REVIEW: Alpha Kimori Episode One


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Title: Alpha Kimori Great Doubt Episode One
Publisher: Sherman 3D
Developer: Sherman 3D
Release Date: March 24th, 2011
System: PC

 

Alpha Kimori

Gorgeous title screen art

Alpha Kimori: Great Doubt is an indie role playing game for PC created by Sherman 3D. The style is very much akin to the SNES era of JRPGs, and those who find comfort in that style will find a lot to like about Alpha Kimori.  The game is one of the first indie RPGs available to vote on for Steam’s new Greenlight program.

The first thing I noticed about Alpha Kimori is the anime inspired artwork. The title screen and the character artwork and sprites are very well made, and have the quality work of any anime or video game. It is apparent that the aim of this game’s design was to mix oldschool JRPG mechanics with an anime inspired style and story. After beating Alpha Kimori: Great Doubt Episode One, I can say that the developers succeeded in their goal.

This game questions rules in society that people follow blindly.

Episode One has three chapters. The story starts off in what seems to be a very simple and zany idea, but unravels into a deep, philosophical story about society and religion.  The game’s concept, Great Doubt, is based from Zen and Taoist philosophy (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=V7Gp6RnUdLA). Basically, in the first few minutes of the game, you learn that Earth was invaded by aliens, and God manifested as a ship and seven angels to save the human race. They were escorted to a new planet named Kimori, where they would start anew. During the time on Kimori, the humans separated into two different factions- the Bidarians and the Jinrians. the Bidarians built a strict society in which they planned to extract ki crystals from the nature and animals. They have even created a new race of beings, which are fused with ki crystals and have special abilities. The aim of the Bidarians is to build up enough strength to reclaim Earth from its invaders. I won’t spoil the deeper details, but there is political turmoil on Kimori, as the Jinrians and Bidarians are heavily opposed to each other.

As you play, more points to the story become apparent, and the writers have done a great job in making Alpha Kimori an exciting game, even despite my initial reservations. At the very end, the game managed to throw some twists that left me on the edge of my seat, and anxious to play Episode Two.

The battle system for Alpha Kimori is pretty standard fare for an RPG, but that is certainly not a bad thing.  The game plays pretty quick and simple, yet more depth opens up later in the game as you get more skills and characters.  There was a particular side quest that surprised me.  While roaming around in a forest, I met a man who needed some monsters cleared out, and after accepting request, I was immediately thrust into a string of battles against a horde of wolves.  The battles continued one after another, and it was the first time the game challenged me.  Up to that point, the battles had been pretty easy, so I was quite happy to face the challenge.  Towards the end of the game, there are a few more battles that tested my turn-based battle skills.

Battles play out smooth and effortlessly.

 

The music in Alpha Kimori is mostly a treat, and the bright, catchy tunes stand out very well while watching the cutscenes or walking through towns and dungeon areas.  The audio quality of the music is also exceptional.  There are a few in-game songs that are really well done, and even remind me of great classic songs from games like Final Fantasy and Star Ocean.  Some of the best songs are the battle theme and the ‘anxiety’ type of music that plays whenever there is an intense scene.

The theme song, BiRD, is written by Yossi and features vocals by the well-known Hatsune Miku vocaloid.  The song is very catchy, and it was a joy to hear it at certain key moments throughout game.

Alpha Kimori has some really strong points.  For the most part, it is very well made for being an indie game; there are no glitches that I came across.  There are, however, a few minor complaints I have.  For most of us who love these old-school style RPGs, it will be a joy to play Alpha Kimori.  But considering not everyone is keen on this style, it may pose a problem for some people.  The game is made with a newer version of RPG Maker, and I can definitely tell the style of that system, even if it is a newer version.  I used to spend hours toiling away with RPGmaker, back when RM2k was still the cream of the crop.  Since then, the system has allowed for much more detailed images, high quality sound, and it also has its own scripting system now, but there are some technical issues that pop up.  The system has never been able to handle pumping out many different images even if you have a computer that can absolutely handle the load.  This is apparent in Alpha Kimori, as there is a bit of slowdown during spell casting in the battle system.  The cutscenes run well, and even other parts of the battle system, but when someone casts a spell, the game gets a little choppy.  This isn’t a huge deal though, and just comes with the terrain of indie gaming.

Those Gundam-like robots are called RICA.

One other small complaint I have is with the fetch quests that the game throws at you.  There will be a nice string of story events, and then all of the sudden, the game will make you complete a fetch quest within a fetch quest just to continue the story.  I’ll explain with an example:  At a certain point, you go looking for ‘x’ character.  You find out that ‘x’ character is in a particular room.  But when you get there, you find someone else, who knows where ‘x’ character is, but won’t tell you unless you do something for him.  That, my friends, is a fetch quest.  Pretty standard fare; you’ll see that in just about any RPG.  What happens though, is that when you go to the next place to find out how to complete said errand, you will meet another person who can’t help you until you solve his problem.  And there you have it, a fetch quest within a fetch quest.  This wouldn’t be a big deal if they had spread out these quests at other times, but the fact that it happens during a particular event where timing seems important, and these quests often send you to a dungeon or town on the other side of the map.  Overall though, this is just a minor complaint, and certainly didn’t keep me from enjoying the game.

Alpha Kimori is a great indie RPG that starts out simply enough, but provides surprising depth in its themes and story.  The character interaction is mostly great, and while there are a few minor complaints, the game will keep you hooked until the end.  It’s worth it to finish the game as well, because the final battle and cutscene afterward are both worth the price of admission alone.  The game runs a little on the short side, but each hour is packed with story, and will leave you wanting more.  I’m literally on edge to find out what happens next.

Episode Two is also available now.  Both will run you $9.99 each, or if you want the special edition, you will pay $14.99 for better quality music and an extended theme song.

Alpha Kimori surely gets my vote on Steam Greenlight.

Review Score
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

Oprainfall’s Review System:

5 Stars- A Must Own Game. Games don’t get much better than this. We recommend you buy it if you can.
4 Stars- A Great Game. It’s not perfect, but it’s close. If you like the genre, you should like this game.
3 Stars- A Good Game. This game may have some flaws, but is enjoyable. Give it a try, you might like it.
2 Stars- A Poor Game. There is something off about this game. Fans of the series or genre might like it.
1 Star- A Bad Game. There are obvious flaws that keep the game from being enjoyable. We cannot recommend this game.

Links:
Alpha Kimori Website (http://www NULL.alphakimori NULL.com/)
Facebook Page (https://www NULL.facebook NULL.com/AlphaKimori)
Steam Greenlight Page (http://steamcommunity NULL.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=93036357&searchtext)


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About Clinton Nix

Former Volunteer- Clinton started following the movement back when it was still being hosted on the IGN message boards and with the Amazon push of Monado. He’s also an audio engineer, studying in Seattle and waiting for his big break into the world of audio (but not to the detriment of video game writing, of course).