Don’t Give Up: A Cynical Tale is a quirky turn-based roleplaying game in the vein of Earthbound or Undertale, but with a slightly darker twist to it. You play as Tris, an anti-social game developer, on his quest to deal with mental illness and live life despite many strange circumstances and strange people conspiring against him. Travel with Tris through the town of Threeson and its many off-the-wall denizens. Battle against the phantoms of your inner conscious and jerks who smack the pizza out of your hands. Get your life back on track and manage your demons while making a living as an indie developer in Don’t Give Up: A Cynical Tale.
Don’t Give Up is a game currently on Kickstarter. It also has a free demo! Of which I’ll now talk about. So, I guess this is sort of a shoutout and a review.
If you don’t want to read about the demo and want to play it for yourself, go here.
The demo for Don’t Give Up takes about an hour to finish, depending on how many things you want to examine or people you want to talk to. It’s a cute little slice of the start of the game and gives a good idea of the major tone of the story and how the game will play. The story looks interesting, starting off with a basic premise of Tris the game developer, and hints at possibly getting far stranger by the end, as one might expect when trying to physically tackle your inner demons. The dialogue is somewhat campy and self-aware in a way that makes itself humorous, with the writing playing off of a few set tropes and subverting others for an interesting mixture of the expected and unexpected.
Gameplay in Don’t Give Up can be surmised with two main categories, exploration and combat. The demo doesn’t give a huge amount of exploration options, only more items and places to examine, but it does have a few examples of how combat works. Combat shifts between two phases, an enemy turn and a player turn. The enemy turn has you dodging or parrying attacks while trying to use ranged strikes to reduce the amount of time left in their turn. When their turn is over, it becomes your turn, when you get to whale on your opponent with a variety of moves. Eventually, your turn timer runs out, leading back to the enemy turn and the cycle continues. Overall, it’s an interesting take on real-time combat that sets DGU from the rest.
As a demo, it’s a little clunky, with some of the items having hitboxes with larger than they appear. This can lead to being able to interact with something from a position that doesn’t look quite right or being stuck on an object that you were trying to run past. In addition, some moves in combat seemed stiff, as if the inputs were not being accepted as quickly as the demo went on. Despite that, Don’t Give Up looks like a promising little RPG. It is a demo, after all.
This game is currently up on Kickstarter, with only about a week left and nearly 90% of the goal met. Find it here