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A jam submission

Hiro's AscensionView game page

Indie Game Making Contest 2018 Entry
Submitted by JonSpencerReviews (@JS_Reviews) — 2 days, 23 hours before the deadline

Play game

Hiro's Ascension's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
People's Choice Vote#1322.4442.444

Ranked from 9 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Team Members
Created by Nathan Mehlhorn in association with Jon Spencer Review - https://jonspencerreviews.wordpress.com/

Original Soundtrack by ComposerJF - https://www.youtube.com/user/Auditor48

Engine
SRPG Studio

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Comments

(+1)

Hey! I'm the same Scratchy from the SRPGStudio subreddit. I started playing your game but I ran into a some things that prevented me from finishing it. On both easy and normal, the game was too hard for different reasons. I stopped playing on the map with the skeletons and the healer girl.

On easy, units can not counterattack, so this means that the only way to deal damage is during player phase. In traditional Fire Emblem, most of the combat occurs during enemy phase, where the player is able to set up a strategies to combat multiple enemies. This can not be done on this difficulty so that makes the game harder.

On normal,  enemies just have higher stats just to make the game harder. On both difficulties, it's hard to strategize since you are only able to use 1 or 2 units and your fighting multiple enemies that deal considerable amounts of chip damage. to make this worse, there are enemies that attack from 2 range, so Hiro cannot counterattack these foes with his starting equipment. 

When you have to save the healer girl,  the RNG can screw the player over if the skeletons crit her, constantly land hits on her, or the player does not get to her on time. They also prioritize on attacking her, instead of Hiro, so the player can't bait them either. 

Money is also a problem during the early game. I assume there are many ways get money (and items), depending on quests and branching dialogue, but the player probably won't know unless they replay the game or look up a guide. I earned a total of around 55 gold by the time I was able to shop and could only afford a dagger, which I thought I didn't really need. 

There are a few more problems, but I can't think of them right now or perhaps it was mentioned to you elsewhere.

The story is solid right now, not the most exciting but it gets the job done. There are a few typos I found but I'm sure you are aware of them. I also like the third person narration your doing. Along with the choices during dialogue, it reminds me of a choose your adventure game or book. It needs polishing but otherwise, good job.

I liked how you made your own music too and I assume you made your own tile set. 

Sorry that I couldn't finish your game due to the difficulty, If you ever make an easier mode or have a playthrough of it on YouTube, I'll be happy to take a look.

I shared your game on the SRPGStudio discord server, just to spread the word. Speaking of Discord, I suggest joining. The regulars are nice, we have scripters who are kind enough to take on requests, and people like to share their ideas and stuff. 

If there is anything else you would like to talk about, just ask. Anyways, good luck on your game!

PS: I made an account just to leave a review, and since I have my own demo, I might upload my own demo on this site once i'm done making the next build.

Developer(+1)

Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to play the game and provide feedback, I really appreciate this a lot! Making an account just for this is so awesome of you. When you get a demo up, please be sure to let me know :)

I'd like to address each of your comments in order now just so you know where I was coming from in terms of game design and the pressure of the game contest itself. For my second game ever, I think this came out pretty good but I know it is riddled with flaws.

First, you mention the difficulty. I didn't have hardly any playtesters so the balancing is off, just plain and simple. This was something I could have fixed but nobody was really willing to play my game much in the development stages. I hadn't even thought of the subreddit at the time, so it is what it is. However, I did rigorously test myself so I know that it is very beatable, but different minds and all that.

You mention counterattack on easy, that was a last-minute choice that I didn't realize spiked the difficulty artificially. I thought it would make the game easier for the player. That's 100% on me but it is really good to know for sure. Truth be told, I've never played Fire Emblem in my life so that probably plays into part of the current shortcomings here.

The stats do increase some on normal, but there might be something going on if you are finding them to be so much higher. I'm not sure what's going on here. I made some of the opening combat challenging on purpose, I enjoy tough games, but it sounds like maybe this is a bit too hard. I don't see the ranged characters as too much of an issue, there just needs to be some slight rebalance from what I'm hearing from you. The idea was that the player would have to make carefully weighed declensions each turn, sometimes that would mean doing something that didn't necessarily seem optimal. Like I said, I played this thing a lot and can consistently beat it so I know it is winnable in the current state. However, the way other people's minds work is a factor and the lack of testers didn't help.

