Parameters


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Rating: 4.8/5 (320 votes)
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TrickyParametersIt's always great when Japanese developer Yoshio Ishii gets experimental, and his RPG, Parameters, is certainly that. It looks like an Excel Spreadsheet, and plays like a computer hacking scene from a 1980s action movie. It has no real graphics or story to speak of, and its focus is on the most often derided parts of role-playing games: grinding, farming, and stat-managing. But this simple game of mouse clicking and movement is strangely charming, and hard to stop playing.

It won't be for everyone. It takes more than a little abstract thinking to figure out what's going on. But much of the joy in playing Parameters comes from determining the mechanics for yourself. While not for the easily frustrated, Parameters is a hidden gem of a game that should be quite compelling to those in the mood for something a little strange or experimental.

Play Parameters

Walkthrough Guide


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Parameters Walkthrough

Stat Explanations

  • Exp: Your exp and progress towards leveling up.

  • Life: Your health.

  • Act: Your 'action points'. These are used when exploring exp dungeons, and regenerate slowly. They are not used when fighting enemies.

  • RCV: How fast your life recovers after taking damage. also increases the speed your action points regenerate.

  • ATK: How much damage you deal to enemies.

  • DEF: How much damage you resist in a fight.

  • NEKOGAMES: Collect every letter to unlock a secret room. Letters can be found in exp dungeons or awarded for defeating a monster.

  • Silver keys: Used to open silver padlocks. These can be found randomly in dungeons or when defeating an enemy, or you can buy additional silver keys from the shop.

  • Gold keys: These can only be won from monsters. They are used to unlock gold padlocks.

  • Stat points: You receive 3 of these on leveling up and an additional point for every exp dungeon you complete.

Room Types

  • Quest rooms: these are shown with a 0% on them, and gradually fill with a pink bar. Until they reach 100%, clicking them will give you exp and money. Once completed, they only award cash.

  • Enemies: Shown as a yellow room, this also acts as the monster's HP bar. As you attack, the bar will shrink. The size of the box gives you an indication of how strong the monster is - if one does get the better of you, there's no permanent penalty, but all your stats (including strength, defense, etc) will be temporarily reset to zero. Enemy health will regenerate until you win the battle.

  • Shop: Each shop sells one item, indicated by the icon in the room. Most shops sell stat boosts, but there is also a silver key shop. Larger shops give bigger stat boosts. Boosts to strength or defense can only be purchased 9 times per shop.

  • Secret rooms: these are unlocked as you complete achievements (see next sections). Most can only be used once, for a oneoff major stat boost.

Secret Rooms

Most secret rooms can only be activated once. In some cases, it may benefit you to wait before using them.

  • Top right: Receive $200 x your current level (eg a level 30 player receives $6,000). Unlocked by completely filling the blue combo meter, so that it turns light blue.

  • Slot Machine: Reach level 40 to unlock the slot machine. The payouts are roughly as follows:

    • @@@ = 200 exp

    • $$$ = $1,400 payout

    • *** = $9,600 payout

    • 777 = $15,000 payout

    The slot machine is heavily weighted in your favor. Your chance of winning a prize is 1/16, and every prize is worth more than your average spend to win it.

  • Top middle: HP Max +20. Complete all exp quest rooms.

  • Top left: Action points max +20. Buy once from every attack shop, and every defense shop.

  • Bottom left: Recovery points doubled. Kill all yellow enemies.

  • Bonus enemy 1: Kill the big yellow boss. The new enemy looks small, but don't be fooled; it has multiple health bars.

  • Bonus boss: Kill the bonus enemy. The bonus boss has 9,999 hp.

Strategy and tips

  • At the start of the game, you should focus on increasing attack, and only attack. Early enemies do little damage, but have relatively high defense, so without strong attack you won't be able to beat them.

  • There is a soft cap on defense at just over 300 points. You can improve the attribute past this, but enemies will reduce it back to around 300 with every attack, making the additional points useless.

  • Avoid putting stat points into HP. Defense is more useful in battles, and one of the secret rooms contains a 20 free point HP bonus.

  • If you're having trouble filling the blue bar up to max (to unlock the double attack room), increase action points and recovery.

  • The slot machine odds are weighted in favor of the player. You have about a 1/16 chance of winning, and the prizes are always more valuable than your spend.

  • Longterm, attack should remain your highest stat, with the majority of your points and spending going towards increasing it. It is the only attribute that continues to increase in usefulness no matter how much you improve it.

  • You'll need a faster recovery rate than the final bosses to beat them - you won't be able to take them down in one go.

39 Comments

Parameters Walkthrough

Stat Explanations

  • Exp: Your exp and progress towards leveling up.

  • Life: Your health.

  • Act: Your 'action points'. These are used when exploring exp dungeons, and regenerate slowly. They are not used when fighting enemies.

