A Healer Only Lives Twice is a very strategic RPG game developed by Pon Pon Games. It is not available for purchase on Steam.
A Healer Only Lives Twice has some pretty simplistic and cute designs for all the character models, but it’s overall pretty generic. I am a bit torn on the gameplay though. It is conceptually a solid game: you are a healer who supports the knight to fight your way out of the dungeon. The knight, in this instance, serves as both the tank and DPS so it’s easier to manage. At least theoretically.
Time is your biggest enemy in this game, and it is dictated by the number of torches you have remaining. As any good adventurer knows, monsters do not like the light – be it from a torch or the sun. Once you run out of torches, it’s game over and your score is tallied up so that you can choose some upgrades for your next attempt. Thankfully, it was all a dream!
My biggest issue is that while controls are explained gradually, some of the important ones don’t show up and the UI isn’t explained very well either. It’s more a trial by fire entry. The above image is what the controls for controller/keyboard/mouse are by default but is nowhere to be found in the game. I happened to scroll down on the Steam page to find the image and it says that the manual can be found in the Steam game folder. Yeah, I don’t think anyone would ever think to go searching in the actual folder for instructions. Just put it as a menu option in the game like everyone else because it’s actually rather involved if you’re going to play using hotkeys.
I managed to get by with just clicking around but good grief, the tool tip about being able to fast forward by holding down RMB (right mouse button) didn’t show up until after my first attempt. I got to the fourth wave before my torches ran out and it was a misery just watching everyone stand there doing nothing because I had no idea how to speed up time. The good thing about it though, once I found out, is that it is very easy to speed up and then resume normal time to do your decision making and crafting.
Another mechanic that I never figured out was how to sacrifice materials to use as fuel for the torch. A lot of upgrade options revolve around that mechanic and honestly you can’t progress very far without it since it is essentially time based. You could be a godly healer but it won’t do you any good if you run out of torches by wave 5 or 6. I’m not asking for my hand to be held theme-park style through the first few waves, but at least put the default controls in.
Speaking of the menus, when you get to skills in the upgrade menu, it doesn’t tell you what the skill does. It just says it’ll raise the max rank of that skill. I don’t even know what the max rank for each one is without raising it or what it will be raised to. You would have to either memorize the name of the skills and what they do or just look it up online. Oddly enough, the skill descriptions exist in the dungeon, so why not also have them in the upgrade menu so we know what the hell we’re ranking up? Some of them are easy to figure out but others like Courage or Piety I have no idea until I made a mental note, went back into the dungeon, had to wait to level up so that I can see all the skills and check the name and description. It’s a rather arduous process.
These are all minor things, but are a pretty simple fix. The UI itself also looks rather clunky but for good reason: it’s so that you can accurately select what you want to do. What do I mean? On the right side of the screen you’ll see a ton of bars and boxes and numbers above your items and skills. When I first saw that, I just mentally blocked it out because it was an eyesore and I figured the game would tell me what that all is later. Nope. Turns out before each round, the little chat box above each monster tells you what body part they are going to attack or if they’re going to steal materials indicated with a star. Your knight will always strike after the monsters attack so pay attention to the chat bubbles and prepare accordingly. You have 5 limbs you need to keep track of the health on and it’s up to you to choose which skills you want to rank up or learn as you level. Your Mana bar is also the blue bar at the very bottom right hand corner. I did not notice that until my fourth run through. I still have no idea what the yellow bar next to the stats represents.
Now, is any of this game breaking? Hell no, not by a long shot. They’re just little things that could be cleaned up and be presented better in my opinion. You can easily learn everything through trial and error, except maybe the keyboard shortcuts but that really isn’t even necessary to play the game. You can just click and be fine with that. It is rather repetitive since you are running through the exact same wave of enemies down the exact same corridor every time. It’s just that some runs provide you with more torches than others and I still have no idea how to use materials as fuel so I end up “dying” in the same spot over and over again. Still, I like the game right now. I want to love it and the concept is very appealing but I feel like it just needs a little more polish to it.
Oh, and there’s also just one looping sound track by the sound of it and there aren’t any menu options to for music/sound mute. Still, it’s a cheap buy and will provide at least an hour or two of entertainment at minimum unless you just really don’t like it. On that note, if you don’t like playing support classes in MMOs, don’t bother with this game unless you like management-style games. It could still work out for you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to look up how to freaking feed things to the torches in this game and give it another go.
See you next game! -DecoyEC has logged out.