Review by: Volrath
Summary: Halloween Flop is a brief but highly enjoyable game with outstanding art and a great battle system.
Many RPG Maker users dream of creating grandiose epics with the program, but there’s a lot to be said for smaller-scale projects. Halloween Flop, a game that can easily be completed in one sitting, makes a great case for setting modest goals and achieving them to great effect. Its creators, Racheal and Makio-Kuta, have contributed a lot to the RM scene over the years. They introduced a charming cast of characters with the popular demo of Ethereal Dreams and later made Castle Chase, a fun hybrid of adventure game and dating-sim.
With Halloween Flop, the pair has combined their trademark offbeat humor with a near-flawless visual design seemingly modeled after the Nintendo Game Boy. Set in a village populated by various ghouls and ghosts, three friends venture into an underground tunnel to find out who stole their favorite accessories. Along the way, assertive witch Agatha, too-cool-for-school vampire Delila and sweet ghost Bobby realize there is an evil plot afoot to ruin Halloween for good. Who could be responsible for such a heinous scheme? You’ll have to triumph in the eight unique boss fights to find the mastermind.
The core of this game is the battles and they are executed very well. Players learn quickly that everyone who appears in the game, hero or villain, is identified as Magic, Undead or Astral. Similar to how elemental weaknesses often work, there’s a rock-paper-scissors relationship between these three types. It sounds simple, but the game comes up with highly creative twists so that each battle poses a unique scenario (more on that in the video). What’s also nice is that the self-contained nature of the game means that there’s no need for experience, equipment or items. The skills for the three characters have everything you need to replenish your health, skill points and deal damage. Losing a battle won’t cost you any progress either – you get a chance to try it again immediately.
The shortness of the game also helps maintain a consistent tone. The Game Boy visuals match up well with the midis that make up the soundtrack, which has some nice selections. The overworld theme is so catchy that you might linger before a battle just to listen to it for a while. There are also a number of songs that are used for battles as a joke – “Monster Mash,” “We Three Kings” and the theme from “Charlie’s Angels” are all used at amusingly opportune moments. The final reveal of the villain is also a satisfying bit of comedy.
The game was made for a contest so I think some rushing may have been involved. One example of this revolves around the items stolen from the main characters. Once they learn that a sinister plot is going on in the background, getting the items back becomes an optional objective that leads to additional fights. That’s all well and good, except that Bobby’s candle is essential to her survival (for lore reasons that are explained) but the ending of the game remains the same whether or not the player retrieves it. Most players probably will just go the extra mile and get it, but it’s still surprising that the choice doesn’t have any ramifications at all.
That said, it’s unlikely many players will see that issue once they start playing this game. It’s a quick bit of fun that can also be quite instructive to RPG Maker users on how to achieve a unique vision in a way that won’t be exhausting. Give it a shot and then we can compare opinions on bosses. I tend to think Bloody Mary is the hardest.
Have you tried any of their games? Did you like them? What do you think of the unique visual style they have accomplished in Halloween Flop? Have an idea on what game we should review next? Join the discussion in the comments section below!