  • RCV: How fast your life recovers after taking damage. also increases the speed your action points regenerate.

  • ATK: How much damage you deal to enemies.

  • DEF: How much damage you resist in a fight.

  • NEKOGAMES: Collect every letter to unlock a secret room. Letters can be found in exp dungeons or awarded for defeating a monster.

  • Silver keys: Used to open silver padlocks. These can be found randomly in dungeons or when defeating an enemy, or you can buy additional silver keys from the shop.

  • Gold keys: These can only be won from monsters. They are used to unlock gold padlocks.

  • Stat points: You receive 3 of these on leveling up and an additional point for every exp dungeon you complete.

Room Types

  • Quest rooms: these are shown with a 0% on them, and gradually fill with a pink bar. Until they reach 100%, clicking them will give you exp and money. Once completed, they only award cash.

  • Enemies: Shown as a yellow room, this also acts as the monster's HP bar. As you attack, the bar will shrink. The size of the box gives you an indication of how strong the monster is - if one does get the better of you, there's no permanent penalty, but all your stats (including strength, defense, etc) will be temporarily reset to zero. Enemy health will regenerate until you win the battle.

  • Shop: Each shop sells one item, indicated by the icon in the room. Most shops sell stat boosts, but there is also a silver key shop. Larger shops give bigger stat boosts. Boosts to strength or defense can only be purchased 9 times per shop.

  • Secret rooms: these are unlocked as you complete achievements (see next sections). Most can only be used once, for a oneoff major stat boost.

Secret Rooms

Most secret rooms can only be activated once. In some cases, it may benefit you to wait before using them.

  • Top right: Receive $200 x your current level (eg a level 30 player receives $6,000). Unlocked by completely filling the blue combo meter, so that it turns light blue.

  • Slot Machine: Reach level 40 to unlock the slot machine. The payouts are roughly as follows:

    • @@@ = 200 exp

    • $$$ = $1,400 payout

    • *** = $9,600 payout

    • 777 = $15,000 payout

    The slot machine is heavily weighted in your favor. Your chance of winning a prize is 1/16, and every prize is worth more than your average spend to win it.

  • Top middle: HP Max +20. Complete all exp quest rooms.

  • Top left: Action points max +20. Buy once from every attack shop, and every defense shop.

  • Bottom left: Recovery points doubled. Kill all yellow enemies.

  • Bonus enemy 1: Kill the big yellow boss. The new enemy looks small, but don't be fooled; it has multiple health bars.

  • Bonus boss: Kill the bonus enemy. The bonus boss has 9,999 hp.

Strategy and tips

  • At the start of the game, you should focus on increasing attack, and only attack. Early enemies do little damage, but have relatively high defense, so without strong attack you won't be able to beat them.

  • There is a soft cap on defense at just over 300 points. You can improve the attribute past this, but enemies will reduce it back to around 300 with every attack, making the additional points useless.

  • Avoid putting stat points into HP. Defense is more useful in battles, and one of the secret rooms contains a 20 free point HP bonus.

  • If you're having trouble filling the blue bar up to max (to unlock the double attack room), increase action points and recovery.

  • The slot machine odds are weighted in favor of the player. You have about a 1/16 chance of winning, and the prizes are always more valuable than your spend.

  • Longterm, attack should remain your highest stat, with the majority of your points and spending going towards increasing it. It is the only attribute that continues to increase in usefulness no matter how much you improve it.

  • You'll need a faster recovery rate than the final bosses to beat them - you won't be able to take them down in one go.

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benjabby Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 11:26 AM

Its a fantastic concept.

also I dont know why but it kinda reminds me of a roguelike.

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aine morgan Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 11:57 AM

Actually really enjoyable! Could happily carry on playing new random levels of this :)

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misterwilson Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 12:48 PM

Surprisingly fun, although once the slot machine opened up, all money problems just became a matter of hammering that.

I beat it, including the bonus boss, but two of the secret rooms were still locked and I'm not sure they can be opened at this point.

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Very fun; but far too short. I'd also like to see an updated, extended version of this. Does anyone know of any other games similar to this?? @misterwilson: One room that took me a bit to open was the NEKOGAMES room, (I only opened it AFTER having beaten all the bosses). For a better chance of opening it,

click repeatedly on previously beaten rooms, as the letters seem to randomly pop up; so the more you click, the more likely you are to get the needed letters.

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misterwilson Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 2:24 PM

Yeah, from the walkthrough the two I missed were:

NEKOGAMES (fairly obvious, but I wasn't sure if letters could still be obtained after completion)

Combo bar (I'll confess I have no idea how to fill this in the first place, let alone how to do it after all the monsters are beaten)

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I was/am in the same boat on that one.

The mechanics of the combo bar are lost on me. Random combat, maybe??

