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Athenian Rhapsody might just be my new favourite release of 2024. Taking inspiration from the likes of Undertale and Earthbound and turning the ridiculousness up a few notches. Developer Nico Papalia has crafted something brilliant here. Note: key provided by Top Hat Studios.

I played it on Steam Deck (and a little on desktop Linux) using Proton 9 and it worked great and looks fantastic.

While the inspiration is obvious for anyone who has played the aforementioned games, it's still a very unique experience. One that honestly had me laughing a fair bit even in the first few minutes. From the ridiculous personality quiz you do at the start to the completely unhinged dialogue between characters, it's total joy to play.

You know you're in for a good time when you get this to start with…

A top-down classic adventure RPG, that is a lot of fun, but it can get quite difficult with all the different mini-games you need to play. Each time you have a battle with a creature you get the option to fight them to level up, befriend them or to run. How you approach all the encounters will change a number of things in the game, like who will follow you along and the ending (there's multiple). It's one of those quirky adventures that you'll probably want to play more than once to see it all. Because certain decisions can prevent you doing certain things and no doubt your first run through will have you miss plenty.

I just love the dialogue more than anything in this, it's such dumb-fun.

The combat is more than a little Undertale inspired though. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as they say. With lots of mini-games, some of them really quite challenging too across multiple stages, with various attack patterns. Combat isn't always the best route, but then it does depend on what you want from it. Even if you don't choose to attack, you still have to defend as you often run around this little area while they attack you.

It helps that you'll end up with multiple characters, and who you get depends on who you befriend and help along the way. Like a lost dog searching for a home. During combat, you will get to swap between characters, with each having their own special buffs available to help. You may be able to heal, speed yourself up, boost your attack or defence and so on.

As funny as it is, the game can be really difficult at certain points. It's supposed to be a challenge but thankfully there is what it calls the Chill Mode, which gives you a helping hand during the combat with a little invincible time between attacks. It just makes it that little bit more accessible while still being somewhat a challenge.

There's no real guide as to what you're doing either. You're just aimlessly wandering through the world, talking to everyone you can to see their hilarious dialogue and continuing on your path with the help of a few weirdos, one of which keeps screwing with you and trying to kill you. At one point early on they try to drop a piano on you.

Here you just end up talking to everyone possible, which you probably wouldn't do in other similar RPGs. Which is why it helps that the writing is such an odd mixture of everything from telling you to slow down and take things in, to just straight-up insulting you and of course many stupid jokes.

One of the key points to the game is the Rhapsody system. As you progress you're writing your own Rhapsody, which is a retelling of every choice you made and you can share these with friends online. Just a fun little bonus feature.

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  • Explore the colorful world of Athens, and hop from town-to-circus-to-UFO-piloted-by-cats-in-the-sky as you write your Rhapsody.
  • Answer a deep, meaningful personality test that reveals your deepest, darkest desires (such as wanting to be a bus driver).
  • Party members galore! 16 potential companions await, each with a bold personality and some being a little bit more unhinged than others.
  • Tons of enemies for you to FIGHT or BEFRIEND! This world has no shortage of intense battles with opponents that range from weird, wacky, tough, cute, and outright goofy!
  • Figure out why everyone's crazy for hoarding EXP (hopefully it doesn't have any side effects) and engage in tough Souls-like dating mechanics(?).
  • Minigames that'll challenge your limits, like having to spell your own name, dodging space invaders, copying the circus mimes, and paying your taxes.
  • A branching narrative with different endings depending on your choices, friendships, and other stuff that just happens in life.

It's pretty rare that I pick up a game and get pulled in instantly like this. The only part that doesn't work are the Steam Achievements which don't seem to unlock with Proton but the developer is looking into it. Even with Steam Achievements not currently working, it's a solid recommendation from me. Wonderful.

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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Athens, huh? I've been meaning to go there, but seeing this maybe I won't. It is a silly place.
Phlebiac May 17
QuoteHere you just end up talking to everyone possible, which you probably wouldn't do in other similar RPGs.

Apparently we play our games quite differently.
grigi May 17
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I looked at that video...

I'm confused now...

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