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A few suggestions after playing some more tonight:

  • In the button challenge room, it might be nice to have an indicator of how many buttons there are left to push. I've never actually gotten far enough into it to be able to judge how difficult it'll be to hit all of the buttons in 30 seconds because I have no idea how many buttons there are.
  • You might want to re-word the bank to clarify that you'll only get money back if you visit him again in the same game. Perhaps have him say "...when I see you again further up the mountain...". Coming from a background of playing a lot of Binding of Isaac, I initially assumed it worked like the donation machine and the gems could help me out in a future game.
  • Passive upgrades seems like an interesting design space you could explore. The potential synergies could help create more emergent gameplay and keep people engaged. Also, occasionally letting people get overpowered combos can help people who feel like they are bad or stuck make progress in the game.
  • I don't know how hard you want to go on the meta-progression elements a lot of rogue-lites have, but unlocking seeds based on various criteria seems like an obvious step in that direction. Kill X green flies, die in the last hole before a camp, that sort of thing. This can also increase engagement so long as it's paced well, and maybe keep people from being overwhelmed by seeds right from the outset.
  • Speaking of green flies, I died to one in a camp... :(
  • I think there is the potential for some interesting alternate game modes:
    • Random starting load-out
    • Classic "holes only" mode
    • "Seeded" (ah ha ha) daily runs
    • An arena mode where you just fight enemies in a static room

Passive upgrades seems like an interesting design space you could explore. The potential synergies could help create more emergent gameplay and keep people engaged. Also, occasionally letting people get overpowered combos can help people who feel like they are bad or stuck make progress in the game.

Yes! This is something that we have in the game but is not in the alpha build right now. We call them auras. I've made a thread so people can discuss and post ideas for these!

I don't know how hard you want to go on the meta-progression elements a lot of rogue-lites have, but unlocking seeds based on various criteria seems like an obvious step in that direction. Kill X green flies, die in the last hole before a camp, that sort of thing. This can also increase engagement so long as it's paced well, and maybe keep people from being overwhelmed by seeds right from the outset.

In this aspect I think we're going pursuing a more Spelunky route than Binding of Isaac. One of our design goals is that a friend can come over to your house and play the game in the same way they play at home. However, I think your ideas are right on in that spreading out suits a bit more, and giving the player more sub-goals are things we want to explore. I'm hoping to explore some kind of mission-style structure you mentioned as a series of steps/prerequisites for unlocking teleporters to later biomes.

Speaking of green flies, I died to one in a camp... :(

Sorry, that shouldn't happen :( Their wall detection is a little wonky.

I think there is the potential for some interesting alternate game modes

Love these ideas. Seeded daily runs are definitely the thing that is most certain to be in the game. I also love the random starting loadout idea a-la Eden in Binding of Isaac.

Totally agree with the other items you posted as well!

I have to agree with the daily/weekly shared levels. It's a bit part of Nuclear Throne's hold on me.