Like Bringing a Caterpie to a Dragonite Fight
Game Details and Transcript of Review
One of the things I like about going to indie events in Japan is that you occasionally see a game that tries to do something new. They're not always successful, but I applaud the effort because at least they're attempting to resuscitate innovation in an industry where imitation has rendered it comatose.
ViseRest by 832carnival is such a game, and while not perfectly executed at least it tries to push boundaries.
Here are the game's highlights. You and your opponent start on opposite sides of a 2D field, and summon monsters of various types to defeat each other. Summoning monsters costs mana, and each monster costs a different amount to bring to the field. There also doesn't seem to be a limit to how many of your summoned pals can be on the field at the same time.
While your mana pool begins small, you have the option to increase its limit up to five times. The higher the mana limit, the faster it regens. Later in the game, you gain the ability to use support spells. These effect the entire field, and let you do useful things like slow all enemies, attack all of them directly, or heal all of your own units. Each use of an ability increases the mana cost for the next use.
After completing a stage, you receive a point that can be used to upgrade one of your units. Interestingly, you can downgrade units freely. This allows you to get back any points you've spent on them to invest in other units, which is a nice touch as it means you're not locked into any permanent choices.
As you can see, ViseRise is....well, it's hard to classify in terms of a single genre. It's really a chimera or composite. While the action takes place on an oversized 2D field, it's not really a side-scroller or platfomer in any traditional sense. It's more like an action game, but all the action is done by the summoned monsters, which you don't directly control. Likewise, while there are RPG and strategy elements, they're fairly basic. Of these elements, the strategy ones are most the promising in theory, but in practice require more development.
Now, while I imagine that in the intended strategy aspects of the game will involve which units to deploy and when to deploy them, the Digige version limits you to one unit, the imp, while your opponent has access to all units and then some. At first glance, being able to only summon imps while your enemy summons succubi and knights may seem a little like bringing a caterpie to a dragonite fight, that isn't the case. In reality, the strategy elements amount to a test of your ability to zerg rush. Leveling up units helps this merely by making your units less squishy. I'm not sure how this overall dynamic would change if the other units were unlocked and available for use.
Don't get me wrong: this is a fun demo. And hell, the purpose of Digige is for devs to receive feedback on their games from gamers. That's why it's one of the few events in Tokyo specifically set up for playing demos at the event itself. I like the fact that ViseRest draws elements from different genres together in an attempt to make something new, but more reflection on how these elements can operate synergistically would create a killer experience.