The Dink Network

Echoes of the Ancients

January 24th, 2016
Score : 8.5 good
Peasant He/Him United Kingdom
This is perhaps the first game I've played with a King of Straw-Piles. Or a King of Trees. Or a King of pretty much everything this game has a king of. But on to the review:

This is the first Brassweasel mod I've played, and I have to say, he sure knows how to make good graphics. One of the first things I noticed was the sheer amount of them, and they really do help to keep it interesting when you're exploring all of the different areas. And there's a lot of exploring to be done, complete with goodies to find. Considering all the new graphics were made by Brassweasel himself, it's particularly impressive, and I'm sure if he were to release a graphics pack nobody would complain! (not that I'm hinting or anything )

The combat, for the most part, is standard Dink fare. No need for grinding though, which is always a plus. There are plenty of new monster graphics, which look great, although the majority are simple touchers. There are exceptions to this, and I particularly liked the new enemy which shoots firey pellets at things, as it often does some of the legwork for you. There are also several unique fights, each with their own mechanics, and these were all a lot of fun.

The homing-bomb enemy stands out as a favourite. The final boss is perhaps one of the less inspired battles, primarily just being an enemy with inflated stats, but even he has his own tactics to be beaten. The overall difficulty is good, it's challenging, without being so hard as to become trial-and-error. I died a handful of times in some of the boss fights, which I'd personally say is a good thing. The final boss is a significant ramp up in terms of difficulty from the rest of the game, but then again, he's the final boss.

The plotline is interesting, and less a parallel of the original game than it is its own thing. A lot of the gameplay tends to fall into the "walk around until you find the thing(s)" trap, and while this isn't always the most exciting prospect, the mapping here is superb, and makes exploration far more interesting than you'd expect. There are many different areas to explore, each marked by a little location-tag in the corner of the screen, which I liked. A sizable amount of time is spent travelling through dungeons/areas without many people to talk to, with the goal of finding an item, often a key, necessary to continue. Brassweasel sure likes his locked doors. It's fairly long, taking me just shy of two hours to complete. To be honest, if you weren't given the herb-boots during the first area, it could have probably bordered on being an epic.

There's also some pretty fun humour in here. I particularly liked the opening, which caught me off guard and gave me a good chuckle, and there's a running joke about having kings for everything. You can also optionally hunt down an artist's bad graphics, to unlock a special item, and while I had no idea what was happening during this whole thing, I was certainly enjoying it. But there are a couple of jabs at getting bad reviews too, so for this reason I have to give it a rating of 3/10 (just kidding don't kill me).

The DMOD isn't perfect of course. None of the NPC's react to being hit, and most non-story related things can't be examined, but this is likely a matter of personal preference as I tend to go over everything meticulously. There is one instance near the beginning where you're told to find something new after having already explored the whole area, without any real hints, but otherwise things keep moving.

Unfortunately I did run into a couple of bugs, but I'm sure these could be fixed with minimal effort. One featured a room in which you must use a pole to shoot targets, where attempting to fire downwards froze the whole game. There is also a puzzle room which is essentially a game of spot-the-difference, but this only appeared as I was exiting the area it was blocking, leaving the puzzle redundant.

But hey, overall, this is a very good DMOD, and I'd recommend it to anybody looking for something new to play!