In all my time playing indie games for Browser Rousers, I have never needed more than two to three hours to completely sweep through a game. The average browser game takes about twenty to thirty minutes to finish, while the long ones may overstep an hour. The longest one thus far, Pestilence Z, ate up approximately three and a half hours.
Tonight, there is a new reigning champion: Paladog. Good lord, this is a robust game.
Paladog's story is mired in a poor translation, so what I'm about to say may be inaccurate. AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, Paladog is the story of Earth after the destruction of mankind: 'critters', aka animals, have risen up and taken our place in a psuedo-Medieval world, and they're battling demons for control of the planet. Leading the charge is the brave Paladog, paladin and dog in one furry container.
Okay. I really don't get the story. It's weird, it doesn't make a ton of sense, aaaaaand it's badly written. C'mon, guys, you NEED a naturalized writer to hash out this stuff before you stick it in a game. The end result smacks of sloppiness. Either create a passable, edited story, or eliminate the story altogether.
(I know, I shouldn't bitch so much about a free game. Still, it's not THAT hard to find someone to edit your script.)
Plot aside, Paladog is an odd hybrid game. On one end it's an RPG: you level up Paladog by killing enemies, buying new equipment and assigning new abilities. On the other, it's a side-scrolling strategic tower defense game, as you can summon other critters to fight off bad guys for you in a series of increasingly-difficult levels. Very odd idea, and, overall, extremely successful.
Paladog provides a couple different ways for controlling your character. Paladog can be guided with A and D or with arrow keys, while his various powers are used with J, K, and L. The number keys at the top send out supporting units. And, as the game often points out, you can use the mouse to execute commands. It's an accommodating setup, and appreciated for varying control styles.
Also? The game controls just fine. No problems.
I won't mince words. Paladog looks wonderful. It's more than I'd expect, graphically, for the average browser-based game. The menus are fantastic, the sprites wonderfully diverse, and the cutscene art? Like the shot above? Dayum. Magnifique. My only complaint is with Paladog himself, for though he LOOKS fine, he's also completely lacking in personality. Couldn't his idling sprite do something every now and then?
The quality of the art aside, what astounded me most about Paladog was the lack of slowdown. There can be a looooot of units on the screen at one time, yet the game almost never suffers from lag. That's an incredible accomplishment for a Flash game.
Meh. S'fine. Paladog suffers from a common indie ailment: not enough tracks. So while what's in the game doesn't bother me at first, it's so stale after the first hour... and as far as I've seen, the battle track nnnnnnnever changes... sigh.
Paladog is more an endurance trial than it is difficult. The strategy is somewhat threadbare; in most cases the important thing is to have more powerful units than the enemy. That means a lot of grinding to empower both Paladog and his many, MANY buddies.
In both cases, it takes a while. A long while. So long that, uh, I've been playing for two and a half hours... and I'm about one fourth of the way through the game.
Paladog is a major time eater, long story short. Expect to play this one in several-evening intervals, as it's one of the few browser games where a save file is truly necessary. And this is only speaking from the experience of playing the Normal difficulty!
I can see Paladog annoying some players. It's long, somewhat repetitive, and linguistically challenged. Obsessive levelers (like myself) should love the challenge it brings to the table, though, and given that Paladog's powers and potential items are fairly diverse it has a good amount of replay value.