You aren't the hero in this RPG


But playing second fiddle isn’t half bad

Doujin Dojo is asporadiccolumn dedicated to spotlighting independent games from Japan and the people that make them.

Every time I talk about PlayStation Mobile, someone inevitably mentions it’s the first time they’ve ever heard of the (now-defunct) service. And there’s a reason for that. Sony never really supported the platform, which was another one of those good-in-theory projects the company lost interest in as soon as it was born, leaving it to fend for itself like a small child abandoned in the wilderness.

Essentially Sony’s take on Xbox Live Indie Games, PlayStation Mobile was an open platform that allowed virtually anyone to release games on PlayStation Vita, Xperia phones, and Sony tablets.

It was a wonderful idea, giving independent creators a place to sell their wares on a console without restrictions like the certification process. But it wasn’t without its drawbacks. Before the marketplace shuttered last month, the Wild West-like outlet was rife with shovelware and shameless clones.

But buried amidst bullshit like “Luminis” and “Flappy Birds” were a few hidden gems, such as the topic at hand today, A Healer Only Lives Twice, which I have fittingly buried further with this lede.

A Healer Only Lives Twice isn’t a typical RPG by any means. Instead of putting the player in control of the prototypical hero, they actually have to defend him. After a light introduction, a warrior and the eponymous healer venture into a dungeon teeming with all sorts of dangerous monsters.

The goblins, slimes, and other beasts advance toward the duo in rows, the leaders of which attack the “tank,” while the rest wait their turn until a gap opens in the ranks. The only power players have over the tank is suggestion, telling him which row to attack while you see to his defense.

The tank, despite his name, might as well be made out of glass and relies on the healer to vigilantly mend his wounds and cast various sorts of defensive buffs to reduce the effectiveness of oncoming attacks. You’ll also be crafting items and learning skills on the fly to make your party more effective, which means you’ll never be without something to do in the heat of battle.

If the tank and healer don’t succumb to their enemies, the healer’s torch will eventually go out, at which point the journey will begin anew after allowing you to spend the experience you just earned on a myriad of different upgradeable attributes. This makes your quest easier at the outset, allowing you to go progressively further each time, as you learn more and become increasingly powerful.

It’s a really enjoyable little game that I’m glad I managed to pick up before it disappeared with scores of others when Sony turned off PSM’s taps last month. Thankfully, A Healer Only Lives Twice is aptly named and won’t be gone forever. Its creator has plans for the game in a post-PSM world.

A Healer Only Lives Twice is primed for a Windows PC release sometime this summer, ensuring that a larger audience will have an opportunity to play this cute roguelike RPG if they so choose.