LitRPG Podcast 128
LitRPG Podcast 128
Aug. 10th, 2018
Hello everyone, welcome to episode 128 of the LitRPG podcast.
I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews. I have 8 new LitRPG reviews just for you.
New Releases and Reviews:
Beginning a bit tough to get through, but it won me back by the end.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
I got bored with it
Score: 5 out of 10
Issues with the RPG mechanics and the premise, I liked the good storytelling once it got into the game part.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Just a meh story that didn’t make sense to me.
Score: 5 out of 10
It’s an entertaining, light hearted, funny read with quite of bit of sex.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Score: 4 out of 10
Limitless Lands: Book 1 (40:33)
A bit to much like military fiction for me. Not my thing.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Wandering Inn: Volume 1 (49:72)
Not only is this novel a huge value for the page count, it’s engaging enough to keep you reading late into the night for multiple days. It’s light LitRPG, but truly a great read.
Score: 8 out of 10
(Play Music 2)
Jeffrey Falcon Logue, author of the Slime Dungeon Chronicles, has an updated boss fight for his side scroller Slime Dungeon game. It looks pretty neat, though I feel like it’s missing an evil boss laugh somewhere in there.
Author Vasily Mahanenko, author of the Way of the Shaman series, announced this week that he’s finished the 2nd book in the Galactogon series, his Sci-Fi LitRPG. The series had been on hiatus for a few years. Now we only have to wait till Feb/March 2019 for it to be translated and edited into English.
Andrew Seiple, author of the Threadbare series, was interviewed on the GameReads podcast. So, go check that out.
The 3rd annual Wizards and Warriors awards for best LitRPG are awards nominated and voted on by fans of the the genre and members of the LitRPG Facebook group. This years polls to nominate are available, so go nominate and vote for your favorite authors and series.
Noob Award - the best NEW LitRPG Author
Wizard Award - the best LitRPG Series
Warrior Award - the best LitRPG book (released Sept 2017-August 2018)
An update to the Michael Scott Earle story. Previously banned Michael Scott Earle announced that Amazon would let him put his ebooks on the platform, but only if it was through a publisher.
While that’s an interesting decision, Amazon has yet to explain to MSE what policy or rule he broke in the first place. But at least he’ll have his works available for his fans. As of now, his ebooks are slowly being put back up on Amazon and he has plans to publish new content very soon.
Dem Mikhaylov, author of the World of Valdira (Way of the Clan series), has been hit with the Amazon ban hammer or at least his ebooks have been taken down from Amazon. Some of the audioboks and physical books are still there though.
New LitRPG Audiobooks
Our review of the ebook - Score: 7 out of 10
Our review of the ebook - Score: 7.7 out of 10
Our review of the ebook - 7.2 out of 10
Our review of the ebook - 7.2 out of 10
The Lost City: The Realms Book Two (An Epic LitRPG Adventure) (Aug. 17th, 2018)
Bitter: Book Four (Aug. 24th, 2018)
Coast on Fire (The System Apocalypse Book 5) (Sept. 1st, 2018)
The Path (Just Cause Universe Book 14) (Sept. 3rd, 2018)
The author says it’s LitRPG.
Game Changer (Reality Benders Book #3) LitRPG Series (Sept. 24th, 2018)
(Sept. 26, 2018)
Couch Potato Chaos - Gamebound (Sept. 28th, 2018)
Kingdom of the Dead (An NPC's Path Book #2) LitRPG Series (Oct. 8th, 2018)
(Oct. 25th, 2018)
Freehaven Online: Winter Dungeonland (Book 3) (Nov. 21st, 2108)
Onto New Releases and Reviews
(Play Music 3)
New Releases and Reviews
Sleeping Player (Project Chrysalis Book 3)
Wake up, Sagie…
Have you heard about what happened at Castle Airis five years ago? Don’t talk too loud, it's dangerous right now. They’re still looking for that certain wanderer. If you have any information, please, let us know.
How difficult is it to survive the human world, full of people hellbent on destruction, as a poor cat?
"People = danger," LJ knows that for sure. But maintaining a distance is not that easy when the home you care about is becoming an epicenter of a demon invasion. He has to be strong and know right from wrong, no matter what the voices whisper to him in his bloody and restless dreams.
