It has all of the genre’s familiar elements: dungeon-crawling, boss battles and regular pit stops at armour and weaponry shops. But where the game differs from Final Fantasy et al is in that it can be completed in the less than five minutes and it looks a bit like an Excel spreadsheet.
The interactions are straightforward: you clear areas simply by clicking on them, dragging the mouse cursors to collect any items, money and experience that are spewed out in the exploration. Some areas are locked off until you collect a key, while the yellow areas represent boss battles and peril. As you collect experience points you gain levels and, in doing so, earn parameter points with which to upgrade your character (?).
The map is laid out like the architectural layout of a game world, a blueprint of flowchart design and as such, satisfaction is mainly derived from the supremely well-balanced scaling of numbers and stats involved. Nevertheless, you still feel a sense of progression and adventure as you explore, despite the fact there is no back-story, no characters, no dialogue, no motivating princess and, virtually no graphics to paint all of this.
Indeed, rarely has a game distilled the compelling loops of a JRPG as effectively as Parameters and, if you have a soft spot for the genre it can feel a little like peering into the abyss: is this really what I’ve been doing in those games for all those years?
Then, those feelings make way for a more familiar thought: ‘Oh wow, I actually can’t stop’.
Repeated attempts to clear the game will improve your completion time but you can expect to take well over 30 minutes on your first attempt. Ishii, meanwhile, recently tweeted his fastest completion time. See if you can do any better.