That's awesome, thanks for playing. You're the first person I've been able to watch play the game so I was able to get a lot of direct feedback.
Brandon JS Lea
Recent community posts
Interesting approach to the theme but it might have been too indirect, I really didn't feel like I was doing much other than getting rid of my guys who I need to live, I think that's because it's not really clear what sacrificing guys does and doesn't seem to have much impact.
This game has a fantastic core mechanic and I can't fault it for anything there.
The problems with the game come from the lack of polish. Having to just read a block of text to learn to play isn't ideal as it's slowly paced and a degree of interpretation has to be done. I've beaten all but the 4th level and I'm still not sure what counts as "touching" the enemies.
I think something may even be fundamentally broken. For example, in the gif above the enemies get killed in level 3 before I turn, but in level 4 I turn before they're killed. Am I just missing something? Broken or not I think a slower introduction with a better difficulty curve would have helped nullify this. Level 5 was a breeze but I'm still stuck on 4.
Some better visual indication as to where blocks can/can't be place would also be nice, and a restart button for when I know it's gona fail anyway.
Overall, I think there's a really great core mechanic but the game doesn't quite do enough to hold up to it's potential. With more work though this could be something great.
There were some promising moments with this game, such as using the block to stop the bullets, but it needs a fair bit of work before it's really any fun. It's quite slow and I have very little control, so weather I succeed or not feels more luck based than anything. Perhaps the intent was for it to be chaotic but this comes across as more tedious than funny given the slow nature and perhaps the lack of sound.
Both the levels and the mechanics are all pretty 1 dimensional at the moment but if the player was given some more control and the mechanics adapted, this it could be an interesting little puzzle platformer.
I've got the basic gist of the jam and it sounds really fun. However, I think some clarification on rules could be handy:
- Can we use pre-made assets?
- Can we use pre-made code?
- Can we sell the games (for the jam or post jam)?
- Is there a twitter hashtag?
- Are games allowed if they contain 18+ content?
- How does judging work? You mentioned "will be judged by me" but in my experience itch.io jams have used community voting, so will that still be happening at all?
Some of these things you can probably guess for but I think it would be helpful to have a clear set of rules since some jams are more lenient than others.
Lacking points was never an issue for me. It wasn't a lack of blobs but more that they'd get stuck in awkward places. The "power to self destruct the blob, at a cost" sounds like it would be a good solution.
As for the inconsistency. It only happened on the final level, though twice in two different locations. Both times I'd send a single test block, who'd succeed, following which I'd send a bunch who all do some alternative (miss a jump or something of the sort). I think I might of just realized the issue. When I sent one blob, everything's fine. But multiple meant there may have been a subtle performance hit, adjusting certain stats in some ways, ergo leading to a different output. Furthermore, each time this happened they were all sped up, my guess is that when sped up there's a lot more room for the math to vary since it's working with bigger numbers. The final level is also very crammed with variance in level geometry and stuff so there's more chance for this sort of thing to occur.
This was a really great game. Watching this little system of moving blobs is incredibly satisfying. The music and minimalist art go together in building this mysterious atmosphere. I love how each blob type feels very distinct from each other as well.
Criticism wise I have a lot more to say, though I'll specify now that the game is great, it's just much easier to think of criticisms than compliments and I imagine more helpful.
- Having a separate square for the number of blobs and actually spawning one feels off, especially since all other units have the number next to them. I'm guessing there was a reason for this but some distinction between the counter and buttons would help to alleviate this quirk.
- Some polish with the "buff blobs" would be nice, such as having selected boxes glow and being able to right click to disable a blob. I know in terms of practicality, having a blob on the end of your cursor doesn't change anything but it feels off having it stuck there until used.
- A couple of the levels (marathon or something like that) felt un-puzzly, more just a case of the solution was obvious but I needed to execute it. This the exception rather than the rule however so its not a big deal.
- After a while, the green blobs built up on the final level and stopped spawning. I'm guessing this was more of a fail-safe than a feature but it felt quite exploitable.
- Some blobs acted inconsistently IE making jumps sometimes, other times not.
