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A jam submission

Bloom!View game page

Bloom! is a game about starting a garden from nothing.
Submitted by Crusticus (@CrusticusGamer) — 15 hours, 57 minutes before the deadline
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Bloom!'s itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Gameplay#212.9213.200
Audio#242.8303.100
Art Style#253.1953.500
Overall#252.9763.260
Fits the Theme#302.9213.200
Creativity#333.0123.300

Ranked from 10 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

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Comments

Submitted(+2)

This game is sweet.

The pixel art and the animations are all great. Especially the game page. Very nice. The sun animation is very cute. I don't like the dithering in the grass. None of the other sprites use dithering so it stands out (but I just hate dithering in general so maybe it's just me). I would have preferred little patches of tall grass to differentiate the dark and light grass areas. I think texturing the grass slightly would have looked great (google "pixel art grass" and that's what I mean by texture). Or some extras like tiny 1-4 pixel wild flowers; tiny so they aren't confused with the flowers you grow. Something subtle so you don't lose the worms or your plants in the background.

Enemies are simple, but having them spawn in bursts is a great way to do it. If they just spawned 1 every ~2 seconds, it would be much too easy to keep them under control by killing them one at a time. The burst ups the intensity of the game for a bit and you have to figure out which worms to hit first. The scythe stunning them was key to the strategy of killing them. And the scythe doing a bit of area damage meant you always wanted to try to hit as many worms as you could which added a lot of fun second-to-second decisions trying to perfectly aim your clicks. The slight cooldown on the attack means you can multitask a little early on. You need to attack some worms far away, then while the cd is resetting, multitask by spending that time filling up with water. Then going and finishing off the worms when the cd is ready.

I kinda had no idea what I was doing a lot of the time. Not that it made it any less fun. The game was easy enough to figure out what you had to do in a broad sense even if you didn't know the specifics. Like I knew I needed to water plants and slice worms. I  figured out that I could hover over the water at the bottom to refill my can without being told, because that's pretty clear. But I was unsure what watering plants did when they were in their final stage. I guess it keeps them alive, but I wasn't sure if I needed to fill up the blue bar to get to another stage. How does the chopping your own plants thing work? Sometimes it wouldn't work, sometimes I'd get 2-4 new plants. Does the plant need to be in the final stage to be able to be cut? I'm not really sure why I would want multiple plants. Do I get more points? They sort of act as lives. If I have multiple plants, the worms need to kill them all for me to lose, but they don't spread very far so the worms can kill nearby plants pretty easily. I didn't really know what the upgrades did. It seemed the upgraded scythe lowered the cooldown which was handy. I see now that the game page has the upgrade info.

All in all, the game is really fun to play. It has great flow between chill watering and stressful scythering. And this is your first game? What a great game to start with.

Developer (1 edit) (+1)

 Making the art style consistent was definitely a struggle and there were some things that feel off (like the dithering). it's funny that you mention having tufts of grass/flowers because that was what I originally was doing, but felt it didn't look quite as clean.

I definitely tried to keep gameplay as simple and easy to jump in as possible, so I'm glad that the game had that feeling for you. I DID try to emphasize the importance of micro management and multitasking, Even to the point where I kept  in the ability to  use the scythe while also watering plants instead of making them exclusive actions.

The blue bars under plants are their saturation meter, which increases their growth if it is filled, but will drop over time if they aren't being watered. Max saturation doesn't do anything significant other than to just let you know your plants have water. When their saturation bar is at 0, they slowly lose their orange bar over time(even if not being attacked), which is HP/growth. You can only harvest crops in the 3rd stage (the goofy blue headed plant dudes) and harvesting them gives you points and cash, which can be used to get a higher end score as well as buy upgrades, respectively. You can also get points and cash by killing worms alone, but doing both harvesting and killing is optimal, as you won't have enough money saved from just killing by the time the difficulty starts to ramp up. It kind of adds to the micromanagement as well as the risk-reward of "do I keep more plants alive for longevity or do I harvest them all in a risky move to earn more points?". At least, that's how I saw it.

There's a bit more to upgrades that I could be more transparent about, but couldn't find a good way to show what they did in-game and didn't want to clutter the itch page with all of what they do. Scythe is mainly damage increase and cooldown decrease, however plants and the watering can have multiple unique features. Some of them I couldn't get to work by the deadline though, unfortunately :( I actually wanted to make it so plants shoot projectiles at level 5 that increase in power and speed each level after that, but I couldn't implement it properly with my limited knowledge.

Thank you for all of the great feedback!

Submitted

Why does this game require Administrator privileges and could you possibly provide a version that doesn't?

Developer

I wasn't sure how to make a standalone (new to GMS2) and the default is an installer. I will see if I can build a standalone and upload it (assuming that is allowed).

(1 edit) (+3)

It took me a minute to figure out that I should be cutting my plant, but once I did the game became fun, fast, and rewarding. Love the art, love the music, and I love the concept.


EDIT: After a couple hours of playing this, I'm still really enjoying it. Some elements have really been implemented in a thoughtful--and most importantly, enjoyable--way:


Watering feels so good. The way the water sinks into the ground and nourishes the plant brings me back to the times I'd help around the garden watering as a child.     It's also a smart design decision to slow the pace of this already-breakneck game. Requiring the mouse to hover for even a half second over a certain area helps keep the expected APM (actions per minute) from growing too quickly. Speed, activity, and how they scale are all crucially important for this game. High 'APM demands' may easily scare off a casual/novice player--and they certainly cause the game to demand more attention and energy from all players.



