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A jam entry

Abyssal Shine: NevermeltView game page »

The members of the Abyssal Shine set out to find their stolen relic and it leads them to a place they did not expect.
Submitted by Indrah LadyPotato (@IndraLadyPotato), Fomar0153, Reverie Raven with 11 hours, 18 minutes before the deadline

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Visit Abyssal Shine: Nevermelt's game page

Results

Ranked 17th with 11 votes

CriteriaRankVotes
Judge's Choice#12n/a
People's Choice Vote#1711

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.

  • Theme 

    Abyssal's theme is weird and hard to pin down. It's about some water god getting pissed and has been causing shipwrecks. You lost some important artifact and…You also meet an Abyssal. And that’s all I can garner from it.

    Gameplay

    I have a ton of issues with its gameplay.

    • I played this game on normal mode with the recommendation of 40 steps for encounter. I felt like this was a massive mistake. Encounter rate is broken. This is even more obvious during the driftwood pushing area where I was forced to change the encounter rate to 90. Just after a battle and moving to a small current, I encountered an enemy immediately!
    • A ton of distractions during puzzle solving segments was frustrating and can cause an insane amount of time remembering where you just went to.
    • You get some equipment items but you get so many “increases MDF or AGI” items that you don’t feel compelled to adjust your equipment.
    • You should give a free revival item at the beginning just because on how expensive it is and how fast Anwar can die.
    • The fights aren’t very engaging. The bosses and normal encounters are so samey that your strategy doesn’t ever change.
    • It wasn’t exactly clear what Leylines or Leypoints do at the beginning until you get some skills later. It just came off as confusing.
    • The totem item you pick is unclear and buggy. I didn't know what it does until another judge points it out and it even activated onto the next battle when the previous match died a lot earlier than expected.

    Presentation

    • The intro was very weird. Fighting the same mook sea goop and presenting it as if it’s a scary boss at the edge of the ship was underwhelming. Evander also falling during the shaking screen on this part was confusing, what exactly happened?
    • Maps are OK but the Music choice was really bad. Some examples:
      • That looping music during the intro with Riya overstaying its welcome.
      • The music during the islets part are so repetitive after enough backtracking due to encounter rates and problem solving.
    • The facesets have inconsistent details that are a bit of an odd choice. Is there a reason that the Stella had to have a very detailed choker? It’s as if that’s her defining character. It's also very hard to gather their age based on this.
    • There are also some writing issues that I  have to mention:
      • Evander falling in love with Riya within one week is just crazy.
      • Uua’s speech is really irritating to read. It would’ve been better that she speaks exactly like Yoda instead of budget Yoda.
      • Bonus point that Riya isn’t a female protagonist with a rage boner and 0 tact. I actually like her. Evander and Anwar were charming for the most part until they act like teenagers. Stella can dive off a cliff and I wouldn't miss her.
    • The turn order obstructs parts of the battle log if the line is long enough.
    • I think better icons for Leypoints and Leyline would’ve been better. I wasn’t exactly sure if the – sign was a negative or positive.
    • The windowskin borders are not very good.

    Engagement 

    I have a lot of issues with this game that detracted a lot from my total enjoyment.

    Total – 50/80

  • There was a lot of content in this one, pretty impressive. I enjoyed the battles thanks to the interesting skills (especially the Spell stealing one, that was fun). However, they can get grueling when you’re wandering around an enormous map trying to solve a puzzle. It was easy to lose track of where you are with the frequent interruptions. The character art was cute even if the characters themselves are pretty one-note, most of their interactions had the same general rhythm. The environments are very cool looking, especially the underwater sections. Very enjoyable overall.

    Score: 57/80

  • PRESENTATION

    Graphics are a mix of different packs but all work well together. The mapping is very good and the environment is interesting and detailed.

    The sound is quite well done, with most music fitting the scenes it's played in quite well. Sound effects are scattered through-out the game and attention was given in some areas to atmospheric sounds, which is always a nice touch.

    The writing has a few minor technical issues in spelling/word cutoff and very minor grammar. Otherwise it presents the story and characters quite well. The characterisation is good and the characters are all likeable and interesting in their own ways, though sometimes they can come off a little cliche.

    I did notice a bit of style clash with parts of the facesets being custom and others being generator.

    GAMEPLAY
    Gameplay consists of typical jRPG fare - battles, environment/event interactions and the like.

    Items are found via looking for floating arrows when you get close enough to a hidden item for it to show. Most of the found stuff is either healing items or money.