- The stop signs felt a bit weak compared to the other powers. I only used them when they were introduced and necessary. They felt quite arbitrary and unpractical.
- Blobs went up off the top of the screen but never came back down. I'm guessing this was deliberate but it felt off for them to just vanish.
- Finally, my biggest issue. Not having the ability to in anyway delete blobs or undo your mistakes can be very annoying and tedious. I understand this could be exploitable but perhaps having the ability to delete a unit one time would be the best of both worlds. As is, having to restart the final level over and over because my timing was slightly off on clicking a fast moving blob felt very unfair and I almost gave up at that point.
Criticisms aside, even with the inability to undo mistakes the game still holds up really well.
Am I being dumb or are there no rules? I've scanned the entry page several times and can't see anything.
I know the basic rule, create a game in 30 days, but that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
- Can we use pre-made assets?
- Can we use pre-made code?
- Can we sell the games (for the jam or post jam)?
- Not so much a rule, but is there a twitter hashtag?
- Is the theme mandatory for entering? (I'm guessing not but it'd be nice to have some clarification)
- Are games allowed if they contain 18+ content?
- What are the voting categories?
Are there really no rules?
Link to the game:
Face waves of monsters using your 8-directional gun along with a jetpack that's flame can burn enemies.
At the end of each round you get to pick from 3 items out of a total pool of 36 (not including secrets), each of which combine in interesting ways.
Beyond growing the player, jet boots and weapons, you can also modify the floor! Each time you get hit, you not only lose hp from the regenerating bar up in the top left, your floor will also shrink. This can be countered with items such as "floor hits up" or "floating edge", an item that sends an upwards draft besides your platform, allowing for more maneuverability.
I've been working on this game for 11 1/2 years and am so glad to finally get it out there. To any devs I'd strongly recommend putting yourself out there more if you don't already. Good luck and I hope you enjoy Skyward Descent.
Game Developed by myself, Brandon JS Lea
Music by U-GameZ
I see what you mean with having the player discover the mechanics, but isn't not showing information detrimental to the gameplay? It creates a brief mystery at first but for the most part the player is just left uncertain and can never really grow because it's harder to judge if what they're doing is wrong.
Loved this game, very cool power management mechanic. The biggest problem that got in the way of my enjoyment was the lack of conveyance. Particle effects are all good but more visual representation of the power flow and how full the shields are would help a lot.
In terms of actual design, whilst I loved the game's mechanics in general, the ending was a little confusing; as in from a logical standpoint I should be invincible because the one city has all the power, however the projectiles all target the one building left which wasn't too obvious. Perhaps a more effective approach would be to have the projectiles continue to attack each city (I thought they were meteors which made the targeting confusing) but have each city provide power. That way, if you lose all but one of the cities, you won't have the power to provide for it but the projectile mechanic doesn't change unexpectedly. Or maybe just a way to convey that they only target living cities would help. Or I'm just dumb.
Minor gripes aside, really cool idea executed well. Do you plan on doing anything more complex with this idea?
Hi, thanks for the feedback.
When you said you couldn't execute as intended, what did you mean by that? Was it just too difficult or did dodgy design get in the way? If the latter, I'm curious what the issue was. As for jumping over fire, do you mean at ground level or when you have height over it? Because you can't jump over fire when you're level with it (at least I couldn't when testing to make sure it isn't possible).
The idea of a metroidvania text adventure is quite a strong fit. Furthermore, the lack of visuals along with the atmospheric music do a great job of helping to build this feeling of exploring the unknown.
I do have a few small issues and things I think could be improved upon. Most evident is the movement, A,D to go left and right (ok) and U,I to go up and down......what? I'm very curious as to why you didn't make W,S the vertical movement keys as it would have made movement much more natural which would be particularly helpful when I have to backtrack or redo parts that I died to, speaking of....
The fight. The colour puzzle is alright but it carries with it some issues. Firstly, figuring it out, whilst not hard on it's own, becomes a bit of a chore when I get terrible RNG, missing and getting hit multiple times in a row. As such the fight feels quite random.