Scything takes the best of fruit ninja game elements and uses them to encourage judicious, prudent, contained play from the player.      Imagine you  // were// trying to defend your plants from an onslaught of worms (as happens quite randomly from time to time). You know which of your plants are most vulnerable. You decide that these worms need the personal attention of the scythe. It's barbaric, sure, but these worms have to learn: that your plants are yours and worms can go kick rocks. Fueled by a protective energy far surpassing a mama bear with cubs, you set out to make a last stand for the ages against what seems to be an unending siege of worms.

In the hot sun--plants aching, straining for water--you shake off your own heat and misery and garden like no one has before. You're the Lebron James of your garden: doing it all, you're saving plants left and right, strategically propagating new plants, and slicing worm after worm, sometimes all in one stroke. If you're going to be running around swinging a scythe wildly, you'd better have the foresight to plan your garden to mitigate friendly fire casualties.

That's a unique plan to make in a game, and it could easily have ended up such a less interesting choice if the scythe didn't sweep, operating instead as more of an instant point-and-click action. I find myself wishing more games would encourage player restraint as well as this game does.



The upgrades are delightfully simple, though I have to wonder how much they matter once the game reaches a certain point. There's also something of a minor lack of clarity with what the upgrades  // do// for the player. Scythe upgrade definitely makes swing speed faster and damage higher. Watering can increases capacity, but maybe something else as well. Plant upgrades seem to increase health, though I swear they also become easier to water with higher upgrades.


Just tonigh I'm already going back and forth between what upgrades I want to get and when.   I change my mind from one attempt to the next in order  to compliment the strategy I've employed for that venture. There's no question that some upgrading of the scythe is necessary; the difference between 3 hits and 2 per worm is massive, so you don't want to find yourself behind on scythe tech without money to spend. I think plant upgrades are probably the first priority, but then again I also once thought watering can was first priority.  The upgrades are somewhat opaque. They don't generally have a massive impact on the game. They feel // very// classic arcade in that way, and not the least modern. I would not be surprised if most people think as a result that the upgrades were poorly implemented--'dated' is often fairly undesirable in a modern game. I do though think that these people are wrong; the upgrades stand respectfully out of the way, allowing mechanical performance to take center stage, as it should in most all arcade games.



The soundtrack and sound design are both very simple. This simplicity affects everything: there isn't an intrusive moment of loop-restarting unlike with some more convoluted, developed anthems. The other elements of sound, the effects, are also simple. The chop of the scythe is comprised of few layers, and never varies. The watering can is a powerful roar, equally as unchanging. The effects are snappy, the soundtrack is peppy, and neither presents itself as a grand display of skill. It's a Game Jam game. One of the best decisions a game creator can make is to set very achievable standards for the supporting elements of the game * so they can go // big// in the parts of the game that made them want to make the game in the first place.



So far my high score is 103, 341, and I think that may not be the end of the story for it. A day ago, I had no idea this game was even a twinkle in Crusticus' eye. Now, I'm looking forward to playing it at minimum a few more nights!

*this isn't always sound, but clearly seems to be in the case of this game.

Developer (1 edit)

Thank you! I'm glad you had fun with it!

Developer(+1)

Man I just read your edit and it literally has me in tears right now. To think that my 1 week project impacted you in such a positive way makes me so full of joy that I can't even put it into words. Thank you for making my night.

I definitely went hard on the old school aesthetic as much as possible -- maybe too much at points like for the upgrade system  -- but I wanted to just keep everything as simple as possible, yeah. I wasn't here to write a story for the jam or do anything too complex. I just wanted people to enjoy my game. And I'm so glad that you did and felt it necessary to expand on your comment. Seriously, thank you so much.

(+1)

It took me a minute to figure out that I should be cutting my plant, but once I did the game became fun, fast, and rewarding.

Submitted(+1)

It was really fun! Hate Arcades! Because I love them and can't help but play until I get some good results. Very Nice job!

Developer

Thank you! I'm glad you liked it! 

Submitted(+1)

In any case, it's fun and it's not so easy. The number of opponents is randomly generated and thus I had in one run right at the beginning 8 opponents... then longer only one or two opponents. That would still need a little love.

Developer

Thanks for playing! The randomness/difficulty scale was kind of just an easy way for me to focus more on gameplay than level design as well as make it endless. I'm sure there's a better way to go about doing that, but I'm not quite at a level where I can make it more consistent but have that same feel yet. I'd definitely change that if I were to revisit the project.

Submitted(+1)

Quite nice game. A bit too hard there is too many snakes spawning. It's a nice game well done. Just review the difficulty and it could be a good game.

Developer

thanks for playing! Yeah might've went a bit much on difficulty haha.

Submitted

You are welcome.
If you got a bit of time i would apreciate to get your feedback on my proposal. : https://itch.io/jam/kindred-community-jam-6/rate/989211

(+1)

Fun little game. Kinda hard rn even with the upgrades. Audio is great from music to sound effects! Overall fun idea that fits well with the theme! 

Developer(+1)

Thank you for the kind words! Balancing the game was honestly one of my weaker points (a lot of values were changed constantly throughout the week lol) and I might've went too hard on the beeg worm, but I did want it to be difficult to enforce that old school arcade-y feel.

Submitted (1 edit) (+1)

Cool game. coudn't keep up with snails to make garden, only menaged to keep alive one flower.

I would rework upgrade system to make it easier for a player to upgrade stuff so that playere dosn't need too keep track of coins.

Also can you make a standalone build that doesn't need installing?

Developer

I kinda tried to make it so you have to balance gardening with combat (you can also use the watering can while also swinging your sickle) but it can be kind of difficult to get used to.

I thought about making items level up with use or having some sort of notification of when you can upgrade something, but by the time I thought of that I didn't have enough time to implement it unfortunately.

I wasn't sure how to build a standalone .exe in GMS2 since the default is a build with the installer, so that'll be something I figure out soon. I probably should have looked into making a web build before the deadline too, but oh well.

Thank you for playing!