A new experience: weird role playing game is the first video game that numbs my lips. My character in the action RPG wears magical tousers that shoot exploding basketball hoops every time I blast my microphone. Turns out the most efficient DPS noise is blowing continuously to vibrate my lips like a kid pretending to be a car. Weird RPG has some fun ideas but sadly it’s too mundane an ARPG to be really weird or good. Still, I was delighted to find a helmet whose stats improve the worse your graphics card is.
Released over the weekend, Weird RPG is a small action RPG that travels through dimensions. From fantasy forests to a post-apocalyptic modern city overrun by zombies, click, click, click to bust the bad guys and take the loot. The violence is a light hack ‘n’ slash, with four-hit combos, dodge-rolls, and one or two active abilities determined by your weapon. You can unlock more weapon skills and swap them in and out. All stats are also determined by your gear, there are no levels here.
Most enemies are reduced to a click-click-click-click roll click-click as they try to hit or blow you up, which is fine of course. Bosses are tougher and require learning their attack patterns and dodging. Bosses have some kind of balance, they become briefly stunned and more vulnerable if you damage them enough, but they regain their balance if you go too long without damaging them. These boss fights can be intense and quite fun with a good team. Oh the team!
Weird RPG’s item base is typical ARPG gear: a range of helmets and pants and such with ever-increasing numbers; axes, hammers and swords in increasing numbers; and magical axes, hammers, and swords with effects like throwing fireballs or dealing a percentage of the enemy’s health as bonus damage (hello, Crushing Blow!). The strongest things become rare.
Some weird elements are voice activated: make noise into your microphone and it will load or activate an effect. Some items get stronger the worse their frame rate is (you can lock the game to a lower frame rate in the graphics options if you really want to). Others detect your graphics card and offer bigger bonuses to people with worse hardware. The strange equipment I have seen includes:
- Gloves that have good stats but change the game’s music (“A rap song will make you strong,” the item description says, though the new song isn’t rap)
- A machine gun swung like a hammer, dropping a nuke to finish his combo.
- Pauldrons that call lightning down on enemies when you “swear to God”
- A good sword that offered great bonuses to bad graphics cards, but with my 3070 Ti it gave me a chance to die randomly.
- Gloves that “steal the wallet of the nearby enemy” when you shout
- A helmet that offers absolutely monstrous stats in exchange for making you listen to “the song performed by the game developer” at full volume, which sadly I never saved enough to buy
- An AK-47 wielded like a sword, with a voice-activated secondary weapon that fires bullets
Those gross pants are how I ended up with numb lips. Unlike a sword I have, which charges up with regular attacks before it can unleash a barrage of directed flying swords triggered by screams, the basketball pants can apparently shoot as often as I can make noise. At first, with elements of this type, I liked a BA BA BA: short, sharp and easy to repeat noises. But the AK-47 reminded me of the sounds of machine guns on the playground of childhood. The buzzing of the tongue against the palate was not clear enough to register correctly. But blowing through vibrant lips, oh yeah, that’s what it does. Dunks nonstop, here we come! And after a tough boss battle, I learned that your lips will go numb if you do that long enough. What rich knowledge.
Madness can be fun and fun. Voice activation sounds like an idea aimed at screaming, insufferable streamers, but I found it pleasantly silly to find myself blowing raspberries in a video game. While most of the voice-activated effects honestly weren’t strong enough to be useful, some could be invaluable, so I’d end a boss fight with a laugh. I also always enjoyed discovering a new kind of silly effect. Unfortunately, Weird RPG runs into the same problem as many ‘comedy’ games: the jokes aren’t strong and frequent enough to make the rest of the game disappointing.
Weird RPG falls apart when you run into difficulties. It’s okay to die a few times in a level, or make a few attempts to beat a boss. But if you don’t have enough gear for a chapter, the combat isn’t interesting or deep enough for me to enjoy the challenge. Some bosses would just kill me until I gave up.
You can go back and re-kill bosses for tokens to buy strong weapons and armor from merchants, as well as ordered items like potions that summon a boss to fight on your side. Grinding bosses for gear is a staple of action RPGs, but it’s not fun, interesting, or rewarding when levels always have the same map layout and enemy locations, and treasure chests don’t respawn. The team also has no randomization, so repeated drops are just vendor crap, never exciting or satisfying. You’ll also need to grind for healing items (or gold to buy healing items) if you run out of them while facing a challenge.
When grinding prepared me enough to pass another hurdle, I was excited to see what new weirdness awaited me and enjoy that light hack ‘n’ slash violence. But then I hit another part that I wasn’t ready for, and I ran out of healing, and… ugh.
I was near the end of the game (judging by the achievements) and fighting a boring tank boss when my save file got corrupted. Okay. I’ve finished. I will not start with a new save to repeat all that. I’m curious about what’s to come, but after six hours, I don’t trust it’s worth the effort. Still, I will always remember the moment voice-activated pants made my lips go numb.
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