Don’t Give Up: A Cynical Tale, by the developer Taco Pizza Cat Games, is a very ambitious project that takes the quirks of pixel art and the absurdities of random battles to explore the emotional character that is Tris.

Before the developers can fully launch this game, they have just released a Kickstarter two weeks ago. With just a few weeks to go, the project is attracting so many supporters and is very close to reaching their goal! However, to get more people on board with this project, they’ve released a demo to give us a taste of what to expect.

Inner Demons vs. Outer Life

Tris is an anti-social game developer with a tragic social life, who is not only struggling with rent, but is also struggling with his inner demons. Four years after his mental breakdown, Tris now lives in a new city hoping to get his life back on track, but unfortunately, luck’s not on his side. Whilst trying to find purpose, different events occur that turns his world topsy-turvy.

How Does It Work?

The game is divided into two different game styles: open world exploration and a story narrative, and spontaneous combat events and showdowns. With the open world exploration and narrative, you can explore the sights of Threeson and explore hidden quests and converse with NPCs.

The real-time battle style is played out like any other RPG, where the player and the enemy take turns in striking the other. The only way you can avoid these attacks is by jumping from different platforms, whilst aiming attacks back at them. Then when it’s your turn, repeatedly hit ‘A’ whilst occasionally hitting ‘H’.

Tris Is All Of Us?

Whilst the demo doesn’t go into that much detail on what the narrative conflict is about (we assume it’s Tris’s inner struggles through dream sequences and cut-scenes), it gives us an idea of how we can interact with the world.

 

Tris goes through these different situations and mishaps across different scales, such as his lack of luck with life or his inability to keep hold of a pizza. There are ways that the developers experiment with the dialogue that gives us the options of choosing to be a confident Tris, or a socially-anxious Tris. Either way, watching the different responses that you get is a comical result.

Life Is Like An RPG

There are two clearly different worlds that we experience in the game: the life of Tris and the life of Subris. Whether they are the same person or completely different is still unknown. What seems to blend the two worlds together is the use of combat experience in the game.

Taking turns to battle your opponent, you are equipped with a sword that both characters have. Whilst dodging your opponent’s attacks, you have the opportunity to deliver minor blows to your enemy. Then when it’s your turn, you use as much of ‘A’ as you can possibly muster before your enemy’s defense resets.

 

In the Don’t Give Up demo there wasn’t anything unique that stood out from the combat style, aside from the developer’s attempts to incorporate live battles so that the player doesn’t have time to stop. This aspect was challenging and fresh, but the use of the bonuses could have been demonstrated more in the demo.

Final Thoughts

What I was surprised and disappointed about was the fact that the demo wasn’t long enough. There were so many things that could have been explored a bit more such as Tris’s dream sequences and more combat opportunities to get the hang of it.

However, Don’t Give Up is a game that has been in the making for five years. From the Kickstarter page and the developer’s website, it’s very clear that this project not only speaks from the heart of the developer’s but also has the potential to reach a numerous number of gamers.

Tristan Barona and Jaroslav Meloun have put a lot of work into this demo, which really speaks volume in what Don’t Give Up can achieve when it’s finally finished. If you want to find out more, then visit the Kickstarter page, as well as trying out the demo for yourself.

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