The one-year anniversary of Phoenotopia, one of my favorite internet games, is approaching soon. What a coincidence that it’s been on my mind lately, and what better time to write an analysis on it, right?
Phoenotopia is a pixelated RPG-style 2D platformer starring the intrepid pink-haired Gale on a quest to rescue her fellow villagers from abduction (well, after the first boss).
What do I have to say about it? I’ll keep it simple. The sprites are cute, the gameplay is fun, the items and enemies are interesting, and some of the music is catchy (especially Sunflower Road). It also presents some difficulty in the secrets it possesses that would be almost unthinkable without a guide.
For instance, it’s difficult to 100% without a guide (I used this one, which helped me learn how to get the Lucky Belt, which I would have never figured out otherwise), let alone collect all of the medals. I also remember it took me a while to figure out how to defeat the Kobold Mercenary General (the boss in Prince Tower), and I never knew until today that you could use bombs to destroy the magma patches that Bubbles the Sand Dragon (the boss in Bandits’ Lair) sets after being rendered vulnerable once. I’m sure with the latter boss battle that I just winged it with a set of healing items back then.
I don’t know how to feel about the whole gold exchange thing. The woman who sells the gold bars sells it for a random price within a certain deviation from 100 Rai (Rai is the currency of Phoenotopia) and will take gold bars for 100 Rai exactly. This means that if she sells gold bars for under 100 Rai, it is possible to keep buying and selling them to reach the cap of 4999. It’s…weird, I have to say.
On another note, as a speedrunning enthusiast, I thought for some reason that Phoenotopia would be a good speedgame (I mean, it even has a medal called “Speed Runner!”, which is earned by beating the game in under 64 minutes). Sadly, it doesn’t have a leaderboard on speedrun.com, so I thought of making my own route for the game, and I’m currently in the middle of it (at the time of writing, I’ve routed just past the second boss). Here’s what I have so far.
12/25 EDIT: The any% route is finished! In a segmented run, I managed to get 1 hour 2 minutes in-game time and earn the “Speed Runner!” medal for the first time (and also defeat Big Eye damageless for the first time). This was without turret skip and with save statue stops that are relatively out of the way, so I’m thinking sub 1 is possible.
I’ve also taken some time to make compendia of purchasable items and enemies / environmental hazards.
The latter is not finished, however; I still have to gather data for Big Robot and Kobold Mercenary General. These are finished now.
8/22 EDIT: Upon further reflection, I decided that I would prefer to run 100% first because it is a much safer route. I’ve also been looking into a glitch that I call Loot Duping, which is when a loot container (i.e., a chest or a piggy bank) collides with two objects at once and drops twice its spoils (note that items like Honeyed Tumond and Moonstones cannot be duped), and trying to figure out in what places the glitch is applicable (the list I have so far can be found here) before considering which ones to put in and which ones to keep out.
Overall rating: 10/10. Phoenotopia truly is a wonderful game, especially for being completely free. I am excited for the sequel, which I believe is still in the works and will hopefully be worth the wait.
À la prochaine! (Until next time!)