Five peaceful years have passed since the war with the undead ended. Respite is over now. A war has raised it’s demonic sword. New, talented, and tricky high-level wanderers are ready to confront the threat or to cause even more destruction.
“Sleeping Player” is the third installment in the LitRPG series Project Chrysalis by John Gold. This story is far from its end. No wanderer has been able to reach Crossroads of Worlds yet, no matter how skillful and masterful they were. The gods are still afraid and filled with fear after what happened in Castle Airis, while officers of Chrysalis keep looking for pretenders.
It is time to wake up.
My Opinion: 362 pages, $6.95, Not on Kindle Unlimited
The third book in the Project Chrysalis series almost lost me.
The beginning of the novel doesn’t even really feel like a LitRPG story, or at least not like one in the the same series. It starts with the main character, LJ the boy who thinks he’s a cat, and his adventures. Even though the story reconnects with the main character from the first two books, this section still feels like a different series because there’s a significant 5 year time jump between books 2 and 3. There’s an all new settings, new characters, and the pacing of the story shifts slows down too. For me, the early part of the story just wasn’t that interesting and there were several times I considered just putting it down.
Then, I got to the halfway mark and BOOM, the story just exploded back to the things I liked about books 1 and 2. Wonderful fights, old interesting characters return, and the quest for revenge actually makes some progress. The pace picks up significantly and boy is that ending epic. By the end of the story I was cheering for our hero and the novel had won me over again.
Overall, I still had a good time with the story, though the beginning is a little tough to get through.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Glitch Book Two (The Glitch Series 2)
Max, a rather plain guy, finds himself inside a post-apocalyptic survival roleplaying videogame. He has no idea how he has ended up in the virtual reality or how to quit it. He has no choice but to play the game.
Shortly afterward, he learns that the game is quite harsh and cruel. Max finds out that in order to survive he has to scavenge, gather various resources, craft warm clothes and armor, upgrade weapons and vehicles, and so on.
Moreover, the entire game world is a full-on PvP zone. So Max has to not only fight brutal mutants but also protect himself against gamers who have teamed up in order to ratchet up their chances of survival as well as against high-leveled players who take great pleasure in murdering newbies.
And all the while Max has been trying to find out what has befallen him, how he has gotten in the videogame, and whether or not there is any chance of exiting the game. Bit by bit he gleans more and more information about the game. He finds out that the game is full of bugs. Later on he also learns that he himself is a some kind of a glitch. Unlike all the other players, he feels pain in the game and can interact with some game objects while all the other players cannot…
My Opinion: 116 pages, $1.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Book 1 in the series introduced some potentially interesting concepts into a fallout like post apocalyptic setting: crafting, pvp, monster zones, and quests. Unfortunately, book 2 doesn’t really develop most of that. Instead, it focuses on PvP combat almost exclusively with a small bit of monster wave survival at the end. There’s not really any story progression towards a goals. The main character just kind of exists. Overall it just fell flat for me.
Score: 5 out of 10
Death March (Euphoria Online Book 1)
I sacrificed everything for my family. It wasn't enough. I lost my mother, and now I'm about to lose my brother.
I've got only one thing left to gamble: my life. Which is why I'm willing to play Euphoria Online in Death March mode.
If I survive six months in-game against a lethal array of wyverns, ogres, necromancers, and more, I'll earn my brother a pardon.
If I lose?
Well. I'm done with losing.
My Opinion: 300 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.
The premise of the story is that the main character (MC), Chris, trusts his super evil ex girlfriend and takes a weekend pass to the latest and greatest full immersion VRMMO game. He plans to put the game on Death March mode, which if he survives for 6 in-game months, will grant him just about any wish he wants including a pardon for his brother who might soon be on death row for salvaging in underwater buildings. The only snag? If he dies in the game, he dies in real life.
The author has written over 15 other novels, many of which are traditional epic fantasy. He raised over $13,000 on Kickstarter to write the this LitRPG story, create a hardcover edition with extra artwork, and an audiobook. All that from fans who already know they like the author’s writing. This is his first LitRPG story and sometimes it feels more like a fantasy story, which might be for his existing reader base.
