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I thought this was very good for a game made in a month although you might have benefitted from making a more concise and polished experienced.
I won't provide such extended feedback as I did for the trespasser because this was made under a time limit and so I'm sure there are many issues you're aware of but just didn't get around to fixing.

That being said I wanted to point out that the combination of 2-directional aim and a high level of verticality felt a little jank, especially when dealing with flying enemies.  I suspect this lack of options is also responsible for holding back the enemy and level design, as it ensures that the difficulty often becomes about maneuvering and manipulating/waiting for the enemy to get on your y-level (which I don't find especially fun, although maybe some people enjoy this?) reducing the scope for difficulty in terms of dodging more complex attacks. Or maybe you just didn't have enough time to work on the enemies, I'm not here to judge.
Super-metroid solves this general problem (if you consider it to be a problem) by providing 8-way aim although that also requires you to add a dedicated button to lock in place or something similar so the player can fire while stationary. Something else you might want to consider in future games is aiming by cursor, which would certainly require rethinking the formula you've established for this series (and wouldn't be as retro) but I think it could turn out to your benefit. There was an indie metroidvanias called "rusted moss" which takes this approach, and I've heard very good things about it so you might want to look there for inspiration. 

Overall it's still a solid game to be proud of. Good luck with your next project :)

The post-jam updates (1.0.1 and 1.0.2) addressed most of the issues I was aware of, so if you see more I'm absolutely interested in that extended feedback!

For the aiming, can I ask which version you played? Aiming up was introduced 2 days ago in version 1.0.2. Did you have that during your playthrough? My hope was that aiming-up + the Spreadshot upgrade would cover most of the space.

I'm still hesitant to add diagonal aiming, either only when you're moving (instead of keeping straight up) or with an extra button press. It would complicate the controls (especially on a keyboard) and require a lot of extra animations, so I'm on the fence. Full-freedom cursor-aiming is something I'm pretty sure I won't do, though. It would require either 3D or procedural animations and force players to stop while they're aiming.

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First of all, apologies if I ever get too critical about your game design especially if it's on a point I've misunderstood. As I've already made clear I think this game is good it's just that there's plenty of room for improvement and for a free game made in a month that's to be expected. I'm critiquing this sort of as if it were a full release rather than an project.

I downloaded it on the 3rd of January so it seems I missed out on both updates.  I downloaded the latest version and played through the first few areas again, and I can see that most obvious issues have been fixed.

Being able to aim up definitely alleviates the issue although I think not entirely. Spreadshot helps as well but you only obtain it quite late in the game. 

I guess there are a few other things I can mention

The ability to heal from the lights feels weird, not only because it's a little random and incidental but also because you can leave and re-enter the room to respawn them (and leave and re-enter the room again to respawn enemies) so if you're ever in trouble you can generally farm back your health. Getting health from enemies is alright, but I personally think that the lights should have been cosmetic and replaced with (if anything) fixed, health pickups that refill on saving, sort of like soul-totems in hollow knight.

In terms of the world design, I feel it doesn't quite succeed at the metroidvania formula. What's the point of making a game a metroidvania? Personally I feel it's first and foremost about creating a sense of authentic exploration with the secondary advantage of making more mileage out of the existing content as you will retread certain areas with new abilities. While backtracking is an essential part of a metroidvania, I don't think the backtracking itself is what most people enjoy, especially when it becomes tedious and is not spaced out with enough new content.

I think silent paradise suffers here for a few reasons. First, it has, as far as I am concerned, a completely linear progression tree. This means that the exploration loop is as follows: explore everything you can access until you find the one place where you can find an upgrade, which then opens up a little more of the map. Rinse and repeat.

To me this doesn't lead to satisfying exploration because it feels like less of an adventure and more of a completionist box-ticking exercise. It also makes exploration backtracking quite tedious for obvious reasons.

Another reason is a lack of deliberate world design; the game does not guide you towards the new upgrades and areas. There should be something in the world that suggests a room has an upgrade or is critical to progression, as opposed to making them look the same as every other room.

Finally many of the abilities are just different coloured guns with slightly higher damage, which isn't particularly interesting.

Of course amending all of this requires work and it might be unreasonable for you to have included it all within the time limit given the size of the game, which is why I suggested that for future game jams it might be better to focus on a more concise experience.  

The other issue for me is the story and I feel my criticisms here might be a little more subjective. It starts off sort of middling and then out of the blue we have eldritch alien space fish and then 10 minutes later the game sort of ends (I didn't continue to play the games past the credits because I felt I had seen enough). 

