Demonstrable: Immortal Souls

By Jim Rossignol on November 10th, 2010 at 8:56 am.

Zombie Geoff always felt left out at the dance
Comic Book RPGs have released a demo for their cartoon puzzle RPG with supernatural happenings and stuff, Immortal Souls. The game, which features two vampires fighting to save their souls from the legions of Hell, is now available for pre-order, and features a blend of features from a bunch of different turn-based RPGs. Might be worth checking out.

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33 Comments »

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  1. Dominic White says:

    Vampires fighting to save their souls from hell? Bah. Gimme a Requiem: Chevalier Vampire game any day of the week – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requiem_Chevalier_Vampire – hyper-gothic madness that makes Warhammer 40k look restrained and orderly.

    • Dajs says:

      I have read this comic, it was published in the Heavy Metal magazine, really wicked art.

    • Dominic White says:

      Olivier Ledroit does the most over-the-top fantasy art I have ever seen. It’s awesome, and perfect for videogames. He did a bunch of the concept art for Heroes of Might & Magic 5, but they went for a much more generic cartoon fantasy style in-game.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Would be nice to see some non-combat gameplay, but from looking at this and the other trailer at their blog, seems there is at least an inventory screen, and a world map to explore. I’ll definitely try it out.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    The graphics in that screenshot have a distinct Scooby-Doo quality.

    Daphne: ”Wait, that’s not a vampire!”
    *takes off mask*
    (all together:) “It’s old man Henderson!!”
    Shaggy: “another mystery solved!”
    Scooby: “Scooby-dooby-doo!”

    • Wulf says:

      You forgot: “And I would’ve gotten away for it too if it weren’t for them meddling kids!”

      FOR SHAME.

    • Wulf says:

      WITH it.

      Gah. The shame is mine, then. :p

  4. Olli T. says:

    I’m always interested in a nice indie RPG for the PC!

  5. fuggles says:

    The file is called Immortal John Demo – that’s a much better name! Looks like adventure quest, but I’ll give it a try.

  6. pakoito says:

    It’s a flash game O.o

  7. Lobotomist says:

    I played the demo yesterday night. Its surprisingly good.

    Real top notch animations. Corny manga action comic story. And real refreshing take on turn based jrpg combat.

  8. tomwaitsfornoman says:

    Looks like one of them cheap flash RPG’s. Dragon Fable, etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      It *is* Flash. Don’t care, as long as it is fun. And cheap, that’s only an advantage, right?

  9. fuggles says:

    It’s a mix of adventure quest and puzzle quest. You have four different attack colours; red, orange, purple and blue, and the enemy shields come in four colours. If you hit a shield with the same colour it goes down instantly, otherwise there is a damage resistance. You will see on the screenshot that lower middle of the screen are the colour blocks which you click on to attack and if two or more of the same colour is next to one another then you can build combos, after which these blocks disappear and more drop down, ala puzzle quest.

    RPG seems a bit of a loose term – the enemies use all four colours so there is no advantage in loading one colour over the others and an equal spread seems preferable. I ended up grinding in the demo to get enough overall power and HP to take down the big hitters at the end (you can’t avoid hits, you just endure them).

    The whole game is fights with click-through dialogue between them and you can also visit a shop between bouts. You get rewards for finishing fights beneath the ‘par’ number of turns.

    Whilst not a good game, nor one I would buy, the demo is fun. Were the comics even half decent it would be worth a sale purchase, but otherwise….to Puzzle Quest 2!

  10. Wulf says:

    …I see werewolves…

    The only problem with a game like this is that I’d play it until I happened to come across werewolves, then I’d throw the character at the werewolves repeatedly, letting them win, and then eventually I’d stop playing it. I tend to have this problem with games that have werewolves in them. Coincidentally, it’s why I lost interest in Vindictus. Why did that game have to have bloody werewolf/gnoll type things in it?

    • Arathain says:

      Wulf, I think it might be worth pointing out that this problem us unique to you.

    • Wulf says:

      Unique to anyone with a fascination with were-creatures, actually. It’s pretty common where if one likes something, they’re not exactly partial to seeing it die, at least if they’re well-adjust anyway and not some sort of sociopath.

      Also, I think I can honestly say on behalf of anyone with enough cranial capacity to house a brain just decent enough to realise this: Well duh, thanks for that, Captain Obvious. :p

  11. Nidokoenig says:

    You have to complete battles within a certain number of turns to get gold trophies, to do this you need the randomly generated attack grid on your side, but you can buy dice to re-randomise the board… by spending gold trophies. “You are dumb, because the random numbers failed you” really aggravates me, especially when the game then witholds loot based on how it goes. You also can’t seem to spend bronze or silver trophies on anything, which makes sense, but I question the value of having different flavours of fail with no real difference between them. I’d have gone with just giving a trophy or not.

