Reviews: Standstill Girl

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A well-done short game
The most notable thing about Standstill Girl is that it’s remarkably consistent, especially in comparison to its RPG Maker cousins. While those tend to soar in some areas and be outright painful in others, their creator(s) throwing ideas in without proper development, SG feels polished and planned out. Graphics are charming, and the map design is good, though there are no “whoah!” areas to be found. Similarly, the OST isn’t too great on its own and loses out to RPG Maker works like OFF and A Blurred Line; however, each track is matched perfectly to the game when it’s encountered.

The storyline is initially very basic and comes off as a typical Excuse Plot. It picks up as you discover post-area cutscenes, however, leading up to the twist that genuinely caught me off-guard. It is done very well from then on, the White Cogs refusing to fight Alice being a particular highlight. The ending choice also manages to feel entirely natural and not forced as it often happens.

However, I would have still liked more information given in the first half of the game; I get that Land of Time’s inhabitants lacking their memories is a crucial part of the setting, and Shadelings’ existing quotes add up to give a good portrayal of the Land of Time. The lack of Flavor Text in the areas you explore is still disappointing, though. Books, diaries, public notices, etc. would have helped immensely in giving context to the Land of Life, but there's none to be found.

The combat system of SG is the real star of the show for that first half, and it’s an effective, stripped-down version of typical JRPG combat. MP is gone, replaced by an Action Point-like system, and Alice is limited to five abilities (including things like Guard and Flee) per battle, and same applies to her enemies, which start with two and gain more slots (and consequently, more advanced tactics) with every area cleared. This turns even regular battles into quick, high-stakes affairs requiring a fair degree of experimentation, aided by good enemy variety (5-6 per area, + minibosses). The challenge doesn’t always hold up because of Alice’s auto-healing while running around; giving her some weak healing items at each battle’s conclusion would’ve kept the game better balanced. As it is, Self-Holocaust becomes a Disc One Nuke, its high health cost irrelevant due to auto-healing.

Score: 7/10

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You won't actually be doing much standing still. On the plus side, there's ice-cream.
Standstill Girl is an enjoyable RPG and the gameplay fits well with what you'd expect of RPG maker games. Some notable elements of the gameplay style include EC (Emotion Crystals) which operate similarly to gameplay mechanisms like mana orbs, Collectable skills and items and a turn-based combat system.

It's a small game, 2-4 hours playtime, with few dungeons but there is quite a bit of grinding. It's tedious but no more than you would expect from a game of this genre. The character sprites and models are well-crafted with an adorably simplified art-style. The music matches the game but doesn't ultimately stand out and It's a nice little game to knock off the list in your free time. The story is atmospheric, revolving more around cryptic hints and character-interaction but pulls together as a cohesive story with real emotional investment.

In short: 4/5. This should have more reviews but hopefully the presence of this one might goad more people into playing it and leaving some... hint hint, nudge nudge.
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