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A jam entry

The Otherworld Massage School: Chapter 1View game page »

Do skeletons get muscle knots? You better find out, your life is on the line!
Submitted by Hammer and Clover with 10 hours, 27 minutes before the deadline

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Results

Ranked 114th with 1 vote

CriteriaRankVotes
People's Choice Vote#1141

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous.

  • Did not pass screening: Did not meet quality standards.

Team Members
Alex Lucksmith

Engine
RPGMaker MV

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Comments

I decided to give this a try because it sounded funny. haha

I'll start with the good stuff: I liked what I've seen of the game so far. It started nice. I liked how we got a little guide to get us to the school, that then explains to us where it's everything (that's something that is missing in so many games!). I thought the clients were fun too (tho I only tried up to the 3rd floor), I like how Reyvi starts by explaining everything to you and how the 3rd client gives you some oils (before killing me in one shot :O).
The facesets looked nice and I liked the sprites you picked for the characters too.
Luke in particular looks kind of hot! xD And I really liked his sprite with the little scarf.. so cute! ^^
I thought the maps looked nice enough. I liked the snowy planes outside (the cliff dialogue  was a bit odd tho). The client floors looked unique in a way, I liked exploring them.
The school hall looked nice but maybe a bit plain, I would have liked some more interesting (or odd) objects to look at. The student clinic could do with a make-over though, it didn't look bad but just maybe a bit too empty. I get that it's just a grinding area but still try to make it look a bit more welcoming.. lol
The spa looked really nice! I loved it! I would love to see more dialogues when interacting with the plants there too and it's just a suggestion but maybe add a sort of crafting option for us to be able to make our own oils in there!! :O I have been playing around with an idea for a game that it's a bit to do with crafting and managing a store and when I saw the spa the first thing that came to my mind was how much I would love to be able to work with those plants to get my own special massage oils! >_<

Now the not so good stuff: I felt there was a lack of objectives. I think we are supposed to level up while taking clients to take the test at the end? (Or at least that's what I got from the intro)
But well after Reyvi's first massage we don't really get proper guidance and there isn't a lot to explore to help you along with the leveling up. I dislike repeating the same client over and over again so I ended up in the student clinic but I found the battles there really hard at first, I ended up clinging to the crystal and my grinding went like attack-heal-attack-heal.. and after spending like 30 minutes on it I was still level 2 and despite me not dying so much now, I was still having a hard time. 
I would have liked if there were some sort of side-quests to guide me along with the leveling up. Maybe get some herbs from the spa for some client (or some of the npcs roaming in the school hall) or finding a book in one of the client floors to someone? You know.. just some random stuff for us to do that could us exp, some nice items, some money, or whatever, just so we don't have to completely depend on grinding. 

Rhino already mentioned in their comment the issues with the word wrap, I also noticed some text getting cut off in the item descriptions when browsing the store. You really need to fix those.

A few other things I wanted to mention:
- A typo when you get your student id ("clinicand")
- After you are done with your "first massage" you can keep giving Reyvi a massage and that's  fine by me but it always says it's the first massage.. ^^' If you want the massage stages to be repeatable, you could change up the text a little after we do it the first time.
- The "how to hide $20" book was a nice trick! haha (I cheated and reloaded my save tho.. c'mon! I'm poor! XD)
- When we get the special student id while grinding in the student clinic.. the face that shows up with the dialogue afterwards it's not the faceset you used for Reyvi. I'm not sure if you did it on purpose or it was a mistake. But I don't know who that is and there's no name. It surprised me. XD

Something really important! I came across a bug with the 2nd floor client. It seems like if when he goes into crazy mode and you click no to continuing the massage, the game bugs out. I tried it twice, one time with killing him before he goes into weird mode (with the oils the old man gives you) and the other just pressing no while he still had hp left. When you press no,  everything freezes and you can only hear the background music. I had to restart the game to be able to continue the game.

Overall: The game looks promising. I think it has a lot of potential really. I took this as a little taste of what's to come and I look forward to see it more polished. I really want to see what you'll do with the project after this. For now though. Good luck and keep it up! :)

Submitted

I got the feeling this game has a very specific target audience, and certainly, I'm not one of them ^^''

I don't know anything about the massage/medical side, so quit playing this fairly quickly (even to play for entertainment, turn based battles aren't my idea of fun.) So I can't really comment on the game/story, but there were a few things I noticed on the rpg maker dev side. (Ignore this if you're not particularly looking to become a fully fledged game dev and were just wanting to make this one game. Rpg maker is easy to pick up, but it's hard to actually get good at it, so most of this might be useless to you if you weren't planning to dive into the world of developing.)

