There are times when I really want to like a game and really want to recommend that people play it. The game looks great and has a fun story and world to play in, but there are just so many core features that confuse me or just drive me nuts and I can’t for the life of me recommend it to anyone. This is my experience with Reaper by Hexage.
Reaper is a gorgeous game. The visuals are very striking and well drawn. The sounds effects and the music are great. The story line is a lot of fun to follow and explore. I love the monsters the game has you fighting. But there are just so many confusing aspects to core areas of the game and some very strange UI decisions that I am left wondering if I am actually enjoying the game.
Let me begin with the beginning. I downloaded the game over the weekend and played about an hour or so. I got a few battles in and then ended up at the first item shop. This is where I encountered the first major problem of the game. The item shop has some of the most convoluted controls I have ever seen in a game.
In most games, the item shop consists of two distinct menus, a buy menu and a sell menu. Each menu lists the items for purchase or the items for sale and the price of them. You select the item confirm the transaction and its done. That is not how Reaper works.
In Reaper, both menus are in the same window. You navigate the list of items to buy using the right thumbstick and purchase with the right shoulder button. To navigate your existing inventory, you use the left thumbstick to navigate the equipment categories and the directional pad to navigate all the items in that category. You hit the left shoulder button to sell. Do you understand that? No. Neither did I for much of the game. Buying and selling items should never be this convoluted.
At this point, you can easily tell that this game was designed specifically for touch interfaces and the developer tried to make it work with a controller with no real success.
After figuring out how to buy and sell, which took me a lot of trial and error, I left the shop and hit the next problem immediately. Up until this point, the game had kind of held my hand as I progressed along the world map and through the beginning of the story. But now, I was looking at having to traverse across the map to a story node that was not preselected. I could not figure out how to get to it. I kept trying what I had thought I had been doing up till that point but kept reentering the item shop. So I gave up for a couple of days.
When I came back to playing, I figured out the right button to hit to navigate to the next story nodes and began to play the game some more. But I quickly hit another issue with the game. I had a bunch of money now and wanted to upgrade my equipment. It was at this point that I realized I had no idea how to get back to the shop. The button I had been pressing to get to the story nodes only took me to story nodes. I could not get it to select the shop. I had to google for an answer to how to do this.
Turns out that to go to a node other than a story node, you use the right thumbstick to move a cursor over it and then depress the thumbstick to select it. That is not intuitive at all.
At this point I am probably ranting. The game just frustrated me that much. But one final issue I had was with the conversations UI. Whenever you are talking to someone, the background the text is overlaid onto is a very dark color. When selecting a response to a request, the highlight is a slightly darker box around the text. It is very hard to tell which one you are highlighting.
Before I close this out, I want to explain one last thing. How does buying work? In the main menu, you have the option to upgrade the game. In this upgrade menu, there are three options. Each one gives you a set of content. The first and cheapest option is labeled as the “Full Game”. I am sure that you get to move beyond the level cap and continue to play the game if you buy it, but since there are two other purchase options with further content, it seems odd to call the cheapest option the “Full Game”. The other options provide unique item sets, side quests and an arena. I have no problem selling the game this way. The problem I have is that it is not clear at all what happens if I just buy the cheapest option. If I spend $2.99 on that, do I get a $2.99 discount if I decide I want to get the most expensive package later? Or am I completely locked out of that other content unless I pay full price? The game does not explain that at all.
In the end, I found the game to be great to look at, the story line to be fun to follow, but the game left me so confused and frustrated that there is no way I can recommend anyone buy it.
What you get for free: The Game Up Until Character Level 10
What you unlock for paying: Three Different Content Tiers
Cost to unlock: $2.99 – $4.99