Heh, I just happened to look over and see it unlocked.

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Skjalldyr Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 2:57 PM

The combo bar is goes up a bit, each time you pick up money, and it is reset when you dont pickup any money for a certain amount of time (~2 sec)

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allispaul Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:00 PM

What does the gold-padlocked "Add Parm." room do? Every time I click on it, it gives me a message in Japanese.

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misterwilson Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:07 PM

Oh, combo meter is based on gold? I assumed it was something combat-related.

Add parameter is basically an instant level-up. Gives you a point to increase on of your stats.

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allispaul Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:08 PM

Figured it out -- it gives you another skill point.

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:24 PM

I'm missing the same two at the end, misterwilson--never could find the "S". And believe me, I was grinding like a crazy woman. I thought if I got one more dang cyan E, I was going to pull my hair out. Not sure about the combo bar, but I will try a different strategy and see if it works. Seemed to me as though the combo bar reset every time I clicked no matter how long the time frame, but I will check it out. I'm curious--were you able to finish the locked rooms after you finished?

GREAT GAME!!! Every new "aha" moment made this a new fave. Hope they add to it. It's worth it.

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:28 PM

POP--the answer is yes. In playing for the combo I found the missing "S". All bonus boxes unlocked.

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:43 PM

One last thing and then I'm done--I spent about $1000 on slots and never won even once! So I'm not sure they are weighted in the player's favor, as the walkthrough suggests. I didn't really see any value from them at all.

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benjabby Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 3:59 PM

@dsrtrosy
Seriously????
I mananged to get the $$$ combo 20 times about..
the 777 about 5 times...
and the other two about 10 times...
and only did it about 100 times so I won 35% of the time (which easily multiplied my $1000 spent by 50)
I dunno if its just me and im good at slots xD

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Konrad Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 4:27 PM

Combo bar:

Don't let your ACT points fully recover.

I never got anything from the slot machine, but I have lousy reflexes (I had to click like crazy to beat the monsters).

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 4:54 PM

@benjabby--second play through, I thought I'd really hit the slots hard. I dropped about $5,000 total (never less than $300 at a time) and won a total of 6 times. Hit 7s once, hit *s once. There were several times I spent $400-500 without a single win. :S

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yaddab Author Profile Page May 6, 2012 6:36 PM

Well, what can I say as a 10 year EQ vet that was a total mickey take of all that genre. All those forum arguments - sorry discussions, brought down to a slot machine on a spread sheet!

Forget your class balance discussions lets just have it all out on a slot machine for pp and xp - class balance be gone pft!

It was hilarious for me on that level - and heck who needs a raid when you can just play the slots to power up for that final boss :)

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This is a nifty Flash implementation of a game that's prevalent in Asia. Typically it's played on a reinforced sheet of construction paper that's held upright in a makeshift wooden frame. Zones have been drawn on the back of the paper, hidden from public view, and the players buy chances to pierce the paper with a toothpick in the hopes of getting whatever prizes are conferred according to the zone they've picked. It's a little bit like tossing rings onto the necks of bottles at the fair.

I like the RPG implementation! It'd be neat to have the zones reveal bits of a picture as they're depleted. So when you've completed it, you have a large image that you've uncovered, piece by piece. (G-rated or otherwise.)

Another approach might be to have monster icons in the zones, which perform some animation upon clickery.

You could even have zones that were little virtual pets, and feed and take care of them with resources generated by other zones. The pets would level, and either give increasingly hearty loot drops or assist with combat.

It's nice to encounter a new genre of game out there! Glad JiG presented it. =)

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Cynicism at its best - and I love that genre.

The grinding to upgrading ratio is just right, and the game is paced perfectly so the overall message is put across without getting boring.

The layout itself is very reminiscent of HDD usage block graphs though I can't seem to find a proper term for those. In any case, I reckon that layout is intended in that way - ie files on you drive providing a challenge more than other files if there were to be such a thing as an internal bit fight between them all.

The slots square would be a game file in my view. Which, by the way, is easy to make money from if you (for those above who claim to lack reflexes)

just keep clicking it repeatedly

but I didn't find I needed any money by that stage.

Excellent piece of work

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haikiba Author Profile Page May 7, 2012 4:21 AM

Pretty fun, until it crashed Chrome. :(

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bwansy Author Profile Page May 7, 2012 4:35 AM

After playing the second time I still couldn't find the last letter to complete the world "NEKOGAMES" until after beating the final, final boss. Is that hard-coded or was I incredibly unlucky?

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nhatfield20 Author Profile Page May 7, 2012 7:11 PM

Umm, does the Life Rcv level-up tile not work for anybody else I click on it when I have enough money and nothing responds

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dsrtrosy Author Profile Page May 7, 2012 7:26 PM

@nhatfield - the Life Rcv button was an "aha" moment for me--took forever to figure it out. It doesn't do anything if you have full life stats. It's for mid-fight when you are running out of life. It works great, but I only found I needed it when I played the harder bosses because the smaller ones recover so much faster than I did.

