Secret Santa Review – Cumulus
I am going to preface this by stating that this isn’t the style of game I normally gravitate towards and that I am naturally keener on picking up what I don’t like about something more than I am at picking up on things I do like about something. I am not a professional, by any means, so please take what I have to say with a grain of salt. It is my hope that, by writing this the developer will be able to improve his/her product in the future! Here are the quick points for my review:
- Your main character is a spitting image of Cloud, without the spiky hair. While this may be a witty play-in with the title, it’s not a good thing for a commercial game. Even Chase has a character silhouette that is familiar to Sephiroth… Would advise caution moving forward with your characters looking like this.
- The combat system proposed is fine and works well; however I would argue that the control scheme holds it back quite a bit. Perhaps a gamepad would be better suited in this scenario.
I'd propose re-configuring the controls to something like this?: A- Attack, S- Skill, D – Guard, W- Dash? Thinking about this for a while trying to discern comfort hasn’t yielded anything too pleasant on the keyboard with the already allocated buttons. Menu being tied, currently, so close to Attack yields combat interruptions. Or, you know what would make it even better? Player customizable keybinds.
- Not sure I understand the point of dodging fireballs only to move to next screen to be auto-shot out of the sky.
- Not being able to walk through butterflies made me sadface
- The town is huge and the first bit of the game is just walking through it. I can see this as a world building aspect with all the NPCs, which works well, I just hope it doesn’t detract from the overall 1-hour experience this contest was meant to have. Also, the direction arrows could ‘pop’ a bit more.
- The Earthbounder who storms the tower (main villain) is very straight forward with what he wants the power for and seemingly for no real reason other than to have it to become a god. This could be played up and out a bit for added drama and life within the writing. Having the villain spew the whole nine yards within the first 10mins seems like you're limiting yourself.
- After getting out of the tower, I would suggest Auto-Running the event with the High Sister. Seems there is no reason not too? I personally was thinking about wandering around aimlessly looking for something, but decided against it as I wasn't playing the main character anyways and this chick just teleported us to safety only to stand in silence?
- Skill Help Text could use some work. “An upward slash” could also tell me that it can knock down enemies, etc. It's one thing to give characters tools. It's another to make sure they know what the do. Clarity is only a virtue here and you have a lot of room to provide that in.
- 1st boss seemed to spam Fright, which cause paralysis. He spams this until he gets close, but this can create a no-action loop where the player cannot get away from the incoming attacks and could fall over rather quick, which I can see making some players very frustrated right off the bat. I’d considering toning down the frequency of such an ability. For later encounters, sure, do this to amp up difficulty and to demand the player perform well to avoid death.
- While I was writing the note about the boss fight, it would seem the fish events killed me while the text was on the screen by reaching me and staying under me? Animating endlessly, etc. I clicked to advance the text only to get an immediate game over lol ><
Overall, I think what I have seen so far is going to yield as much feedback as I will be able to find in the game. It’s hard to judge an RPGs story within an hour timeframe, so I’m not going to bother as it just isn’t realistic (except for the tidbit above). The battle system could use some balancing touches. I truly believe a more user-friendly control scheme would make this battle system a lot better. I found the jumping very jarring with the screen movements. When you “jump” in other such games with a battle system like this, the screen is often locked so you can keep track of your character vs. the field, etc.
I think there is potential here. The mapping is nice to look at for the most part. The story concept was rushed to reveal itself, but it sets the stage for at least 3 additional combative events with the main villain.
I hope you find this useful when moving forward with your product. I hope to see this built upon in the future!