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A jam entry

WereshiftView game page »

You're a werewolf, awoo!
Submitted by Clipsey with 15 minutes, 41 seconds before the deadline

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Visit Wereshift's game page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Art/Aesthetic#14.6364.636
Final Results#2n/an/a
Originality#103.2733.273
Gameplay/Mechanics#132.7272.727

Ranked from 11 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Dependencies
libsdl2-2.0.5 and above (bundled with 2.0.5) and needed dependencies (not bundled).
OpenGL 3.4 > supported graphics processor.

GitHub/Repo
https://github.com/Member1221/wereshift

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Comments

Jam Host(+1)

Note that this feedback is based on the build(s) available at the end of the jam.

There's a lot of cool stuff going on in Wereshift. On the surface, it has solid visual design and a lot of cool atmosphere. The "versatile verbs" theme is expressed through three different forms that respond to the same controls in different ways: human (stealth), wolf (movement speed), and werewolf (attack speed).

Looking deeper reveals a bunch of systems at work. Health drains over time, but hiding in bushes will halt that drain, and killing enemies will restore health. Enemy AI has several alert states that change how and weather they react to you in your various forms. Alerted peasants will occupy buildings and fire arrows, but will leave when they are no longer alert. Transforming into human form is only allowed when in the shadow of a house. AI will not react to you when you are in human form unless they have seen you transform. All of these elements end up playing into each other in ways that encourage and reward a variety of approaches. It's rare to see this level of (game) design thoughtfulness in a jam game.

That said, there are several issues and areas that feel like they have room for improvement. Wereshift doesn't communicate objectives to players very clearly, and many of the game's nuances aren't apparent without spending a length of time with the game that will likely far exceed the amount of deaths a player is likely to give a jam game before moving on.

Unfortunately, a bug also prevents nights from ending unless all humans have been killed, which takes away some of the stealth/pacifist gameplay options, and limits the opportunities to players to progress to the next night and feel like they're making headway enough to pay attention to the game's smaller details.

With the high production values of everything else, audio feels notably absent (I understand that currently this is a limitation of the in-development engine). There's a big opportunity to enhance the game's atmosphere and push tonal shifts between the player's different forms (for example, human form could be accompanied by eerie and unsettling music as you pass among and mingle with your enemies, while werewolf form could have a driving beat that carries the energy and excitement of your most powerful form).

Since Wereshift is such a strong title, I believe it can stand up to some extra scrutiny of some of its mechanics that feel like they need some extra tuning. I've offered some suggestions here, but they are by no means the only way to address these concerns.

The werewolf form is effective at crowd control, but it's hard to discover that until wading into a crowd as a werewolf, something that is itself difficult to stumble upon thanks to the werewolf's slow movement speed on approach. I'd be interested to see how the game felt with werewolves doing a touch more damage against individual enemies, and whether that would encourage players to choose warewolf form when leaping into crowds.

The wolf form's higher movement speed makes it the most versatile for exploration and traversal of the game's environments, but I'd love to see that movement versatility extended to allow the wolf form access to places that other forms could not reach. These could offer alternate hiding spaces (such as hopping up in a tree), or alternate paths at the cost of higher visibility (such as running along rooftops).

Human form currently feels like the least flexible and most risky. This in itself makes for an interesting risk vs reward proposition for the stealth cover it provides, but there's little in the way of reward for using it. If you're observed changing into human form, enemies will attack, and if nobody is around to observe, there's nothing to hide from, as the player reverts to wolf form once leaving the shadow of a building. I'd be interested to see what impact human form would have on the game if it prevented health drain or even allowed slow health recovery, and allowed players to remain in human form for a period of time long enough to reach other buildings.

With nights not progressing naturally, it's difficult to weigh up the broader game objectives, but my general impression is that the intended 5 minute night duration might be a bit long. There's not much of a sense of urgency to explore or kill, and nothing to drive players to take risks when attempting to play stealthily. There's also incentive to encourage players to not hide in a bush for 5 minutes. I can't help but feel that some alternate goal with higher reward, such as killing a specific NPC or stealing an item from the middle of town could provide some objectives that encourage players to strive for well executed infiltration and/or combat (with the existing survive/kill everyone objectives still available as a fallback).

One final thing I'd be interested to experiment with would be conferring additional damage on enemies who are attacked while not alerted. This would add some extra incentive to pursue stealth gameplay, and give the wolf form an extra edge when launching from cover at an enemy.

Wereshift was one of my favourite submissions this year, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what comes next. I am a werewolf, awoo!


I'd also like to do a short interview with you for an article I'm writing on the 2018 Linux Game Jam. Shoot me an email via cheese@cheesetalks.net and I'll send you through some questions!

Submitted(+1)

Great graphics and gameplay!  It would be even better with WASD keybindings :)

Submitted

Very beautiful game, but it needs something to force me to come out of hiding. I think the life mechanic is reversed, I shoud lose life when hiding and keep it when not, after discovering hiding I hid behind a bush and have been surviving for over 10 minutes, checking the game once in a while, so far no one came to look for me, and if I had left the hiding I would have lost life.

Developer

Yeah, a couple of bugs i didn't get fixed in time.

Submitted

Hey! Because I don't know where to begin with rating a game, I just want to tell you that I played your game.

Beautiful.

Submitted

This game has a beautiful aesthetic.

Submitted

This game has a beautiful aesthetic.

Submitted

nice arrow key+spacebar simulator

Submitted

Over all, I think the graphics look decent. The play character (in both forms) is a little difficult to see against the already very dark background (this is especially true of the werewolf form). Also... I was a little confused about what constituted a bush, vs just foreground decor.

I thought the game enjoyable, though. Some music would definitely set the mood!