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Brandon JS Lea

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A member registered Apr 18, 2016 · View creator page →

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Hi, I'm usually design and programming but wanted to change things up.

You can see some of my art here:

Brandon JS Lea (@BrandonJSLea1) / Twitter

Ideally looking for someone with a bit of experience. Happy to take part in the design process.

I'm not doing pixel art, hand drawn instead. 

Hi, I wouldn't normally care about this stuff because it seems pretty obviously a yes.

But since we're not the ones coming up with the names, I just wanna check we still have full ownership?

Is there a rating period for the entries? 

There tends to be a lot more motivation to try out other peoples games when you're able to rate them, else they don't get played nearly as much. 

Is there any kind of rating period?

Never found a need to rotate the room besides getting to the goal, not sure what it adds TBH. 

Thanks, I appreciate it. 

The enemy isn't the same rules, it's an idea I toyed with but stayed simple for the jam. In future I love the idea of having more human opponents as bosses or whatever that would appeal to the wheel. However, you can't see their intent and instead have to decipher it based on animations/dialogue ect. 

As for not doing 8 damage, I believe it's an occasional bug.

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Really want to like this game, it's a cool core mechanic, but once you lose the starting momentum to a random offscreen physics quirk, unless I'm missing something you're screwed. I really enjoyed getting into the swing but it needed something so it wasn't so random and wasn't so repetitive. I get the intention to have momentum be something hard earned but I don't think the solution was this little control.

Also, going from two to three climbers didn't change anything as far as I can tell. Again perhaps I'm missing something?

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Though it blends a bit with the orange enemies, I really like the yellow lights in the background aesthetic.

I'm torn on the core mechanic cos on one hand it's a bit tricksy to use in a way that doesn't flow too well, on the other there's definitely something conceptually satisfying about it if that makes any sense. Like, there's a coolness factor, perhaps to having multiple components or having the projectiles transform of something. 

I think the oddity of the game is how that idea clashes with flow. EG, having to stop to aim to shoot backwards at the dude, it requires too much focus relative. Perhaps if a wave was shot backwards?

Never really understood the build-up bullets, though switching between the other 3 attacks was interesting enough. 

Perhaps some kind of explosion attack that can damage you as well would be interesting?

Edit: Oh, thought. Did you consider having shooting the enemies being the trigger for the effects instead? Obvs it would be quite a different game but it might flow better. 

Very simple idea but executed well enough to be fun. 

That said, I played for a lot longer than is interesting cos I wasn't sure if there was an ending, I think it would benefit from one.

TBH not sure what the core twist adds. Like, the pong functions well enough, nicely polished and all, but I just played it like regular pong and won without worrying about the colour switching. 

Nice idea but it's so chaotic I barely have any idea what's going on. Seems to just be "ram into bars, hope you join up to them, hold left click and hope to win."

Quite easy, it's a shame no more stages really pushed it. On the below stage I thought at one point to go out the top of the top right one then drop down to the bottom right w/o charging; turned out much simpler than all that (though I still liked this puzzle for sure).

It would have been nice to see some more out the box thinking like that. Since you're so conditioned to operate inside this tile mode, when I did have to use the platforming nature of the game it really lead to an "AH" moment that's hard to pull off in puzzle games.

Overall though pretty cool. Was the style inspired by Stuffed Wombat at all? 

Didn't even bother to program in minesweeper, smh

Seriously though, this was great. Only criticism is maybe the things you do were spread a bit thin but given a jam that's to be expected. 

Perhaps if this were to be taken further pacing could be more varied. If you look at something like cook serve delicious, it has 2 rush hour periods that are frantic before the game slows down again and I think this game could benefit from something more chaotic like that. 

Could easily see this game winning the jam.

Yeah making healing stronger has been on my mind too, that or putting something in the empty slot next to it.

What stances did you feel should be swapped?

Hey I'm really struggling to understand this. I've been spelling words but got 0 score.

I figured the red box is meant to indicate words but I got the red box for "fea and nh" but not fear, she or year?


Really enjoyed this one. Making snake a more deep strategic game with units is really interesting, and if things are getting dull the splitting makes sure that doesn't last.

Biggest issue is probably that it seems impossible to lose. Not getting hit when you've only one part is too easy. Just adding a timer to beat the stage may have helped. 