RNG can totally screw ya. I made the saves convenient so you could roll back if you wanted. It is super rare though, but it sounds like you got a fringe case where it was happening an abnormal amount. I haven't heard this specific issue from others, so that is just my best guess. Still, it is noted, and ties back into what I was saying about a rebalance. As for enemy priorities, you can do some neat tricks to interrupt that with your positioning and only a few of them really go for her. From my perspective, there are clearly right and wrong ways to approach the maps, so if you make the, "bad" choice it is harder. Maybe that's just bad game design though? It goes back to the kind of older games that I am pulling from here that have some trial and error, but I toned it down a lot so this wouldn't be overly frustrating, or at least that was the intent.

I have no clue how money was an issue for you. May I suggest a restart because you should have around 200 gold by the end of everything. I'm trying to think of how you could have dipped so low because the least you should really ever have to start with is 100. Clearly I made a mistake somewhere though. I know if you had the money for any armor or potions, then the game is MUCH easier.

As for other issues, like spelling and such, I did my best but things slip past. Surprised to hear you saw some because I did a big sweep before release but I get mixed up on words pretty easy. While English is my first language, I learned a few more during the years and my words/grammar gets confused fairly often. It leaves me with an odd pattern of speech and phrasing.

I am very happy to hear that you liked the writing and could feel the old school adventure book vibe I was going for! I love those very much but wish you could be more involved with those types of games. I was going for that so hearing you realize that is great! Sadly, you were not able to beat the skeletons so you didn't get to really see the story kick into gear, which kind of sucks, because my favorite part comes right after. I think you would go, "Wow!" from how things ratchet up. Anyway, you totally got the right vibes here, so glad at least something was good!

The music wasn't made by me at all actually. Some of it came from a composer I work with, some from some dev packages I own, and others from some other composers who put their work out for anybody to use (with credit of course). The tiles are much the same, I didn't make any myself but I also have tricks to make the normal ones seem fresh and interesting. I am bad at art and code, so I compensate XD

No worries on not being able to finish. I would love to put up a play online but I am not really good at video making. Not sure how to really do that and am very poor lol. It is a good idea though. My brother makes videos and does streaming, so maybe he will do that and I can comment to you later with a video if he does that. I'll have to ask him, he is so very busy with schooling right now though so he may not.

Again, I am very appreciative of your sharing my game on Discord and providing all of this valuable feedback. Even though you couldn't finish, I hope you had some fun. If so, then I say that the contest was a big success for me! I wanted to challenge myself, and since I have no job right now, this seemed like a very good idea.

I will certainly look into Discord. I am not a big fan of it, but maybe I will come just so I can meet all the wonderful people in the SRPG Studio sphere. Everyone I have talked to making games with the engine and such have been very nice and helpful. You are included in that as well!

Thanks once again,

-JS

(+1)

Thanks for the well detailed reply! I think I have a better understanding of your mindset and goals of your game. I hope we can help each other out, and maybe help others too, with making our games popular as well as popularizing the SRPGStudio engine.

BTW, I decided to upload my current build of my demo on this site. It is a bit outdated, but it should still be good. I don't know if I'm allowed to link games in the comment section on this site, but I think you can find it if you click on my profile name. I hope you have time to play it soon and leave some feedback!

Anyways, I hope that we can stay in touch.

Developer(+1)

No problem. Also, thanks for letting me know you put the game up, I'll give it a look a little later this weekend :)

Submitted(+1)

Hey Jon I think we might be able to help each other. I am seeing some resources I might want like that Lava tile set and I am really wondering how you changed the chat window from the default. I also can spare some secrets of my own if interested. Please shoot me an email: syukino56@gmail.com

Developer (1 edit)

Sure thing Syukino!

A lot of this stuff is trail and error because there just aren't a ton of resources out there for SRPG Studio in English right now. I wouldn't mind telling you all the little tips and tricks I learned from making this project. I'm sure there are plenty of things you could help me with in return because I know my project isn't perfect. I'll shoot you an email a little later today after I get back from some errands I have to run :)

-JS

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

My project is far from perfect itself, but it's all about working on things

little by little with until they improve. Also I look back on the contest build of my game

and kinda feel grossed out by it because it's no where near as good as the Steam version lol.

So it would serve as a terrible demo in regards to the final product, so definitely removing it after.

I'm also writing to let you know I'll try to play your game this weekend.

Developer

I can relate with that, often we find things we make to be sub par, even if they aren't. Anyway, thanks for writing me back and I hope you enjoy my game! I don't think it is the best either, but as long as you have some fun with it, then that's what counts!

Submitted(+1)

I finally got around to playing your game for a tiny bit.


