Loren the Amazon Princess – PC
Developer: Winter Wolves
Publisher: Winter Wolves
Release Date: January 15, 2014
Genre: Romance RPG (Turn-based)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10
Reviewed by Malefico
Loren the Amazon Princess is a fantasy, romance turn-based RPG done up in classic old-school style. Recently released by a studio that already has a good number of dating sims and a variety of romance RPG titles available, Loren puts a little twist on the classic genre. Loren the Amazon Princess is the chief protagonist of the story, but you (the player) are not her. Instead you play the role of Saren, a human male slave of the Amazonians or Elenor, a elven female who was discovered by the Amazons young and helpless and brought into Loren’s tribe, also as a servant.
The story line follows Loren’s quest to find her mother, who has disappeared from The Citadel, capitol of the Amazon Empire and to choose sides in a war between good and evil. Along the way, the game offers players the opportunity to forge a diverse party of adventurers to help Loren find her mother, and eventually love with one of several possible characters introduced throughout the story.
Loren The Amazon Princess uses a point-and click interface to perform every action in the game. Movement, combat and character interactions are all easily accomplished. Two basic game types are available, Standard and Tactics, which differ in the number of initial skills, how quickly skills progress, and how experience is earned. Three levels of difficulty are available, and the difficulty can be adjusted at any point in the game.
The menus are easily navigated and intuitive. Although Winter Wolves has included a comprehensive Help feature, it’s really not necessary unless you’ve never played an RPG before. Everything is laid out so that fans of the RPG genre will find it easy to jump in and make progress. All the standard elements are present and familiar- combat, quests, leveling, towns, vendors, rest, and movement are all recognizable and work according to genre “standards”.
Character classes are limited to either Warrior or Thief. No matter what class you choose, your secondary talent tree will be that of the Hero, giving you a range of healing and buff abilities as you progress. NPCs who join the party will consist of various warrior, thief and rogue classes with various secondary talents that will add flexibility to the party’s capabilities. Like all RPGs, players can view their character’s stats, equipment, hit points, spell points, and character talent trees throughout the game. Likewise, inventory menus function as expected in the genre and the party uses a shared inventory system that makes gearing up fairly painless.
The game arrays two tiers of the player’s party, up to six characters against opponents when combat occurs. The player will have the opportunity to rearrange their fighters, or substitute reserve troops once he/she has accrued more than six total. This allows one to tailor the group to meet specific challenges throughout the game.
Damage is restored after combat, but of course players can use potions and scrolls as well as character abilities during a battle to keep the troops healthy. During some portions of the game, players will be tasked with working their way through multiple encounters without rest, or by choosing to heal between fights at the cost of facing tougher opponents as the sequence progresses.
Characters level after a fight, and the player must assign new skill points and talents before proceeding. However, one can always elect to have the engine assign points and talents in lieu of manual selection.
Movement in Loren The Amazon Princess is accomplished via a world map, with new areas revealed as the story progresses. While on the road, the party usually encounters wandering monsters but the player can choose to evade the combat in order to reach a destination. Upon reaching a new site and advancing the plot, characters can rest and buy specialty items from local vendors. The party can also complete tasks to level various characters and raise the party’s local reputation for discounted prices at the local shop.
The romance aspect of the game can be furthered by talking to various party members. Keeping pace with today’s society, Winter Wolves has included romantic possibilities for folks of all orientations, which I thought was very egalitarian of them. Also a smart business decision to appeal to a wider audience.
Enemies are vanilla fantasy RPG fare. In addition to the usual suspects, players will face a number of boss fights throughout the game. The challenge of the boss fights varies, but generally scales well as the story progresses and these can usually be won without too much trouble. At any point, players can change the difficulty of the game.
Fans of manga will appreciate the art in Loren The Amazon Princess. Although the game uses fairly mundane backgrounds and the animations are limited to a shift in the character’s posture and changes in facial expression, the quality of the art is high, characters are well-drawn and the game will not tax any computer’s graphics capabilities.
Sound effects are limited, and the music can quickly become tiresome- luckily some nerd invented the potentiometer. In fairness, the music is not terrible, just not varied enough to keep it from getting repetitive after a while..
Since the game introduces the element of romance, character interactions are crucial to the story line, and Loren’s plot branches off at crucial points in the game based on player choices. NPCs who join the party also change based upon the path the story takes, though core characters (the ones who offer romantic possibilities) generally remain throughout.
The Bottom Line
Loren The Amazon Princess reminded me of older turn-based RPG efforts in that movement and combat interfaces are simple, like those you would find on Genesis or the original PlayStation albeit with much better art. Especially during battles, I was taken on a nostalgic trip back to a simpler time.
It’s definitely a story-driven title. Even the player’s initial character statistics are based on choices made during creation, rather than random generation. Additionally, in-game dialogue (advanced through panels, no voice-over) is lengthy and does a decent job of providing character backstory and providing the framework of character personalities, motivation and overt or covert agendas.
I really liked the fact that the game can be saved at any point, even during a fight or when character interaction determines how the story will unfold. I know it’s a common feature, but it’s always appreciated to avoid backtracking through plot points or difficult battles. In fact, Loren features many useful and welcome game play features.
If you’re a fan of turn-based RPGs, you won’t find any groundbreaking mechanics in Loren The Amazon Princess. This is less an indictment of the game than of the genre in general. If you’ve played this type of game before, the spells, melee and ranged attacks, heals and buffs/debuffs will all feel very familiar.
Likewise, the characters fall into recognizable categories, for instance the petulant princess and the scheming, malevolent but ultimately foolish demon lord. The plot is fairly predictable but offers a few twists and complications throughout the story, and can branch off to change the story path, encouraging another play-through. The romance aspect of the title does add an interesting element to the game. As previously mentioned, there are romantic possibilities for everyone and there are multiple possible love interests to add replay value.
When I asked Winter Wolves for a copy of Loren to review, I didn’t even know about the romance aspect of the game. I found it on Steam and wanted to review a turn-based RPG that used a more classic interface than the more prevalent 3D perspective offered by most modern titles. A short time after I started playing, I noticed the armor the characters wore seemed to be designed more to showcase their physical attributes than actually prevent damage. When I got my first opportunity to approach Loren romantically, only then did I actually go to Winter Wolves’ site and realize I was playing a game with a romantic element.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the visuals… Not just the assortment of scantily clad women, all the art is solid. I can’t fault the game for the relatively simplistic animations in and out of combat, that simply added to its old-school charm for me.
Loren The Amazon Princess is a well-done modern rendition of the classic turn-based RPG. It combines attractive art with solid game mechanics and the possibility for anyone to find love with an exotic partner. It offers players the chance to alter the plot at key points, provides a wide variety of party members and abilities so all fans can find combinations to suit their style of play, and encourages players to run through the game more than once to reveal a different outcome.
Available on Winter Wolves’s site and through Steam, Loren is worth the price of admission. The developers released additional DLC with Loren and a bit more two weeks ago.
7 out of 10 (And now, having successfully avoided putting my pig snout on during this entire review, I’ll now don it briefly and say this. The game would be a 9 out of 10 if you could end up with Loren AND her cougar mom, and what the hell, throw the “Elder” Druid nymph in as well. Go big or go home, right?)
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