Also the 3 unit types seem to basically act the same as far as I can tell.

Really nice art style. Some more detail to help convey purpose, particularly on enemies, would help, but it's still nice to look at thanks to the childish artstyle. 

Overall, liked it.

"Connect towers by holding the button down."

Dude my keyboards full of buttons please help

A bit confusing as to what triggers node snapping, I thought having the strings collide with the planet would be it? Interesting idea anyhow. 

Few things getting in the way of enjoying this sadly. For one the crackling. Another is the text isn't displaying properly on upgrades. I'm sure I could read it in full screen but pressing escape exists me out of full screen before affecting the menu.

When I died and lost all my progress something about it felt incredibly unfair. Perhaps because half the damage I took was early on from just trying to figure out the mechanics, the idea of slowly mining at blocks again just to get back to that point sounds dull. 

Also not a fan of how I have to buy upgrades I'm not interested in just to unlock ones I may want. Like, the idea of having to buy information is interesting. It becomes less interesting when it's not a choice. Surely the appeal of something like this is the strategy of what to buy.

I do like the art and atmosphere. 

Really well polished art style. I love the little characters knockback and fall over animation when it takes damage.

Gameplays kinda bland though. I'm not sure why we need to kill all the enemies to progress, it feels like you'll naturally kill most just by progressing given the linearity.

Hey I really like the art style to this one, what was the inspiration? 

Could do with being significantly faster. 

Nice loop the games got going, pixel art looks really good also.

Few things if you're looking for feedback:

The critical warning seems really inconsistent, like 1 time it was all shaking and "critical" when I still had 1/4 left, another time I'll have less and there won't be any warning.

Balance seems off. I brought a fuel upgrade almost instantly but refuelling costs so much I never got past 1 bar, felt like I screwed myself over massively for making 1 experimental purchase.

I died instantly and have no idea how. I went from full hp to 0, I didn't even look like I was caught in the explosion. When I respawned I wasn't really clear on how much progress I'd been set back.

Fine lets race

Did you try the downloaded version?

Oh well if I'm that late I'll leave it.

Hi, the ending period was displayed for 2PM though when I went to submit at 1:30, it seems to have already closed?

I started on the 10th so I'm still well within the 5 day period.

Whilst my game isn't as complete as I wanted (no sound), it's functional enough that I would still like people to see it so it doesn't feel like a waste of 5 days. 

If there's still a way I'll go ahead and export it and upload it, but it seems to have closed early?

Really interesting concept. I'm not really sure what I'm working towards but I do like figuring out the optimal attack patterns and what amounts to grow.

Sometimes I can't plant plants and I have no idea why, I have the required water.

Playing more I'm really confused over how other elements work. Like, my cards just seem to vanish without me using them? Also some enemies just don't kill me when they should be able to, is it random?

Really well polished visually but I was heavily confused on a lot of elements, like why I can't swap with some enemies or what role the side icons play. The energy system was also quite confusing, I figured my turn was up when I ran out of energy, having it reset by emptying it was quite unintuitive.

As far as I can tell there's also no way to reread the tutorial. Perhaps I'm just dumb but there's no way I can internalise a wall of text when I haven't played the game to contextualise it. I opened the game page in another tab an now it's not showing up.

Looks alright and has a nice atmosphere but I've no idea what I'm meant to be doing. Killing the one enemy? I tried shooting at it for ages and it didn't die, perhaps it's meant to be too tough but it certainly doesn't feel very intimidating when I can just stand there shooting at it and it does nothing. I tried getting in the power armour but nothing happened.

Nice concept and I like the style.

I feel the controls could be optimised slightly. It's a little cumbersome when if say I want to make a cube go right then down, I have to drag on the right module, then drag the right module back off onto me, then drag the down module onto it, then drag the down module back onto me. Perhaps if the puzzles were more challenging it wouldn't be as noticeable, but I'm not sure why I can't just drag one module on top of a cube and have the current one it's holding return to me, rather than be sprung out to a random nearby location; as far as I can tell there was never a situation where being able to simply drag the new one on and get the old one back would break anything. 

Playing with gravity is just about the most used gimmick in platformers but the playing with momentum here does make it fresh. Also feels a little more open ended than a lot of similar games, the choices making it more interesting. 

