The Linear RPG

By: Xander

On: March 2nd, 2009


The Linear RPG is GirlFlash’s entry into the RPGDX 48 Hour RPG Making Jam. (I don’t think I’ve ever had such an awesome series of words in a single sentence before…).

The weekend-long contest apparently revolved around trying to create a playable RPG in 48 Hours around the theme ‘LOFI’, allowing developers to interpret that anyway they want. GirlFlash decided to interpret it through gameplay, employing the supposed bare-minimum required of an RPG. The result is The Linear RPG, an incredibly simple RPG where very little happens. Run right, kill everything. If that fails, run left until you kill enough that you can keep running right and killing everything. The story is told in the background, as the player runs around on the foreground which is represented using a very stylish 3D-Effect. Most of the enjoyment I had through the game came from reading the tale in the back, which is about absurd as it is completely awesome. You’ll never see Alphabetti Spaghetti quite the same way again.

Overall it’s quite a sweet dig at JRPG’s, playing off stereotypes and cliche whilst simplifying the gameplay to an almost insulting degree and yet still maintaining an easily recognisable formula in even current generation mainstream titles. An awful lot of RPG’s rely upon their story to be the main distinguishing factor between themselves and other titles in a genre, and if nothing else this game effectively demonstrates what many RPGs are at their very core. So at the very least, thank you GirlFlash for reminding me just how much I hate the opening of Xenogears!

  • Masna

    Heh heh! I found the game on dA 6 seconds after GirlFlash released it. =)
    It’s a really creative concept and kept me wanting more.

  • Zulgaines

    It’s like playing a couple years of an MMO in 10 minutes.

  • Eclipse

    hey Girlflash how about a real lofi platformer with that 3d effect on it? :P

  • !CE-9

    Awesome game.

    This is such a great concept that squidi should claim it. Or wait…?

  • ssid

    Takes a while to load. It was pretty funny but not compelling enough to find the after-credits easter egg.

  • GirlFlash

    @Eclipse: lol, I’m tempted to do no doubt, go other things to do first sadly ^_^
    still, if someone wants a bash the source for it is up on my site now ;)

    anyhoo, thanks for the pimping and kind words guys :D

  • CoolMoose

    Great visuals. Brilliant satire. Not fun to play at all.

  • GirlFlash

    @CoolMoose: lol, I totally agree its not fun, but lots of people seem to enjoy the grinding even when its so simple.

    definately perculiar, if a little worrying, leveling up may really be gaming crack.

  • Xander

    @GirlFlash: Proof of the grinding would easily be Ginormo Sword. Goddamn that had us stuck in it for hours, even if it was just mindlessly clicking to grow MASSIVE SWORDS even MASSIVER!

    Also;…After-credits easter egg? Ah hell.

  • GirlFlash

    to be honest the easter egg is news to me, perhaps I’ll have to try and find it myself D:

  • Airwaffle

    It’s funny how I would prefer this to most Jrpgs. Just the fact that you can take part of the story WHILE grinding is in itself quite revolutionary.

  • UltimateWalrus

    I definitely agree w/ CoolMoose. The visuals are great, the story was hilarious. But obviously the gameplay is not too great (though I’m wondering if this was somewhat intentional).

    The reason for this (I think) is that you boiled down an RPG to its core gameplay mechanics.

    And the core gameplay mechanics of an RPG… well… just plain suck! Honestly, a pure RPG IMHO includes zero fun or challenging gameplay… the only time an RPG can be fun is when it brings in elements from other genres (a la Mario RPG). Obviously there are people who would disagree with me. But that is how I see it.

  • Banana

    I really liked it, but it needed music. Like the music in Secret of Mana in the Dwarf Village. I think that would have been best. Othewise a good game. It was really challening and engaging.

  • Banana

    Oh. Is there a level cap? I think i am going to find out

  • ElDoRado1239

    I love it! :D

    It’s kinda… scary, though. Because now I know I love grinding so much that I’m having a great time playing a game this simple. :D

    Sequel, sequel !! :D

    P.S. Yeah – music. It absolutely needs music. The core of a JRPG – story, grinding and music (sometimes visuals, but this game is a proof that it’s not so important).

  • Nillo

    Despite all their flaws, I’m a sucker for RPGs. There’s something strangely addictive about watching a number representing your strength go up, even when the game itself is so simple.

    I enjoyed playing this and reading the funny story in the background, although the 3D effects made me dizzy when I was running around the corners.

  • UltimateWalrus

    There is something addictive about leveling up… that’s why RPG elements are often included in other genres (like leveling up weapons in Ratchet and Clank). But I don’t think the mechanic stands well all by itself. Then again, it’s clear that some people do get a distinct sense of satisfaction from it. I guess it’s just a matter of personal preference, of what people want out of a game.

  • undertech

    Satire wonderful satire…good on you for scratching what amounts to a giant itch for most of us!

  • falsion

    Yeah, but most RPGs make up for their “flawed” gameplay with a good storyline or one that is decent enough for you to want to keep playing.

    With maybe one exception to all this. Etrian Odyssey. I don’t know why, but despite the game just being a hardcore barebones RPG with nothing but leveling up and dungeon crawling and nothing else, not even story, it’s kind of addicting. Maybe it’s the whole exploration aspect of it, or how the game gets harder as you keep deeper into the cave and get farther along, but then again difficulty has its own addictive properties to it. We wouldn’t have “I Wanna Be The Guy,” if that weren’t the case.

  • falsion

    But anyway to get back on topic, this game is great. I love how it pokes fun at the typical tropes and cliches used in JRPGs and the linear format that such games follow.

  • diaskeaus

    Such an awesome concept for a game. I kind of wished she had somebody partner along side her who was actually a writer. This kind of game would be great for a serious storyline, where you could only progress if you had done certain things already and then unlocked more of the story. It could even be called a “non-linear linear rpg,” where at certain save points you choose to go in a different direction and get a different story, and then if you want the old story you have to start over again and try for different paths. You could even add in little things like updated stats, and have it be a little like Progress Quest.

  • K-J N.

    Reminds me of Yuusha 30 for the PSP.

  • Xander

    @K-J N: or alternatively the indie RPG it’s based on! –

  • RMVX

    That was pretty cool! Nice writing too, I was surprised who the real villain was :)

    This was the funnest game I’ve played all day btw. Should try sticking it up on flash game sites too instead of just your deviantart

  • Sparky

    This is a really great idea- I’m glad you made this instead of a standard RPG. It was really very funny. I’d love to see a slightly fleshed out version with sound effects and music. I think it would do quite well on Flash portals.

  • Dustin

    Hey guys, “lofi” does not mean what you think it means.

    Unless these games must have poor sound quality.

    Well, technically it’s not a term at all because who the hell would advertise their stereos as “lo-fi?”