Review: Driftmoon RPG – wherein we make an exception to rate an alpha build

Driftmoon RPG - inventory and HUD screenshot
Review: Driftmoon RPG – wherein we make an exception to rate an alpha build

Game Name: DriftMoon

Developer: Instant Kingdom

Genre: RPG

Release Date: TBA 2012

Pre-Alpha Preamble

Here at IGR, we don’t usually review games that are still in Alpha. But, we were asked to give our take on an epic RPG called DriftMoon, with an assurance and confidence that we would find it to our liking. I feel that this confidence is not misplaced.

Developer Summary

This is Driftmoon. It is a roleplaying game that tells the story of the Pendant of Life, and how it was reforged to end the evil reign of King Ixal. It is also a tale about how Robert lost everything but his bones, but that didn’t stop him. And it is a story about the little firefly who wanted to be a big star, but was stuck in a crypt.

The world of Driftmoon is filled with exciting adventures and exploration, captivating stories and quests, charming characters and countless delightful details for you to discover.

What We Think

The basis of DriftMoon is a story-driven RPG with an emphasis on the main and side quests, as well as an incredibly charming world of characters. Gameplay aside, if DriftMoon were an animated mini-series, I would not miss an episode. From tropes the game sneaks in on you as excuses to have a new NPC friend in your merry band, to the conversations you overhear enemies having before they see you come around the corner to slay them, the game has personality.

Driftmoon RPG - screenshot 1 - something fishy

Familiar Fantasy

The adventure plot hooks it pulls may have been done before, but it does it well, and that’s all that really matters in the long run. From the merchant standing at the entrance to a dungeon selling wares looted from adventurers who failed, to the trope of being the last survivor of a massacre. It all works in context of the world, and I found it charming and cute.

Driftmoon RPG - screenshot zoom

Armchair Gladiator

The actual gameplay is rather simple. Combat is a quasi-real time auto attack management game. I played a mainly defensive character, so all I had to do was cast the occasional buff spell, queue up a stun attack, then let the combat resolve itself with little more input from me. The hands-off feel of the combat was a little disappointing, but I must also admit that as I was playing a low level character, there was little I had available to me. Given that the game is still in alpha, I can only hope that combat gets more interesting farther down the line. Even if it doesn’t, the story more than makes up for it.

Driftmoon RPG - inventory and HUD screenshot

Pet Monarch Cemetary

This story. From the tiny bit of it I’ve seen so far can very well be the start of a real epic based on the way it is set up, and the way it presents itself. The basic premise, without giving too much away, is that there existed in the past a king who wished to bring his late queen back to life. Though occult research he crafted an amulet that could raise the dead. But, it only bought back the essence of life, and mainly the bad parts, as the good parts have passed on to their eternal rewards never to return to the earth. So when night fell, the resurrected queen killed her king, used the amulet to bring the king back as an evil lich, which leads to war, sacrifice, the whole deal…you get the picture.

This all happened as the game’s backdrop, and picks up with the player taking the role of an ancestor of a guardian who kept a piece of the amulet hidden that had since been smashed to bits, and who is now being attacked. And it sucked me in–the sometimes hokey dialog, the whimsical characters, the skeletons who complain about rats nibbling on their bones- and it all made me care enough about it that I spent the time reading every dialog option, talk to as many characters as I could, and seek out every available side quest, lest I miss something interesting.

The Bard’s Guild

Even though the script is amazingly well written, that’s not the best part of Driftmoon. Longevity is always a sticking point with me, and here right even before I started playing, I was presented with a list of mods, Total Conversions, extra quests, fan-made stories, full bonus adventures. It was like seeing a list of Steam Works user mods with full fan-created stories, but in a game that is not even in Beta yet. I could not even imagine what will await when, not only when the game is complete and the story fully told, but what could be done with the tools to create so much more.

While playing for the review, I did use a mod. It was only cosmetic, as I didn’t want to alter my experience with the intended quest at all. So I ran the mod that gave every character and NPC cat-like tails that swished and swayed. Some of the other options I saw already were spiders with big, cute cartoon eyes, and a few full extra dungeons and adventures.

Driftmoon RPG - modding screenshot

One final curiosity: Why is it that everything I stick in my mouth has some sinister name? Evil Berries, yum!

A great start with a foundation for an epic tale, with lots of potential. When this comes out I’d like to give this a 4/5 Star review! Only time will tell. If Instant Kingdom can make that combat a little more interesting, they can seal the deal.

Download a demo and more at the official site for Driftmoon RPG at Instant Kingdom

[xrr rating=”4/5″]

One thought on “Review: Driftmoon RPG – wherein we make an exception to rate an alpha build

  1. Generally the combat tends to get a bit more exciting once you get a bit further into the game, especially on of the harder difficulty levels – it’s designed to give an easy start. But rest assured, we’re still working hard on improving combat balance and fine-tuning the difficulty, as well as adding more variance to the skill trees.

    And there is a story about why the berries are named Evil berries, you’ll find out when the final version comes out! 🙂

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