The short review, is that despite the issues I have with the RPG game mechanics and the premise, I liked the story. The characters are well developed, there’s good tension, and the fantasy action adventure storytelling is entertaining.
Continue reading for a more thorough review:
The game mechanics in the story are relatively light, are grouped together in summarizes after fights and in sections where the players talk to each other, and they sometimes feel less important than the ‘story’.
Game mechanics include traditional character sheets (only a few though), stats, descriptions of new abilities, and spells. Players earn XP and can spend it to purchase these new abilities and spells. At the same time, the amount of XP the characters earn gets them new levels and predetermined increases in their stats. You can tell the author choose to forgo anything that would require heavy math tracking and formulas. There are no health bars, stamina bars, damage notifications, or any UI interface with the game. Combat is always described in fantasy terms with XP handed out after an encounter is finished with sometimes inconsistent XP rewards. Additionally, the MC seems to often win or gain power through some lucky outside influence or wand wavy circumstance that prioritize the story over the game rules. Like the MC gets saved by someone never before seen before, or the MC just happens to find a magic stone that doubles his small mana capacity just before a big fight in which he’ll need to use a lot of spells. Overall, not bad game stuff. What’s there is used consistently throughout the story, but it’s also not a particularly deep system.
Storywise, this novel has one of the most confusing premises I’ve ever come across. Not only does it make sense on a story level, it doesn’t make sense on a math level. Ok, here are the many issues I had with the premise:
The game uses time dilation to let players stay in the game longer. Unfortunately the time dilation is not consistently described. Three sets of numbers are given in the story: 18 to 1, 45 to 1, and 80 to 1 (given as 18 min irl being equal to 1 day in game). Now, even at the most extreme one 80:1 for a weekend pass that means the MC will be in game for 160 days or 5.3 months making it impossible for him to survive for the required 6 months to win the big reward. So, broken premise right off the bat.
The motivation for pushing the MC to go in game and risk his life, stretches believability a bit. His brother is charged with a capital crime for salvaging? Even though there are other circumstances, the case hasn’t even gone to trail yet.
Also, why would you ever trust your evil, evil, ex-girlfriend?
Also, why would there be a voluntary death game in a normal MMORPG? I understand adding the ‘die in the game die in real life’ feels like it fits if you’ve seen Sword Art Online and is supposed to raise the stakes. But for me, all it did was tell me that the MC would never die or even fail in the story. While this is the default setting for normal novels, it’s not in a LitRPG story. Dying while playing video games is part of the learning experience and fun. Die, respawn/reload, and learn till you get good enough to not die.
It’s also just a big stretch of the imagination to believe that the MC wouldn’t even come close to dying once, facing an entire zone of monsters 20-30 times his level.
Storywise, once the main character is actually in the game, it’s an enjoyable slice of life action adventure experience. Just ignore why the MC is there, cause if your goal is to survive for 6 months without dying, risking your life all the time trying to level is a contradictory act. Combat is very well described and I enjoyed every visceral fight, it’s just often described in fantasy terms and not gamer terms. There’s good character and story development. You can see by the end of the story where some story threads are being laid for the longer series. Good storytelling.
Overall, even though I had issues with the premise and light RPG stuff, it’s a good entertaining story.
Score: 7.2 out of 10
Hero-Slayer: A LitRPG Saga (Hero-Slayer Series Book 1)
This is the legend of the Hero-Slayer, who had sold his soul for magic most vile, who would attack heroes at their weakest and destroy everything they held dear. Rumors had it that none of those who attacked him ever lived to tell the tale. It was said that he had the power to take down thousands without lifting a finger.
Others speculated that he dwelt in a secret place filled with long-lost magic and magical creatures protected his secret lair. Stories said that if you rang a bell at the seventh hour on the seventh day, your body would never again be found for that was the hour that the Hero-Slayer walked through the dark, taking souls to feed his power.
Needless to say he was the Villain, The Boogeyman, The Big Bad. The Dragon who defeated the Knight and killed the princess. This is his story. The story in which the dark side won.
Forced to leave planet earth, Bobby enters a new world, and he journeys from wannabe villain to hero-slayer.
