage or jokes through the battle system. The enemies hardly make any sounds when interacting with them & there’s nothing playing when you click anything related to Otto’s options.

 

II. VISUALS

*Branding

-The name of the project should be changed to something more unique. The current title, “Monochrome RPG”, sounds like a subtitle like “Otto’s Journey: A Monochrome RPG”. Looking up gameplay videos only yielded 2 results of your game & other RPGs, including one called Monochrome Order.

-Personally, I don’t like Otto’s design. I don’t hate it, I just think it should be changed or at least tweaked Otto’s design. He’s supposed to be a rabbit, but his ears don’t stand up & hardly move. It’s weird, but he seems more of a dog than a rabbit to me. I dunno, maybe it’s just his head. It looks more like a robotic head/helmet than a hood or whatever he’s supposed to be wearing because of the line splitting the middle of it. His eyes should change depending on what he’s doing. I thought the left eye was the norm for his era of cartoons, but the other one makes it look like he’s continually winking. It works when he’s in the pose the game program icon, but in game, it makes me think someone damaged his eye & this is just how it looks now.

*TEXT

-The Writing: The simple pun-based interactions are wonderful. You’ve delivered important information without straight-up telling the player using puns & play-on-words. It’s a little detail but I adore it. The only weird thing moment was Gackle, sorry, THE GACKLE’s dialogue since the cuss-word came out of nowhere.

-The Automatic Text: The text goes by automatically, which wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t last  seconds. For most dialogue, I can keep up, but some of the longer ones disappear before I can finish reading the entire time. You should do 1 of 3 things…

1: Just let the player click or press a button to progress.

2: Change the time limit for EACH & EVERY dialogue box existing to match with how long it takes most people to read the text within.

3: Do 1 AND 2, turn them into dialogue “modes”, & let the player to switch between them on the fly. DO NOT make the player have to enter a pause menu to switch these “modes”.

*Cleaning Up (The Nitpicks)

-The title screen: that ribbon that says “Monochrome” has 2 white specs on the top on the opposite sides of its eyes.

-Credits: The typography needs some work. The “Founding Artist” title on the left side don’t line up with their corresponding text on the right side. Increase the max-width for the right side or just center everything. Titles should either have a different font or be bolded. Also, alter the spacing for between the names & titles, specifically the names. Having the titles & names so close together and some of the names possibly being split into 2 lines really makes reading the credits incredibly disorienting.

-Inconsistencies. Since this is a community project, it’s somewhat inevitable the following points happen. However, they don’t need to be fixed for the moment, but should be polished by the Alpha version of the demo. Some of the characters or objects in the “background” have different, noticeable outline widths. Some of the animation loops don’t sync up with each other (as in they tend to have different FPSes) & that’s kinda distracting when you notice it. Not something that needs to be changed, but something that would be real swell if fixed.

 

III. GAMEPLAY

*Checkpoints

-This demo would’ve been less frustrating the one time I died if it had these. You only really need one anyways & it’s when you get down to the basement. Now to be fair, this concept demo was hardly annoying or even hard, but it was tedious for how short it was. And it’s all thanks to the encounters. Fighting the creepers, or any enemy, is not hard BUT you have to either attack or tell jokes the entire match or else you will die, due to the weird duo health enemies have for some reason. Yes, you can heal, but the creepers & Gackle deal so much damage with one attack that it’s useless. Anyways, dying, which only happened to me once, restarts your progress. So if this concept demo was actually hard, this cycle of failing & restarting like a digital phoenix would be super annoying. Luckily, it isn’t & I’m sure this project will get checkpoints for future builds.

*Controlling Otto, Overworld Movement

-Otto himself controls fine, I haven’t even encountered any animation errors & he’s relatively fast enough for this demo. In a new build with much more content, having a faster mode of transportation (a running mode and/or even just teleporting to previous areas) would be greatly appreciated.

-You should also let players move with the arrow keys, but WASD works just fine as well since you have to use the mouse to click the options in the battle menu. Speaking of which…

*The Battle/Joke System

-It really needs work. It is lacking even for the basics of basic RPGs (attacking physically, attacking with magic, using items, running away, and maybe even a block) but ignoring attacking (through Otto at least). Not that it really needs THOSE options, but all the game is so far to me is just attacking or telling jokes until the battle ends with you or the enemy being defeated.

-Another personal opinion: I don’t like how most RPGs’ battle system work. You throw either attack, heal, or run away. The problem I have with it is that the player & AI are forced to wait taking turns where all they do is select an action. For me, there’s not enough player interactivity that would keep someone like me invested or drag others like me to game on this system alone, which is (from what I understand), the focal point your game’s system is built on & what the players are going to spend most of their time interacting with. Yes, the story & writing are also parts of the game they’ll interact with and could even be the best part of the game. However, if someone wants see the story and/or writing FOR FREE, all they have to do is wait until someone uploads their gameplay videos onto YouTube or any other video/streaming platform.

-The hearts were kinda confusing to figure out at first. When any health bar is colorful, I assume the colored part is my remaining health because that’s how that works in most games but with this demo, I think it’s reversed somehow. Also, and I’m not sure if this is a glitch or not, I think the enemies have different health hearts for attacks AND jokes because you can attack an enemy & tell a joke on the next turn, but the heart’s updates are different depending on whether you attacked or told a joke.

