What is a “casual RPG”

As you probably know, I’m working on a RPG game called “Planet Stronghold”.

I am trying to do something slightly different with this RPG. I would even dare call it “casual RPG”, since it misses some of the classic “hardcore” gameplay elements. In particular:

  • there is no in-game currency. You can’t sell or buy weapons. This is probably the biggest difference from… well, ANY rpg I’ve ever played. What does it means? That you’ll have several weapons and armors at your disposal, but you won’t have to buy them. To get the best ones, the only way would be to solve some quests you’ll encounter through the story.
  • there is almost no “permanent death“. You can’t really “lose” in the game. This is also very different even if something similar could be already found in recent casual RPG like Torchlight, for example. In my game, if you lose a battle you’ll simply have the option to fall back and try it with a different team/equipment configuration. Of course there will be a few exceptions: in some particular plot situation you’ll face a hard battle but you’ll be warned to save before it. But I hate the mechanic of “save/try/reload” that is used in many RPG just to give the players the illustion that the game is longer (but in reality you’ll spend most of the time loading and saving)
  • there won’t be a huge map. I mean, a tilemap or detailed map as it is in many RPG, mostly JRPG. I was dubious if to implement this or not, but given the nature of the game, I decided to skip this. Since the gameplay follows the main story, you will be able to use a small map with instant traveling between each different location to complete side-quest, but not like you do in normal RPG/JRPG. If you hated walking endless hours in those insanely huge (and repetitive) tilemaps, you’ll like my game. Otherwise…I hope you’ll like the game anyway :)
  • very few grinding. You won’t have to kill 500 ratsĀ  to get to level 2. The leveling up will be slow, and you won’t get much XP from battles, but you’ll get a big boost if you solve quests. Anyway, being the game linear, I’ll be able to craft each specific battle so hopefully that should lead to more interesting enemy encounters.
  • There also won’t be endless random encounters, unless you choose to adventure in the wastelands (so, there will be but will be entirely optional). I understand that random encounters are a good way to raise your characters levels without doing side-quests, so I’ll leave that option available for those people who prefer to fight than solve quests.

As you can see it’s quite different from a “standard”, traditional RPG. I hope the direction I took will be appreciated anyway, so far the feedback from the Alpha testers was quite positive (many says it’s the best game I’ve made so far, even if isn’t finished yet! :D).

Note that this won’t mean that the game will be easy. It will be if you choose the “easy” option. But if you pick the “hard” option, in the game you’ll have to face some really tough fights! That’s all for now, I’ll get back to writing more plot and coding more enemy battles.

p.s. For those who like traditional RPG, fear not. My other RPG game in development, the Dungeon Crawler “Tower Of Destiny”, will be much more similar to the classic “hardcore RPGs” ;)

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6 Responses to What is a “casual RPG”

  1. fhd says:

    There is great diversity among the RPG genre already. Western RPGs usually emphasize character building while eastern RPGs are more linear and focus on story, but it’s really difficult to think about what actually classifies RPGs.

    I like your ideas, especially the one about omitting money. I always wondered if that would work for an RPG :)

    • admin says:

      Well it’s a risky idea :) But I want to try it. This game will be really linear and “handcrafted” so each battle should have a different challenge (except some random ones you can do to raise your character level).
      I am just adding Action Points right now though. I couldn’t resist, maybe this disqualifies the game from being a “casual RPG” but I think the battles will become much more interesting/challenging. Right now is only a matter of packing up with healing kits and repeat: attack/heal/attack until you win!

  2. Carmentis says:

    I actually found your site from Spirited Hearts then The Flower Shop (which I plan to get cause it reminds me of Harvest Moon) and I am anxiously awaiting Planet Stronghold. I adore RPG’s and there’s even romance which makes me squeal! It sorta reminds me of Mass Effect which I love both 1 & 2 of. I would honestly love more RPG’s with romance (options, not just one forced couple) in them. I applaud you and hope from the previous poll that this becomes a series or even you make a fantasy setting with an RPG/Romance style. Good luck and you at least have one fan waiting with bated breath for this! (I noticed talk of a Biotic Heart 2 but what puts me off is it’s male based. I honestly hope that if you make a sequel you have like this this game an option male/female cause that’s what instantly hooked me with this one. I don’t like being forced to be a male. Ah, but that’s just my opinion, take it as you will. ^^; )

    • admin says:

      Thanks :) Well I liked romance in the latest Bioware RPG too (Dragon Age and Mass Effect), and the possibility to play both as male/female.
      Actually if I ever make Bionic Heart 2, the player would control Tanya this time, so the female robot protagonist. The problem really is that most females don’t like sci-fi settings, so I am not sure it’s a commercially viable option to do another sci-fi visual novel. But personally, I really would like to do it.

  3. Carmentis says:

    Alistair made me swoon X3 he’s a huge fan favorite to and Thofte really reminds me of him. When I first talked to Thofte I licked my lips and grinned big (I’m so bad XD ) but I adore those kind of guys. Mgorem and Thofte are my favs. DA2 looks very promising and the latest screenshot of female Hawke is really awsome.
    In all honestly I used to not like sci-fi (it made me feel well.. to put it bluntly.. dumb) but then when I got my 360 I picked up Mass Effect and then it blossomed. (My first time playing I SO wanted to romance Garrus [that smexie alien, yumyum] and was heartbroken you couldn’t but was happy in 2 you could. I can’t wait for SW: TOR, I’m a Bioware fangirl XD ) I hope one day for a Spirited Heart 2 as I really enjoy that, possibly with RPG elements and such. (I read on the forums that Princess Maker inspired it and I loved that series X3 I played 2 on the PC and 3 for Sega Saturn and have the soundtracks)
    Ack going offtopic here but I guess it’s cause I talk about when I’m happy/spazzy and I just started the alpha of Planet Stronghold and it’s really fun so far! I chose Psionic but I noticed regular attacks there is an animation but with my psionic ones there isn’t, will that change? I hope so. (I should really register on the forums, shouldn’t I X3 )

    • admin says:

      Well I surely hope many more girls will approach sci-fi RPG / stories like you did, because it’s not all about empty spaces, but there can also be some really interesting love stories ;)
      Yes for now all psionic attacks have no effects, I’ll leave that as last thing since will need to make it cool ones!
      And yes, you could register in forums if you want to talk/give feedback :D

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