Anthus Plays: Rite of the Storm - ZC Quest by Shane and Avataro
(YouTube Playlist | Anthus' LP Index)
Finished 7/17/17 (lol) - 4 Parts
This quest is awesome. This is a fairly short ZC game made by Shane, and Avataro. It was made for the random theme contest held a few months back, and has received rave reviews. This will probably be about four, or five sections long. I wrote an extensive review, which I'll go ahead and post here too:
There aren't too many ZC quests that I play these days, let alone actually finish. I sat down with this, and pretty much beat it straight through, only stopping once. It kept me invested from start to finish with it's well done pacing, puzzle variety, and very creative use of the game's central mechanic. Instead of using a sword, you have a wand that shoots out blasts of wind. This isn't a mere cosmetic change to the wand either, as this wind is integral to combat, and puzzle solving. More on this later.
This wind can carry flames, ice magic, and even your own character. ZC staples such as mundane stuff like lighting torches, and pushing blocks is turned on its ear, and given new life here. There is one puzzle where you have to use wind to carry fire to turn blocks of sand into glass so that the wind in the room won't destroy them. There are various puzzles involving using wind to carry flames in interesting ways. There are puzzles involving carrying ice across water to freeze it as well. It is worth nothing, that this is a very puzzle heavy quest. If you don't like puzzles, that may be a low point for you, but for what it's worth, I'm not a fan of puzzles myself, and I found these creative and different enough to be worth the time, 97% of the time. It's just oozing with creativity, and fresh ideas.
The quest is short enough that nothing ever really over stays its welcome, except for one or two puzzles in particular that I didn't like. There is one were you have to have a windrobe light torches for you, which heavily requires waiting, and RNG. I'm glad to say that that was the lowest point of the quest, as everything else here is very polished and well thought out, and you can tell that Shane and Avataro had a really clear vision. I must also comment on how it was bug free, for me. That's always a plus in my book, but then again, I didn't go out of my way trying to break the game.
If there is one aspect of the quest's design that I didn't like, it's the heavy use of the "red/ blue peg" mechanic as seen in AlttP. This is fine in small doses, but I found myself getting slightly annoyed with the additional back tracking on top of normal exploration required by these. This was particularly noticeable in the desert area, and part of the mirror area. Now, I know back tracking is to be expected in games like these, but I felt these took it to an unneeded level. There are also other pegs, which are used quite well with gating off areas, and effectively acting as shutters. This quest is also pretty generous with the shortcuts which are usually opened up by hitting a permanent switch that lowers these. There is no fast travel system, but you can always look at the map of your area, and again, the quest is short enough that I never truly got sick of exploring, and traveling around. You also can't open the subscreen, which is an odd choice, but I see why it was done. I only mention this cause there were a few times where I'd tap enter, think it was paused, and look over at my other monitor only to take damage. But, that's my fault, and the map effectively works just as well as a pause.
One last thing worth touching on again, is the abilities. As I said above, there's no subscreen. So how do you switch items?! Well, you don't. And you don't need to. Gale gets four different powers which are all mapped to a button (A, B, L, and R). Gale's first weapon is a rod which deals melee damage, and fires one tornado in front of you till it collides with something. The second upgrade lets you shoot 3 tornadoes a la the spazer in Super Metroid. The third power creates a circle of 5 tornadoes around you, and is required for a few puzzles. The last, and coolest power is flight. Yep. Unlimited, unadulterated, straight up flight. I've never seen this done in a ZC game, and it was cool. Criminally underused, but cool. I hope to see this return in some capacity earlier in a sequel (wink wink nudge nudge). This whole implentation is very clean, and effective. Words I use a lot to describe this quest. It's just all very polished.
In the audio/ visual department, there is nothing to be desired. It looks great, and uses a unique art style. It's very simple, but clean, and effective. Oh, and a special kudos to whomever designed the graphics for effectively making every single wall out of an extended block from Link's Awakening
. The ost is good. I'm not sure if it is original compositions just for this quest, but I didn't recognize a single tune. They fit their areas well, and the desert, and fire areas are quite memorable. Oh, the story? Yeah, it's good. It gets the job done and does have a little twist at the end. It's no MGS, but the story that's here is, here we go again, effective. I don't usually care about stories in ZC games, so for me this is perfect. There's not a ton of dialogue, and what is there clearly communicates the disposition, and resolve of the characters.
So, all in all, it's a great quest. I solidly give it three bananas out of one hippopotamus. Play it now if you haven't, it's seriously really good.
**TIMES OF INTEREST and Descriptions**