My Opinion: 60 pages, $2.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
At 60 pages or almost $0.05 per page, this novel is too expensive for the page count. Plus the last 25% is a sample for something else, so there’s not actually even 60 pages for this story. There are also issues with the writing itself, very awkward phrasing and mixed tenses. There are RPG mechanics but they don't make sense.
The story is honestly just confusing. The earth hit the apocalypse but aliens save people, and the MC and his grandma get into a pod and for no real reason the alien world they are on has RPG game mechanics and an odd PvP challenger system?There’s attempts at world building and character development but it’s such a mixed bag nothing feels fleshed out.
Overall, just a meh story that didn’t make sense to me.
Score: 5 out of 10
Dan the Barbarian: A Gamelit Harem Fantasy Adventure (Gold Girls and Glory Book 1)
When college sophomore Dan Marshall's life morphs into a hybrid of Penn State and a homebrew tabletop RPG adventure, he grabs his talking two-handed sword and hits campus, seeking gold, girls, and glory.
But even with two beautiful bad-ass women at his side, how can a low-level barbarian survive when he’s pitted against a fraternity of gnolls, a dungeon full of nightmares, and an apocalyptic death cult bent on destroying the whole world?
Warning: Dan the Barbarian is an over-the-top adventure novel intended for readers 18 and older. It includes explicit sex, graphic violence, a harem of gorgeous ass-kicking girls, and a foul-mouthed two-handed sword. Read at your own risk.
My Opinion: 336 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
*Warning: There are graphic sex scenes in this story.*
Even though it has GameLit in the title it’s also LitRPG. It has tabletop character sheets, stats, and leveling. The story portion is wish fulfillment harem.
The main character, Dan, wishes for his life to be like the fantasy tabletop game he plays with his friends, full of action, adventure, and busty women that want him. Only when he does get his wish and becomes a level 1 barbarian, he finds the normal world and all the people he knew have merged with the rules of the fantasy tabletop game. That hot girl down the hall, is now even hotter and a druid. The MC goes on adventures, becoming the adventure seeking person he always wanted to be and having lots of sex along the way.
Overall, it’s an entertaining, light hearted, funny read. There is quite of bit of sex, which I skipped over, but even ignoring that, it’s kind of just a fun story.
Score: 7.1 out of 10
Wizard Lords: Legend of Legends: A LitRPG fantasy (Wizard Lord Book 1)
Legend of Zelda meets The Matrix
save the queen
kill the wizard
become the legend of legends
Meet Twenty year old Pete Adams a lonely dishwasher with no luck with the ladies.
That is until he finds out Sophia his high school crush is the number one player in the Full immersion V.R. RPG game Wizard Lords. Now he is determined to win her heart by getting the most sought after prize, the sword of swords with a real world worth of $50 million.
but the young man is in a deadly race against thousands of other players with armies and magic.
All Pete's got is a stupid name and a hell of a lot of guts!
My Opinion: 45 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
Not only is this severely overpriced at $2.99 for 45 pages, there are noticeable technical writing issues, and it’s not actually LitRPG.
The story mentions levels a few times, but no one actually does any of that. The novel describes itself as Legend of Zelda meets The Matrix, neither of which are RPG games or concepts so that really should have been my first clue. There is a ‘save the princess’ aspects to the story but no RPG mechanics.
Score: 4 out of 10
Limitless Lands: Book 1
Colonel James Raytak is about to die. The 93-year-old combat veteran is living his last days in a nursing home; his only hope for survival is an experimental Medpod life support system controlled by an Artificial Intelligence.
Co-developed by the world’s largest gaming company, Qualitranos the Artificial Intelligence will also control the soon to be released game Limitless Lands. Without its creator’s knowledge, the Artificial Intelligence decides the best course of treatment is to import its patient’s consciousness directly into the game.
Colonel Raytak must dust off his military training and lead his virtual troops in a fight to repair his broken body and mind while exploring the Limitless Lands.
My Opinion: 227 pages, $0.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited
The story has an unique setting, starting with a very succinct explanation of the tech that allows for full immersion as well as a little world building for the modern world that would combine VR, an aging military population, and medical pods that allow for full immersion and long term care. The main character (MC), James Raytak, is a military veteran at the end of his life. His son, and employe of the top VR gaming company creates a medical pod that will not only provide life support, but medical care and he’s the MC is the 1st test subject.
