Thou Shalt Be Brave

Normally I’m against excessive logging, but in RPG worlds its a different matter since every wood seems to be filled with undead monsters, giant spiders and evil wizards. Burning it from orbit would be a good idea here, but in Thou Shalt Be Brave they take the far more popular if inefficient option of sending a lone warrior in to exterminate the local wildlife.

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For our first entry from the Lo Rez Jam, Thou Shalt Be Brave is a surprisingly complex RPG – relatively speaking given its 64×64 pixels layout, but does suffer from a bit of endgame repetition.

Thou Shalt Be Brave won’t give the sprawling questlines of Skyrim a run for their money, nor will it make the obtuse mechanics of Dwarf Fortress break a sweat. But considering the minimalistic nature of the theme, Thou Shalt Be Brave captures a good, if abstracted, chunk of what made some of us addicted to CRPGs back in the 80’s in the first place.

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Like all good RPGs, battles are the main component of the game, which are at first an overwhelming screenfull of hard-to-read pixellated figures and symbols vomited across the screen. But clicking around is mostly enough to learn what things to quickly, and once you get the hang of it, its quite easy.

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You have three attacks, whether magical or otherwise, which open up as your stats increase, and managing the more powerful ones comes with balancing your stamina. There’s also the ability to defend, or if you have the magical ability, heal yourself, or quaff a potion. Defeating foes awards coins and potions – but in a twist on the trope – your maximum coins and potions are both limited, meaning its worth it to make use of them regularly.

You’ll start off beating ratmen, but before long you’ll encounter a great range of foes. I found about 6 different ones, though most act the same, the Wisps did have the habit of healing themselves which made things a little more interesting. I played as the wizard, and if you’re stuck in combat,  a tip I found was to first get your strength up 1 point so you can gain access to the basic physical attack, giving you a bit more strategic flexibility, and later to get your dexterity to around half, so that the defend command should be successful most tries.

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The game doesn’t take too long to beat – probably an hour, but even for its short length the minimalistic system means that once you get past the initial concept and basic gameplay, there may not be enough to keep you on til the end. The text is hard to read too – not that you really need to read it that much – and admittedly the basic combat does indeed wear thin before, sadly. Making shorter, faster, combats or quicker levelling probably would have helped, here – short of adding more in-depth mechanics, that is.

That all notwithstanding, for an old RPG fan like me, the pixel graphics and inclusion of stats to level up made Thou Shalt Be Brave a joy to play and enough for me to stick through til the end and slay dat wizard.

Thou Shalt Be Brave | Download

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About J.C

I grew up in the dark dingy arcades of the 1980s, blasting heads with Robocop 2, but grew up in an era that spanned the introduction of the x86 home computer, through to the 16-bit revolution, into the polygon age and beyond. I write about food, travel and of course, New Retro Games. I started newretrogames.wordpress.com and contribute to www.thecitylane.com. I am also a freelance business researcher, writer, and editor having published academic and corporate articles on innovation and intellectual property.

Posted on April 25, 2016, in RPG and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Hey, it’s awesome that you have finished the game, you are probably one of few people who has seen the cut scenes in the end. And more awesome is that you wrote about my game. This is the first time anything was written on a game I did. Thank you. Much love ❤

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