iRboth: Original Intention and first sin by developer underkmr caught my eye last week when I was browsing Twitter or “X”, as it’s now called, for #screenshotsaturday and #wishlistwednesday. The game calls itself a “command-choice RPG” and emphasizes strategy and storytelling.
The reason I was so taken by it was two-fold. First, for its vector art style that resembles a simple and clean 2D Nier: Automata crossed with a Kingdom Hearts Dark Road – something I’m kind of addicted to at this point. Second, and most importantly, for its unique combat system that I’m not really sure I’ve personally ever seen in an indie game before.
The battlefield is your chess board
You see, “Command-choice” means that you give your character commands before they attack, which you’re probably accustomed to in any standard turn-based RPG, but here, you’ll choose them ahead of time and execute on them before and without knowing what the enemy will choose for themself. It reminds me of a Dragon Ball Z flash game I played back in middle school, where you’d do the same thing for Goku and Vegeta, and watch their attacks play out against the opponents like a chess match.
The most unique aspect of iRboth though, and its true selling point is its “Range control battle system”. Essentially, you can choose movement as a part of your command deck, and put distance between you and the enemy or close that distance for an aggressive special attack. It’s up to you to use movement strategically, and instead of simply whacking each other back and forth like most turn-based roleplaying games, this allows you a bit of a room to breathe and strategize between phases of combat.
This leads to more intense and meaningful combat, and really, this is what most made me want to write about the game today! I wish more games in this genre would take advantage of the space between friend and foe, allow you as the player to manipulate it to your gain, or even to your detriment, and create a truly unique and meaningful play session.
but you grow more intelligent over time
The developer has hand crafted a special “Behavior prediction system” into their enemy AI. The more you fight these “Autoloids”, the more data you collect on them, and you can analyze it to predict how they may act in combat. Since this is a turn-based command-choice game, as previously stated, this makes giving your character commands that will be more impactful much easier over time. However, the enemies are autoloids too, and can do the same, so be on your guard!
and your journey is just beginning
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the narrative that’s being spun for iRboth. Remember how I said it gave me Nier: Automata vibes? Well, the story is about the aforementioned “autoloids” – AI robotic humanoids, and their awakening, exploration of the world around them, and the collection of memories for what I presume is the process of feeling and or becoming more human.
How the title ‘Original intention and first sin’ plays into that journey is still a mystery, making me want to pick it up and play through it even more. I’m all about games that explore the human condition, especially when we start with a protagonist that is lacking such human traits, and must gain them over time. It’s an exploration of self by way of the character, and is one of the main reasons I play games to begin with!
The game’s exploration method is that of a scene selection and sees you searching tiles for memories that are deeply related to the story, as well as ‘modules’ which can help you improve in combat by giving you new abilities.
At the end of each dungeon, there’s a boss, and defeating it brings you closer to your goal of uncovering the mystery of the story. Each one has its own combat techniques though, which you’ll need to figure out by way of analysis and overcome! From the sounds of it, you’ll also acquire this special technique after defeating them too.
How you can support the developer
iRboth is split into more than one part. You can already play part one on your phone or tablet via the Google Play Store and iOS Appstore, and it’s only $1.99 USD. The release date for Part 2 hasn’t been decided yet, but they’re aiming for mid-August, which is just over the next few weeks! Something I love as someone leaning a new language right now, is that the game is available in Japanese as well as in English.
Let me know in the comments if this sparks your interest! You can support the dev and their amazing vision for this game by spending just a few bucks – less than you probably spend on coffee in the morning! I think it’s a beautiful testament to what indies are capable of, and I think iRboth and its developer have a bright future ahead of them.