Review: Breath of Death VII

Rating: N/A
Genre: RPG indie
Publisher: Steam and XBLA
Developer: Zeboyd Games
Release Date: July 13, 2011

Zeboyd game’s first title was “Breath of Death VII.” A parody of RPG games, with a retro style and various fun elements and humor.

Breath of Death VII starts with an atomic weapon detonating in a desperate attempt to end the war, causing all life to be wiped out across the world.  But not all was lost, as an undead civilization began to prosper evil in their midst and it was up to four brave heroes to rid the land of evil.

The game starts in a dungeon where quickly you learn how to move your character.  Yet Zeboyd games were clever in the introduction of the controls, as they flash a photo of an Xbox controller showing you that is available for the Xbox Live indie Arcade. To be fair, Breath of Death VII was originally developed with XNA for the Xbox, but it found a home on the PC as a Steam indie game.

The main character of this story is DEM, making fun of Final Fantasy games from yonder years.  The humor and connections to previous RPG’s do not stop there. Having towns like “Palad-Lennus” (Paladin’s Quest) and “Motherbound” (Earthbound) are just a few of the many nods and references the game possesses.  Somehow, this does not distract you from the game, instead it made me grin at knowing what they did or just completely ignore it if you don’t know the reference.  As you move through the game, your first companion is a ghost named Sara who quickly joins you to form a party.  With her, you can combine powers and have special attacks that allow you to target more than one enemy.

Leveling is done automatically, but gathering experience points as you fight through dungeons or open plains.  You usually have the choice of two different specs you can take: one the warrior path, the other the more magical one.  After you exit the first dungeon, you encounter the first town, where Sara lives, and you are allowed to buy weapons as well as armor.  The “merchant,” a very obvious reference to Resident Evil 4, speaks in the same manner and the phrase “What are you buying?” echoes in your head.

The relationship between DEM and Sara seems to be an odd one, as the ghost has some feelings for DEM, yet DEM is oblivious and just simply does not understand women at all.  This leads to some very funny comebacks and one -liners from both characters.

The fighting mechanism is simple and turn based.  You can select to simply attack, thus not using your mana -like points, or use tactics which lets you hurt the enemy more than once or harder than a simple attack.  Graphically the game is basic and I dare to say that between Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World, the graphics have improved, while still keeping the nostalgic 8/16 bit look.   The music was nothing but great and true to the genre.  With melodies that sound familiar yet different and tunes that you’ll find yourself humming for the rest of the day.

Breath of Death VII, just like Cthulhu Saves the World is a simple game, full of fantastic humor and references, that will captivate you with its story and the fate of its heroes.  A game where it’s easy to pick up and go, or never put down, since it does become addicting and make time fly without you noticing it.  I strongly recommend to get both games, for all of you RPG fans, as you won’t regret the purchase.