That Role Playing

That Role Playing is – despite it’s name – not a role playing game. Since there is no procedural generation, it’s also not a roguelike. On start, the game describes itself as „Fantasy strategic adventure action game“, and this kinda nails it. While playing, it reminded me to my short strolls through the very first Zelda. However, „That Role Playing“ is much more minimalist – and much, much harder.

Your task is to find crystals hidden on the map and return to the starting point. While doing this, you will encounter different monsters that you can kill – given that you collected enough health and/or shields to endure their retaliations. Some of them are optional or should be delayed until you scouted the available map and powered yourself up – it takes several attempts to figure out if or when you take these down. The other major obstacle are doors that block your way. The first type can be opened by collecting hidden keys – others need you to solve riddles to open.

The graphics are simple but pretty. As you progress the map objects are „drawn“ upon the screen with a small animation. The sounds are very charming, and the music is great. All of this adds up to a pretty good atmosphere. Controls and UI work well and act smooth and polished. Searching for a working way through the level is quite fun – unfortunately, the riddles are too hard for me – and maybe, they are too hard in general.

I’m not especially good in solving riddles and didn’t even manage to solve the first two (the first is a classic riddle requiring you to find a fitting answer for a rhymed description – the other one requires you to construct a word through several hints about its spelling). However – my flatmate (who studied linguistic and daily plays „Wordle“) got through them quite fast. The third riddle requires math and logic – I did two separate attempts on different days, researched about the way of calculating apparently needed, but couldn’t break it until now – and when I told my flatmate, he only rolled with his eyes. Since the game is underground as fuck, I can’t find any help on the web either.

While I like the idea of the riddles, I’m afraid they heavily overdid it with the difficulty – making the game an exclusive delight for people who enjoy hardcore brainteasers and raw old school gaming alike. If you however consider yourself to be a part of this illustrious group „That role playing“ is for you – the game is well polished and the „crawler“-gameplay, graphics, music, and sound are great. There are secrets, allusions, and many little details showing how much passion was invested into this game.

A revision with dumbed down riddles for the rest of us (and especially me) would be a blast. The developers where still active in the beginning of the year, but since they seem to reside in Moscow I fear that they might have other worries going around at these times.

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