    Battles consist of beating up enemies in the usual way. Each character has a type of skill that suits their class. Some enemies also have armour which is basically a different HP pool. Some skills can bypass the armour to hit their typical HP (which, if it falls to 0, causes death, even if the secondary pool/armour is still full).

    Skills are learned by finding scrolls or unlocked by battling optional enemies. Armour and weapons can be gotten the same way. You can also purchase some skills.

    Puzzles are interesting, though they can get a bit repetitive after a while. The puzzle with the driftwood was pretty good.

    There is an option to change your encounter rate and game difficulty, but the encounter part is broken which means it doesn't matter what you pick in that aspect, you're going to get encounters and you better like them because good luck running from them!

    ENGAGEMENT
    The game is pretty fun. There's something about it that feels like I've played it before but the battles are fun and fast, the search for items is interesting and while I got sick of the encounter rate, zooming around on water streams was a nice way to travel, even if it got rather repetitive after a while. I liked the characters well enough, and the visual aspects were fresh.

    THEME
    The theme was handled well - the mechanics were explained well and made sense for the most part (the leylines were a little iffy but eh) and the story presented certain aspects quite well too.

    65/80

  • 60/80

    Stella's victory graphic tears. What can be stolen with Stella isn't easy to figure out as some bosses seem to not allow stealing, but some common enemies can be stolen from. Mandrake is near impossible to catch with mouse or touch controls. Sea Witch quest, the drink it should be they drink it. With all 3 color gems, entering the caves with them equipped turns the light a different color. An item gives the shark hunter MP, but she doesn't seem to use MP at that point of the game.  When you upgrade the shark necklace, it is unequipped. Also, the description for at least one upgrade says ALL x/8, but that description is probably meant for the 8/8 upgrade.

    While there are a few areas where it feels like the story isn't really that well developed, overall, the story is well rounded and at least enjoyable to read. Not perfect, but sound is used well and graphics are used well. Could potentially do with a bit of fixing to make it more friendly for those with accessibility issues.

    Has several issues such as a lack of a minimap, excessively large maps, excessively high encounter rates,  and battles that are fairly tedious once trying to one shot the enemies becomes the standard tactic. The encounter rate changer seems to be rather pointless. Why is it that the characters feel like they are just being forced to do certain things instead of it being natural? The omg, I fell in love at first sight trope again?

Team Members
Indrah LadyPotato
Fomar0153
Reverie Raven

Engine
Rpg Maker MV

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Comments

(+1)

I decided to give the game a try too! I really love the story (the dialogue!) in this. Very funny and witty. The characters are really something else! XD I couldn't stop laughing at some parts. ^^
I'm more of a storymode kind of girl, so I went for narrative with 60 steps and I thought it went pretty good. I like that we can change the difficulty of the game as well as the steps as we progress in the game too. I was going insane with the currents, I spent AGES trying to figure out which way to go (especially after meeting the shark pups, those were really cute btw!), so being able to change the steps so that no battles would trigger was a plus to my sanity. LOL
The battle system was ok, honestly I didn't really like or dislike it. I didn't feel much about it. I pretty much always used the same method to winning the battles too.
The mapping was really nice. I really liked Riya's house and the beach. But the undersea maps! Those were sooo pretty! The fishies swimming around was a nice touch too. I loved it really! (You need to do a whole game in there because god I would love to explore all those pretty maps again! :P)
Overall: A great game! Definitely one I'll be saving in my harddrive to continue later! haha
Good luck in the contest! :) 

Submitted

Alright, I took a shot at your game. It was a solid RPG experience, but I have to nitpick on a few things that might or not be just matters of taste and not necessarily design flaws. I'll list my points below, in no particular order:

  • I am not really fond of the helper arrows on interactable objects. I personally enjoy exploration and prefer to find out myself if something on the map is a point of interest or not. They are good for things that are crucial for advancing the plot, but I didn't like them elsewhere. If my lack of interaction means I'll lose a few healing items easily gatherable, so be it. I'll grind the coin for it then.
  • I liked the non-generic difficulty settings on the beginning, and that you gave us an option to change it mid-game. I did not care for the step counter though; I think it's more of a developer design and should not be changeable by players.
  • I adored your underwater mapping. However, some of the maps above water felt a tad generic. Understandable for a month's project though.
  • The puzzles were pretty fun, although a bit too easy for my taste. A tad smaller map for the driftwood puzzle would have been nice; quite some time was spent on travelling around.
  • I liked the fact that you did not use the default font: many contenders did, mine included. However, the font was not entirely to my tastes, and the naming scenes did not like it either; at first I thought Riya's name was supposed to be Ri ya, because the I letter is shifted to the left. Same with Anwar; the W in his name seems to be too wide for RMMV naming scene. But these are rather easily fixed later on.
  • Most of the music I liked, but I had to resist the urge to turn the music off during the introduction scene where Evander is being tended by Riya. That music was definitely for my tastes.
  • The combat was pretty good and balanced against Adventure difficulty, which I played on. But I disliked the fact that you had to use Sear everytime you met those oversized slimes because of their regeneration. This basically meant that Evander had to use Sear every time during those fights, or I had to outdamage the healing. A little bit more freedom in our actions would have been nice. Same for those crabs and their barriers, requiring Riya to use Piercing Attack every turn. There also seems to be a mistake with Jump and Fly actions, or how they are shown on the turn bar. Everytime the actor (or enemy) using these had their action finished one turn before their turn actually came.

Despite the "flaws" I mentioned above, I'm going ahead and vote for this entry. I think your effort shows and you should be rewarded for it. Thanks for making this game and please make more games in the future!

Developer

Glad you over all enjoyed the game, I can give you the rationale behind some of those decisions. Generally people seem to like our arrows, with them we've tried to strike a middle ground between having to click on absolutely everything and havng it obvious where things are hidden e.g. with a little sparkle. We've tried to use it to encourage exploration in our game as you can't see where the extra teasures are unless you explore but again we didn't want players to have to click on everything.

One of our influences in ideas was Bravely Default. I think everyone who makes rpg maker games knows how annoying random battles can be at times and we liked that in Bravely Default you could mess with that and adjust it to your liking. Our implementation is a little basic but it's one of those things we'd like to built on in future to allow players to play our games how they would like.

Usually puzzles are something I do if I have time when everything else is done (which means almost never), I think the real issue with the driftwood map is that when you travel the currents those count towards your next random battle which ended up dragging the map out quite a bit and makes travelling around quite a bit more time consuming than intended.

I'm glad someone thinks the game was balanced well, I am off the opinion you can never win on game balance, it is simply too subjective to individuals and coupled with early optional content means it's very easy to get ahead of the difficulty curve, but at the same time you don't want massive difficulty spikes when players don't do the optinal content. The first group of enemies are designed to teach you the characters strengths and weaknesses which clearly they did, but at the same time the beach was a lot longer than I expected so you ended up fighting against the early enemies for longer, when we go through the game again I'll probably introduce a third set of beach enemies and bump up the second set to be introduced earlier.

As for making more games I think that's assured we've been working together now for five years and we're still having fun. Thank you again for your playing our game and leaving us feedback.

Submitted(+1)

Overall, LOVED this game. It's a very serious contender

Gameplay:
Loved the arrow indicators for interactables.
Loved the ability to switch the encounter rate and difficulty to focus on the narrative. (I played at narrative and 99. Encounter rate still seemed high though for some reason?)

Visuals:
Excellent mapping and atmosphere.
Perfect font choice and use of color.
Ocean color transition seemed to go in the wrong order? Maybe? Typically darker colors would be farther from shore.
Great blending of default resources with custom art.

Audio:
Great use of music.

Eventing:
Entertaining cutscenes.
Puzzles were... puzzling :) Other than taking a sec to figure out the expectation, they were fun.

Combat:
Well balanced, complex, and fun. Difficulty levels are a great touch.
Automated mouse highlighting would reduce clicks required, speeding the pace of encounters.
Great use of animations.

Minor notes:
No music or battlebacks during combat on the ship at the beginning. Would've been cool and looked better with a ship battleback.
I did not encounter any bugs during gameplay.

Developer(+1)

Thank you for the praise! Honestly I was getting a bit nervous since all the comments from non-friends were a bit mixed and we usually do a tad better.  We put so much work into it if it just got a mixed reception I'd have been sad OTL

The arrow indicator was something I started doing a long while ago and it tends to work really well for me. Now that Fomar made a MV plugin for it I'm using it forever.