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ArtemisStrong Author Profile Page May 7, 2012 9:49 PM

Collecting the letters is reminding me of "Carnival" for the ColecoVision.

That said, this is surprisingly fun, in a deconstructionist sort of way.

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zxcvbn23ful Author Profile Page May 8, 2012 12:59 AM

finally i kill the last boss that has 9999 hp
that was hard work
but it's fun i enjoy it

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@bwansy - By the time I'd beaten the final boss, I'd gotten all the letters several times.

It would have been nice to just get bonus points for the redundant letters instead. =)

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The slots are not 1/16, they are 1/64. Each slot is a 1/4 chance. Chance to get all 3 of the same is 1/64. Still really good odds, considering.

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attack with decay Author Profile Page May 11, 2012 6:49 PM

@Izme: Odds are 1/16. There are three slots, but the first slot doesn't matter -- the chances of this first slot and the second slot matching are 1/4. The chances of the third slot matching is also 1/4. Hence, 1/4 * 1/4 = 1/16.

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Gabriel Author Profile Page May 14, 2012 3:38 PM

Oddly soothing- albeit much less immersive than a classic roguelike- all ASCII games are not equal!

Played through twice now and both times I only got the S for NEKOGAMES upon defeating the final boss. This makes the "double Attack" special room entirely useless since there's nothing left to attack once you earn it.

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I never could find the 'A' in "NEKOGAMES". :-(

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It seems that the game has been updated. The slots are now faster, so the odds of getting anything out of them have been reduced. Sucks, man.

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This was fun, but weird. I didn't start to see it was really a deconstruction of common RPGs until I started trying to open the ? rooms. Then it just sort of clicked.

Some stuff:

Here's an image of my completed (like, everything) game.

Also, if you want to get the slot machine to give you money more easily:

While the slot machine is running and before you've clicked it to set a character, lag the game by right-clicking and then mouse over the slot machine while it's alternating through characters. The slot machine will be running more slowly because of the lag imposed on the game by the right-click menu.

That's how I got the 777 in the picture above.

(Yeah, it's an exploit.)

And I only got the "S" from "NEKOGAMES" as a reward from defeating the final (700-odd-hp, not bonus) boss. Previous attempts to get it from any other place (like xp rooms) failed.

After Cursor*10 part 2, I knew this guy was good at making interesting and abstract concept games. I didn't know good until now.

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Am I the only one who is COMPLETELY stuck on the 240 HP boss? I thought I had beaten the game after beating the 700+ boss when I noticed one last yellow square. (Was it there before? I don't know.)

I started out about even with it: if I attacked until I was low on HP and then waited for us both to recover, I recovered all my HP just slightly before it did. Even though I was only doing 1 damage per hit, that should be doable. I decided to up my recovery first though, thinking it would be less of a grind that way. But not only did it not seem to be helping.. it kind of seemed like it was recovering faster now, too.

I put that down to my imagination until I decided to increase attack (up to that point, I'd figured if I'm doing 1HP at 100+ attack, increasing it a few points at a time wouldn't do much. At best, I would eventually be able to do 2HP). But I got all my stats to max, including attack, and now I do 0HP damage most of the time and it recovers to full before I can do much more.

Is my game glitched? Because it sure seems completely unbeatable. Even if I saved up a ton of money and relied on the life refill, it would probably heal up before I could move my mouse there and back. (OK, I'm exaggerating, but that sure doesn't seem like a fun way to beat a final boss, hammering away at 0 or 1 HP per click to get it to like 236HP when I'm nearly dead, healing up at a cost of $1000-$2000, and trying again...

Or maybe my game is just glitched.

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This game requires a *lot* of imagination! ...and music... >.>

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As counter-intuitive as it may seem, this was one of the most playable "casual game" I have ever come across. I stuck it through to the very end and took it to 100% completion, (with the help of a final tip about the combo bar). Very highly recommended. One of a kind. Absolutely unique.

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The game was interesting, but I felt it was kind of "meh" also. There was not much strategy in it, nor much replay value. The higher valued items seemed useless, as they seemed more expensive than they were worth. Recovery and Activity also didn't seem important until the very end. Doing missions was boring. I thought there would be an easy way to determine the amount of activity points cost and money given for each mission, like the shape of the box or the position on the screen, but I don't think that's true. Searching for the next level enemy or the next expensive item was annoying.

I guess the main appeal of the game is the way the player figures out what each aspect means, but I personally didn't think that was especially enjoyable.

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What is the best time you've posted on this game?
I've gotten down to 3:46:19. This game is addicting!

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I have improved my time to 3:33:20.

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