|The Story Goes On
|June 11, 2015 (Early Access)
|Hack and Slash
Early Access is sort of a playground. Developers send out their projects in various states–everywhere from near-prototype levels to the last line of defense before release. The Story Goes On happens to be a little closer to the beginning of its life, from what I can see, so rather than get into all the little details of my time playing it, I’m just going to stick to an overview this time around.
Despite its name, this early version of The Story Goes On is extremely light on story. When you start, you’ll meet a strange talking scarecrow that quickly runs you through the tutorial. Before you know it, a horde of monsters will interrupt the tutorial and chase you down. If you manage to escape, you’ll find yourself in the first of a series of small dungeons, ready to begin the game for real. The good news: you’ll be up and running within the first five minutes of the game.
Each dungeon is a series of rectangular rooms, full of enemies to kill and, potentially, powerups to grab. Some of these powerups allow you ranged attacks, but ammo is so limited that for the most part you’ll want to use your melee attacks. You don’t really have combos or anything like that–I pretty much just mashed the mouse button until things were dead. At the point I was able to play, enemies were so sluggish and simple to fend off that I didn’t have a need to do much else. Although the character also has a dash, and a special ability–a hookshot in the case of the first character unlocked–they weren’t really needed in the beginning.
As you go, your route through the dungeon is traced on the map. This makes navigating extremely easy and the dungeons seem even shorter than they already are. Sure, the boss room is blocked off by a large key, but if you do a little exploring that key is always in plain sight in some room. There are also smaller keys, which open chests containing powerups. These goodies, and the money from defeating enemies, are the main reasons to explore each dungeon, but for the most part it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
At the end of each dungeon there’s a boss fight. The first boss is extremely easy, just pushing you away as you attack it. Other bosses I met included a moving-cups puzzle and one that splits into pieces as you damage it more. None of them gave me any real problems, though, and I quickly moved on to the shop screen afterward. There are a good mix of powerup options on these screens, though some didn’t sound all that useful or weren’t that clear as to what they did.
Once you’ve gone through around four dungeons, you’ll come to a bridge with an ominous-looking enemy at the top. This enemy quickly disappears, and you discover what looks like a torn-up drawing, each fragment showing a different environment. When you hover over each piece, it shows you the difficulty level and the amount of items and money you’ll have to give up to enter. The higher the difficulty, the more you can keep. Unfortunately, whenever I selected the next area, my game crashed, so I can’t really say what happens next or how further areas look.
Due to this and other bugs, as well as the fact that the actual combat is ridiculously easy so far, I can’t really recommend that anyone immediately buy The Story Goes On and play it in its current state. It’s not that there isn’t potential, since obviously there’s way more to the game that I haven’t seen. But until the developers fix and tweak some crucial things, it’s not that enjoyable right now. Luckily, the game seems to have a history of updating around once a month, so I look forward to the next iteration. Listening to player feedback and crowdsourcing ideas seem to be high priorities for this developer, so they’ll probably notice what’s going on.
In the end, as with many other Early Access games, my advice is to watch this game closely in the future. It follows the trend of being great in theory and mediocre in execution, but the execution can easily change. If this game becomes what it wanted to be we’ll have a very fun little hack-and-slash game here.