And it’s worth every minute
You don’t need to have grown up on classics like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest to dig Franken, a familiar yet fresh new indie RPG, but it’ll help. The game is playable on PC through itch.io, and I highly recommend it as a super scaled-down but satisfying experience. I’ll admit, this is one of those “the less you know, the better” situations.
Created by splendidland, Franken was inspired by Final Fantasy IV, Moon, For Frog the Bell Tolls, and Grow RPG, among others. It’s a classic RPG format pared down to the essentials, and it’s framed so well. The quirky in-the-know characters still managed to intrigue me and crack me up, and the one-note combat system still ended up being strangely exciting.
In Franken‘s turn-based bouts, all you can do is attack, and you don’t have to heal after battles — so it’s kill or be killed, and there’s no menu-based busywork or unnecessary overworld meandering. The story is clear from the outset — the mighty Hell’s Knight must be stopped — but it goes to unexpected places. The name *will* make sense.
I lost track of how many times silly NPC chatter, a genre-ribbing gag, or an out-of-nowhere song selection made me laugh. I had a smile on my face more often than not.
The game floated into my timeline thanks to a retweet from Spelunky creator Derek Yu, and I only planned to take a peek, not play through the whole thing. Whoopsie.
After finishing Franken, I saw that Dunkey recently made a video about it, though I’d recommend playing it for yourself if it seems even remotely appealing to your sensibilities. For what it’s worth, I’m really not that much of an old-school Dragon Quest sorta guy!
Franken is a fully-formed RPG in a subversive one-hour-or-less package, and it rules.