Cthulhu Saves the World Review

While, as the writer rightly notes, the price point is so enticing that few people will actually check for reviews, Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker has dedicated one of their customary "Wot I Think" scoreless reviews to the indie RPG Cthulhu Saves the World, coming away pretty pleased with the title. Here's a sampling:
The core idea is enough to sell it, really. The mighty Cthulhu, after centuries asleep under the sea, rises once more to destroy the Earth. Except he's instantly zapped by a wizard, who removes all his powers. The only way to get them back, he learns from listening to the game's narrator, is to become a true hero.

And so it is that you set off on a paradoxical attempt to regain evil powers by being as virtuous as possible. A theme that allows the game to justify those silliest of RPG tropes, where your central character so selflessly takes on the tasks and quests of any passerby. Here the impotent Cthulhu is motivated to do anything that society might perceive as good natured by his ultimate goal of killing everyone in the world.

This comes in the form of a top-down, old-school RPG, reminiscent of Nintendo classics, as you wander pixel lands, visit pixel towns, and conquer pixel caves, all in the search of heroic deeds. And while it's undoubtedly a spoof, it also remembers to be a coherent, detailed RPG in its own right. The variety of monsters to fight alone is utterly extraordinary. However far through the game I may be, and I've been playing for many hours, I've encountered literally hundreds of unique enemies, each with particular fighting styles, their own mini-bios, animations, and a special look for when Cthulhu turns them insane.

And combat is pleasingly detailed. While Cthulhu starts off pretty underpowered, you're immediately joined by Umi, a (maiden) you rescue, who turns out to think your tentacled face is incredibly attractive, swooning as she follows you around. She also comes equipped with some impressive abilities, including the ability to put enemies to sleep during battle. Later your party gets busier, with increasingly odd characters coming along for the ride, meaning that combat becomes even more complex. Each character has a basic attack, then Tech and Magic abilities. These get added to as you level up, with two-way choices given for each character. Do you take a new spell that attacks multiple enemies more weakly, or focuses on one very strongly? Perhaps you'll choose between increasing your attributes, or upping your maximum hit and magic points? Then of course you need to judiciously apply them depending upon the enemies you're facing. Because battles get extremely tough, meaning you have to properly think through your attack choreography.