BEVONTULE Hands-On: Liminal Effort = Maximum Results

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So, what’s a BEVONTULE, you ask? Well, first of all… you’ve very likely pronounced it wrong, so let’s go get that sorted. It’s Bay-von-chu-lay, and you quick thinking speed reading link clickers already know it’s an in-progress Unity 3D engine tactical RPG by a very dedicated team of two Portsmouth, OH natives, Derek Bradley and Andy Fenton. The Unity-powered game has been in development for a while and the recent demo kept me quite busy for a few hours. “Wait, a few HOURS?” you ask? Yep. As no save system was implemented and the gameplay was pretty solid, I kept at it and kept my laptop humming away for about four hours or so.

Granted, the demo can be completed in less time if you’re good at leveling up properly and can survive a pretty nasty boss battle. But my play style leaned heavily on hoofing it all the way back to a village you might not discover when playing the demo unless you turn around and make a beeline for it before you venture too far into danger. The spot has a few shops, an inn to heal up at and some nice treasures to find that help the cross-map journey considerably. You’ll also be able to pick up and turn in a few item fetch quests that make hoofing it back to worthwhile. Finally, heading to town resets the enemies outside, which means you can choose to fight or flee from them.

Yep, more often then not I chose to fight. Hey, a guy’s gotta level up, right?

There’s a tactical, turn-based combat system that’s fun to use and in this work in progress build, not paying attention can get your party wiped out pretty quickly. Battles take a bit of time and turns to play out, which gives you the opportunity to play with the different offensive and defensive skills. While the battles are challenging and enjoyable, neither friend nor foe has a sneak option, which would make ambushes and avoidance a very useful game mechanic. Granted, you can surprise roaming enemies and be surprised by those that pop from the ground in some spots. But the game isn’t close to being complete, so I’m sure the dynamic dev team is open to suggestions.

My other suggestions would be updated character and NPC models, particularly in the case of the somewhat too similar-looking village residents. Being able to enter houses would also be peachy, if only so that the citizens can store those treasure chests indoors away from sticky hero fingers. For the most part, the game looks great, with massive, detailed environments and a great draw distance. It’s clear there’s a long way to go before this comes out of the oven, but it’s definitely in the right hands and cooking up pretty darn well. It’s also a case of a game getting a few playable demos that all show progression and sincere dedication to making a top-shelf RPG that will hopefully appear on multiple platforms.

If you want to give the game a shot, check it out via the link above. All of the demos are really good, but just don’t expect to save your progress. I think the guys may add that ability in the future, as what’s here is definitely worth going back to a few times.

-GW

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