Voice-activated trousers sadly can’t save Strange RPG from mediocrity

A new experience: Weird RPG is the first video game to make my lips numb. My character in the action-RPG wears magic tousers that throw explosive basketball hoops every time I make a sound into my microphone. Apparently, the most DPS-efficient noise is blowing constantly to make my lips quiver like a kid pretending to be a car. Strange RPG has some fun ideas but sadly, it’s just too mundane ARPG to be really weird or good. Still, I was very happy when I found a helmet with better stats the worse your graphics card.

Brbrbrbrblrlblrlbrlr through a boss fight with voice-activated magic

Released over the weekend, Weird RPG is a small action RPG that hovers between dimensions. From fantasy jungles to a modern post-apocalyptic city full of zombies, point and click to blast the baddies and grab the loot. Violence is a light “cut and hit” with four-hit combos, dodge hits, and one or two active abilities determined by your weapon. You can unlock more weapon abilities and swap them in and out. All stats are also determined by your gear, no levels here.

Most enemies switch to a click-click-click-click-roll-click-click when they try to beat or explode you, which is okay, of course. Bosses are tougher, requiring learning attack patterns and escaping. Bosses have a kind of stance, if you damage them enough they will be stunned for a short time and become extra vulnerable – but if you go too long without damaging them they will regain balance. These boss fights can be intense and pretty fun with good gear. Oh, gear!

The stuffing base of the Strange RPG is typical ARPG gear: a set of helmets and pants in increasingly larger numbers; axes, hammers and swords in increasing numbers; and magic axes, hammers, and swords (hello, Crushing Blow!) with effects such as throwing fireballs or dealing a percentage of the enemy’s health as bonus damage. The strongest things get weirder.

Some weird stuff is sound activated: Make noise into your microphone, it will charge or trigger an effect. Some elements get stronger the worse your framerate is (you can lock the game to a lower framerate in the graphics options if you really want to). Others detect your graphics card and offer bigger bonuses to people with worse hardware. The weird rig I’ve seen includes:

  • Gloves with good stats, but changing the game’s music (“A rap song makes you strong,” the item description says, but the new song is not rap)
  • A minigun swung like a hammer and dropped a nuke to finish off his combo
  • Scarecrows that cause lightning to strike enemies when you “swore to God”
  • A good sword that offers big bonuses to bad graphics cards, but with the 3070 Ti it gave a chance to randomly die
  • Gloves that “steal the nearby enemy’s wallet” when you shout
  • A helmet that definitely offers monster stats for listening to the “song performed by game dev” at full volume, unfortunately I never saved enough to buy it
  • An AK-47 wielded like a sword firing a projectile with a voice-activated secondary weapon

Examining a pair of pants that gets worse the better your graphics card is in a weird RPG screenshot.

The worse your PC’s graphics card is, the better these pants get?

Those crappy pants how I ended up with numb lips. Unlike a sword I have, which charges with regular attacks before releasing a spray of shout-activated homing hoverwords, basketball pants can fire as often as I can make a noise. At first I liked BA BA BA with such elements: short, sharp sounds that are easy to repeat. But the AK-47 reminded me of childhood playground machine gun sounds. The tongue buzzing on the palate was not prominent enough to be properly recorded. But blowing through trembling lips, oh yeah, that’s it, that’s what gets the job done. Nonstop dunks, here we come! And after a tough boss fight, I learned that if you do this long enough, your lips will go numb. What a wealth of information.

Madness can be funny and entertaining. Voice activation sounds like an idea aimed at streamers who scream unbearably, but I found it delightfully silly to discover myself blowing raspberries in a video game. To be honest, while most of the voice-activated effects aren’t powerful enough to be useful, some of them can be very valuable, so I’d end a boss fight with a laugh. I’ve also always enjoyed discovering a ridiculous new type of effect. Unfortunately, Strange RPG runs into the same problem as many ‘comedy’ games: the jokes aren’t strong and frequent enough to carry the overwhelming rest of the game.

The strange RPG falls apart when you encounter difficulties. It’s okay to die several times in a level or take a few attempts to beat a boss. However, if you’re significantly underage for an episode, the combat isn’t interesting or deep enough for me to enjoy the challenge. Some bosses would kill me until I surrender to the grind.

Examining a helmet forcing you to listen to the developer sing in a Weird RPG screenshot.

I wish I had bought these and heard the developer’s song…?

You can return for coins and return bosses to buy powerful weapons and armor from traders, as well as regular items like potions that summon a boss to fight on your side. Grinding bosses for gear is a staple of action RPGs, but it’s not fun, interesting, or rewarding that the levels always have the same map layout and enemy placements, and the treasure chests don’t respawn. The rig doesn’t have a random distribution either, so repeated drops are just vendor garbage, never exciting or satisfying. You’ll need to grind for healing items (or gold to buy healing items) if you run out while facing a challenge yourself.

Once the grinding had equipped me enough to get through another roadblock, I’d be excited to see what new weirdness awaits and enjoy this mild hack ‘n’ slash violence. But then I crashed into another piece that I had sub-rigged and my healing was gone and… ah.

I was near the end of the game (judging by the achievements) and was fighting a boring tanky boss when my save file got corrupted. Alright. I finished. To repeat all this, I will not start with a new save. I wonder what will happen just yet, but I don’t believe it will be worth the effort after six hours. Yet I will always remember the time when voice-activated pants numbed my lips.

#Voiceactivated #trousers #sadly #save #Strange #RPG #mediocrity

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