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quick notes after maybe 60-90 mins of play. i'm having a great time with the game, even though these are mostly critiques :)

- movement is different from anything else i've played and feels great after the initial adjustment period. i can tell immediately that it's something special, not just another roguelike

- if i fall into a hole before planting a checkpoint, it seems strictly advantageous to restart. this is fair but also pretty un-fun. it happens more often than it might since area 1 is mostly fairly easy and area 2 is really hard, so i know i need to stock up on hearts and gems rather than spamming checkpoints

- i'm generally really unsure how much damage things do. this is at least partially because the moments when i take damage (and the couple of seconds after when i'm catching the seed) are the times i'm least likely to have my eye on the health meter. also i'm not sure how partial hearts work

- what if holes didn't do damage? in a roguelike, having to repeat an exhausted area already feels like a huge punishment. also, it seems nice and elegant for holes to just be holes and for only monsters hitting you to do damage - a closer tie to "ice cold beer but videogame". just having to repeat that area seems annoying, but i feel like the damage is a distraction from that annoyance rather than a fix (see next note)

- as i'm writing these i'm realizing that having to repeat stuff after falling into a hole is central to a lot of my annoyances. not sure what to do about that and i'm sure you've thought a lot about it... maybe something to make the section different each time you fall down?

- i can't what extent enemies are seeking and to what extent they're random wandering. feels messy to me (in a bad way) not to know

- restart loop feels slow to get back into the game (both menus and going through the starting camp)

- each heart icon represents 1 hp, but the gem icon doesn't represent any gems. i often think i have 1 gem left when actually i have none

- love the world building in the camps!

- i wish there was a way to jerk one end of the stick up if you tapped a stick hard/fast enough. probably quite hard to tune to feel good and you wouldn't want to use it most of the time, but i imagine it would make fast rolls more usable and widen the action gamut a bit. obvious caveats are that it would have to maintain the current slow/smooth controls and integrate smoothly with those, and not feel weird when (i assume) the seed never leaves the stick

- spikes don't look dangerous enough to be instakills

hope these are helpful, looking forward to playing more in the next few days!

Hey Drew!

if i fall into a hole before planting a checkpoint, it seems strictly advantageous to restart. this is fair but also pretty un-fun. it happens more often than it might since area 1 is mostly fairly easy and area 2 is really hard, so i know i need to stock up on hearts and gems rather than spamming checkpoints

This is something I've thought about a lot while making this game, and for better or worse it feels like a core part of the design. As you get better that point on the mountain where you have to stop playing maximally greedy starts getting pushed further and further up the mountain.

I've started likening it a bit in my mind to a racing game -- when you're going for a fast lap there's a very fine balance between pushing your car as hard as you can and playing really risky, and playing conservative enough that you don't crash and ruin the whole lap. You can try to drive really aggressively and take every corner perfectly, in which case restarting the run as soon as you don't nail a corner is in a sense the optimal way to play. But, I think, that push and pull of risk/reward greediness/safeness over an entire lap of a course is what makes the race interesting and fun. In my own playing whenever I'm shooting for perfection out of the gate it usually ends up being less fun for me because I do restart as soon as I take damage or fall in a hole rather than rolling with the punches and trying to make the best of a sub-optimal situation. Sometimes the RNG of crystal rooms, enemy spawns, shop spawns, etc. will swing a not great run into one of my best runs.

Anyways, sorry that metaphor got out of hand. This is all probably stuff you already know, and I'm not trying to make it sound like you're playing wrong since I do the exact same thing. We *should* have a quick-restart button so that you *can* just restart easily.

- i'm generally really unsure how much damage things do. this is at least partially because the moments when i take damage (and the couple of seconds after when i'm catching the seed) are the times i'm least likely to have my eye on the health meter. also i'm not sure how partial hearts work

Yeah, a clear language around damage is one of the more final art things that needs to happen. Damage amounts are a thing that change so we also haven't done this in part because everything has felt too in flux to nail down with a strong visual language. Definitely a big thing that will need to be improved. The one little thing that is a little helpful w/r/t seed types is that it'll say "deals massive damage" in the description if they do 3 damage.

Partial hearts are a representation of how far you are towards getting another heart with the heart seed. They don't actually provide you any health, and nothing does damage in sub-heart increments.

- what if holes didn't do damage? in a roguelike, having to repeat an exhausted area already feels like a huge punishment. also, it seems nice and elegant for holes to just be holes and for only monsters hitting you to do damage - a closer tie to "ice cold beer but videogame". just having to repeat that area seems annoying, but i feel like the damage is a distraction from that annoyance rather than a fix (see next note)

On the darkest nights when I really want to scare the rest of Team TumbleSeed I talk about experimenting with changes like this. In the long long past (maybe 1.5 years ago) we had prototypes where you'd just pop out of a hole about one screen down from where you fell in the hole and checkpoints didn't exist. I will say this is unlikely to change, but, never say never.

- i can't what extent enemies are seeking and to what extent they're random wandering. feels messy to me (in a bad way) not to know

The halfway-done visual rule on this is things that are pink has seeking movement, everything else is random. This will hopefully improve as we move more towards final art. Definitely a thing that we forget about since we know all the enemies and know which ones seek and which ones don't, so it's good to hear about this pain point.

- each heart icon represents 1 hp, but the gem icon doesn't represent any gems. i often think i have 1 gem left when actually i have none

This is a great point. We've been considering a shift to representing how many crystals you have using the crystal counting system we have in the game on the vine (silver is 1, gold is 3, emerald is 5).

- love the world building in the camps!

Awesome!! Can't wait til we get more stuff in like this -- we have a lot in mind for camps.

- i wish there was a way to jerk one end of the stick up if you tapped a stick hard/fast enough. probably quite hard to tune to feel good and you wouldn't want to use it most of the time, but i imagine it would make fast rolls more usable and widen the action gamut a bit. obvious caveats are that it would have to maintain the current slow/smooth controls and integrate smoothly with those, and not feel weird when (i assume) the seed never leaves the stick

We've experimented with stuff like this and unfortunately it doesn't work :(

- spikes don't look dangerous enough to be instakills

Agreed!


WOW! Thank you so much for all this incredible feedback. It is insanely helpful. Thank you so so much for taking the time to play and give us all your thoughts!