It'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.
(Please allow page to fully load for spoiler tags to be functional.)
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.
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.
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.
Posted by: Ben | May 6, 2012 10:56 AM