Mapping needs a lot of work, layout aside, you just seem to be using the tileset weirdly. Make sure to pay attention to how tiles are lining up, and the way you're layering them. Here's a quick tip on shift click mapping (tut is for vx ace but it's the same.) This should help you clear up some edges, walls and anything else you might want to copy directly. As for making things aesthetically pleasing, that's really just down to experience. Take some time to study how other people use the rtp. If you right click on the map list, you'll be able to load a bunch of sample maps and there's loads of places to find pictures around, or actually play some games that have been praised for their maps.

There was a point in the intro where the text cut off. Personally I find lining up text to be a pain, which is why you might like to invest in some knowledge of using plugins! Yanfly's Message Core is a pretty popular and easy to use one. It gives you a lot of cool features, plus you can use automatic word wrapping if you're lazy like me ;P 

Your shopkeeper keeps walking around even whilst we're supposedly talking to them. I think you're currently using a bench for the counter, but rpg maker actually has a built in method for this! If you check out the Inside tileset A tab, you'll notice some tables. These have a counter flag on them. That means  you can interact with an event over the counter, so you'd actually make the shop event on the npc itself. This makes more sense with mouse control since you're clicking on the person you want to talk to. (Of course, it does mean the shopkeeper needs to always be in front of the table.)

You've got a save point although saving is still enabled from the menu. If you want to remove it from the menu, you need to go into database>system and uncheck save. The crystal also needs a direction fix, since it can change colour depending on where you're talking to it. 

You can repeat all of the massage battles, wasn't sure if this was intentional. (Since they repeat all of the dialogue too.) Reyvi in bed needs a direction fix too. It is a bit weird to talk to her when she's no where to be seen in the intro.

The mismatching faces/battlers is pretty weird. If you look around, you'll be able to find loads of cool resources. A good place to start is here. It's usually better to make do with what you have, than try to make exceptions for things. You can also make requests for resources on the forum, although there's no guarantee to get any reply. 

P.s. Wasn't sure what gender your protagonist is (not that it matters), but since they've got a masculine name I thought you might want to know that the character you've chosen is commonly female, though of course, you're free to use the characters however you'd like. 

Hope this helps! :)

Developer

Hi Rhino,

First of all, thank you so much for your super helpful tips. You are correct, I'm not looking to be a pro game designer, lol. My original goal was to make a mock-game for a YouTube LetsPlay, but as I was working on it, I realized it could be more than a video premise. The target audience is massage therapists that need continuing education credits for their license. Since contraindications (things you should not do to your patients) is about as boring as it sounds, I thought a game where your learned/reviewed the material would be more fun than an article. I have no delusions about winning the Jam, but I did use the deadline as a way to not let the project roll on forever.

That all being said, there is no reason why I couldn't implement what you said and up my skills a bit:
  • You are right, mapping was the hardest thing for me, and porting from VX Ace to MV mid development didn't help, lol. Between the tutorials and new assets (for both maps and monsters), I'll rebuild a lot of the world for the next chapter. Playing well-mapped games is a great idea, any ones you particularly love? S
  • The dialog repeats, but the counter/switch for passing the level turns off. I left the dialog the same in case someone wanted to choose a different route. Next version I'll make it more clear.
  • OMG text wrapping. Sooo excited to have an automated way to do this. I felt like I was writing haiku half the time. Counters too; no more dancing shopkeeps.
  • The protagonist is male, but only because there is a Kineseology joke deep deep in the game, lol.
  • My next project in MV is to build a website for my after-school program. My student's loved the character builder and I had some success with the script calls to load other pages (a feature turned off in the Itch version, unless people really want scholarly articles on fascia conditions, lol).

Again, thank you so much. I'm looking forward to playing your game tomorrow! It looks like we may be working in the same idea vein, so let me know if you want a collab partner (what I lack in technical skill, I make up in easter eggs and duct tape fixes).

Cheers,
Alex

Submitted

Educational games are a great idea. Being able to turn work into play definitely makes things feel more approachable, and the actual interactiveness of a game makes it more engaging. I personally can't stand to just sit down and *study*, so I kinda wish I had a teacher as dedicated as you haha! I'm sure your students appreciate this :)

I can't really list any MV games with good editor maps off  the top of my head. Most of them use parallax mapping, but that's not really viable (or indeed, worthwhile) for a game like this, especially if you're trying to keep it playable on mobile devices. I like to lurk on this thread for mapping inspiration, though it's pretty mixed so you have to surf through for particular MV rtp maps. 

Thanks for taking a look at Lost Boy! It's not really a self help game like yours is (although I'd certainly be pleased if it was able to benefit people.) There are a few other mental/health themed games in this contest if you wanted recommendations for any of those just out of general interest.

I don't currently have any plans to develop a new game of my own. The scope of this series doesn't align with my interests enough that I'd want to co-develop it, but I'd certainly be happy to lend you some support if you'd like. I don't have oodles of experience, but I am fairly confident that I can put things together without breaking them XD