One-man project Song Of The Myrne: What Lies Beneath is a quick-n-cheap little RPG that's bursting with charm. The pixel graphics may look very familiar, but it adds its own little twists to the format. Here's wot I think:
I love an unexpected RPG. Song Of The Myrne: What Lies Beneath popped up as a new arrival on Steam a couple of weeks ago, and I gave it a quick look. Then another look. Then finished it during the weekend. It’s a short little thing, the French to English translations are often peculiar, and the ending is plain odd, but I had a lovely time along the way.
The game puts its cards on the table from the off. Your character, a little pixel chap whom you’ll recognise as part of Oryx’s collection (as are the rest of the sprites) comes home to discover his wife – a rabbit – has been murdered. Not a sentient bipedal rabbit race; a pet bunny, to which he was married. Distraught, he vows vengeance, and sets off on an adventure.
The result is a top-down, real-time combat RPG, which plays a bit like the wonderful Legends Of Yore, with a slowed down version of Teleglitch’s combat. As you search for the killer of your wife, you naturally pick up quests from villagers, discover new tools that allow you to access new areas, and improve your character with skills, equipment and magic.
Well, you can do those things, but you might find you’ve finished the game before you get around to it. It’s a strange little thing, with an infrastructure for a far larger game. I never even figured out how to use magic, despite meeting two characters who purportedly taught me the dark arts. As for combat skills, I unlocked a couple, but then never found cause to use them. Equipment, however, was much more present.
That’s thanks to a crafting system that lets the gathering of ingredients and materials provide you with a really huge array of bits and bobs to make. Again, goodness knows when you were supposed to need or get around to crafting most of them, with the game done in a few short hours, but it’s a sturdy inclusion.
Combat’s fun. You dash about in circles, diving in for a hack or chop, throwing up blocks with split-second timing. Or aim arrows (or presumably magic) from a distance, while darting about and hiding behind obstacles. Enemies are precise, without being prescient, and while it’s all enormously simple, it’s divertingly entertaining.
In fact, it’s all both simple and entertaining. That’s why I found it so charming. The dialogue is bonkers, bizarrely translated phrases ending up like, “Is there a chance for you to be Piloute’s uncle?” And if you’re after difficulty, you won’t find it here. But pah, this is about enjoying something nice.
It’s a one-man project, heavily using assets created by others, which is a really smart way to put a project together. So while Oryx sprites might be starting to look awfully familiar if you’ve played enough mobile RPGs, the result still works very pleasingly. Developer Beldarak intends to add some more elements to the game over time, which might make more sense of the entirely needless skill system.
The ending is… odd. I’m not sure it’s good odd, but it sure is abrupt. However, for £3 or £4, you’d be silly to complain too much. The journey is key, and here it’s a fluffy pile of pleasing nonsense, with some nippy combat and entertaining crafting to accompany your way.