Not sure why the dash is on a separate button when you can only use it in the air, few times I pressed jump in an attempt to dash. Also sometimes it didn't trigger even though my character had landed to recharge and was orange. 

What's the online server stuff about? Are people's answers publicly available?

What went into creating the artstyle? I really enjoyed it! Feels very japanese, was Kero Blaster an inspiration at all? 

I've played plenty of hard game's and this is no where near the hardest, but I still don't think I'd called it "fairly easy", to you as the designer that's true I'm sure.

I'm very familiar with the idea of introducing a concept and then pushing it, it's used in just about everything, but my point is this game keeps testing you on some things well beyond the point where it's conveying anything new. Particularly, the rooms with the force bouncers (blue lines) and the moving spikes are what I struggled with the most yet of all the challenges present in the game, they also the least original in terms of the skills they test. If you've played games like VVVVVV I'm guessing they're easy, but as someone who hasn't played it these rooms just acted as a barrier between the interesting bits. It is only a small portion of the game overall but it's weird that they're the hardest part when all the terrain destruction challenges are never pushed to such a limit, instead enemies are just thrown en mass in it's final challenge which is more just tedious to deal with each one.

TLDR I think the "what if the player just lucks out" mentality is something that, from personal experience, it's easy to get overly paranoid about. 

Regarding the back tracking, there was one of two shortcuts I think I may have missed first time around which is my bad, but the final puzzle still seems a bit backtrack heavy whilst the actual puzzle is barely that, it more just exists as a way to force you to do the same bits over. I don't know if this is intentional but there seems to be two ways to go back to one of the grav switchers, but the one that I noticed any substantial difference in because of the grav switch I missed out on my first playthrough. Even then, it's still pretty much the same challenge. If this is done to internalise the concept then it's internalised to the point of getting a little uninteresting. 

Perhaps this all sounds overly harsh so I do want to point out this is quite high quality for a web game, but the design is something I like to think through even on smaller games. If you just want to ignore my over abundance of criticism feel free, I'm mostly doing it to figure out my own perspective on the game.

That said, I take issue with your line "Criticism is welcome but criticism is far better when you complain about specifics and what to do about them", because at that point it's asking the player to design the game for you. Surely it's part of the designs job to take in and interpret criticism. I don't know what audio skills you have and I've expanded about as best I can on where I think it's a bit too hard vs where is lacks difficulty. 

The only other thing I can maybe suggest regarding music is to perhaps experiment with a string of atmospheric sounds. In my game Rejection Thesis (Rejection Thesis by Brandon JS Lea (itch.io)) I messed around with a few synths just to produce some atmospheric sounds. There's room for improvement (they play on cues so if you're stuck in a room for a while it'll still be silent) but I still think it adds something to the experience and I really have 0 music knowledge. I bring it up because this game goes for a similar isolated alien atmosphere. 

Man, are pico 8 devs just auto loaded with good pixel art skills? Feels quite polished!

The flipping gravity mechanic was a little bit of an "oh" at first given how it's been done plenty before, but given the way it's used with attacking plus breaking blocks and it's quickly distinguished. 

Then the block gravity switching. At first I was like "woah interesting", but the novel appeal wore off when it turned to needing to backtrack through difficult areas (spikedrop). Perhaps I'm missing something but as far as I can tell the spike drop is same both times, having instead a challenge that changes up when you switch gravity would probably alleviate the issue. Still, messing with the world is neat and something I've been looking for more games to explore so I'm glad to have found this.

After a while though the very difficult nature of the game just became a bit annoying, the precisely weaving through spikes segment (after flipping the pink box dudes) just felt difficult for the sake of being difficult, like that kind of precision timing test has been done in just about every platformer, and without any music or story or such there wasn't really much incentive to get good at it. I guess what I'm saying is if a challenge doesn't exist for the sake of conveying a new idea, what's it there for. 

Then I found out I needed to do it another 2 times -_-

Asking's no problem at all :)

Scale wise I don't mind, I've been considering make a game where rather than the player getting upgrades, they gain control over the world instead, so I was just wondering if anyone had any games that do anything interesting with the idea of modifying the world that I could learn from.

For instance, I played a game where you turned on sprinklers which restores plants to the environment, and I think some of the plants would act as platforms and such.