The main character (MC) is in the game by the 11% mark. Once in the game world, the MC gets a unique class based on his military experience, Commander, which lets him order the troops assigned to him during a fight and provide some troop wide buffs. The downside, is that he can only earn XP from his soldiers victories or from quests. The other game mechanic aspects of the story are fairly standard: Character sheets, stats, quest notifications, XP, etc. There are also very minor town building and PvP aspects to the story.
The story itself isn’t complicated and amounts to travel, some world building, setup for future storylines, and a good bit of fighting. Unfortunately, the combat in the story was a bit meh for me. There are some visceral description, but much of it and the game world storyline is described as military fiction. Calling out formations, command structure, military lingo, chain of command issues, giving and taking orders. That kind of stuff. The story is supposed to be set in a fantasy RPG world, and the faction the MC chooses is based on the Roman army, but there’s so much modern military lingo and organization structure that it just felt off.
Another thing that just bothered me is that the MC gets a unique class of commander and multiple platoons of soldiers to command the first day he plays the game and at level 1. For me, it felt like the MC was just given this OP class and a bunch of power when he never did anything in game to earn it. The same thing goes for his troops. Outside of combat they’re described as green recruits just out of boot camp, but in combat they work like a well oiled machine performing complex formations and maneuvers that the reader was never shown they trained to learn or even practiced. The reader is told the soldiers practiced, but it’s never shown. So it feels like they get a bunch of skills and military proficiencies they didn’t earn.
Overall, the story just didn’t land for me. Part of that are the issues I mentioned, but another part is that military fiction just isn’t my thing. However, if you really like military fiction you might like the story more than I did.
Score: 6 out of 10
The Wandering Inn: Volume 1
(This novel is the e-book version of the free web serial. You may read the entire ongoing story at wanderinginn.com free of charge.)
“No killing Goblins.”
So reads the sign outside of The Wandering Inn, a small building run by a young woman named Erin Solstice. She serves pasta with sausage, blue fruit juice, and dead acid flies on request. And she comes from another world. Ours.
It’s a bad day when Erin finds herself transported to a fantastical world and nearly gets eaten by a Dragon. She doesn’t belong in a place where monster attacks are a fact of life, and where Humans are one species among many. But she must adapt to her new life. Or die.
In a dangerous world where magic is real and people can level up and gain classes, Erin Solstice must battle somewhat evil Goblins, deadly Rock Crabs, and hungry [Necromancers]. She is no warrior, no mage. Erin Solstice runs an inn.
She’s an [Innkeeper].
My Opinion: 1158 pages, $3.99, Not Available on Kindle Unlimited
There’s no real way to summarize the massive 1st volume of this ongoing story that online is already up to volume 5. It’s a serial story, that’s been written over the last couple of years and continues to grow weekly.
It’s essentially a slice of life LitRPG story that in this volume is a bit light on the RPG stuff. Characters level, magic and skills exist in the world but it’s more part of the cultural aspect of the world than anything pointedly game oriented.
If you’re bothered by light RPG mechanics, don’t be, the story more than makes up for that. The story follows two humans (hints at more) that were transported to a fantasy world where RPG mechanics are apart of the world. One gets the Innkeeper class when she stumbles into an abandoned inn and struggles to survive. The other becomes a runner, a on foot package delivery person, because she loves to run and be free. While neither story sounds compelling, they are.
Though the start of the novel is a bit slow, things pick up by the 5% and the story explodes with world building, progression, character growth, and even some comedy. It’s a slice of life story, which means you follow the two characters as they just do things daily in this new world but it’s still very interesting. I personally loved the thought and time the author put into developing the unique cultures of the monster races. The insect people were different from the lizard people and the gnolls. Each felt like they had a distinct culture and outlook on the world.
And that end, woah, was that an amazing action fest.
Not only is this novel a huge value for the page count, it’s engaging enough to keep you reading late into the night for multiple days. I just couldn’t put the thing down. It’s light LitRPG, but truly a great read.
Score: 8 out of 10
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