Here is my take:

Pros:

1. The tutorial was good. Informative and engaging. Very nice.

2. The game was using the 640, 480 graphics and used them well.

3. The music was nice, but the bandit battle song reminded me of

this:

which is a good thing. Not sure if on purpose or not or inspired.

Cons:

1. Even on easy the bandits at the start are a bit unfair.

2. The gallery had one of the pictures as the background of the gallery.

I found that a bit weird.

3. In the story, the main character looks up to a "To be announced" name of a hero. I think

you should have made up a name and changed it later. It would have sounded better.

Verdict: Overall the game was cute and enjoyable and I believe it has a bunch of potential.

Developer

Hey thanks for the feedback! I know you are busy so I really appreciate it.

I'm glad you found several things to enjoy. I laughed a bit in regards to that linked video, totally not on purpose at all! Glad you got a little extra out of it though :) As for the negatives, I'll take that under advisement. Nobody had told me the bandits felt to hard yet, but the game seems to have some balance troubles here-and-there which could easily be fixed now that a lot more people have given this a shot. I just put all the pictures in the gallery, so people could really give them a look, I'm just weird like that XD Lastly, the final guy's name was something I was really agonizing over and the date was just coming up too fast, believe me that would not remain in a truly final version. All names have great importance so I wanted the right one.

Given how excellent your game is I take it as high praise that you found the game to be fairly enjoyable and that you see a great deal of potential in it. Thanks again for your time and feedback!

-JS

Submitted(+1)

I was enjoying it quite a bit! The story is set up nicely, clearly narrative skill shown. I seemed to have a bit of a bug though, I got the dagger at the end of the tutorial but it never showed up in my items, so I bought another one at the market, but then when I got down to the skeletons it wasn't there again! So even on easy I'm having particular difficulty, though I realise that I may be using the UI wrongly somehow haha. It's got a lot of good feeling in it though, nice sense of humour shown but it doesn't become ubiquitous, and I think there's some room for potentially some UX development, choosing the starting position is a bit finicky for me, but once the fight begins it gets much more fluid. I enjoyed it though :) I'll definitely come back to it and see if I can keep those daggers haha

Developer

Hey, thanks for playing the game Tanox! Your kind words mean a lot to me so I am very glad you enjoyed your experience so far, even with this possible bug in the game. The only thing I can think of that may be happening is that the game is sending the dagger to your Convoy instead of the normal inventory. I thought I had given everybody a pretty ridiculous inventory size, but perhaps you were just able to find a lot of my secrets! If you wouldn't mind checking that for me, I would really appreciate it because if this is in fact a bug, I would like to fix this for future updates once the contest has ended.

Your comment about the UI and UX development has been duly noted. I'll see what I can do moving forward but since I am a solo dev with very little coding experience, I may not be able to do much more to improve these things more than I have. Of course, this is something I can get better at with time too, and a challenge is always great! If you had a specific suggestion here I'd very much enjoy hearing it.

Again, I'm really glad you took the time to play this game and have enjoyed it. Thanks for your feedback and if you get back to me on any of my above questions I'd be very grateful!

-JS

Submitted(+1)

It's actually pretty nice. Balancing is a bit off, played on normal, couldn't get past the second wave of skeletons(gave up after 3 tries), but I like the combat system. I think you need to put some effort into finetuning that, as it is now, it doesn't play fluently yet.

Developer (1 edit) (+1)

Thanks for the feedback HilmB! Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of playtesters so I was only able to balance things so far. However, I can offer some general advice if you feel like revisiting. You should invest early into armor if you can afford it but didn't get any favorable events in the introductory chapters. The game has several different (somewhat randomly) generated starts, some of which are stronger than others, but I took care to provide the player with just enough gold if they don't see some of the more favorable ones to at least get a helmet. That may help.

Otherwise, if you would like to experience the rest of the game (don't feel like you have to though) feel free to play on easy. You should stomp the enemies rather easily other then outside of maybe the last boss. You stopped right before my personal favorite part too haha. Well, thank you so much for playing and I'm glad you seemed to have a bit of fun at least :)

-JS 

Developer(+1)

I worked rather hard on this, and I know it is not the most amazing game out there, but I still hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to offer up feedback here as well. I prefer hearing at least one thing you liked for every two negatives, because negatives don't mean much by themselves, they just make folks feel bad.

Submitted(+1)

Yep, there has to be something people liked about the game.  Maybe it had good story but the gameplay was terrible.  Good art.  Something that made you smile or chuckle.  Even bad games usually have something you can say that is positive.

Developer

Exactly :)