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A jam submission

MicrophageView game page

tile based puzzle with indirect controls
Submitted by bippinbits (@BippinBits) — 2 minutes, 36 seconds before the deadline
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Microphage's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Fun#2043.8304.063
Originality#5773.7714.000
Overall#6443.5363.750
Presentation#10543.5363.750

Ranked from 16 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

How does your game fit the theme?
You have no control over your player/agents, only indirect guidance.

Did your team create the art for this game during the 48 hour time slot?

Yes

We created all art during the game jam

Did your team create the audio for this game during the 48 hour time slot?

Yes

We created all audio during the game jam

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Comments

Submitted(+1)

This game's great! The idea is nothing special, but the puzzles are soooo well made that it's ended up as one of my favourite games of the entire jam.

I did find a couple of bugs, though. When restarting the level, sometimes the food doesn't reset (it stays turned over when it wasn't originally), and you are able to undo a move without undoing a turn, meaning you can repeat this the completely control the state of the whole board, before any microphages have even moved.

Developer

Thank you Alex :) 

Interesting bug, without checking the code, i actually forgot to add the "flipped" state into map serialization, so that makes perfect sense. Cool that you figured that one out :D

Submitted(+2)

This game's pretty damn amazing.

Took me a couple minutes of trial and error to understand exactly how it works and what I had to do, but then the idea is great and original, while very reminiscent of the basic and most ancient puzzle games. 

I find the Pixel Art animations to be truly INCREDIBLE, after looking at your profile a bit you seem to have almost mastered the technique after a few games trying, the audio is fun, I guess you did everything with your mouth? I would have liked some music, if you are ever able to make some yourself.

Very fun, original, enjoyable and the presentation was great, there is nothing bad I can say about this game other than maybe guiding the player through the first few steps (As in, make an actual Tutorial level where you just point at exactly where the player needs to click in order to win, and then I believe everyone should be able to keep going). I can't believe you even managed to make 14 levels of this quality.

Amazing work, truly, and I hope you get more visibility!

Developer(+1)

Wow, thank you so much for your in depth feedback, warms my heart :D

All sounds are indeed done with my mouth, which was very swift to do and i was able to set the "idea" of each sound like i wanted. I spent some time looking for music, but didn't find anything that really fits and wouldn't be annoying - very difficult for a kind of abstract game like this i think. I agree with you though ;)

The sprites are done by my wife actually, with whom i made all the games on itch for game jams. She was so happy to read what you wrote! :D

I wish i'd have had one more day to tune the levels and mechanics. I only spent about an hour on the levels with no playtesting by someone else, so i'm really happy they turned out decent enough anyway :D 

On the tutorial, i agree i have a todo there. I am a big fan of learning the mechanics myself, with nothing being explained - but this is not for everyone, many people like to know the rules before playing. So i'm experimenting how to fit both worlds. I'm probably just gonna ask the player first what style he likes, so to speak.

Submitted(+1)

excellent game! only thing this needs is a proper tutorial, as it was confusing at first. but once i got the hang of it, the puzzles were extremely enjoyable. great work!

Developer (1 edit) (+1)

Thank you so much! :)
I usually try to omit an explicit tutorial, but try to "teach" the concepts through basic levels first. Did you notice the "How To" Button on the bottom right, and if so, did it help at all? I'm experimenting a bit with the way i can give more explicit help ingame, without frontloading it.

Was the tile flipping the confusing part, or anything else? Can you tell what made it confusing? Sorry for the many questions, but it would help me out a ton :)

Submitted(+1)

i didnt see the how-to button, but ill check it out after posting this  to see if it would have helped. what was mainly confusing for me at the beginning was understanding the objective of getting the microphage to the bacteria. because the microphage and bacteria (at least on the first level) were colored similarly, i thought they were two different types of bacteria and i was trying to prevent them from getting to the agar (which i thought was the microphage, i guess?) in retrospect, it's obvious how the game works, but in the moment i had no clue what i was supposed to do. after reading the game page and some experimentation i was able to figure it out, though.

Developer(+1)

Thank you very much for the detailled explanation! This is perfectly valid and makes sense. I should have made at least a minimal intro screen, maybe in-level, to show the goal of the game and explain the elements you can see, at least a little. I'll keep that in mind, thank you :)

I was also not sure on how to handle the How To. Having it open in each level might be annoying, but on the other hand, players might miss it - and its content changes from level to level, depending on what i thought was relevant. I have to think about that :D

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

update: tried the how-to button and yep, would've set me up well to understand the base mechanic of the game. my recommendation would be to have that screen that pops up be an overlay the player sees the first time they attempt the first level (and still have it accessible from that button), OR make the button a lot more obvious (you could even have it flash if the player fails the first level many times in a row). because if i had known it was there i would have absolutely used it. from my perspective, i think based on the size of the agar grids for most of the levels you definitely have room to at the least make the UI buttons larger.

ive included this screenshot to show how your game looks when it first launches. i didn't think to maximize the window all the way, and as you can see the bottom buttons are getting cut off by my task bar, making it hard to see them. thought this might be valuable to know as well. when i maximized the window i could see them, but in my first playthrough i didn't maximize the window because i didn't think i had to.

edit: didn't see your newest comment so some of this info may be repetitive, feel free to ignore anything that's been repeated here

Developer(+1)

Oh i just saw the comment now, thank you again! That was really helpful, i didn't know this was the case, so i should lower the resolution or start on full screen :)

And i'm very glad to hear the how to probably would've helped!

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

Amazing game! You made a very good job in 48h.

Submitted(+1)

The game looked quite daunting, but it turned out to be a great puzzle game. I especially like level 13. The sfx's are also quite funny and the "how to" info was useful. Though, the art of the bacteria is a bit rough.

Developer (2 edits)

Thank you Mika! I am happy that you played through and that the learning curve also worked out. I wasn't sure if it was fun and understandable, i couldn't get anyone for a proper playtest, and when thinking so much about puzzles it gets more and more difficult for me to imagine how it would feel and play for a new player. 

I agree that the bacteria are a bit rough, the jam was a bit short for us and so much sprites with animations to do, that we had to speed it up a bit. So maybe we can improve them post-jam :)

Submitted(+2)

Very good puzzle game, pretty challenging but relaxing at the same time. Loved the sound effects a lot! :) Well done!

Submitted(+3)

Fantastic job both with the core mechanic and the way you taught the player its subtleties through level design instead of text. The sound design was adorable!!! As were the cute lil bacteria (with just the right amount of malice in their eyes so you don't feel bad murdering them). Honestly it's the sort of game with a polish and enjoyability level high enough that it doesn't even feel like a jam game, but a full release (well, maybe with a few extra levels, but you catch my drift).

Developer(+1)

Thank you so much Austin, it really means a lot to me. Sound design was funny - my wife  (who made all the graphics) suggested just using a mic instead of searching for hours for just the right sound. It worked out good enough, and i could make just the sound i wanted for it (tone wise at least).

If anyone else reads this, please go play Austins game, it is amazing :D

Submitted(+2)

This game is very cool! very fun, and i love the visuals, with a bit more polishing it will became fantastic, keep going! rated! please check out my game too :D

Submitted(+2)

Very clever puzzle game, and the sound design and animation are charming !

Awesome !

Submitted(+2)

This was wicked awesome! Super clever puzzle game with a real interesting mechanic! I also enjoyed the sound design :)

Developer

Thank you so much! I didn't really know if anyone would like it, designing the puzzles makes me lose all feel of "is this enjoyable for a new player". Reassuring :)