RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is a Unique, Hand Drawn Adventure

RPG Time: The Legend of Wright Preview

It isn’t often that you can look at a game and feel like you’re seeing something unique. While it plays like an homage to a lot of familiar games, RPG Time: The Legend of Wright has a style all its own. I haven’t seen anything quite like it.

Imagine you’re a gamer kid in love with roleplaying games, not to mention e-sports or classic games like Pac-Man. You fill endless notebooks with designs for adventures, monsters, dungeons and puzzles. All you need is an adventurer to make the game come alive. That’s where you, the player, come in. RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is about a would-be game designer kid named Kenta. He’s crafted an RPG adventure called The Legend of Wright. You play as Wright, with Kenta always present over your shoulder. Kenta is both the dungeon master and guide. He’s inventing the world in real time, too. He might have an inclination to erase part of the dungeon and create a trap while you’re standing in it.

The first thing you notice about RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is the art style. Animated black and white pencil drawings in Kenta’s notebook form the foundation. Sometimes the game transitions to comic book-style panels. Objects from the “real world” like basketballs and shoes are part of the mix, along with 3D cardboard cutouts and characters. It’s a charming, creative aesthetic and changes constantly, though it sticks closely to its premise. The outside world is the desktop. Inside the game, and Kenta’s imagination, anything goes.¬†Kenta creates analogues for everything we find in games, from the action on screen to cardboard D-pads. Wright’s “health bar” is a measuring tape.

Homage to Games and Gamers

From moment to moment, RPG Time: The Legend of Wright plays like a variety of games. One moment it’s a little like Zelda, with Wright exploring a dungeon and using weapons to battle in turn-based combat. The next minute it turns into a platformer or puzzle maze game. Although the player doesn’t need to know the history of videogames to appreciate RPG Time, it’s obvious Kenta and developer DeskWorks do. I sometimes felt that RPG Time: The Legend of Wright jumped between styles a little too often. Some moments felt a little disjointed. Because each level has to fit in the borders of Kenta’s notebook, the levels in Cardboardia are pretty small.

While we’re quibbling, there are moments where the directions or controls aren’t entirely clear, and the colorful and cute art can be hard to decipher, especially against the busy desktop. Compared to its visuals, smooth control seemed to be a secondary focus. I’m also a little unclear for whom RPG Time: The Legend of Wright is intended. Family-friendly, the game seems geared to older players who will appreciate the many game references. At the same time, the story and language are pretty simple and the humor isn’t very sophisticated.

Like most RPGs, the mechanics in RPG Time: The Legend of Wright start simply and the game adds complexity as it goes. The more stuff it tried to do, though, the more I felt a disconnect with the simple premise. The game is coming to mobile as well as PC and console. It seems like a perfect touch-screen kind of game.

An Intriguing Glimpse

Nearly a decade in the making, RPG Time: The Legend of Wright has already won a slew of awards for its unique design. I only had the chance to play a small section of the game, and I’m looking forward to seeing Wright’s entire adventure through to the end. RPG Time: The Legend of Wright absolutely nails that passion for creativity that I’m betting most game designers felt when they were kids–and hopefully still feel as adults.

***Xbox code provided by the publisher***