The ocean color...oh boy. I could have tinkered with it but in the end as I was using tiles that already existed I decided to leave them as is rather than struggle against them and lose time. I noticed they were kind of in reverse. Hey maybe it's a magical sea, who knows ;)

Man you have NO IDEA how scared we were of bugs during gameplay. The first IGMC we entered with a way too ambitious project and a last minute bug slammed us right as the judges were doing the screening. The sheer FEAR x_x

But really thanks for giving us a try and letting us know! It really means a lot, it feels like I've never worked so hard in my life (to be fair, first time I did a contest while having a dayjob XD)

Submitted(+1)

Just played this game and it is quite charming! 

At very first when I ran into the belligerent seagull I was like "wtf is that?!" but I soon realized that the monsters are all in the same general vein of relative whimsy, and I love it. The dialogue between the characters is great and I enjoyed their different personalities. Riya is my favorite.

Combat was interesting, though I felt like there were not that many tactical choices and mostly just used Jump/Dive on Riya and the non MP-consuming magical attacks on the others for most of the fights, but I did put it on the easier difficulty so that might be why. Overall I did enjoy the battles and I am thankful that 1.) you allow a customized number of steps between battles, and 2.) you didn't disable dashing like some people do for no apparent reason.

The mapping is fantastic. I love the atmosphere of the islands and the different shades of blue water. Reminded me very much of some tropical beaches I have visited! I also love the ambience created by all the little fishes and crabs and lizards and other animals milling about in unobtrusive ways (thank god they didn't block movement!), and they were also entertaining to talk to as well! The underwater areas were especially pleasant to look at. 

The puzzles were clever and interesting and the difficulty seemed to progress at a very natural pace. Well done there!

Overall I enjoyed this game very much! You three (Indra, Fomar, Reverie) did fantastic work and should be proud!

Developer

Woop! People who like the game! :D

To be fair, Riya is almost everyone's favourite. I think it's the first time I manage to successfully pull off my favourite character archetype, the female BAMF. I try and fail pretty often, happy to see this time it worked!

Really thanks for the praise and giving this a try! And don't worry I remember the secret santa XD

Submitted

Haha, this wasn't a prompt for the secret santa thing, I had your game on my list since before that! I mentioned before, I enjoyed the entry you made in previous years (I forget which year, 2015 maybe?) so I was rather looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint.

Submitted(+1)

Ok, here's my review. I've tried to avoid spoilers.


I chose Narritive

I chose 60 steps between encounters

Because I like a good story, and not so much battles and stuff.

Enemy names are awesomely funny! Battle backs pretty cool, however I feel I should have chosen a higher number of steps between battles, because I'm starting to get annoyed at the battles, which is never good. Though the sheilding was a clever battle mechanic. Take my battle review with a pinch of salt, Ii'm not a battle srt of a person, I tend to coast through the story, escaping as many battles as I can following the plot and then grinding like mad at the end when I realise the final boss is was more powerful than I am!

I felt the puzzles were very awkward. I spent ages trying to figure it out, to the point where I was wandering about both the current and the growths just sort of hoping for the best.

I haven't progessed further than the growths yet. I've saved and stopped, and will play more tomorrow and continue.

Now for the fun stuff, I loved your characters and the dialogue was, as always with the games you guys make, clever and very witty. Overall the story feels pretty light and easy to follow, I'm not feeling bogged down in angst or drama, and everything sort of flows naturally between the characters.

The mapping, again as always, is amazing, and I am so jealous!


So far the game is good, and I'm enjoying it, and I want to reach the end so badly, but clocking in right now at 1 hr 38 mins it almost feels too long, and I simply can't continue it tonight, but I will offer a second review when I continue.

Developer (1 edit)

if you ever get back to it: the puzzle mechanics of the root are melding colors and carrying them with you. You can put them back in pedestals if you need to. 

The short version to just advance is pick up the first yellow orb, go east, get blue orb, go around back through west to find the red orb. Go back around, leave the yellow orb, and presto, with blue+red you have purple and can get to the boss. (Theres a ton of extra stuff to do in the cave but that's the base route).

The game clocks at 2-3 horus if you don't run into too much trouble We've never been any good at the "short" part ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Submitted

I love your games generally, I always think they’re very clever and funny and very well done. I was just getting tired last night while playing so I think it makes the game seem longer than it should have felt. I am very much enjoying it,  and the puzzles are very clever. My only want would be a little more direction for them, just for people like me who suck at working puzzles out I. Any length of time. Lol.

I’ll finish the game tonight and let you know what I think of the rest of it.

Submitted(+2)

Ah, now it makes sense! This project is very you - the combat is awesome, the puzzles are tricky and involved and it has a great deal of polish! I can't get over how beautiful some of the maps were. Great job you guys!