    The game feels sluggish, but that might just be the shitty laptop I’m on. Gun animations look cool, but take too damn long, and would look just as cool at double speed, in my opinion.

    If you happen to get a good run of something that isn’t strong against any of the enemies’ shields, the shield breaking mechanic can feel like it’s sabotaging your brute force methods, rather than rewarding good shield-breaking strategy. I pumped up the vampire stat early and found I’d be breaking 80% of a shield, then the remaining 20% and only the remaining 20%, then onto the next one, losing the whole 60% left over. This could be fixed by letting you use shields yourself and actually make them a thing you can see and understand them breaking in this way, but when it’s just a series of extra health bars I feel like I’m being cheated.

    Oh, and I had to go into add/remove programs to uninstall the demo, rather than having an uninstaller icon in the game folder or start menu folder. That just makes it look like it’s trying to be difficult, but I feel a bit unreasonable listing it as a fault. The hell with it, I am unreasonable.

    It’s a great little game that just pushes a few too many of my berserk buttons. If you don’t see anything that would drive you up the wall in this post, get this.

  12. fuggles says:

    You’re lucky – I can’t install it! Apparently I don’t have access rights and should contact my administrator. I AM MY ADMINISTRATOR.

    Spot on about the random bit, I think the idea with shields is that you can sacrifice one turn to take down a shield (the right colour just instakills a shield) and then make combos. To get gold you have to either grind the grid or grind your stats though. Animation is VERY slow on my pc.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Yeah, but if you need to take down two guys with three levels of shield in three turns, you need a shield busting combo. Like, if they’ve got three levels of orange, it’s going to be three turns until you’ve busted the lot and can start doing damage if you only do single martial attacks. You need a three hit martial combo, and preferably a five or six so you can take them down after the last bar breaks.

      Basically, how that works is fine, if a little too beholden to the random number god, but throwing away the remainder of my damage when I brute force it, without even doing me the kindness of making the shield an actual thing that will break and get switched out, which would explain losing some overkill, just feels like I’m being punished for not having having the right kind of good hand rather than being rewarded for doing something strategic. It doesn’t help that the bad guys just smack me around whatever happens, i.e. they aren’t playing the same game I am. This is one of the reasons Pokemon sells MILLIONS, you can always say to yourself “Hey, that’s a cheap strategy… I’ll get me one of those guys and do it to other people!”.

  13. fuggles says:

    oh yeah, exactly, this is why it’s flawed as an RPG. You are largely punished for not having equal colour damages as you have to use what you have rather than what you want. It sucks there is no way to avoid damage apart from shields, and if you use a shield you are not getting a gold.

    This is why I ended up grinding low levels to build up my colour powers to brute force things.

    Still can’t uninstall it. Thanks game, thanks. Oh and wulf, there are no werewolves in the demo so fire away!

    • Bobbyk says:

      Oh, yeah, we’re going to use multi colored armors very sparingly.

      We have a mechanic that lets you make multi-colored chains, it’s not properly balanced yet so we’ve limited their use to the power dice

      hopefully using Power Dice to make multi chain attacks will be a good reward for earning trophies, using the multi chain attacks is really satisfying

    • fuggles says:

      I didn’t know that – that would be great if you could do that in some way, it would open up the game a lot more.

  14. BobbyK says:

    That’s all very insightful… And I’ve been getting similar feedback lately. What do you guys think about having a special ability/power that allows you to switch the positions of two attacks as a free action?

    • Nidokoenig says:

      Interesting idea. I do remember seeing various situations where being able to switch just two tiles would let me build a great combo, and making it, say, a once a battle mechanic would help quite a bit, though more than that and it might become possible to blast through everything mindlessly. Perhaps equip items with lower stats, but that give you the ability once per battle, rather than consumables like the dice, where you’ve got the problem of spending gold trophies to get gold trophies.

      Another idea could be letting you make shields of a certain attack type, since enemies seem to use attacks that fit the paradigm. If you could pick a shield combo, then maybe one or two attack tiles from anywhere, and you get the shield combo’s length of shields in that type, which break if a colour matched attack is used like enemy ones, but resist everything else a little better. This’d be great for clearing space and allowing more strategy.

