Farward Thinking: Telepath RPG

By Adam Smith on November 7th, 2011 at 5:31 pm.

Sage advice, as administered by my PE teacher prior to a particularly brutal game of rugger-ball

In a prior age, a game called Telepath Psy Arena 2 was released and generations before that, when mixtape didn’t mean Spotify playlist perhaps, there was a game simply called Telepath Psy Arena. Soon, there shall be Telepath RPG: Servants of God, or Brain-Bending Bishops as I’m calling it. Turn-based strategic combat is the order of the day, like that found in The Battle for Wesnoth. With this being an RPG though, as it says in the title, there’s lots of talking and wandering as well. I should be loving this and the sizable demo is eventually entertaining, but it does take a while to get going.

You’ll probably want to see a trailer with some hand drawn bits and loads of over the top music, won’t you? Oh, go on then.

I haven’t heard anything that operatic since Heroes of Might and Magic II and, yes, that does expose the fact that my only exposure to opera comes through games. There is an opera-busker in a nearby square actually, but she’s actually less operatic than this so there you go. Opera-buskers need large piles of skulls in place of their small piles of pennies. They should also be a class in every RPG, with an equal capacity for mooching and shattering glass.

Brain-Bending Bishops’ combat isn’t immediately gripping, with early battles acting as tutorials with no variety or threat. There’s depth in there though and a sense that the scenarios are so finely balanced as to be more like a puzzle than a tactical field of play.

The world isn’t another take on Tolkien, with a Middle Eastern flavour that really ruins my bishop references but laces through the steampunk filling rather well. Be warned though – there’s a lot of text even at the early stages, introducing characters and concepts at a fair old pace. Like I said earlier, I should be in my element: turn-based combat and a new world to explore with no goblins or rats in sight. Regretfully, my element remains steadfastly elsewhere, though I’m willing to concede it may be found further into the game. Perhaps you’ll find your element there as well?

Demo here, which requires Adobe Air as that’s where it lives. You can also play earlier games in the series for free, which is financially pleasing.

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32 Comments »

  1. Anthile says:

    Hey, that looks ne- Adobe Air -hnnngghh.

  2. westyfield says:

    Opera busker? You must be in Bath.

  3. Pardoz says:

    Ah, well, at least they didn’t use Carmina Burana. Or Wagner.

  4. magnus says:

    Telepath 2 ? I didn’t see that coming.

  5. alundra says:

    Interesting game, looks somewhat similar to the old arcade “Gauntlet”.

    Kudos to the entire RPS crew for the recent broad coverage for Indies, it’s always been constant but right now I see several entries in a row.

    Grats.

  6. Blame says:

    I love it that you gave an extra shoutout to wesnoth (fantastic game), although it did result in quite a bit of dissapointment when the trailer revealed that this telepath RPG is nothing like it.

  7. Vinraith says:

    The gameplay sounds appealing, the name is downright off-putting. I’ll give the demo a shot.

  8. Yosharian says:

    I am very interested in this, will we see a WIT soon perhaps? Would be nice.

  9. Unaco says:

    Servants of God? So… from the same people that brought us Left Behind?

    Nothing about this is very appealing.

  10. FCA says:

    Seems interesting. I like the art style in the beginning of the trailer, the actual gameplay look will take some getting used to. From the top just seems odd to me, I want to see the face of the monster I’m smashing!

    • Craig Stern says:

      The top-down perspective is far and away the biggest complaint I’ve gotten about the game. You can rest assured that I’ve taken note, and will be choosing a more pleasant camera angle for future games. :)

    • Demiath says:

      I think changing the top-down view just because some younger players aren’t used to such a well-established design approach would be a big mistake. For example, the top-down perspective is far better suited for this kind of gameplay than the clumsy isometric viewpoint in most tactically oriented RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics etc (and half-decent polygonal 3D isn’t a realistic option for many small indie dev studios). Assuming you’re going to keep making similar game in the future, merely improving the art assets should be more than enough of a change.

      • Ragnar says:

        It’s really not, though. Isometric gives you depth. Top-down gives you no depth at all, so everything looks flat. It’s not a complaint of “younger players” as even the D&D Gold Box games, like Pool or Radiance from 1988, used an isometric view and gave you a feeling of depth.

        Having gotten used to isometric RPGs over the last 22 years, a top-down perspective looks terrible.

  11. roguewombat says:

    Agreed on the pacing. Played the demo through to the first “boss fight” (i.e. escaping the dungeon). First several fights were boring, but then I met some challenging enemies. It’s still too early to be really interesting, but at least I found that picking a different starting party for a fight actually means something.

    Why, you ask? Because healers can’t heal themselves. So… do you always go for two healers and limit yourself to two assailants? Do you ditch the archer and go for backstabbing thievery? I enjoyed that choice, and I can see it coming more into play later in the game.

    The dialogue is nice in that you can’t just keep cycling back to a point in conversation where you try every single option available to you. I get the feeling that I’m molding my character by the responses I choose, and I don’t feel like I’m just talking to a mindless information nut who likes to answer every possible question regardless of how rude or careless I am in conversation.

    Art is a little meh, but not distractingly so. It has a nice indie charm about it, and the music is more than pleasant enough. Recommended play if you’re into this sort of game.

    • roguewombat says:

      Oh, and a little semipro-tip: there’s a rotate button in the menu that lets you change your character’s direction without moving… no wasted steps. ‘Tis important b/c attacks from behind hit you for extra damage.

  12. malkav11 says:

    Is the entire game in Adobe Air? Because…that is probably a dealbreaker. I mean, the only game I’ve tried to play in it is Winter Voices, which had an immediately compelling hook, and while I’m sure some of its issues stem from mistakes on the developer’s part (nontrivial ones), the single biggest such mistake appears to have been using Adobe Air.

  13. Tony M says:

    I enjoyed Telepath Psy Arena 2, but that was before I got a PSP and played games like Tactics Ogre. Now TPA2 feels a bit like a poor mans Tactics.

  14. Temperance says:

    I think I have been awake too long – giggling at double entendres in the image, which are apparently so barely there, I am the only one.

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