In the lightkeeper I recall the story outline was that you were a lighthouse keeper on top of a wreck of an alien prison ship with eldritch monsters which was fine for me mostly because I recall it was pretty light on story. Then in the trespasser... honestly I don't remember what on earth was going on but something about a meteor causing a bloodborne-esque nightmare? I though that was fine, in fact a little better because although you had a bunch of different conflicting ideas centred around the theme of eldritch horror, it didn't devolve into an incoherent mess for me (unlike, for instance, backrooms-themed games) as it added to a confusing nightmarish aesthetic where it's uncertain what's real and little makes sense.

However what really determines the quality of a video game world, especially in metroidvanias, is the details.  In the lightkeeper there were a few nice touches, in particular the boss fight activated by assembling the belongings of the previous lightkeeper was very memorable (I also recall that in the above ground area there was this strange enemy that shot a large laser, and I remember thinking that it looked like big chungus which is really confusing to me looking back, maybe I was imagining it?). The trespasser had even more cool moments and I think that's much of what I enjoyed from the game. For instance the cyanide pills item, the poem to find the ring that automatically uses your estus for you, the idea of the first trespasser fight, and that diary entry from some spider cultist talking about how the spider boss is supposed to have ascended from his human form but now all he does is bounce around and eat, and his dog can do that (which I recall finding quite amusing at the time).  It also had some cool exploration moments, for instance walking over the lake and then being able to swim under it, and dropping through the floors repeatedly to progress through the graveyard area but I digress.

The point I'm trying to make is that while the overarching story is important, what's more important in a metroidvania is that it is filled out with well thought out details that work together towards a coherent aesthetic and make the world come alive.

To me, this game didn't really have that and so the story just felt hollow to me. At risk of being overly critical, it felt like a hasty mishmash of eldritch horror tropes which failed to provide any new substance or character (although I do still think it was better than no story). And to be clear I am being over critical, for most other games on this platform I would find no issue with such competent story telling but I think creating a somewhat compelling world is something that you intend to do with your games and in previous games you have done this better. 

Again, I think this comes back to the issue of scope; if you have limited time to make a game, sure you can make an ok 2 hour experience that follows the template set by your previous work (where ok does not refer to the standard of free games on However if your goal is to advance your understanding and skill in game design within that limited time frame, a more polished 20-30 minutes that experiments a little might have been better and I think generally that's what game jams are meant to be for; you can certainly see that intent in some of the other entries (as well as the traditional silksong copium game).

I guess for an example of how all these points have been done right in the past, consider hollow knight. 

Of course this is all my opinion, others may disagree.


Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful feedback, it's always welcome and very useful to me!

Your feeling of the game is certainly valid, and I think a big part of it comes from the setting I chose, even more than the scope or timeframe. A sense of place is very important to me and I've built this world to make sense, which imposes hard constraints. A deserted submarine station just couldn't get as weird as my previous games. I still tried to have as many cool details as possible, as you're right it's something I value highly, but it was almost exclusively left to the codex entries and a few secret areas. Even when expending the jam version later I felt a bit restricted by that setting, both in term of space and narrative.

I'm a bit sad you felt the aliens come "out of nowhere", considering all the foreshadowing I tried to add, but again it's almost exclusively in the codex and I can totally imagine players not thinking too hard about it at this point of the game. That's something I tried to reinforce with the few dialogs I added in 1.0.3. A way to encourage players to stop and read back the entries they've collected to try to piece the twist together before it actually happens on screen.

Other than that, I did nerf the health drops from the lights and other props in recent versions. It was a way to make the Whisky Flasks more useful. But in the end I'm fine with players being able to farm health if they want. I don't really enjoy the trend of Metroidvanias embracing Dark Souls' difficulty (I love those games but they have a different focus) so I'm aiming for something closer to Metroid or Zelda, where health is relatively easy to come by.

I'm not sure how I could address your feeling that many of the abilities are just differently colored guns as it only accounts for two upgrades, both optional. The game still have dashing, sliding, double jumping, diving, a grappling hook, homing missiles, waterfall climbing and heat resistance. They should feel relatively memorable and it's a problem if they don't. I feel like they're all used extensively, so if you have more feedback on that front, I would like to hear it :)

About the jam itself, I talk about it in my postmortem but the short of it is that I'm not really interested in game jams as pure design exercises. I wanted to see if I could make a fully-fledged Dreamnoid game in a month and change. It was more of a one-off 'production' exercise and I've no plan to join more jams in the future.

My next game will probably be a sequel to both The Lightkeeper and The Trespasser and I will definitely keep your feedback in mind while I make it ;)