      I would advise making alternative qualifications for Gold Trophies, though, like if you deal ten times as much damage as you receive in a battle or down an enemy in a single combo. The current system just encourages you to steamroller over enemies, which is a little repetitive for turtles like me. Working out the perfect defence is supposed to be half the fun of fighting the undead, after all.

  15. fuggles says:

    Hi there! Always nice to see a developer checking in.

    The problem is really apparent when the enemies have multi-coloured shields, which I would be tempted to just do away with as it messes up what you are trying to achieve when trophy collecting. To this end, some more bonus squares would be nice- say one that causes all attacks to count as the right colour for that attack.

    It did feel good when I was planning to use one blue attack, which would then cause an orange to drop down and make two orange – but then my gold statue was going quickly out of the window. The ability to swap would be great – I would certainly retry the demo with this if it gets patched in (can’t uninstall it any way).

    I guess that both me and Nid’ were going for trophies as otherwise the game was fine, but the only way to get the trophy was to wipe the other team quickly, which was impossible with a bad starting grid. It’s positively disappointing when you see shields and health, as if you live that long you have failed. Played to progress then this is not a problem and I was using health to get passed the licker and such, but then returned later to wipe it. It would be nice if the enemies occasionally missed too, as it’s not like they are using the same grid as you.

  16. bobbyk says:

    Definetely gold trophies should take more effort and getting them shouldn’t be too easy, in the future I’d like make more of a score system instead of a turns-per-battle system.

    I think tile-swapping would make it more fair for players. But we are definetely keeping the color coded armor, it makes our gameplay unique and we get a lot of positive feedback on the color-coded gameplay.

    We’re going to add in some variable damage (and possibly enemy misses) by launch. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll have enough time to put in tile swapping by our launch date, so it’ll have to be in a future release

    I’m not sure why you can’t un-install the demo, sorry! Mine un-installs fine. Although I was made aware of a bug that doesn’t let you install the game to anywhere but the default. I plan to update that as soon as I can.

  17. fuggles says:

    I think you misunderstood – having multicoloured shields is annoying, as in one orange and then 2 blue. You either brute force about 4 blues or use an orange, take a beating, come back for blues. I have no problem with the system as such, just that was annoying as there is no good way around it, so if trophying then that’s two turns. Normally it was quite fun to plan ahead other than then.

  18. Bobbyk says:

    Oh yeah, we’re going to use multi-colored shields sparingly, probably just for bosses.

    There’s a way to attack multi-colored shields in one turn by using multi-colored attacks, but you need Power Dice in order to use them

    Power dice still need balancing and they’re a work in progress, but using a multi-chain attacks is really really satisfying

  19. Nidokoenig says:

    Makes sense for bosses from a game balance perspective, after all, you don’t want someone to steamroller them without at least putting some thought into it. Having said that, some of my most satisfying boss memories are when I’d learnt how the game worked so well I just obliterated something that was supposed to be hard.
    The annoyance comes in when Power Dice are used up and you have to spend a gold trophy to get another, when the player often has to use one to get one, though tile swapping would help that greatly. Power tiles spawning as a reward for making a five-tile combo or something like that would be nice, to directly reward in-battle ingenuity, as would converting silver trophies and money into gold trophies, obviously at a fairly harsh exchange rate to keep them special.

    An idea I had about chain attacks, what if you could do them any time, but if you did it without using a Power tile, you’d halve your total damage for each colour? So you do half damage, and knock of half a colour-matched shield, if you use two colours, a quarter for three, and so on? Obviously I’m just pulling numbers out of my arse and this will need to be checked for balance, but you get the idea. Matched colours and power dice are still powerful and the prefered strategy, but if you really have to, you can throw out the chaff in a rubbish attack to get back some momentum, rather than spending a valuable consumable on randomising the board completely, or cobble together a six-hit combo to break three multi-coloured shields. This could also be the sort of thing you implement as a special effect from an equip item, so you’re trading lower overall stats for a little versatility.

    I’ll definitely be interested in what this game looks like after some tweaking. The only reason I’m whining so much is because I think this is a flawed gem. Hope you can buff out the cracks ;)

  20. Bobbyk says:

    Thanks for the feedback, it definetely helps!

    If we allowed power moves at the cost of half damage it would probably nix the purpose of the whole color-coded thing, we’d have to let the correct color destroy armor and wrong colors do less damage, it doesn’t seem very straightforward

    we only have one programmer and as we near release I’m getting really cautious about adding/changing stuff. Right now I’m trying to make the combat mechanics more clear, because more ‘casual’ thinkers seem to get a little confused about the system, but strategic thinkers pick it up pretty quick

    I also feel it’s sort of a flawed gem, and really the closest thing to it is Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest. If we do well enough it should give us more money to invest in perfecting the system and making it work even better.

