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'Small Saga' - a simple RPG with a grand story

Edited by GreenReaper as of Sun 24 Mar 2024 - 20:46
Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Small Saga I remember when I first saw the animation of a rat vagabond flipping out the blade of a Swiss army knife, standing before a large orange cat on a kitchen floor. And ever since that day, I looked forward to playing this game. Of course, this came out in a time when ideas and funding campaigns were plenty, and many ideas never made it past that point. So let’s just say, I lacked faith that I’d ever see more than the wonderfully stylized and animated videos.

I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. The team behind this game persevered and gave me a pleasant surprise when the game was finally announced to be released in late 2023. But now that it is out, was the game worth all the hype?

In short, if you like your RPGs with challenging combat, then you may find this one too easy. However, if you play these games for the story, characters, setting, and intrigue, then this one is one that any furry would be loath to miss. In fact, if you’re a regular to this site you probably played it already.

Fluid mechanics, a bit on the easier side

Not all role playing games come in equal packages. Some have wonderful stories and art that immerses the player in a strange world, having them play a “role” in that story as it were. Others test your tactical prowess and test your ability to utilize each team member to their fullest potential.

While Small Saga has unique characters who absolutely play a role to the unit, the battles never get too difficult that an experienced player would have absolutely no problem having a run without a game over. There is some room for customization, but it’s mostly what kind of skills and stats level up. The role of each character is defined, you just get to choose the flavor.

The mechanics of having all actions use points creates an interesting situation where if you don’t use the resource properly you may find that you have to have the character rest up a bit by using the defend command, the only free action. However, managing it is simple, especially once you realize you should prioritize these command points in the skill selection screen.

This means that for the most part, there isn’t really a mechanical reason to replay it. You’ll more than likely unlock the same skills in the same order, particularly in the early game. But gamers have a way of making their own challenges and restrictions for games they love. And like a good book, there's another reason you’d want to replay this game, and that is its amazing story.

Exceptional writing reminiscent of animal concurrent society books

This game is the first role playing game that I can recall that has taken inspiration from stories like that of Brian Jacques (Redwall) or Robert O’Brien (Rats of NIMH). These tend to be stories where the talking animals of the story live in a society in tandem with humans, usually in our present world.

The world plays with the fact that their world is running in parallel to our own. They have unique words to describe elements within that world. Large and dangerous animals, such as cats or vulpine, are called titans. Humans are called Gods, and there is a religion called "the Old Way" around not trying to secure the wrath of the Gods by leaving them alone. In that interesting way, this matches with how rules in our own old texts were derived. You observe a situation that can cause problems and try to prevent them from happening in the future. In this case these animals observed that when their kind messed with the humans they would end up dead. So best to try and avoid getting their attention.

Now, the one thing that was a bit odd was how the type of governance in this animal world was similar to our own. But that may be because there seem to be animals that can read our text, so our flaws that come with our politics seem to trickle down to the species that worship us as well. Including those that wish to fight against us gods themselves, such as our protagonist with the pocket knife.

The settings are memorable, having you crawl though the underriver: their name for a sewer; The White Hall: their name for an animal society held within a laboratory. And even to the main hub city that is found underneath the halls of the British parliament. It even panders to furries a bit with a product in a store setting in the prologue having the branding of OwO.

Conclusion

If you found yourself liking stories about animal societies living in tandem with human societies, then this is a must-play. The art and characters are memorable and impressive. The story beats will be something you will want to discuss with others who have played it.

If you’re looking for a game with extreme depth of combat, then you may find it lacking.

Overall though, the art and environments are portrayed wonderfully. So much so that during one of the final battles where there would be a loss state after a timer ran out, I felt this could have lent itself to a little artistic flair— but instead it just went to a game over screen; this was the one rare moment I was disappointed.

Small Saga is available on Steam.

Comments

Your rating: None

If it weren't for the tags, I wouldn't know whether this was a computer game or a tabletop role playing game. I'm still unclear on the plot or how it actually plays. Is this turn-based RPG like old school JRPGs or is this a real-time RPG more akin to Fallout.

Why is there no screenshot of the actual game? The picture is nice but I doubt that's in-game graphics. There's no link to where one can get the game or see those videos that are mentioned.

All the most important questions are left unanswered!

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

Rakuen, honey, how many table top games have you seen with (noted in the first sentence) "animation"? You just weren't paying attention.

Your rating: None

It doesn't say that the animation is in the game. It could quite easily be cool promotional animation. For example, Unstable Unicorns is a card game but they have a cool video advertising the game which has animated unicorns doing cool things. The next couple of sentences say it was a while before the game was playable which could again mean it was concept art and animations rather than actual gameplay footage.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Hopefully some of your questions have been answered. There is a bit of repitition in the videos, but then they were never intended to be viewed all at once.

Your rating: None

Perfect! That looks pretty cool. Reminds me of Inherit the Earth.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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About the author

Sonious (Tantroo McNally)read storiescontact (login required)

a project coordinator and Kangaroo from CheektRoowaga, NY, interested in video games, current events, politics, writing and finance