Up until now, Hyptosis has mostly turned his considerable artistic and storytelling talents to point-and-click titles such as his Alice is Dead and Hood series. In his new game Relic, he's trying out the RPG genre to tell the story of a woman seeking to recover an object that might destroy everything in the wrong hands, with the help of two cute comic relief characters and two strong and sexy types.
It's a streamlined and focused journey, with no inexplicable detours into side quests, a la "We must catch the kidnappers before they murder my love! But let's stop here and gather 100 wolf pelts for this old dude!" You travel using the [arrow] or [WASD] keys (switch the controls via the menu) until you hit a random encounter, at which point everything becomes mouse-controlled. The fighting seems inspired by Final Fantasy VII-style Active Time Battle system, where enemies attack as soon as their turn recharges, so you must be equally quick with your own attacks.
It's only fair to say that this is pretty clearly a first effort, with a few rough edges and gaps. Mostly these are minor yet, at this level of online casual gaming, inexcusable annoyances, such as the inability to pause the game during battles. But the developer's sheer enthusiasm for game-making shines through regardless. The art in particular is some of his best yet, with imaginative designs for the various beasties that inhabit the world. A creature compendium to fill up with the engineer's "scanner" skill would have been a great bonus. It'll only take a couple of hours to beat this one, so the flaws don't grate on you the way they would with a longer game, and the game sets up an intriguing new story setting, one which we hope will be expanded upon in later games.