Celestial Tear Demon’s Revenge (CTDR) was one of the few games that stood out to me when I perused through PAX Prime press release emails prior to the convention. I immediately signed up for a media appointment. On Saturday, I made my way through the busy convention to the Indie Minibooth, a smaller offshoot of the Indie Megabooth to play a title that reminded me of the Japanese RPGs I played as a kid.
Whitney and Tyrell White, married co-creators of White Guardian Studios, introduced me to their game. It’s a Sci-Fi 16-bit RPG Maker game that has transformed exponentially through each roadblock, notably after three failed Kickstarters (with their first being in 2012). Fast forward to 2015, and now they have an eight person team. What amazed me, though, is how both Whitney and Tyrell pretty much do a little bit of everything for their company. They told me they both work on the story, coding, and art.
It’s obvious how passionate the creators are about their game. They were both genuinely interested in my comments and questions because they want to make the best game they can. To put it simply, they want to make games they would’ve wanted to play when they were younger.
The story line focuses on two races, the human and the Jehts, and how to end the conflict on the planet Hasphal. Aside from that, I don’t know much else. Tyrell skipped the cutscenes so he could show me the battle system. I assumed because it was the most impressive part of the game but most likely because he had to tweak the script before release.
As I watched Tyrell play the brief demo (he had the controller the whole time), I noticed how my assumptions were right. The game, but most especially the battle system, was an amalgamation of all of my favorite RPGs from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. The stamina system: FFX, the attack combos: Chrono Cross, character attack combos: Suikoden, interactive tools: Wild Arms, and so on. A unique aspect includes being able to interact with the environment, similar to fighting games where you can pick up a pillar and throw it at the enemy. The last bit reminded me of how in fighting games you can use the setting to your advantage. There’s also a day and night system implemented in the game. That means NPCs and monsters will appear at different times and it’s up to you to sync up your quests and strategize.
Here’s a clip of me recording gameplay from PAX Prime:
The art work is hit and miss for me. On the one hand, I love the battle scene animations and the character sprites walking around but in the cinematic scenes and still images, the proportions seem to be slightly off. Another issue I had was that one of the main characters you play as in the first episode, Sen, appears to be hyper-sexualized. You can see her nipples poking against her shirt and her bottom is accentuated. If she’s a fighter who is well-endowed, then why does it look like she’s not wearing a bra?
CTDR will follow Telltale Games’ method of story telling – release short episodes for users to play every few months. I think this is a great way to stay out of early access yet still be able to listen to players’ critiques and overall improve the game. As a consumer, one episode is enough to tell whether or not you’d like the game, so it’s win-win for both sides.
The first episode is set to release within the next couple months. Whitney and Tyrell told me that it would be available right after PAX Prime concluded, however, on August 31 they noted on their Facebook page, “During PAX we discovered some minor things that we really need to fix, as well as adding some touches and tweaks.”