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What i meant by the save icon being so nice is how it rotates without distortion. if you have a pixel sprite, rotating it will almost always cause some sort of jaggedness. I was going to make an image showing the difference, but while doing that i noticed that it actually is just a normal sprite rotation. probably because the icon uses pretty much only straight lines it looks fine. so my original point is meaningless haha
probably the reason i thought there was something unique was because it matched most of the other game (such as the black waves at the top or the checkpoint triangles rotating), but neither of those are sprites (i assume) so just drawing them wouldn't introduce those artifacts.
of course you could also just use higher resolution sprites and downscale them and it would have the same effect so i guess there isnt a technique im missing after all

I definitely saw the Umihara Kawase inspiration, which is great because it's an incredible game and like nobody knows about it? so one of the first things i was looking out for was a place to test if the hook wraps around objects. i was juust a bit disappointing to see it doesn't, but honestly that mechanic is so complicated, i don't think i would even be able to implement it. and it doesn't really add much to the game unless you specifically design the levels around it

and yeah, i meant just more opportunities to use the stretching grappling hook to shoot off things. the ability to cheese levels will come naturally ;)

I considered making the hook wrap around platforms, but i'd have to give up moving platforms and yeah it wouldn't have added alot. It isn't worth it I think. It's a nice challenge i'd like to solve someday though