Remember how the game encourages you to distinguish between your fighting force and your home team that makes money and items? Well here's a series of four stages where you have to use a specific set of 4 people plus 1 of your choice. You can't change their equipment at any point because that can only be done at the dispatch screen.
Actually it turned out to not be so bad; fortunately they make the enemies fairly week so you can catch your lower level people up. But mine had none of their special skills because I had just been using them to make money.
My dogs had babies.
This stage is where we're trying to steal guns and fireworks from the enemies. The boss has an annoying move that he randomly uses from time to time to shoot someone from anywhere on the map. There are a lot of hidden and optional characters here that you need to take specific characters to get. And then they're not very helpful, but at least it's more people.
This is a rough stage. We still just have all these predetermined groups and the grunt enemies in this stage are very strong. They also have more of these undefined-range moves that they can use from al over the place. You basically have to make sure that nobody drops too low in HP or they'll get picked off. There's also a secret character you have to reach in 14 turns, although I managed to do it even though I wasn't trying that hard.
This stage is really long. You have to beat all the enemies, plus there are reinforcements (more of those guys from stage 10). You get 5 guys from the hidden village after a while, but it still takes a really long time to beat and has even more of those annoying "hit you from across the map" enemies.
So this is the point where I'm going to give up on the game. It's a shame because it has good ideas in it. There is a wide variety of characters and skills, and the "hidden village" segment between stages has a lot of potential in letting you give your non-fighting characters something to do. But the designers torpedoed everything with a series of bad design decisions. To sum up all the negatives:
- The cursor sensitivity is way too high. (This is not an emulation issue, it's mentioned on the kusoge wiki entry for the game)
- The maps are too large for the content, and it's hard to see them. If it weren't for the inset map the game would be nearly unplayable.
- There's just too little information on the whole. Enemies seem to have undefined ranges for their abilities and you have to be careful because the boss might suddenly use an attack from halfway across the map targeted at your weak healer. With permadeath and no in-battle saves this is a problem.
- The game encourages you to have your fighting force and then your "village" units. But then they have forced deploys and secrets that rely on using specific characters.
- Too much content is hidden with no hints. The "true" ending is impossible to get without a walkthrough, and even with a walkthrough it's tough. If you don't move the main character in front of a little shrine on stage 4 (with no hints indicating you should do so), you permanently lose access to all the main character's unique sword abilities. Almost all the equippable weapons can only be gotten by finding them in hidden spaces on the 31x31 maps; there are no clues so that means 961 potential squares. I'm not even sure the instruction manual tells you these hidden items exist.
- The village part is interesting, but they need to provide more information on what you're actually doing with your choices.
- The battles on the whole are slow moving.
- Apparently there are also a lot of freezes and glitches; I didn't encounter any of these but they're a common complaint about the game.
I said in the last post I was going to make a little guide for the true ending but without actually doing the things myself I can't understand some of the conditions, so I'll just leave the walkthrough site up there. But you won't get the ending following this stage by stage.