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Game Info:

Zeran’s Folly
Developed By: Myroid-Type Comics
Published By: Myroid-Type Comics
Released: October 6, 2017
Available On: Windows
Genre: Action-Adventure, 2D Platformer
ESRB Rating: No Rating
Number of Players: 1
Price: $9.99 (via Steam), Free (Standard download via IndieDB)

Thank you Myroid-Type Comics for the review code.

Steam as of recently has been releasing loads of games, some of questionable quality on their platform. Not all of the games that will be released will be good, let alone functional, but it also gives the option of lesser known games to reach a wider audience that it otherwise were unable to. Zeran’s Folly is one of those low profile games that tend to get buried underneath the titanic releases.

Zeran’s Folly stars an amnesiac named Lone, who wakes up on an island. He doesn’t remember how he got there nor why he was there in the first place, but he knows he has to collect various artifacts to restore his lost memories. Along the journey, he comes across numerous characters who aid him. Zeran’s Folly is a 2D action-adventure platfomer with seven worlds to explore, seven playable characters, and enemies that want you dead. When the game begins, you only have control of Lone, but as you continue the story, you will come across three other main characters important to the narrative, while the remaining three characters are purely optional and one would have to complete some sort of side quest to unlock them. Characters can be swapped with the simple press of a button, at any point of the game, except for specific story moments.

The game puts a pretty heavy emphasis on platforming, as there are many obstacles in the way. The movement is very responsive which is great for a platfomer as the character controls how you want it to. The combat is pretty simple, as there is only one button used to attack, and if the button is held, the character can use a focus attack (that ability is locked at first) or if the down direction is held while pressing attack, one can use a slide technique. It may have a simple control scheme, but the game has quite the layers to it, as many actions affect your character’s momentum. For example, if one uses the slide off a ledge, the character will rocket in the direction. Utilizing the mechanics of the game, one can go very fast through the world. The health system runs off of hearts, where most attacks do half a heart and few can do up to two hearts worth of damage. At the beginning, you start off with four hearts, but can obtain up to ten.

Zeran’s Folly
Highlights:

Strong Points: Smooth and responsive platforming and combat mechanics, a nice color pallet and cute art style that breathes life into the world, multiple playable characters that can be swapped between instantly.
Weak Points: Field of view is rather small which can lead to some cheap moments, a rather meh story that ends very abruptly, enemy variety is rather lacking.
Moral Warnings: A very crude and degenerate game that shows and mentions various things such as jokes of a sexual nature, nudity, strong language, and violence. Game features Templars that are portrayed as the bad guys.

Upgrades for your character exist such as rings which follow a level up system and can also be upgraded. The rings can give your character bonus effects such as a higher chance to spawn hearts or being able to stick to walls. Each character also has talents, that unlike rings are unique to the specific character that earns them. Talents are obtained by talking to certain NPCs as certain characters so its a good choice in the overworld to talk to characters multiple times. Each character also has various outfits to buy and unlock, but they only make a cosmetic difference and are there for visual preference.

The death mechanics of the game are of an infinite spawn variety, as there are various monoliths called Whisper Stones that act as checkpoints. These stones also act as your teleporters throughout the dungeons. When one dies, they are simply brought back to the last checkpoint touched (as there is no life system) while all progress obtained such as keys, and treasure is kept. This has given the developer the liberty to make the game quite challenging as there is generally little penalty for dying except for just doing certain parts over. It posses enough to give a good challenge for a seasoned player to enjoy themselves, but casual players can also backtrack to restock on supplies if a situation is too tough for them.

The art style is colorful and vibrant, giving the world life. The scenery is also pretty good as the areas do have a lot of variation from one other. The characters have a cuteness to them that is rather charming. The music is also catchy, consisting of many rock based tracks unique to the game. It suits the tone, but it's nothing that you'll be humming in your mind when taking a stroll.

I said plenty of good things about the game, but it is not without its fair share of flaws. There were some points where platforms were hard to see. It was almost like the platforms blended into the background, which annoyed me quite a bit, especially when this was encountered early on. The field of view is rather small. For some platformers, this isn’t a huge deal, but for a game that requires up and down movement as well as left and right, this can lead to some rather frustrating moments. The game utilizes a lot of spikes, pits and enemies attacking off screen which means one can be subjected to some rather cheap forms of damage as well as leaps of faith. The enemy variety also stinks as after the second dungeon, you’ve pretty much seen all the enemy variety and the rest of the game simply has color and pallet swaps of the same enemies you’ve fought at the beginning. Typically I wouldn’t take points off for a game with a weak narrative, but the game (and the developer) seems to have taken pride in the story. There is one difficulty that lets people “enjoy the story” by giving out various bonuses at the beginning but the story doesn’t do anything unique or risky. It’s just kinda there to give the characters the excuse to move from one point to another, ending on a very abrupt note. 

Zeran’s Folly
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 74%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 20%
Violence - 2.5/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 1/10
Occult/Supernatural - 1.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 2/10
(+3 for importance of family values)

So, the game is a 2D platformer, with colorful cartoon graphics, and cute characters. You may think this game would be appropriate for all ages, but it's quite the contrary. I’d advise for all kids to stay away from this game. Zeran's Folly is very crude and prides itself on degeneracy. The game has humor in it, but its humor is heavily reliant on its crudeness. Through its dialogue, there are references to incest, pedophilia, many sexual innuendos and outright sexual acts, every swear word in the book, and a few instances of blasphemy. It doesn’t even end there: nearly every enemy when killed explodes into chunks of flesh and bones, there is a boss that looks like a certain male sexual organ, as well as a fully nude boss, and there are even sexual acts performed in the game such as urolagnia and fellatio. The game gets so crazy with its vulgarity that it even surprised me at times, and I find myself a pretty hard person to offend. There are even Templars that are portrayed as the villains and magic is pretty prominent throughout the game, where one player character is based around it. There is still more to say, but some of the things do verge into spoiler territory. It gets to the point where some may find all of it juvenile and tasteless and can drive some people away from a game that they would otherwise enjoy. Even though the game relies on offensive humor, it does uphold good values on friends and family.

Zeran’s Folly is a pretty unique case. There exists a free version to download off the internet so that people can try it out, but the free version lacks things that the Steam version does. The Steam version gets updates, a new game+ option, an optional randomly generated dungeon to explore, and the three optional player characters.

When playing through this game, I felt an odd sense of nostalgia. It reminded me of my past when I used to play those silly flash games on websites such as Newgrounds or AddictingGames. Everything about it reminds me of a flash game, from the presentation, the look, and even the raunchy humor, but with a bit more finesse and polish. For me it hit just enough marks that I can safely say I enjoyed the game. For a game made by one person, its pretty competent. The fast pace and tight control can satisfy fans of platfomers, and even through the game only takes 7-10 hours for a standard playthrough, there's plenty to come back for, such as NG+, the extra dungeons, collecting all the abilities, rings, characters, outfits or even the achievements. It does have some rather annoying issues to stop it from being an exceptional platform game as well as its crude humor and explicitness alienates a fair share of players but for a game made by one person, it’s a good and enjoyable time for the ones who either enjoy or are indifferent towards ostentatious games.


-Cinque Pierre

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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