December 31st, 2011 | By Stanley Jackson
Igor Noronha is no novice when it comes to storyboarding. However, Igor, the Dane formerly employed by plot-creation authorities’ DC comics, is still far from a videogame superhero – in fact, he is wallowing in the depths of the early level Grunt and Bruiser ranks when it comes to this arena. Light Apprentice, a game he describes as currently ‘being baked in the oven’ is Noronha’s first paddle in the ocean of gaming.
Currently free to play and in the Alpha stage of testing, Light Apprentice is hoping to gain notoriety on community-funding website RocketHub, where small projects can achieve big things. Unfortunately the game, at the time of writing, only has 1% of its target $5,000 needed to take the game forward. With the right publicity though, Light Apprentice has the potential to be one of the success stories of funding-pledged games. Why? Because even in the Alpha stage Light Apprentice promises so much – it is a turn based RPG with all the credentials to become a cult hit. A niche that draws on a huge fanbase, turn based RPGS (TRPGs, SRPG, whatever you want to call them) should include all the aspects that make a fantastic singleplayer game – a solid storyline, dynamic characters with accessible personalities, engaging combat and compulsive progressions. Light Apprentice has these things in abundance.
The four characters that dominate the game possess personalities, which are instantly identifiable. There is Nate – he’s the leader. His role is to boost the team with his powerups, including extra armor and damage. We have Tlob, a small blue creature (he might be a cat, we’re not sure) who is the party’s healer and mage – he doesn’t put out much damage but his attendance is useful. The teams’ girl character is named Mya, and is instantly recognisable as being of the Daphne from Scooby-Doo strand of female characters – she doesn’t like bad smells, gross places or nasty looking creatures – she uses her charm spell (surprise surprise) and summonable giant axe for her part. Then we have the broody giant, K-Ken, who has a giant arm and uses it to hit enemies – for a lot of damage, he has high armor, too – keep K-Ken alive and you’ve got a good chance.
When the game arrives at the beta stage, these characters will be more dynamic and I’m sure will undertake their own unique paths – the Light Apprentice, being made by a comic book creator, and inspired by a comic book (named Light Apprentice Nate), is bound to have a fair share of drama along the way.
To progress through levels, your party must clear what is in their way – usually Orcs. Each player on your side, and then on the enemies’, has one dice roll per turn. The number on the die reflects how many Action Points that character gains. The Action Points, used for most of the possible outcomes of the turn, can either be used up there and then, or stored (up to 10 of them anyway) for later in the level. The possible actions range from magic, (either healing or damage spells) using potions to heal or buff your teammates, or attacking with a physical weapon – to be successful, a balance of all three must be struck.
Strategy is refreshingly important – if you allow your mage to take damage you will quickly learn how squishy he can be, or if the tank (K-Ken) strays into the range of enemy wizards, his weaknesses will be exposed.
The group dynamic is pliable and engaging – chess-like formations are necessary to keep your clan out of trouble whilst ensuring maximum damage, largely due to the fact that attacking moves have an area of effect which can also damage your own team, if they are standing too close.
Like any game that is yet to be Beta tested, there are problems – the menus will need some work and so too will the camera settings. There is also the slightly annoying ease at which a player is able to select himself for an attack rather than an enemy, without any sort of warning – I don’t think many people want to use their attack points to attack themselves.
These problems are all fairly minor and could surely be dealt with relatively painlessly – the most important thing at this stage is the quality and potential of the game, which is itself, almost instantly apparent. Light Apprentice is an indie game that RPG connoisseurs will, I’m sure, be keeping a keen eye on.
You can play the Light Apprentice for free right here.
More information on Light Apprentice, the comic books and game, can be found at the developer’s official website.
If you wish to donate to Light Apprentice, please head on over to its RocketHub page.