    The downside is we don’t have a lot of other examples to work from, Puzzle Quest has “Color Powers”, but the RPG mechanics between Puzzle Quest and our system is very different. Puzzle Quest is all about “Overpowering the enemy by depleting mana, or health, with a strategic combination of powers” on a giant grid. I’ve come to the conclusion Color Powers won’t work because the only way to victory in our game is the destruction of enemy shields, I think we should keep focusing on somehow enhancing grid manipulation, rather than damage manipulation.

    Originally we were working on a combo point system earned by making long chains, but then I came up with the color-coded armor idea, and then the idea of randomizing dice suddenly made more sense than combo points did under the new system, I think the dice are a great mechanic that’s really unique and works with what we’re doing. I want to keep building on what make sense with this battle system

    I think right now it really feels like you’re playing a comic book hero and the battle system helps us give the game a unique energy that merges action and strategy. I want to make sure we make the right choices to enhance the combat, and keep that same energy

  21. Bobbyk says:

    Thanks for the feedback, it definetely helps!

    If we allowed power moves at the cost of half damage it would probably nix the purpose of the whole color-coded thing, we’d have to let the correct color destroy armor and wrong colors do less damage, it doesn’t seem very straightforward

    we only have one programmer and as we near release I’m getting really cautious about adding/changing stuff. Right now I’m trying to make the combat mechanics more clear, because more ‘casual’ thinkers seem to get a little confused about the system, but strategic thinkers pick it up pretty quick

    I also feel it’s sort of a flawed gem, and really the closest thing to it is Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest. If we do well enough it should give us more money to invest in perfecting the system and making it work even better.

    The downside is we don’t have a lot of other examples to work from, Puzzle Quest has “Color Powers”, but the RPG mechanics between Puzzle Quest and our system is very different. Puzzle Quest is all about “Overpowering the enemy by depleting mana, or health, with a strategic combination of powers” on a giant grid. I’ve come to the conclusion Color Powers won’t work because the only way to victory in our game is the destruction of enemy shields, I think we should keep focusing on somehow enhancing grid manipulation, rather than damage manipulation.

    Originally we were working on a combo point system earned by making long chains, but then I came up with the color-coded armor idea, and then the idea of randomizing dice suddenly made more sense than combo points did under the new system, I think the dice are a great mechanic that’s really unique and works with what we’re doing. I want to keep building on what make sense with this battle system

    I think right now it really feels like you’re playing a comic book hero and the battle system helps us give the game a unique energy that merges action and strategy. I think it’s really easy to make the wrong development choices at this point, I want to make sure we make the right choices to enhance the combat, and keep that same energy flowing

  22. BobbyK says:

    Thanks for the feedback, it definetely helps!

    If we allowed power moves at the cost of half damage it would probably nix the purpose of the whole color-coded thing, we’d have to let the correct color destroy armor and wrong colors do less damage, it doesn’t seem very straightforward

    we only have one programmer and as we near release I’m getting really cautious about adding/changing stuff. Right now I’m trying to make the combat mechanics more clear, because more ‘casual’ thinkers seem to get a little confused about the system, but strategic thinkers pick it up pretty quick

    I also feel it’s sort of a flawed gem, and really the closest thing to it is Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest. If we do well enough it should give us more money to invest in perfecting the system and making it work even better.

    The downside is we don’t have a lot of other examples to work from, Puzzle Quest has “Color Powers”, but the RPG mechanics between Puzzle Quest and our system is very different. Puzzle Quest is all about “Overpowering the enemy by depleting mana, or health, with a strategic combination of powers” on a giant grid. I’ve come to the conclusion Color Powers won’t work because the only way to victory in our game is the destruction of enemy shields, I think we should keep focusing on somehow enhancing grid manipulation, rather than damage manipulation.

    Originally we were working on a combo point system earned by making long chains, but then I came up with the color-coded armor idea, and then the idea of randomizing dice suddenly made more sense than combo points did under the new system, I think the dice are a great mechanic that’s really unique and works with what we’re doing. I want to keep building on what make sense with this battle system

    I think right now it really feels like you’re playing a comic book hero and the battle system helps us give the game a unique energy. I want to make sure we make the right choices to enhance the combat, and keep that same energy