Indie Game Review: Driftmoon: Instant Kingdom's Charming RPG

There’s nothing I hate worse than being knocked out by my own mum and thrown down a well, only to emerge later on and find that everyone around me is made of stone.

Seriously, happens all the time. Puts a right downer on the day.

And that’s exactly what happens in new epic RPG Driftmoon, a game that took seven years to make, that has an integrated mod creation and download system and features a fantasy story packed full of such brilliantly imaginative characters as disembodied hands and fireflies that have somehow turned into heroes.

Driftmoon plays in top-down view using a combination of mouse and hotkey controls. A solid tutorial makes sure you get to grips with things soon enough.  The regular point and click affair will feel more than familiar to RPG fans, meaning you can get into the game the second you start playing.

Other controls include clicking and dragging to pull objects, using [TAB] for your inventory–where you can keep notes and check on ingredient you have to craft items with. Your health is shown in a globe at the bottom of the screen  and there’s a mana level too. As you progress, defeat enemies and perform other actions you’ll gain XP to level up. There are also maps to pick up and view with [M].

Driftmoon finds its place in the annals of RPGs somewhere inbetween Ultima and Divine Divinity (which, to be fair, isn’t exactly a bad place to  be).  There’s character customisation, but it’s a little light-weight. But really, what the game comes down to is its story.

Story is something Driftmoon does exceptionally well. It’s packed full of imagination and humour. It’s goofie, and sometimes kinda stupid, but if you love imagination as much as I do, then you’ll fall in love with it.

The imagination shown in the story is matched by the characters. Your skills and your foes have been crafted carefully with much thought going into their design.

Of course, this imagination would be worth nothing without good graphics. The graphics aren’t jaw-droppingly spectacular, but they’re certainly pleasing. It’s colourful and bright, bringing its fairytale heart to life with charm.

The weaker side of Driftmoon comes from the more technical elements of the game design. The interface isn’t design particularly well, and at times the AI can be frustrating . But these are minor points.

What Driftmoon comes down to is imagination and charm.  If you’re the sort of gamer that loves a game full of personality, highly imaginative characters, intelligent humour and occasional goofinees, then you’re really going to love Driftmoon.

Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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