REVIEW: No one lives in heaven

Nov
22

REVIEW: No one lives in heaven

This is a seemingly average parody game made through RPG Maker. However, it contains offensive, divisive content that is very out of place for the rest of the game.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-Player
Genres: RPG
Developer: SuR ENTERTAINMENT
Publisher: TopWare Interactive
Release date: 11 June, 2020

First Impressions

I have to admit, this was a first for me. A game developer sent me an email through my YouTube channel, wanting me to review a game and theoretically upload some videos over it. I was somewhat hesitant based on the description for No One Lives In Heaven (NLH) indicating it’d be a 40 hour game, especially since I was preoccupied with other projects. However, it was too interesting an opportunity for me to turn down, and I was curious how it’d turn out. Much of what I encountered fell into my expectations, but it also threw a curve ball that completely caught me off guard and led to me deciding I wouldn’t play the game further. For those curious what that reason is, I explain all of it at the end in my Final Thoughts.

Gameplay

What you do in NLH is about what you’d expect for an RPG Maker game. You’ll talk with NPCs, accepting and completing simple fetch quests for them, and occasionally battling random fights. I found the battles spurious though, as I’d face off against higher level enemies than me and get less XP and gold compared to fighting a single, lower level enemy. Even when it was the same enemy as the higher leveled ones! All the fights were so mindlessly easy though that it felt pointless to include at all.

Yeah, that crab does look pretty Angriff.

Controls

In NLH there’s the option to play either with a keyboard or controller, and when I used my controller it worked alright, though if you come in and out of menus in certain places or times, it interacts with the game oddly. I found out one of the game’s mechanics on accident, trying to bring up the menus, which is done with the ‘L bumper,’ strangely enough. When you hit ‘Y’ you are brought to another realm where you can check your status and do other basic tasks. It’s kind of odd, but seems fitting for the game.

I haven’t found the Christmas button yet. It’d be handy around the house too.

Story

This was probably the area where the game was supposed to be at its strongest, considering it’s made in RPG Maker without a strong use of original assets. Plus, with the gameplay being so stock for games made in this program, that also couldn’t be its potential selling point. However, from what I did experience of NLH, it was following the same story beats of other parody and meta games. I almost get the impression they thought this was a unique idea, when it’s been explored before.

You’re returning to an abandoned game, with many of its NPCs becoming aware that they’re just programs. Even those that don’t seem fully cognizant of this, are still written in a winking at the player tone, “Thanks for helping me out. If you come talk to me, you’ll receive a reward.” It at first seems like you’ll just be hanging out and doing your own thing, but some of the early NPCs start talking about you behind your back (in a manner of speaking) as they hope you’ll save their world. Could it be that the protagonist of a meta game about an abandoned game might be the destined hero to save it? It’s not possible for me to judge the overall story of NLH when I only scratched the surface, but I kept thinking this was stuff I’d seen before. You don’t have to look that hard to find games that break the 4th wall or include NPCs that diminish their own existence because they have to do what the developers programmed them to do.

The grave markers really take down the mood of this area.

Graphics

The graphics for NLH come predominantly, if not solely, from RPG Maker. You should recognize the backgrounds, background objects, character models, and battle effects. I don’t recognize the enemies, but I’ve also not played that many RPG Maker games, and imagine that’s where those pictures came from. If not, the artists didn’t do a great job coming up with their own foes for you to fight.

Some of the graphics don’t mesh up well with each other, such as the colored squares seen here.

Sound Design

I recognized the sound effects and music from other RPG Maker games I’ve played, so all I can say is that this is where all the audio is taken from. At least, as far as I’m aware.

Pros

  • I know the game auto saves itself, and I’m guessing it happens every time the screen transitions.
  • It’s easy.

Cons

  • At times, I think the game takes itself too seriously. That might not seem possible with a game with such banal humor. However, it goes into a lot of depth about its lore and the almighty creator SuR. I find this tone inconsistent, as it seems to both mock the developers and heap praise upon themselves. You made an RPG Maker game, calm down.
  • The game was originally written in German and has been translated to English, so I can empathize with there being some mistakes. However, there’s quite a few typos, sometimes the text is cut off, and I sometimes wasn’t sure what they were trying to say. If they want to sell the game for $20, I expect more attention to details.
  • It’s not as original as it comes across.

Tips

  • Sleeping in a bed and drinking water will replenish your HP. I think going to the alternate world will also refill your health.
  • I imagine you’d have to buy some items, but if you talk to NPCs thoroughly, you’ll get free stuff.
  • If you aren’t sure which position to take when speaking with an NPC, choose to Leave.

Final Thoughts

My experience with NLH ended suddenly, because of it introducing a section that was shockingly tasteless, unnecessary, and over the top. While in the village, you can go into a police office, with the game warning you that it’s both illegal to do so and shouldn’t be entered if you don’t like “Strong content,” or don’t, “Understand satire.” I hesitated at first, out of concern about the long-term consequences, though I figured the illegal part was just reinforcing how its content might disturb people. Also, for any who might think this area isn’t necessary to go into, I’ll mention that there’s a silver coin in the police office, so if you want to complete that quest, you do have to go in there. With no indication as to what the “strong” content would include, I predicted it would have stupid humor that generally mocked cops. However, I could not have foreseen that a meta game with otherwise silly, cheesy jokes, would include such an extreme political stance.

In the police office, you’ll speak with one of the guides of the game, who seem to represent the POV of the game developers. He tells you that you need to reduce the arbitrary decision-making of the cops. My expectations made me think I’d redirect how they reinforce laws or stereotype theoretical criminals, but that wasn’t the case. After you beat each of the 4 officers in a fight, you then torture them to death, at which you are then praised for saving the village. This alone would be a step too far, but that’s not sufficient for NLH though, because after you leave, a cop is taken to the execution stand and becomes a permanent fixture, as he’s hung from a noose. If that’s something SuR wants to include in their game, then that’s their right, but I certainly am not going to support such decisions. I have no interest in playing this game further, and don’t recommend anybody else play it.

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