Thirty-seconds into the trailer and indie game developer Tris is seen getting into scuffles over pizza, punching masked goons in the middle of Threeson’s streets, and smelling up Starluck Coffee toilets after deciding to drown his sorrows – and the failure that is his career – in a bottle of liquor.
Ask Don’t Give Up’s creator, also named Tristan, what all this means and he’ll proudly show you this infographic.
Which is not incredibly helpful so let’s put this retro RPG into perspective. Four years after his mental breakdown our 27-year-old hero might have moved into a new town but not much has changed; he’s still a terrible game developer, still anti-social, clinically anxious/depressed, late on rent, and as it turns out, the phantoms in his head have returned.
Indulge in the demo and it will take you through a night of heavy drinking on the bathroom floor, a turn-based battle featuring the last embodiment of Tris’ positive energy called Subris, and a dream, before reverting to present day narrative.
What ensues is Tris’ adventure of self-discovery through the town of Threeson, where game-play is split across segments of exploration and combat. The former has you venturing out into the mini-metropolitan to interact with its various NPCs, hunt down quests and take in its sometimes-sleazy locales.
This is most times interjected by significant instances of combat, as Tristan puts it, whose real time battle system I find particularly intriguing. It’s not entirely conventional – the Enemy Turn lasts indefinitely until such time you manage to crack through their defenses, which you’re permitted to do by dodging attacks, making a few mildly powered shots and parrying.
The game does its best to alert you of where enemy attacks are likely to fall by means of flashing tiles, also letting one stack buffs/debuffs and develop a special attack meter alongside. The Player Turn meanwhile is more freestyle, allowing you to unleash standard shots and/or special hits until victory.
And what indeed is Tris fighting? Personal demons, a gripping narrative that’s plenty of cynicism and as of now, a Kickstarter campaign that’s off to a good start. Take a look yourselves and play the demo by clicking on a banner.
I’ve also got you the original dev-log from over at TigSource, here.