Secondly, I'm not too familiar with text games but I imagine context puzzles are important, because context can be built upon with writing flair and allows us to pick out key information and draw connections. Here, having it simply be "shoot the pink" doesn't make any sense from a contextual standpoint. I guess it's closer to blood? Perhaps more flair would help, something like "it's head was pulsating pink at the rate of a heart beat, covered in veins" would suggest that it's more vulnerable without being a complete giveaway (assuming the other colours had more description, perhaps consider texture as well which I think tells us more than colour. An alternate and possibly better approach could be to establish pink as a vulnerable colour. Perhaps you did this an I just missed it, but having something that's pink be shown as harmless and vulnerable could work if you draw attention to the pink-ness, or how about having those weak easy to shoot creatures "explode, plastering the walls with a eerie glowing pink" to establish that pink represents the blood of this planet.
My final nitpick is that nothing really comes across as me solving it when the game tells me the solution. I think "perhaps I can use bombs on the cracked surface" only to have the game say "HEY YOU CAN USE BOMBS ON THE CRACKED SURFACE!". In a text adventure where I can say "use x on y" it opens up a lot more freedom, and whilst I wouldn't quite expect that here, a little more freedom would have helped. Rather than letting me use bombs only when applicable, let me waste bombs as anytime, that way I have to actually consider when to use them.
This might be too complicated or not really fit, but perhaps if you don't want too much typing you could have certain key words or phrases (cracked wall, monster, ect) be highlighted in text. Then, when you use a bomb, you click the entity you want to use it on. I can see why this might have been too much work for the jam but it would add a lot of depth.
Rant aside, I do like the game for it's innovation in blending two compatible genres whilst building an atmosphere and it would be cool to see it improved upon.
The "push blocks" style of puzzle game isn't too original but introducing stealth is interesting. I like how well the blocks and avoiding enemies sight goes together.
Visually, there's something very charming about this game. In so few pixels you get such a strong feeling for the world which is pretty impressive.
My first issue is that inherently pushing blocks can become quite tedious and that is noticeable here. I think this is because it requires a lot of steps and busy work to actually complete the puzzle. This isn't helped by the fact that the puzzles themselves are generally quite easy. Granted, I didn't finish the game, the tedious side of it began to weight on me, so perhaps the game has some more interesting puzzles later but it felt as though the ramp in difficulty was quite slow once guards were introduced.
My second issue is a lot more minor and something that doesn't get in the way too much but is never the less questionable. The text. The text doesn't really add anything, a lot of it is rather bland statements, lacking any sort of character or intrigue which is a little disappointing when visually the game is so charming. This is really nitpicky now but I also think it doesn't help calling them "enemies". If it were a rather context-less combat oriented game I could see the term working, but when there's a proper context established I feel something more characterizing could have worked. Oddly, the description seems to handle this a lot better than the game itself.
Nitpicks aside, whilst it begins to become tedious in part due to the lack of challenge, there's a lot of charm to the game and I never felt any levels were badly designed, just a little lacking. There are some clever twists on the block pushing trope which makes the game fresh enough to be worth playing. I guess the best way to put it is that the game is good but a little thinly spread.I hope this feedback can help in someway.
Well that was incredibly infuriating, though not in a negative way because of any flaws or such but because it's an incredibly creative and mentally challenging puzzle game. Probably the best game I've played out of the Jam. Every puzzle managed to offer some unique twist on how the puzzles work.
I do have several problems however. Firstly, the lack of sound. I very happily would have sacrificed a few of the puzzles for some form of sound. As great as it may be to solve a puzzle, I'm sure I would have gotten much more joy with just the simplest of sound effects. Additionally, given the nature of the game you probably could have done something really interesting with the music, have it tune in as you begin to solve the puzzle/
Secondly, the perfect precision that's required on some puzzles is ridiculous.
I cannot see anything being off there (if I remember correctly, it was the size, know for sure it wasn't the speed). All around the loop it looked perfect, and yet it somehow didn't match. A little leniency would have gone a long way into getting that "AHA!" moment rather than "oh, that's surprising" because I was off by less than is visible.
