Thursday, October 5, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - KAMiBAKO on PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of KAMiBAKO.  This DEMO, from developers Gravity Game Aris, is also out on PC via Steam.

The listing for this game on the PSN store is light on detail so it would only be once i started playing that i would learn about the game. or so i thought. in this hour i played, i didn't learn as much of the world and my character as i expected i would. but at least i did learn how to play the game.

That's where this game gets interesting as it has a few unique elements. the first one you'll encounter is how the world map is a flat 2d thing that your 3d character stand on. until you move onto a square, that the 2d map is broken up into, as then that square becomes 3d and stays 3d. it's fun what it happens but it also means it's easy to see where you've been or not.

The other interesting thing about this game is that you don't battle. instead, you manage the mana of your team mates. each turn of battle you can give mana to a team mate. once they have enough, they can unleash a powerful attack. but whilst they're waiting for the mana or instruction to use their powerful attack, they are still attacking the enemy. personally, i've not seen a game do this before but i have seen card games do something similar in that by using up a gathered energy you can put cards down. as it's different it did take a little bit of time to get used to, but now i've played it i'm interested to see how that mechanic works in practice.

The game wants you to use the mana and special attacks so makes it easy to gather it. you earn a small amount each turn in battle but you can also farm it from each square on the world map. it's here that we get the final interesting aspect of this game's mechanics and story. the world is suffering from fragmentation, this leaves areas of the map unpassable until you've fixed it. when you try to fix it, the world shifts to a room and the square becomes a puzzle on your desk. you need to match a certain amount of colors within either a time limit or move limit. once you're successful, the square on the world map returns to normal and you can travel on it.

This demo for KAMiBAKO does have some issues. they range from technical ones where the frame pacing feels all over the place to issues with the English script not reading right or even not appearing at all. there was one time where another language was on screen. But despite the many issues with the demo, i do feel it's a good demo as i'm interested in the game because of it's uniqueness. but the game itself does have issues, too. the demo shows there's a lot of copy and paste, whether it's map tiles, city buildings, or even character models and character art. the story isn't told that well, there's still a lot unknown and due to the English script not being great it even contradicts it self a little. so whilst the demo was interesting, the game could potentially still have these issues and that's why i'd wait and see if the reviews highlight them. it's possible that as this is a demo, the game will have been improved. but i have a feeling that the game will be largely similar to the demo.