|Why even teleport? I could just start a new game of Vibrant Story.|
In only forty-six seconds, Vibrant Story puffs its chest out, arches its back slightly, then takes a huge, sweaty dump on the creative medium that gaming wants so badly to be. "No," Vibrant Story defiantly announces, "games really are for fifteen-year-old Japanophiles and their friends. No artistic legitimacy here."
I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.
Vibrant Story is an independently developed "game production" created by one Thomas C. Morrow. How do I know Thomas C. Morrow made it? Because he (Thomas C. Morrow) credited himself (Thomas C. Morrow) no fewer than nine times before the game ended. "But if a creator has the confidence to flamboyantly paint his name all over something," you wonder aloud, "surely it must reflect its superior quality?"
You're so goddamn wrong.
Pick an aspect of the game and Vibrant Story will go out of its way to disappoint you in it. The writing? I'll let the game speak for itself:
And the game's completely moving and not at all absurd ending:
Spoiler alert! A guy who acts like a murderous, power hungry dickhead in the first minute of the game ends up being a muderous, power hungry dickhead at its conclusion! The "twist" ending is made more ridiculous by the fact that Zach is regularly invited to cook meals for people in their own homes and rescue people from swamps. Because that's what demonic, ill-intentioned supernatural beings do. They make pizzas for people and steal wishing orbs from other poorly written characters. Oh, and the chick's parents died a long time ago and she never gets to see them. Deep.
So the story is a chunky shitshow. "But," hopeful readers might point out, "plenty of games have gotten by on their mechanics alone. As long as Vibrant Story plays well, its hopelessly vapid plot won't matter." Again, Thomas C. Morrow (of Thomas C. Morrow fame) aims to disappoint the hell out of his game's players.
Take the Alchemy (crafting) System. It's pretty deep. It has to be because merchants don't sell higher tier weapons and armor. Better gear is supposed to be crafted by the player from basic items found around the world. Fair enough, but there's a major hitch in the system. You can buy any crafting material you need from the outset of the game. Worse, it's possible to buy cheap raw materials, produce a huge batch of, say, healing potions, then sell them right back to the merchant for a huge profit. This ill-gotten money can then be used to purchase the materials for the best armor and weapons in the entire game, cutting out any sense of progression.
|Pop Quiz: Which piece of gear should my character NOT be wielding at level 7?|
So the story isn't one for the ages, the crafting system eliminates any semblance of challenge, and loot is distributed with the all the stinginess of a cancerous old miser. "Tell me," naive readers might persist, "that the combat is at least satisfying on some level." To that I say No.
|Note that the above image is directly from the game, and not photoshopped by me for comic effect.|
This masochistic slapstick doesn't end with inane reflex mini-games, though. Certain special attacks crash the whole fucking game. Casting "Throw Weapon" sometimes causes the screen to go black and this window to unceremoniously appear before booting you back to desktop:
|It's like the game is trying to put itself out of its own misery. I respect that.|
It's usually at this point in a review where I'd cite something I liked about the game. With six hours and forty-seven minutes invested in this atrocity that probably less than ten people in the entire world have played, I only found one positive thing about Vibrant Story. One. And it's the most obscure thing about a game I've ever liked, loved even. Guess. Guess it. I'll wait.
For those that need it spelled out for them: No, there aren't any redeeming qualities to save Vibrant Story. I never found myself enjoying the game. The closest I came to feeling anything resembling joy was realizing that I could game the Alchemy System to mint endless cash. Even then, the crafting recipes are so convoluted that it devolved into MMO-esque grinding. The writing frequently shifts into indecipherable gibberish. The combat is tedious and unsatisfying. In so many words, this game is a blight upon the face of the earth, a no-survivor train wreck of anime face templates, hardcore music, and every wretched JRPG cliche in the book.
That said, I recommend you play Vibrant Story. Witness its shortcomings firsthand. There are so many bizarre, Lovecraftian horror scenes that I couldn't properly fit into this article. Here's a few of them:
Carry out your God-given duty. Download and play and this awful game.