Game Spotlight: Cthulhu Saves the World

Lovecraftian lore or the Cthulhu mythos, for those who are blissfully unaware, is a terrifying series of books created by author H.P. Lovecraft. These horror books explore monsters known as Eldritch beings, powerful and godlike demons each taking on a warped and sickening form. Chances are that if you haven’t heard of Lovecraft, you have at least heard of one of these Eldritch beings: Cthulhu. One of the most well-known Eldritch beings in mainstream media, Cthulhu is a winged demon with the visage of a squid. It is said that simply being in his presence can cause a man to go insane. So what happens when this monstrous abomination is put in a humorous light? Cthulhu saves the world, that’s what!

In this classic turn-based RPG, Cthulhu rises from the sea only to have his demonic powers stripped by a mysterious wizard before he can start conquering the world. The only way Cthulhu can regain his powers is if he becomes a true hero and saves the world. So, Cthulhu sets out to save the world in an epic quest… just so he can conquer it when he breaks the curse! On paper, the concept sounds ridiculous… and is even more so in the actual game! The story doesn’t do anything special; most of the time you just work your way through the nearest dungeon for some reason given by a nearby town such as a strange illness or a dragon and sometimes even just to progress to the next place on the map. The game doesn’t really need a special and epic story though, the writing for each of the party members that join you throughout the game ensures a big story isn’t needed.

Over time, Cthulhu is joined by several companions: seven in total each with their own unique personalities. You can only have four members in your party at one time however and Cthulhu always has to be the first member because otherwise he wouldn’t be the one doing the heroic deeds and wouldn’t be able to get rid of the curse. Thankfully all party members gain experience and level up regardless of whether they take part in battles or not.  Some of my favourites party members are the goth mage October, the alien cat Paws and the old yet clueless Dacre. It is amusing seeing all these radically different characters interact with one another and there is a chat option in the menu just so you can watch them talk among themselves at several points in the game. Almost every bit of dialogue in the game is filled with some joke or reference and you can’t help smiling at every single one.

The gameplay is taken out of a classic turn-based fantasy RPG such as Final Fantasy but with a few unique twists. One of these is the ability to build up a combo. As you attack enemies you add to your combo for every individual strike. Certain moves known as combo breakers have the capability to deal massive damage depending on how high your combo is and I found myself building my combo up until I could deal enough damage to finish off a boss with a final epic strike. They felt almost useless however in normal random battles and I only really used them in boss fights. This brings me to the next twist. After a certain amount of battles you will stop getting randomly assaulted by normal enemies every few steps in a dungeon. I was incredibly thankful for this feature because as someone who likes exploring every inch of a dungeon and collecting everything in it, this made it much more bearable, especially in the more maze-like dungeons. You can still choose to manually fight some normal enemies by manually selecting the fight option in the menu meaning grinding is still possible if you are having trouble with a boss. Finally, there is the unite techniques. Depending on the members you have in your party and the order they are in you can perform various “unite” techniques that use up the turn of two of your members but have the capability for colossal damage and punishing status effects. This encourages experimentation and means you can find a use for all of the party members.

Unfortunately, the base game is woefully short at around 7-10 hours but the generous helping of bonus content more than make up for this. First is the Cthulhu’s Angels bonus campaign. Cthulhu is too lazy to save the world and break the curse himself so he just gets a group of girls to do it for him. I say “bonus campaign” but it is more like a modded base game with a new story(kind of) with new dialogue, bosses, music and playable characters as well as a harder difficulty. Most things remain the same however such as the map, areas towns, most of the dungeons and normal enemies within them making for relatively the same experience with a different story. Nevertheless, it was fun to play through and will probably take a little less time than the main campaign due to the prior knowledge of the world and dungeon layout. There are also a few bonus modes and features such as a bestiary, highlander mode(only one person in a party at a time), score attack mode, overkill mode and a developers commentary which was quite interesting to read as I worked through the game. Finally, you also get a second game: Breath of Death VII which I will cover at another time.

Overall, Cthulhu Saves the World is a refreshing addition to the turn-based RPG genre with its great writing, unique twists to the genre and awesome music.Despite being short, the large amount of bonus content lengthen the playtime quite a bit and for the cheap, cheap price of £2 it is MORE than worth it. I highly recommend it.

Pros:

  • Great writing
  • Cheap
  • Humorous characters and dialogue
  • Generous amount of bonus content
  • Awesome music
  • Good graphics and art
  • Creative enemies and bosses
  • Classic gameplay with unique twists

Cons:

  • Base game is quite short
  • Cthulhu’s Angels is more of the same
  • Very few achievements or collectibles

Verdict: 9/10

Get it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/107310/

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