T.O.T.E.: A JRPG Game about a Journey to Save the Hip Hop World from the Clutches of The Industry
T.O.T.E. (The Tales of the Elements) is an indie Action RPG game produced by Last BeNeVoLeNcE and released by Random Beats on October 7, 2016 on Steam. The game is currently in the process of being enhanced, meaning there is no scheduled release date. The only thing that was made available regarding this version is its demo, which was published on the itch.io platform on October 29th of this year. T.O.T.E. is an Action RPG game like any other, with menus, attacks, spells and everything you can imagine, but with a simple, but significant difference: The entire plot, dialogues, scenarios and soundtrack has a strong emphasis on Hip Hop culture. The story takes place in Poliphony, a world formed and with a strong tradition in Hip Hop culture. Its citizens, mostly artists, were living in what they called the "Golden Age", and the four main elements (DJs, MCs, B-Boys and Graffiti) were united in perfect harmony. Unfortunately this was short-lived as a threat, which they call "The Industry", took over the world and corrupted the culture, distorting it almost completely and forcing those who didn't accept it into hiding for many years. Now, the fate of restoring Polyphony's world and traditions rests in the hands of BeNeVoLeNcE, a young warrior, Mega Ran, a veteran, and a few friends he'll meet along the way.
No doubt this is a game with a very original premise. Everything here is bathed in Hip Hop culture and music, from weapons, powers and even scenery. In addition, the game dev managed to creatively elaborate several interesting features, such as how to earn money here: unlike traditional JRPGs, where you earn money by killing monsters, here in T.O.T.E. killing monsters means gaining, in addition to XP, some items that can either heal or be useful, such as Vinyl Records, which are used for music recordings.
In addition to these records, another important item is inspiration: they are jewels that you will find around the scene, whether by breaking a box or killing an enemy. Inspiration is fundamental to compose rhymes, the more you have, the more rhymes can be produced and consequently more songs can be recorded. The money here you earn in shows, which are actually nothing more than arenas where you kill different monsters in a reduced amount of time.
And, as if that wasn't surprising enough, the characters are nothing more than avatars of the artists themselves. One of the most famous that can be mentioned here is, in fact, Mega Ran. He is a well known rapper in the game world, having attended several concerts and events focused on the gamer audience.
Although the character design could have been worked a little better, in my opinion, at no point does this take away the merits of T.O.T.E. as a creative and original product. The mix of JRPG and HipHop styles is something quite impressive, and BeNeVoLeNcE managed to do it masterfully here. You can check, by clicking on the links below, the gameplay of the enhanced version demo, the download of the demo on the itch.io page and, if you are interested in purchasing, the full original version (with its two chapters + soundtrack) on the page from Steam.
CHECK OUT THE GAMEPLAY HERE: https://youtu.be/oE5J-eLFEf0
DOWNLOAD THE DEMO HERE: https://last-benevolence.itch.io/totedemo
BUY THE ORIGINAL GAME HERE: