Day 194: Bonded Realities

Posted: 2011/05/22 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #194, and today’s game is “Bonded Realities”.

Falling somewhere in the RPG pantheon between Earthbound and “Cthulhu Saves the World”. we have Bonded Realities, an RPG that is short on Microsoft Points (only costing 80 MSP) and long on humour that doesn’t overstay its welcome. I can’t remember a game made me literally laugh out loud, but Bonded Realities accomplished that and more, and is great value on that score alone.

First, from the developer (MikeVentron):

“Enjoy an unpredictable, wacky adventure in this turn-based RPG! Crisp graphics, quality music, hilarious dialogue and ridiculous enemies are some of the things that await you in a title that brings the classic gameplay of 8- and 16-bit RPGs into an updated look and feel!”

Like Cthulhu, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and has some quite cleverly-named enemies. The story’s a bit non-sensical at times, but that’s deliberate and consistent throughout the game. At times Bonded Realities really seems like something built from the ground up to amuse, with everything else (combat, leveling, story, etc.) simply there to move you from one bit of humour to the next.

The story has you and some of your toddler friends from the local daycare centre (“We love your children so you don’t have to”) being whisked into a fantasy world where they find themselves to be adults, ala the Chronicles of Narnia, and the “Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld” comics. There you will explore, fight enemies in turn-based battles resulting from random encounters, and other RPG tropes.

The humour never lets up. You will fight tuning forks (which the games indicate you have “silenced” when you beat them”, enemies entitled “Palette-Swapped Fireballs”, a ballerina names “Spinning Jenny”, an unmotivated opponent in “Lazy Susan”, and even a polar bear who attacks you with math.

One interesting mechanic is that you can turn off random encounters to speed through areas of the game, but doing so leaves you vulnerable to not leveling up enough to properly dispatch the level bosses. It can be useful if you find yourself needing an item in a nearby town, or unexpectedly on the losing side of a major battle in a dungeon, to be able to safely get out of harm’s way temporarily. If you want to further explore previously visited areas, it’s really nice not to have to trudge through mountains of random encounters. The game also lets you save at any point, and on occasion will even suggest you do so.

The charm and humour of this game alone makes it worth 80 Microsoft Points, and helps give it broader appeal than just RPG fans. RPG fans will definitely find things to like here, but non-fans should also consider downloading the free trial for the humour and atmosphere.

Click here to download, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.


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