Save me Cthulhu!
Cthulhu Saves the World is an Xbox Live Indie Game which was originally released on December 30th, 2010 but was only recently released on July 14th, 2011 on Steam‘s digital distribution network. It was here that I re-discovered the memories of the many lost hours of my childhood, spent cross-legged in front of the TV with a bowl of potato chips in my lap, a glass of juice on the floor by my side, a controller in my hands and a look of contentment on my face. A time that thanks to Cthulhu Saves the World I could once again enjoy.
Developed by Zeboyd Games, Cthulhu is a throwback to the old school turn-based RPGs of yore with a splash of self-aware humor. The game starts off with Cthulhu rising from the depths of his underwater city called R’lyeh to destroy the world only for him to be stripped of his powers by a mysterious stranger wielding a magical staff. It is then that, thanks to the narrator, Cthulhu discovers that he can reclaim his powers if he becomes a “true hero” and saves the world after which he promptly intends to destroy it himself. So here begins Cthulhu’s quest to destroy the world by saving it, accompanied by some saving of damsels in distress, old men who can’t remember anything, talking magical swords and weird alien cats.
The gameplay itself is similar to your traditional turn-based RPG but with a few changes. Still remaining are the random battles but these have now been limited to 25 per dungeon after which the player can choose to initiate a fight to grind out some experience or continue on the quest without any further hassles. Within the battles themselves more changes have been made to add a little more depth, namely the combo counter which will increase the effectiveness and overall damage specific spells and abilities can deal as well as enemies you face getting stronger by 10% for every turn they survive, so balancing out your combo counter and attacks so you can quickly defeat your enemies is a fairly crucial part to the battle system. Also, gone are the long treks back and forth between towns, now replaced by a warp system that allows you to teleport to any town you’ve previously visited as well as the ability to save anywhere. All this adds up to a refreshingly enjoyable experience, giving you a taste of the nostalgic old school gameplay without the hassles of needing to grind out levels and invest hours upon hours of time running back and forth through the world. With that said the game still gives players a decent 5-8 hours of gameplay which is a hefty amount of game for the piddly amount of $2.99USD (Currently on sale for $2.69USD bundled with BoD VII).
The soundtrack will be quite pleasing to those who remember the old SNES genre of RPGs and definitely adds to the experience in a more than satisfying way while still being fresh.
Now, the game while great fun is not perfect, the level designs of the dungeons usually seemed a little too complex and when textures look the same no matter what level of the dungeon you are on and when you’re the kind of person who likes to explore every nook and cranny before moving on then it’s likely you will get lost which is far too frustrating since I am the kind of person who likes to explore.
While Cthulhu Saves the World was a game I thoroughly enjoyed, it is not a game for everyone. The turn-based RPG genre is a fairly niche market to appeal to these days and to those not familiar with it, first impressions usually aren’t very flattering. As someone who grew up with this style of gameplay, it was a very welcome trip back in time but whether or not it can translate into modern expectations is something I am not sure of. Still if you have the coin spare and are willing to give something different to your usual fanfare of first person/third person war shooters a try, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend trying out Cthulhu Saves the World, the story is quite charming and the gameplay is pretty simple but it makes for a fairly enjoyable lighthearted experience.