E.X.P.L.O.R.: A New World - Review @ Kordanor's Gaming Lair

HiddenX

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Watcher Kordanor has finished and published his review about the old school dungeon crawler E.X.P.L.O.R.: A New World:

EXPLOR - Review / Conclusion [EN] by Kordanor


[...]
I wished that EXPLOR did more according to what the name implies...as in Exploring. Exploring of alien Planets. Having an adventure. I would be fine with low production values, similarly as in the Spiderweb games, if the game offered good world building with great storywriting or if it offered great combat mechanics.

But unfortunately that's not the case here. It's nice that the game does have at least a few texts and NPCs with quests, but overall there is really just a very minimum of storytelling here. And while I would neither classify the Dungeons, nor the Combat, nor the Characterdevelopment as catastrophy, they are just means to an end. If just one of the main elements of the game was great, you could have looked over the other ones. But as it is, the overall experience can't really convince.

Fortunately EXPLOR does at least throw those mechanics overboard, which annoyed me the most in The Bards Tale 1, in the original as well as in the remake. You will neither find endless grind in EXPLOR nor the misery of randomized level ups. And so personally I would definitely chose EXPLOR over The Bards Tale. That said, the HD Version of The Bards Tale 1, originally from 1985, only received the lowest score from me, as I always rate depending on the gaming experience a game offers today, independently of the budget being used to create the game.

And I can't give more than a thumb half way down to EXPLOR either.

Even the average Crawlerfan (if something like that should actually exist) who would look over the presentation of the game in the steam-trailer, would probably not be convinced by the content the game offers, and I'd rather recommend other indie titles like "Legends of Amberland" or "The Quest".

If, even after this review, you think like "I don't mind, I just want to chill and kill some monsters", then you might still get some enjoyment from the game. And considering it's price is less than 7EUR or 8 USD, and accordingly even less in a sale, you can't really do anything wrong in the case you still want to give it a try.
More information.
 
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Couchpotato

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Can't say I've read or even knew about this game till today. So for that thanks Kordanor.
 
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Kordanor

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Thanks for posting!

And yeah @Couchpotato - I guess if it wasn't a crawler I probably might have missed it as well. But as these are super raw, with only very few releases per year, it grabbed my attention.
 
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JDR13

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Kudos for having the fortitude to finish something like this. I would have quit in the first hour. :)
 
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I'm puzzled why these ultra-low budget blobbers don't make use of some of the assets available to ease the development of this sort of thing. If you lack skills in many areas, stand on the shoulders of more competent developers, and adapt it to your vision.

The Dungeon Crawler Toolkit is 50 quid on Unreal Market.
 
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Kordanor

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I'm puzzled why these ultra-low budget blobbers don't make use of some of the assets available to ease the development of this sort of thing. If you lack skills in many areas, stand on the shoulders of more competent developers, and adapt it to your vision.

The Dungeon Crawler Toolkit is 50 quid on Unreal Market.
The development of this game already started before that and initially it also wasn't something he intended to publish:

Personally I prefer if games have their own style and for example it doesnt just look like a Grimrock clone with generic graphics. But ofc that only goes so far...
 
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Well, bear in mind the the style of the graphical assets used is up to the dev - that's just a selection of generic public-domain graphics they've used to demo the toolkit. And you get all the code, so could customize the gameplay as you see fit.

Just seems to me a much better approach than spending 7 years coding a poor game, to the interest of almost no-one.
 
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Just saying, the toolkit is only around since 2020. And I am not sure about the programming part, but afaik Unreal is being done in C++, which might not match what the developer is used to.
 
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Yeah, but there's been plenty of similar things around for Unity, and so on. But sure, if you go back far enough this wouldn't have been an option. Just seems like a sensible route now for this level of development.

If you need highly performant code, then Unreal uses C++. But the blueprint system (which is what this toolkit uses) is approachable even by non-programmers. Many projects use only blueprints for the game.
 
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forgottenlor

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Thanks for the review, I buy a lot of games like this, and if they have some depth of gameplay, I have no problems with the presentation. Like Arcante which I just played, this game looks like it wants to offer an old school experience without the depth of gameplay that many of those games had, and while I might enjoy that for any hour or two, I find these games get tiresome fast if they don't have mechanical depth, whether its a skill point system and discovering ways to improve your character by exploring like in the Might and Magic series, or a variety of different classes with the possibility of class change like in Wizardry and The Bard's Tale
 
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To me, the question of depth and content is part of what I'm talking about, not just presentation. It just seems to me that spending years writing your own very basic engine is time that could have been spent focusing on the actual content and experience, which is what's going to make the difference to the player.

This game might be a bit of an exception, since the guy talks about how it's essentially his hobby project he's decided to share, and the coding is his favourite part. So, what I'm going on about doesn't really apply. I just see a quite lot of these sort games and wonder why people don't take all the help they can get, so they don't end up making mediocre clones of better games from 30 years ago.
 
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thanks for doing this, Kordanor! Always love to see reviews from Watchers when perusing steam pages, especially for indie blobbers or tactics games that I am considering.
 
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