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Daykar Machine

3
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A member registered Apr 12, 2021

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It's a really unique puzzle approach for a video game. Arguably, it doesn't benefit too much from the virtual medium and might be more enjoyable if it had tactile pieces. The instructions are also fairly unclear, though the game is simple. I had a good time playing through all but 2 levels and honestly wouldn't have minded doing some more puzzles.

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It took me a minute to figure out that I should be cutting my plant, but once I did the game became fun, fast, and rewarding. Love the art, love the music, and I love the concept.


EDIT: After a couple hours of playing this, I'm still really enjoying it. Some elements have really been implemented in a thoughtful--and most importantly, enjoyable--way:


Watering feels so good. The way the water sinks into the ground and nourishes the plant brings me back to the times I'd help around the garden watering as a child.     It's also a smart design decision to slow the pace of this already-breakneck game. Requiring the mouse to hover for even a half second over a certain area helps keep the expected APM (actions per minute) from growing too quickly. Speed, activity, and how they scale are all crucially important for this game. High 'APM demands' may easily scare off a casual/novice player--and they certainly cause the game to demand more attention and energy from all players.



Scything takes the best of fruit ninja game elements and uses them to encourage judicious, prudent, contained play from the player.      Imagine you  // were// trying to defend your plants from an onslaught of worms (as happens quite randomly from time to time). You know which of your plants are most vulnerable. You decide that these worms need the personal attention of the scythe. It's barbaric, sure, but these worms have to learn: that your plants are yours and worms can go kick rocks. Fueled by a protective energy far surpassing a mama bear with cubs, you set out to make a last stand for the ages against what seems to be an unending siege of worms.

In the hot sun--plants aching, straining for water--you shake off your own heat and misery and garden like no one has before. You're the Lebron James of your garden: doing it all, you're saving plants left and right, strategically propagating new plants, and slicing worm after worm, sometimes all in one stroke. If you're going to be running around swinging a scythe wildly, you'd better have the foresight to plan your garden to mitigate friendly fire casualties.

That's a unique plan to make in a game, and it could easily have ended up such a less interesting choice if the scythe didn't sweep, operating instead as more of an instant point-and-click action. I find myself wishing more games would encourage player restraint as well as this game does.



The upgrades are delightfully simple, though I have to wonder how much they matter once the game reaches a certain point. There's also something of a minor lack of clarity with what the upgrades  // do// for the player. Scythe upgrade definitely makes swing speed faster and damage higher. Watering can increases capacity, but maybe something else as well. Plant upgrades seem to increase health, though I swear they also become easier to water with higher upgrades.


Just tonigh I'm already going back and forth between what upgrades I want to get and when.   I change my mind from one attempt to the next in order  to compliment the strategy I've employed for that venture. There's no question that some upgrading of the scythe is necessary; the difference between 3 hits and 2 per worm is massive, so you don't want to find yourself behind on scythe tech without money to spend. I think plant upgrades are probably the first priority, but then again I also once thought watering can was first priority.  The upgrades are somewhat opaque. They don't generally have a massive impact on the game. They feel // very// classic arcade in that way, and not the least modern. I would not be surprised if most people think as a result that the upgrades were poorly implemented--'dated' is often fairly undesirable in a modern game. I do though think that these people are wrong; the upgrades stand respectfully out of the way, allowing mechanical performance to take center stage, as it should in most all arcade games.



The soundtrack and sound design are both very simple. This simplicity affects everything: there isn't an intrusive moment of loop-restarting unlike with some more convoluted, developed anthems. The other elements of sound, the effects, are also simple. The chop of the scythe is comprised of few layers, and never varies. The watering can is a powerful roar, equally as unchanging. The effects are snappy, the soundtrack is peppy, and neither presents itself as a grand display of skill. It's a Game Jam game. One of the best decisions a game creator can make is to set very achievable standards for the supporting elements of the game * so they can go // big// in the parts of the game that made them want to make the game in the first place.



So far my high score is 103, 341, and I think that may not be the end of the story for it. A day ago, I had no idea this game was even a twinkle in Crusticus' eye. Now, I'm looking forward to playing it at minimum a few more nights!

*this isn't always sound, but clearly seems to be in the case of this game.

It took me a minute to figure out that I should be cutting my plant, but once I did the game became fun, fast, and rewarding.