the link, as you may

If you’re a gamer like me (God I hate saying that) You probably know about Hollow Knight. A challenging Metroidvania with intricate maps and mechanics by an indie dev of 3 people, loved by fans and critics alike. You might even be waiting for the sequel, like I am…

I didn’t use to be into 2D platformer old-looking games… like, what is Metroidvania? What is Metroid? What is Castlevania? I don’t know. My games (before HK) consist of Titanfall, Call of Duty, Battlefield… FIFA- (that’s a lie for a joke… I never played FIFA)

So it was to my surprise that I actually enjoyed niche- does this count as niche? -niche titles like Hollow Knight. I get into more gaming, pulling up hardcore games like Dark Souls, DMC, DOOM, Animal Crossing (that’s a lie for a joke… I never played Animal Crossing… Yet). But the more I play, the more I realise games like this are like a needle in a haystack. Most triple-A games follow a set rule, play the same, and while the first experience is exhilarating, when you’ve played 50 titles, it gets… stale.

So I scoured into the indie landscape where I found Hollow Knight. And, still, like the triple-A counterpart, it’s a bit of hit or miss. More so the fact that there are more indie games out there than there is triple-A. Only some good, mostly bad. Like in the Steam new releases.

But usually, if an indie is so good (or usually innovative), it will be picked up by a lot of content creators. That’s how I found Tunic, Outer Wilds, Before Your Eyes. So it’s baffling to me that there’s barely any talk about this little game called Pronty. There. That’s the name of the game. That’s what you’ve been waiting for this entire video. You can go check it out now… or you can still listen to me ramble.

As I grew my scope wider, I found games I wouldn’t have touched before to be interesting. Hooked by the flashy art style, I put them on my wishlist, sitting there for years in hopes that I will eventually play them. On one occasional day, I found this game called Pronty. It looked cute and stunning, so I put it on my wishlist, never to see the light of day again. At least, until the past few weeks ago.

I had a lot of time on my hand, even a lot more games on my wishlist. I’m always turned off by the big titles like MGS and Xenoblade, which I haven’t played. (BOO!) I know, I know. It’s not because I don’t like them, quite the contrary. I know I’ll like them. Which is why it seemed unappealing to me to play them because I would also know what I will get. 

So I looked towards the indie titles. A few caught my eye, Hades, Blue Fire, Pronty, eh I could go on and on. Again, some games I know I will like, some I’ve heard about, and most are unheard of. That’s where Pronty comes in. 

As of writing, it has a very positive review of around 400. Not thousand, just the hundred. As a sucker for underrated titles like this… you know where this is going. Pronty is an indie game Metroidvania, released back in November 2021. You play as, you guessed it, Pronty, and will traverse the deep, trying to bring peace along with your trusty partner/javelin, Bront.

It took me around 20 hours to finish, and it was fun. It’s no platformer like Hollow Knight, because, you know… it’s underwater. Unshackled from the Y-Axis. There’s a badge system, like Hollow Knight. There’s also a stamina system for dodging, so you can’t spam dodge. Also, bench or bonfire, however you may call it. But weirdly, no penalty for dying. Weirdly again, there’s a difficulty option that you can freely tweak. And I mean, freely. Most games inspired by HK would opt away from this option. The attacking system is also more towards Ori and The Blind Forest instead, along with a blocking mechanic. It seemed challenging at first, but it’s pretty easy to get used to. There are more lovely design decisions, like a bonfire or teleport right beside bosses’ room. Enemies are also unique, with each having its own behaviours. On the other side, there are some weird decisions, like money isn’t really that important. Sometimes you have to buy badges, but other than that I don’t find much use for them. Also, the boss enemy design is also a bit of a hit or miss. As in the attack pattern, not the art design. It doesn’t grow progressively harder. Some bosses in the earlier game I found hard while the later ones can be easy. But most of them don’t leave enough windows to heal. 

Also, unlike Hollow Knight which feels to have a very dynamically alive-feeling world with many NPCs doing their own stuff, this game has so few NPCs, even fewer that change along with progress. A lot of world-building and lore was also done in collection-type logs which I dislike. The story also feels like it was made to be family-friendly. There is blood, just the way it was built is so simple. There’s no darkness eating away at the world nor madness invading the residents. 

On the other hand, actual voice acting! Like, real words, not hmm or heuh. Or whatever language HK is. The soundtrack is a bop. The art style is also hand-drawn, which is always welcomed.

So yeah, in the end, I like it. So why haven’t I heard of this game before? It’s released in November 2021. That’s more than a year ago. And it only has 400-ish reviews on Steam. That’s just… sad. Haiku, the Robot which came much later is now sitting at a higher number of reviews. (not playing down on Haiku, just an example) It’s even sadder that the fact that it’s a Metroidvania which means there are just some cases where I wouldn’t be able to figure something out and has to go to the internet and THERE’S NOTHING ON THE INTERNET-

But I’ve finished the game. There’s no point ranting about the past. I could’ve just gone ahead and finished the wiki. Write some guide on the obscure things, the stuff that hinders me from progressing. Share my journey. But instead, I take a look at the game’s background.

Pronty is released back in November of 2021. And uhh… you know what they say? The peak of a game’s player count is when the game’s released, which actually is consistent with Pronty’s steamcharts. The first day of Pronty’s release is the most player it’s ever seen. Of course, there are several cases where this isn’t true, like in popular games such as Hollow Knight, Ender Lilies, or Hades where the game could see a peak weeks or even months after it’s released, but for most games, even triple-A titles, this graph is to be expected. Still, although graph-wise, it made sense, number-wise, it’s disheartening.

A game’s expected to do well in its first week because it’s also expected to have a life span in which the player count will diminish and die out, in which the game no longer makes much profit. It’s reasonable to expect many games, and I mean, MANY, including the big titles, to predict how much it will do in its first moments to calculate prospective profits and losses.

