3 Hours of Nostalgia
Breath of Death VII is an indie title released back in 2010 on the XBLIG service, where it and its compatriot "Cthulhu Saves the World" noticed decent to okay success. With its rerelease on Steam for a meager $2.99 with CStW it exploded, and how could I resist? So I plunged into the depths of this RPG knowing full well I was in for a 16-bit RPG...and boy does it satisfy.
Where the game shines is its humor, fast-paced and enjoyable combat, and music. The humorous aspect of this game is entirely questionable, because unless you have serious knowledge of early-mid 90's RPGs, this game will seem like a mess of poorly named characters and towns, and complete non-sequiturs. The other two features are incredibly enjoyable across the board. The combat is very fast if you understand how each of your spells and abilities work, and especially what weapons to use in the game. Despite the seemingly shallowness to the game, there is a certain depth to it that can break the game entirely (such as the high-level multi-hit and multi-target spells) or just make the game more enjoyable - even if you just love to mash Enter for a majority of random encounters.
The music is a fairly referential component as well. Everything about it smells of Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy, and it really couldn't be better. To most people it just comes off as well-written music (or comedic gold, as in the case of the Fanfare...truly), but the battle music is so highly reminiscent of something straight out of an early FF game it's terrifying. The story in the game is sort of dumb, or really all dumb, but that's almost the point in this sort of parody, right? The characters are interesting and quite funny as well, Dem (Bones?) is a strangely effective protagonist.
Where the game screws up is unfortunately a very bad one. Length and the dungeons in the game. The dungeons are all extraordinarily linear, except for jutting paths that either lead to dead-ends or a treasure chest filled with exorbitant amounts of gold (seriously, inflation in Motherbound is apparently a bitch). While this was something featured in older SNES RPGs, generally the paths seemed to only be very few and far between, and this games throws roughly 4-5 in every single dungeon of the game, and it gets even worse in the optional dungeons; minus one with concentric pathways. As if trying to say, "Hiya, we're totally a SNES RPG man!!!!" it cripples itself from a totally positive review.
This could all be forgiven if this wasn't all for naught as the game took me roughly 3 hours to finish. I mean, I get the point, that this game would have been either garbage or very poorly received if it forced itself to last 20 hours, but with completing literally everything in the game I have 3 hours and some change. I shouldn't have to deal with dumb backtracking and bad mazes for 3 hours and unsatisfying finish.
The game is well put together, has wonderfully quick yet somewhat strategic combat, and doesn't wear out its welcome but amid the stupid dungeon pathways and a slightly too-short storyline I can't really recommend it. Oh, except for the fact that it and CStW are a combo pack for $2.99. For that amount of money, you can make that in a third of an hour people, EVERYONE should be at least trying these games. Maybe you'll find it just as enjoyable, or maybe just buy it for the CStW that comes with it, which will get a review as well. Stay tuned!