The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: Golden Treasure: The Great Green

All hail the mighty Draak.

Do not deny the waterbeast its company.

The Sun is your Father. The Earth is your Mother. All beings are your Prey.

Golden Treasure: The Great Green is a narrative survival adventure crafted by Dreaming Door Studios, an indie team based out of the United States. In this tale, players will follow the life of a young dragon (called a Draak in this universe), newly born in to a strange and fantastical world, trying to forge its way through the world and find its claim within it.

After being taught the ways of the Draak by a voice, the player will answer some questions to help determine their initial masteries before emerging from their egg. The player is left to their own devices, but thankfully the Voice and Draak instincts assist in helping the players understand what they need to do to survive.

Each day, the young Draak will decide what they wish to do to fulfill their desires. They can explore a new region to expand their knowledge, investigate unique scents to uncover new mysteries, hunt at a spot for energy or rest to recuperate their strength. It will take an entire day to perform the action. Exploration and investigation will result in the discovery of new lives and understandings of the world at large. Hunting and resting will ensure that the Draak’s ‘Core’ does not fail.

‘Masteries’ are the embodiment of the Draak’s connection to the four primal elements of the world; Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. Each correspond to the player’s abilities and understandings, from Fire’s ferocity and attack strength to Water’s flexibility and curiousity. These masteries are increased by many activities, but especially during decision making sequences.

Players will be given many opportunities to decide on how the Draak will react to a situation. This will then bolster their Mastery strength. Focus on resilient answers will attune the player to Earth, while aggressive decisions will give more Fire mastery. When enough mastery is achieved, the symbol will evolve to signal that the player has gained a better understanding of the element, unlocking new abilities.

Where masteries play a large roll is in the Dance of Destruction, a ritual we know as Combat. A player’s mastery strengths will determine how able they are in stalking their prey, compared to the hunted’s own masteries. If a surprise attack fails, the Dance of Destruction begins, where the player and the prey each make an attack using the four elemental masteries. Fire, Water and Air are all in a Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship. This means that a player that uses a water-styled attack against an enemy using a fire-based attack will overcome it with greater effect. Earth has no affinity in this relationship, for it represents a creature’s durability. It has no strengths or weaknesses.

This is a lot of information to parse through, so one might imagine how it feels to be the young dragon without a guiding figure to assist. Much of their time will be spent in trial and error, learning from their mistakes and licking their wounds to try again later. Combat is made easier thanks to the fact that the ‘lesser creatures’ use the same attack patterns, which helps players to learn them. But to learn them, one must fail repeatedly and find themselves close to death due to failure. It is a learning experience, one the dragon must have time and time again from the very first time they attempt to fly and fall horribly.

What makes this tale so compelling is how the narrative and gameplay are so interwoven within one another to the point of being indistinguishable. The language of the game is lush, with the Draak continually discussing the songs of the creatures around them as they explore and learn all they can. The masteries are more than just the four elements to the Draak. They represent ideologies and each animal’s connection to the world as a whole. A heron can sing philosophies for hours on end, only to simply flit away without a care in the world. A spider can only communicate in a strange Morse Code-like speech.

The Draak is constantly yearning to learn more about the world and how each element connects to everything around it. But the Draak is already aware of the connections each creature shares at a primal level, something we as humans do not seem to share. While the dragon knows that it is a creature at the top of the hierarchy, that does not mean it fails to understand the plight of all living things that exist below it.

The beauty of Golden Treasure: The Great Green is its ability to craft a world so like our own yet foreign to humans thanks to its use of language. Everything is described with excruciating detail through the eyes of one that is intimately connected to the Earth and the Sun, and drawn to show the glorious visuals that it can see. Every decision made by the player influences the Draak’s journey and viewpoints throughout its life, from its infanthood to its destined growth into a mighty beast at the ‘top’ of the food chain. Will you be an inquisitive one, destroying only for sustenance and more excited to learn about the endless possibilities of the Earth? Or will you embrace the heritage that the Sun has given you, reigning destruction upon any and all who oppose you with a swagger that is somehow also regal? There is only way to find out. You need to jump in and experience it for yourself.

Golden Treasure is not short in any way or shape of the word. It is built from the ground up to give you a world to explore through the eyes of one of the most fantastical creatures known to man. Go forth, and become the dragon of legend.

Originally this entry was going to contain two games, but Golden Treasure really sucked me in to the point of no return. Lucky for me there are only two more games left on this page of the bundle, but when that last blog will be up is undecided. Global Game Jam’s main event is this week, and I’m participating as a solo dev in the hopes of creating something before the week ends. To help with my focus, I’m going to take the majority of the week off — but do expect the software of page 30 and the final blog of 30 to be up this week!

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Fandom | Gaming | TV + Movies | Sci-Fi + Fantasy | Other Indecent Pursuits

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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