I stopped at around the double wavy dot puzzle to prevent myself from going mad.
Aside from the two above issues this is a great puzzle game. Good luck with scoring highly in the jam.
PS Was this inspired by simian.interface? I ask because it's quite a similar game (though I'd argue that this has more depth to it.)
Do you have the professional/personal version of construct 2 or just the free version? My understanding is that anything over 100 events (which this is) will in some way not work on the free version. If you have the professional/personal version I'll send you the capx, though again it's important to remember that it was made by a messy coder in 3 days so I'd advise being critical when it comes to organization.
To be honest I'm not sure but I'm edging to say no. Firstly, you don't really seem serious about creating games, given that you said programation (not even english) and the fact that your profile is a just a jumpscare. Secondly, my code just isn't very good; I'm more of a designer than a programmer and programming is just part of the design process for me. I wouldn't want anyone looking at my messy code and unorganized files and going "this is how you do it!" If someone wants to learn from my game they'll get most from looking at the design which doesn't require the source code.
The idea of mixing farming and pinball together is certainly creative. The artstyle and music all go together to create a strong consistent tone.
Gameplay wise however, I do have a couple of criticisms.
Firstly, I'm not sure the tie between the 2 gameplay models is strong enough yet. I found myself playing pinball for ages, then farming for a while but the connection felt to vague. I never really knew which I should be doing, it was more of a "I guess I'll do x". I think perhaps it's because the purchasing and selling plants is too separate from the pinball. Perhaps if the bushes gave you random plants instead of money it would help the game flow better. Also, if plants grew over time rather than as soon as you water them this would help control the pacing a little better.
The idea of buying a new ball certainly helps to enforce the connection though so nice job there, but perhaps this could be taken further. As there isn't much difference in the crops besides numbers, you could maybe have potatoes and tomatoes be balls or something like that, though I could see how that would require some bigger changes. My general point is that the plants could also affect the gameplay in interesting ways besides money. You could even have the plants need to be planted on the game field.
As for the pinball itself, it was a little off phyisics wise. The ball felt incredible fast compared to what it probably should, though at times it would be the opposite and feel slow (after hitting a wall I think). Also, sometimes when it felt as though I should have hit the ball it would just stop on the flipper. I'm guessing this was because it hit it just after the flipper stop it's rotation but you may want to consider having a rule that says if the the ball hits the flipper a tick or 2 after flipping, shoot it up as if it just hit it; similar to how some platformers allow you to jump a few ticks after falling off a platform.
I think that's everything. Hope this helps and good luck growing the game out further.
Edit: I also think it might be a little too hard to get water at the moment, given that it's the only way to really aid the farming and make it beneficial as far as I can tell (else buying water means you gain and lose no money). The whole buying water thing can just leave you in and endless loop where you're forced to quit. I think if water was easier to get in the pinball (rather than buyable) then planting would be more reliable.
First thing I thought was "Hm, human music".
I like how well it manages to capture the "minimalistic" nature. Still looks very space like even with only 4 colors. However, I wasn't really a fan of the gameplay. It's very slow so I never even felt a need to move, I could just shoot the enemies from the center. I think the difficulty slowly ramps up but it took so long that I wasn't going to wait around for it to get tougher, especially when I thought the W forward and AD turn controls were a bit confusing, perhaps I would have gotten used to it if I were moving more?
If you want to add more energy to the game, which personally I think it needs, then perhaps tie movement to some other mechanic or have enemies pose more of a threat (projectiles maybe?). But just occasionally shooting enemies that come at you isn't enough.
Overall, it's just a bit too slow and dull, at least early on.I'm currently writing this whilst playing and I'm still not dying.
Yeah, I've seen someone else get stuck in the exact same place, don't know how I didn't think to include a break cord button or even just have x break the cord if you're already "launching". Thanks for the feedback, I'll implement this post jam.
Thanks for the feedback. I knew not having a direct checkpoint wasn't a great idea but I figured it wouldn't make much difference. In retrospect, I'd certainly be annoying if you're trying to learn how to beat the boss.
