Play of the Day: Parameters is the Piet Mondrian of RPGs

Parameters, available here in both English and Japanese, is the very abstract version of an RPG. It contains most of the elements of an RPG: monsters (the yellow bars), quests (the empty bars), items, stats, and leveling. Missing from the game are storylines, characters and graphics, but who’s counting? Actually you are. That’s most of what’s left.

The game’s only input is clicking. Through it, you can attack “monsters,” complete quests, buy items, and spend your skill points. After you defeat a monster, or while you’re on a quest, various amounts of money and experience will spew out of the block and after mousing over them, they are collected. Once you’ve gained enough experience, you’ll level up and gain more skill points to spend towards your attack, defense and life recovery.

The kicker is that the monsters are just little yellow boxes.

Because the game is so stripped down, it is simultaneously engaging and confrontational. It’s extremely accessible, yet its so strongly focused on grinding that it seems to be aiming for hardcore RPG fans.

The game is a bit difficult to get in to at first, so if you’re intrigued by it, here are a few tips:

  1. There are a few quests available at the very beginning of the game. They’re a bit difficult to see at first—there’s tow in the top left corner—but they’re the empty boxes without locks in them.
  2. After you finish a quest or kill a monster, you’ll get skill points, shown in red above your stats bars. Make sure you spend these so you can keep up with the higher level monsters.
  3. You can return to old quests to get more money, though it’s considerably less than the first time you complete the quest.
  4. You can buy lots of items in the game: keys unlock monsters and quests, swords up your attack and shields up your defense.