 

IV. MECHANICAL IMPROVEMENTS

The following sentences ending with question marks are just barely formed brainstorms.

Now for what I think you can do to expand upon your current system for a later build…

*The Overworld System

-Otto can jump and run, in & out of encounters. This can be used to avoid enemies & their attacks.

-If Otto touches, jumps on, or is attacked by an enemy, the Encounter system starts.

-Enemies will chase Otto once they see him.

-If an enemy chases Otto or encounters him, nearby enemies (should only have max 5, but only 2 different kinds of enemies) can join in, increasing the difficulty & health limit for each copy an enemy has.

 

*The Battle/Joke System->The Encounter System

-1: The fight doesn’t progress unless you, the player, chooses an option by clicking 1 of 3 areas: Mike the microphone to tell a joke, Otto to sing/heal, & on a member of your troupe to have them aid you. If you haven’t chosen an option for a while, the enemies and/or Otto start playing idle animations?

-2: Enemies launch attacks but Otto can dodge the oncoming sequence/barrage by moving out of the attacks area of impact. Attacks are visually TELEGRAPHED, the players should be able to know that they’re coming & on repeat fights with the same enemy type, know what those attacks are & do.

-3: If a player can tells a successful joke, you gain a small amount of health when your enemy’s attacks miss during their next attack sequence. Enemies regain a small amount of health when they hit you.

-4: You should be able to add multiple copies of a enemy to your troupe (through jokes of course). The more copies of enemies you collect, the more powerful their attacks or moves are & collecting enough of then unlocks more options for them. For example a ladybug’s starting move (a ballerina spin kick) can becomes a team move (the cha cha).

-5: Your troupe doesn’t specifically physically attack anymore, but prank or even help tell jokes instead?

-6: Of course, when you survive an encounter, you gain DOLLOPs depending on your performance during the encounter. You can spend DOLLOPs for several things, but you can also spend it to get an XP. You can exchange XP to increase your health, joke efficiency, or a clip ticket. When you get 3 clip tickets, you get a Snaz Klip.

-7: Snaz Klips, a possible kind of perk system, giving or improving Otto’s abilities. Just some examples:

Yukulele Ho!: Lets you hold a key to heal during your enemy’s turn.

Magic Hat Exit: When you encounter an enemy, you can either automatically & randomly win or run away. Your possibility to win increases when your troupe outnumbers the enemy troupe (your copies don’t count).

Moodtrix: During an encounter, your options get boosts when used until the end of that encounter. In the overworld or during the enemy’s turn in an encounter, Otto’s jumping & running is boosted to a certain limit until you stop jumping or running for a few seconds.

Jokestar: If an attack barely misses you or hits you & your health becomes half or less, tell a random joke with its efficiency depending on your dodge’s timing or how much damage you took.

*Aesthetic Styling

-Enemies sing and/or dance/sway to the music.

-Encounter screen’s aesthetic should be a comedy/entertainment club. The seats should be only be filled by the enemies you add to your troupe. Before the encounter starts, Otto should have some kind of quick, nervous preparation animation, like uncomfortably & nervously tugging at his bowtie while looking away from the enemy? The front should have a band, playing the encounter theme diegetically?

Wow!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so so so much!!!! Excellent feedback!!!

With this build we've been focusing on polishing out the narrative and art thus battles are definitely lacking! We currently have a build on Patreon and floating in our community that showcases an updated more strategical battle system! (It'll be available on Itch sometime in near-ish future)

Thank you for your interest in the project! If you've filled out our form for the on-boarding wait-list then we'll be reaching out soon! (We've gotten more than 2500+ applications and are setting up communication pipelines to help with this exciting, but unexpected rush!). Thank you for your patience and for trying out the demo and leaving such a great review!!!

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You're welcome. It was fun thinking of new concepts for this project

From the demo on YouTube it looks really good the music is a miss for me and the way to fight looks a bit confusing do we just tell jokes and it lowers their HP? how long has this been in production? 

Hi thanks for commenting! We've been in production for a year focusing more on the art, world, and story! We're currently in a development sprint focused solely on the battle system. Currently Joking heals and captures enemies. Once you have an enemy in your Troupe you can use their skills. These become the attacks in the demo thus if you use Otto's joke you're healing (probably capturing) but if you use a creature skill you're defeating them in the traditional RPG sense :)

We're keeping the battle build under private testing for now and are working towards a July/August Kickstarter date! The Kickstarter will hopefully provide us the funding we need to polish and juice the game to completion! 

Great game so far! I was looking to help on video game testing. Only thing I would ask is for settings to change the audio.

Awesome! Thanks for the feedback! If you've filled out our waitlist form: https://info.dvnc.tech/tester-workshop-waitlist you're all set!

We'll be reaching out in the next few weeks once we get an updated build going!

Great, Thank you!

Looks really good guys! Any idea when it would be finished? Like in the order of 1 year or several years.

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Thank you! We're currently in the process of looking for a publisher / investor :)

If we don't find a publisher / investor and a crowdfunding campaign doesn't succeed we plan to release something in late 2020.

If we have another successful funding search then the full game will be released in mid-2021! If you'd like you can follow the creation on our discord!