Yeh, I got up to the sign that mentioned the odd signs and then quit after finding the very thin platforms following it to be a bit of a jump in difficulty. Don't worry about seeming rude, it's a natural reaction to someone criticizing your work and I think it's kinda hard to overcome for anyone.
I'll clear a few things up. By no means was this a terrible experience for me. I didn't enjoy the game but still wouldn't go that far, taking a part the design of any game is still enjoyable for me.
The "I have no idea what that means" bit was kinda funny, I got that bit. My point with the "Why are all these signs around" or whatever I got what you were going for, basically saying "it doesn't make sense for all of these signs to be around in universe". Yeh I got that, but just pointing out odd design and going "HA, LOOK AT THE ODD DESIGN" isn't really a joke.
I'll give you an example. It's the difference between going
"Ha, look how lonely I am"
"My friends laughed at me when I told them I had a hot date and they said she was imaginary...
Well the jokes on them – they’re imaginary too..."
I think the big difference is there's a set up and a twist. Though I'm not a comedian so that's about as far as my knowledge goes on the matter (not originally my joke FTR).
There's a few ways you could subvert the sign thing. Perhaps the sign lies to you as first, and up until this point it's all been to get your trust, then suddenly it tricks you. Another idea could be that there's X's at the end of each sign and it's revealed that some secret admirer is helping you. IDK if any of these are really quality but my point is that there's more you can do than just go "Ha, look at the odd design".
My menu complaint was that pressing ESC opens the menu but it doesn't close it again. In every single game I can think of, pressing a button to open a menu then pressing that button again will close the menu. It's convenient and makes sense since whatever button opens the menu is the "menu button" in the players head. Ergo, if your on the menu and you press the menu button then it toggles the menu back off.
The wall jump makes sense from a designers perspective indeed. However, picture yourself as the player. You discover that by sliding down a wall and pressing jump you can jump from it. Cool. So when you go back onto the wall, since the conditions are exactly the same you should be able to......oh. Even after learning this, it feels so unnatural that am in the exact same situation as before but cannot jump off of the wall this time. Some kind of indication would help but I'm still not sure it would be a great fix as you still have a case where the games rules are at odds with yourself. Look at how the later Mario games and many other games solve this; in many games the wall jump launches you with momentum whilst preventing you from turning around instantly, so you can't just reach the same wall again. That way, the idea of "if sliding down a wall, then you can jump off it" is consistent and doesn't have that extra layer of needless complexity. Another different example would be Megaman X. In that game, you CAN jump off the same wall repeatedly but it's still not OP because the levels are designed around it.
Finally, the creativity. Even with a couple of new moves (that were also in later Mario games), it's basically the same game. You can hold down the run button to go faster but be more slippery, getting a power up will make you big and then getting another will allow you to shoot fire by pressing the run button. You can hit blocks to get coins. You jump on enemies that are basically goombas. You start off above ground in a greenish area before heading down into caves. I think that's pretty much everything.
Well there's certainly a fair amount here from what I've seen which I guess is impressive for a week jam. However, doing less but with higher quality may have been a good idea as I didn't have a good time with this one.
Let's start with the narrative and easter eggs. There's a clear focus on humor and secrets and the sort which is alright but it falls short in execution. Having the character comment on every little thing is incredibly annoying, especially when I have little control over the dialogue (skipping dialogue is also very confusing, I have to hold 2 and mash z and it sorta skips it but not really much!?! If that isn't the case then I have no idea because holding 2 alone didn't do anything.) This is made worse by the fact that the "character" isn't much of a character at all. He doesn't have any personality whatsoever so nothing he says really adds anything. A good example of this is when he comments on the signs being there is unusual. That's the joke? Nothings done with it other than the guy commenting on it. Shouldn't there be some kind of comedic explanation?
There were bits that I did like. The Canada joke was funny. I also found it funny when I went over the pit to find the wall with everything tilted 90 degrees, it's quite creative., It was then much less funny then when the characters all like "Huh, guess that's a dirt wall". I've got an idea main character, why don't we shove your face into it just to make sure! To put it shortly, if dialogue is there just for the sake of it, it probably shouldn't be there. Perhaps if stuff actually happened rather than the world remaining frozen as the two "characters" back and forth.
