System(s): PC (Steam)
Release Date: July 13, 2011
Publisher (Developer):Zeboyd Games
Pros: You can save anywhere, humorous dialog, ability to warp from dungeons immediately, limited battle enounters
Cons: No mini-map makes for backtracking, bare bones equipment system
Overall Score: One Thumb Up, One Thumb Sideways, 85, B * * * 1/2 stars out of 5.
Every now and then, we have to be reminded of what games were like before we got so caught up on pixels, framerate and the argument of length vs. cost. At the same time, we have to be able to look back on the games we used to play and parody them while still showing respect to the craft. That’s what Cthulhu Saves the World does. This game is a throwback to turn-based RPGs of yesteryear, but is filled with modern day references and humor.
Surely Cthulhu Is a Good Guy Right?
As the title suggests, Cthulhu Saves the World stars the mythical creature known as Cthulhu, a squid-like creation from the mind of author H.P. Lovecraft. In the game, Cthulhu is set on destroying the world, but has his plans set back when his powers are taken from him by wizard. Cthulhu then learns (from the narrator) the only way for him to get his powers back is to become a hero, a good guy and a vanquisher of evil. Cthulhu’s entire goal is to pretend he is good so that he can eventually take over the world.
Cthulhu Saves the World wastes no time letting you know it’s not taking itself seriously. The fourth wall is broken within moments and no one seems to realize that Cthulhu is actually an evil being.This plot device lends itself to humorous moments throughout the game. For example, did you know that Cthulhu has a fondness for zombies? He makes no secret of this, yet his party members follow him blindly.
Dungeons A’ Plenty
Cthulhu Saves the World is one of the simplest RPGs you’ll come across these days in terms of visuals and gameplay. You’ll spend most of your time moving through dungeons before taking short breaks to visit towns to find out what you have to do next. I’ll get to explaining the towns later on. For now, let’s talk dungeons and combat.
Combat is initiated in Cthulhu Saves the World through random encounters. There is no mini-map, so I found myself wandering somewhat aimlessly until I found stairs or an indicator that I was about to move on to the next screen. This causes plenty of battles to occur between entering a dungeon, fighting the boss and moving on. On the plus side, Cthulhu Saves the World only requires you to fight a certain number of battles before you’re free to explore the area uninterrupted. In some cases, enemy encounters will cease after 30 battles. Some areas have a higher requirement while others are lower. You can also choose to immediately enter a fight if you just want to grind levels.
When a battle starts, the only thing you’ll see are motionless enemies and a list of all your moves. Keep in mind that Cthulhu Saves the World is presented like a really old RPG. You’ll be reading text as opposed to watching your characters attack. The combat options you have are standard attacks, magic, tech moves and unity attacks. Unity attacks involve two characters and are unique depending on which characters are teaming up.
There is also a combo meter that builds with each successful hit. You can capitalize on the combo at any time by performing a combo-finisher such as Deathblow. Deathblow multiplies damage depending on how high your combo is.
Cthulhu Saves the World encourages you to defeat enemies quickly because enemies grow stronger with every turn. You’ll have to optimize your strategy because even the lowliest of bad guys can become a problem if they last longer than a few turns.
Following every battle, each character’s HP is restored in full. Only a portion of MP is restored. If you spend a lot of time in a dungeon, you’ll find your MP reserves to reach dangerously low levels.
One thing I loved about Cthulhu Saves the World is the ability to save anywhere and teleport at will. If you’re stuck in a dungeon, you can instantly warp to a town you’ve visited to heal up and gather yourself. Better still, the number of encounters you faced in the dungeons are saved. This is a feature that all RPGs can benefit from.
The battle music is also catchy. Actually, most of the music in Cthulhu Saves the World is pretty good.
Meeting the Locals
The towns in Cthulhu Saves the World are just there to break up the action. The locals never talk about anything too important, but they will crack jokes. While in the towns, you can buy and sell weapons and armor or stop by the local inn and restore your HP and MP. The equipment aspect of Cthulhu Saves the World may disappoint those who are looking for a deeper customization experience. The weapons and armor you find in the field and new towns are likely to be stronger than the weapons you currently have equipped. There are no cosmetic difference between anything you buy, so gear is just there to change stats.
Make no mistake, you’ll be fighting around 80% of the time in this game. Cthulhu Saves the World doesn’t last as long as its presentation will have you expect. You can squeeze about eight to nine hours out of it. That’s a good thing because there isn’t enough variety in Cthulhu Saves the World’s main story to warrant a 20+ hour game. Then again, it doesn’t pretend like it’s anything more than a well-executed parody.
If you want a blast from the past with modern references and easily digestible humor, Cthulhu Saves the World is a safe bet.