Not content with what I found, I went deeper into the developer and publisher… or, developers and publishers. That’s weird, I thought. Why does a small game have more than one developer and even more publishers? If it’s a big game, I can understand multiple studios involved since it’s easier to outsource the work, divide it, put a reasonable deadline (optional), and then once everyone’s work is done it’s just a matter of combining them together. The downside of this is that it’s very hard to change your idea or vision down the line, or even if something doesn’t work in one department since you have to go out of your way to tell everyone else to change something so it stays compatible with each other. This is why indie games are… indie, independent. Starts with one studio and stays that way. This way, the game’s vision is fluid with how the developers want the game to be, not with the plan they had from the beginning.

Anyway, I went on a tangent. And don’t take this as a fact, I’m just stating what I think I know, which isn’t much. So this might be a special case. But still, I look into them. The developers are 18Light Game Ltd. and FunZone Games.

A quick google search of 18Light Game Ltd. quickly shows the studio’s information, including its official website, https://www.18light.cc/en/  And…

That’s weird. I proceeded to the site and quickly regretted that I put this script on hold. I used to be able to open the site, but now it looks like this, as of 12th November.

The site is dead? W-Why is the copyright only until 2020? Does that mean the archive is that old, then? I refreshed the page to see the live web:

Should’ve figured that one out. I tried using a VPN, but it doesn’t seem to work anyway. Back to 0, I went back to google and found an interesting clue: They have apps on GPlay. I checked that and found out that they’ve made a game for android. Nothing too unusual, every developer can make games for different platforms however they want.

Clicking on it, I found out the type of game it is, which is quite a 180 from Pronty. I found the Dev contact, which said they’re located in Taiwan. I didn’t find any more important information, so I moved on.

They have a Twitter, if you realise. They seem to be pretty hard on on their game, Pronty. Scrolling down, you can see their latest tweet is from August. I can see this as, “they don’t use Twitter so much,” and that might be true. They hardly post there, and it seems there’s no clear schedule. Sure, we can get that by. But you should know there’s something huge happening in Taiwan in August. I can only pray that what I feared is untrue.

We should dial back before this becomes a political topic. I went to Discord, and luckily found out that they’re still active dealing with bugs, with the latest report around September. Their latest message, however, is in late September, helping a fellow gamer. Quite nice to see.

But that’s all I can find about them. Let’s move on to the next developer, FunZone Games. The only real page I found is the Steam store and Gematsu, both of which don’t have any useful information other than they developed one game, Pronty. The other “FunZone Games,” because of how ordinary that name is, doesn’t feel like they have anything to do with Pronty.

Looking into the Publishers, boy oh boy. There are FOUR (4) Publishers of the game. I know of some games that despite having another publisher would still have the studio’s name in the publisher’s list, so I think I don’t have to talk about 18Light Game Ltd. anymore. 

CE-ASIA actually has a good background, publishing 5 games and has their hands in the development of one game, Laser League. They seem to be legit, been around for two decades. A bit more scouring and I actually found out that they are, in fact, the most legit so far. They have a site that is maintained, with English language built-in so I don’t have to use a translator. What’s more, is that they have associations with huge titles that you could ever think of. Their store, https://www.sonkwo.cn, is exactly that, if you wanna check that out.

Joy Brick Inc. is also very legitimate. Although they only have this amount of games on steam, they do get their hands dirty developing their games, Panzer Knights and Jerez’s Arena. Don’t look that one up. They also have a mobile game. On top of that, they also have their own site. Sadly, their site has no built-in English, so I have to navigate with a translator. On their site, they have more titles that they show off, even some that are still in development. JoyBrick seemed to have more in hand with the development of games. Though, as a publishing company like CE-ASIA, they have a deeper background in the distribution side of things. JB Shop which they have also had a lot of merch from big names.

Lastly, Mayflower Entertainment which doesn’t have its own Steam page. Even more worrying is that their site is insecure, as in they don’t have an updated Certificate. Other than that, if the site is to be trusted, it shows the big titles it’s working with as well.

From our research, we can see that there’s only one hole to be questioned, which came from the developer side. I mean, I didn’t do intensive research and FunZone Games might be legitimate, but from what little that I get, it does seem fishy. Pun Intended. 

I think the problem is with the publishing side of the game. Not as in the publishers, but in the act of publishing itself, namely, marketing. It’s easy to point fingers at someone, but I don’t know how it really works in the industry. You can argue that some publishers care so much about their games, so the ones that don’t are really frowned upon. But what if that’s the agreement they came with the devs? That’s a possibility, no? Of the fact that the devs only need them as a distributor so that they can have as much leverage in making the game they want without the publishers butting in on their work.

Still, that argument from before must also be acknowledged. There is a possibility also for the publishers to just not care about small titles, especially if they’re as huge as our subjects. When you have that many projects, you wouldn’t be able to give them all your undivided attention. You would focus on the ones that you know will make money so you can burn some on the ones that don’t. Sadly, this will obviously result in the ones who won’t make any money actually not making any money. 

And that’s why I don’t know who’s at fault. It could be anyone. It could be the developers who don’t want any help. It could be the publishers who don’t give enough care. But I feel like I get the idea of how it could happen. Lack of Marketing.

It always saddens me to see a game definitely full of potential that has little to no recognition. If you’ve been in this field as long as I do, I’m sure you understand what I mean. And this isn’t limited to only games. But we all can only do what we do best. Talk. Chat about it. Tell the world what we love about it. Annoy other people to play the game and be obnoxious about it on the interne-

And that’s why I’m here, talking about this game. If Pronty, after all that description, resonates with you, do please give it a try… Especially since there’s still time ‘till Silksong.

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