Small break before I get onto the mechanics. The menu was very confusing. The way the text at the bottom left is set out makes it look as though each layer is a different option. Additionally, why can't I just press escape again to leave!?
Now for the mechanics. With the dialogue at least you were trying something interesting. The gameplay on the other hand is just so bland. Clearly inspired by Mario so let's compare it. In the first level of Mario you're almost instantly introduced to every basic mechanic, including enemies. Here it takes 1 1/2 drawn out levels before anything comes about. Then after a couple of randomly tossed in enemies comes super tight platforming without any build up. Surely something comedic could have been made out of this. FTR this is where I stopped. These levels just don't have anything interesting about them, they're largely just flat open stretches.
Then there's the characters moves, aside from being completely unoriginal they're alright. The one thing that really is not alright is the wall jump. I jump off a wall, then jump off another wall it works alright. But when I jump off a wall and then move back onto the same wall, I CAN'T JUMP!? I'm guessing this wasn't a glitch and was rather to stop the wall jump from being too overpowered but it's so poorly done. There is no indication that I can't just jump again, I even cling to the wall still so logically from a players perspective this is very strange.
Well I think that's everything, besides mentioning that the music drove me slightly insane. I can understand if a game is flawed because it tries something new or if it's well designed but not too interesting, but this game is very unoriginal and whilst I can't say the levels are badly designed, the only reason for that is that there's not much design in the first place. Whilst I think merging story/comedy elements with a platformer could work and is a little more interesting than nothing, having the gameplay constantly interrupted for for player to go "guess that's a thing" is neither engaging story nor comedic.
I know this review has been quite harsh so sorry if this comes across too harshly. My intention is not at all to attack you as a creator; making one flawed game doesn't make you a bad developer. I know this was made in a week but a game is still a game, and I want to give my honest thoughts and experience rather than sugarcoating anything. Hopefully you can continue to make games and find this review to be useful to you as a creator.
The idea of collecting the cargo whilst dodging space structures is cool and it's combined with some pretty nice art and color schemes. However, mechanically, it's still a little too flawed to really be enjoyable. Not to say it's bad, I still played for a fair few rounds so there's clearly compelling elements, I think there's just a couple of elements that need tweaking and then it'll really be fun. I hope this feedback can help to improve it if you continue to improve it post-jam.
Firstly, the keyboard controls are very awkward. I'm guessing the intention was to use right shift rather than left but only left worked for me so it was only really possibly to play with one hand without the controller. You could still keep this control scheme in addition to having the arrow keys + z and x as an alternative. Also, having space be start when space isn't used in any other way was a little confusing, particularly when telling me to press start.
Secondly is the core mechanics, more specifically, the boost and the shield. From what I can tell, the boost and shield use up the same power, but where the boost can maybe get you out of danger if you're lucky, the shield completely makes you invincible?! That isn't really a tough choice. The boost also wasn't fun to use, I had very little control over it and it lasts quite a while, so considering this uses up my power I really didn't ever want to use it. I think if the boost was more short, quick and snappy it might be better, perhaps if it could also break rocks or something? Though having it drain what could otherwise be a shield is still too much.
Few other random points:
Cargo seemed to randomly disappear one time in a straight and safe corridor.
*and again when I was sure there was no threat, not even a wall in sight!
Turrets blend in way too much.
Any bit with timing felt awkward to me, possibly due to the slow versatility of the boost.
That's the main points of criticism I can think of for now. I hope this helps, good luck with any future development!
Burrow is a randomly generated game with systemic/emergent elements about reaching the bottom of the earth. When you jump, the layer below breaks sending down enemies and objects. You cannot directly attack enemies so you must use this earth shattering power to get the critters impaled, crushed or killed by any other means you find.
The game is strongly inspired by Downwell & Spelunky. Downwell for it's elegant design and Spelunky for it's emergent nature.
The game is short but each time you die you restart from the beginning so making it through the 4 different areas is quite a challenge! Good luck!