by Imagos Softworks
Auston Montville here, the game developer on Starr Mazer. I couldn't agree more about many RPG implementations! They are normally used to artificially extend gameplay, or when poorly implemented, reduce required skill by having the player invest time. Although sometimes appropriate, we are not just cramming an RPG system into Starr Mazer!
To clarify, guts are earned by taking risks in the game. Guts can be used to compensate for a lack of skill in flying the Starr Wolf by, for example, increasing the amount of hits you take. But if you want to push flying the Starr Wolf to the limit, you can use your guts to enable advanced maneuvers in order to have a more challenging and immersive flight experience. (As a fan of SHMUPS, I'll be doing the latter.)
It will be a careful balance that we'll be playtesting constantly to fine tune. This system is not used to arbitrarily increase playtime through grinding, nor is it a way to make the game easier. It's a way for Brick to be rewarded by taking risks and pushing you to fly the way you want to fly.
Why must every game these days have an XP system?!? Ugh. Levelling up just seems to me like a complicated way of flattening out the difficulty curve, or a cheap way to slow down progression.
Although, I have to admit that the Quest for Glory series did a pretty good job of letting you customize your character. In QFG2, I had a guy who could magic, fight, or sneak his way out of any situation, but it wasn't easy to get to that point ;)