TL;DR: Guns, spells, swords, politics, and linear pixely fun. Download here.
Welcome to the second article in the Free Fun series, bringing you great free gaming experiences every month. This month’s game is The Spirit Engine 2, a side-scrolling fantasy RPG available for Windows.
Thanks to StrategyWiki for the header image.
The Spirit Engine 2 is a fantasy role-playing game created by Mark Pay. It’s a linear 2D JRPG style game. You lead a party of three on an adventure across the country of Lereftain. Most of the game is played on a two-dimensional space where you can only move left or right. No platforming of any kind (sorry MapleStory fans). It follows the JRPG style in that there is a local map and a world map, combat is real-time but cooldown-based, and it’s very linear. Let’s get started!
The story revolves around your party members as well as Lereftain’s relations with its neighbour Yaegara. Like the gameplay, the dialogue in this game is very linear. Every dialogue box has two options: one to skip the dialogue and the other to proceed. The dialogue itself is finely written, developing your party members and also a sinister plot between the neighbouring nations. Your party of three is hand-picked from a group of nine. Each person has his/her own dialogue and personality. This gives the game nine different characters to discover and 27 party combinations to choose. One possible downside is that the dialogue is all text-based so there is a lot of reading. The Spirit Engine 2 also has lots of background music. I would often have the game running in the background while writing this recommendation and the music is great to listen.
Your role in this game is to command your party of three across Lereftain slaying various enemies and completing quests. The bulk of gameplay happens during combat. The combat in this game has a bit of a learning curve. At first, I didn’t know what I was doing at all aside from rotating my party members so they could use each other as cover. This strategy more or less worked for the first few battles I encountered. However, the combat is not nearly that linear.
After getting rolled over by three giant fireflies, I finally decided to learn how the combat system works. There’s a variety of offensive, defensive, and passive skills for each character. There are also four damage types and three creature types. Consequently, there is some strategy involved in finding skill combos that compliment your character class and party synergy. It becomes a balancing act between sustaining your party and damaging the enemy party. Being too defensive allows the enemies to regenerate through your damage while too much aggression may incapacitate your front-line or weaker party members. Later in the game, battles can drag on almost indefinitely due to healing and defensive abilities.
There are many different areas to explore and many enemies to encounter. Every enemy has its own strengths, weaknesses, and skills. These won’t be apparent until you actually encounter and fight. The diversity of enemies in this game encourages you to use many different skills and battle strategies. Aside from adjusting to the enemies, your party members also have their own strengths and weaknesses that can be supplemented by equipping items you find or purchase while adventuring. There are a lot of statistics to look at, but I go by the tried and true “more expensive = better” rule.
The game uses the classic save point system. There are statues scattered throughout the world that you can activate to save. Having your whole party incapacitated is game over and you will have to load to a previous save statue. Consequently, you will lose some progress if you don’t save before a big fight or quitting. The game is fairly generous by having a save statue roughly every 10 minutes of gameplay. However hardcore players need not to worry, saving is completely optional and the game does not remind you to save before quitting.
The Spirit Engine 2 is a great linear RPG by Mark Pay. Originally a paid game, The Spirit Engine 2 became freeware in February 2010. The game showcases beautifully drawn pixel graphics, catchy atmospheric music, and great replayability with 9 different characters to choose from. Lead your party to victory and protect the peace between Lereftain and Yaegara!. You can download and play The Spirit Engine 2 for Windows here. I personally chose the “Crpyt.cx” download link. You can also listen to and/or purchase the original game soundtrack by Josh Whelchel here.
Thanks to Mark Pay for this great image and great game.