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kkairos

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A member registered Jul 06, 2019 · View creator page →

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Apologies for micro-reviewing. The first one got lost somehow.

Enjoyment 4 - I liked almost everything. The 5% I didn't was the boss being a giant hit sponge.

Execution 4 - Pretty good overall, not much in the way of jank. One weird freeze that forced me to quit the game and retry the boss from scratch.

Sensory 4 - Music doesn't quite fit the vibe of the graphics for me, but it's not bad and it feels kinda awesome to use that grapple when that music is playing. If you made a game with either more fairytalish music or a more heist-movie visual tone I would be so in.

Metroidvania 3 - What's there isn't extensively based on movement upgrades, but the one movement upgrade you do get in the demo is really made to shine by the level design.

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Enjoyment 4/5: Game was good but marred by some bugs. I played the unfixed version. After one too many of the freezes during the chase, I then tried to switch to the fixed, and that was when I learned there were no hard saves for this game. (I tried both EXEs, but as this is serving as my rationale for not finishing the game fully before rating, it seemed fair to mention and not to factor into this further.) 

The game plays well enough, though there are some decisions I might have made differently. Grappling through trapdoors feels great when it feels great and feels kinda awful when it doesn't. Grappling the regular hookable objects feels decent, grappling the greens feels great when you get it and passable otherwise.

Execution 3/5: Honestly it's mainly just all the bugs in the proper jam version doing this. I'm not sure grappling works consistently.

I don't know if being unable to hit things with the grapple sword after you've made contact is a bug or not.

Several areas should be looked over for an overabundance of frustrating or tricky obstacle placements.

Kudos on the first boss, and what I saw of the second.

Please do not make a crosshair an upgrade on anything the player aims. If anything, it should come with the aim-able upgrade, and removing that should be a "downgrade" item if you're doing an accessory system later. That said I thought the grappling was mostly intuitive enough I could've done without entirely in this game, at least, given I had a regular mouse cursor to look at.

Sensory 4/5: Game looks well enough, and the music is fairly fitting. Assuming based on the external assets only mentioning SFX that it's original music, kudos!

Metroidvania 5/5: This game had a lot of creative ideas about things that could subtly squeeze just a little more out of one movement mechanic. Honestly I thought it was pretty creative for jam-scope and I really thought it was embracing the spirit of the genre.

I gather you've already fixed a number of these things. I gave it a brief play (to the start of boss one) and noticed a couple things got introduced that weren't in the first game, though I trust a number of other issues were fixed.

In any case, though I'd initially hoped to finish the game on the fixed version, I don't know that it would be necessary to re-rate any factors based on a post-jam version that's as different as the dev-log implies. but I'm glad you took the time to make one anyway because I think this game needed a little more love and it's good to know it was gotten.

Overall a solid effort but a couple of particular design decisions and bugs brought down the overall experience for me. Please keep developing things, though. And as always, this is just my player XP as feedback. What you do with it, what solutions if any you think are exactly appropriate, are up to you.

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Overall:

  • I enjoyed this one.
  • A lot of little nitpicks felt like enjoyment/execution things, so you'll see a lot of those listed in one or the other of those places.
  • You have a lot of good building blocks in terms of ideas. It feels (in a good way) like some of what I've experienced of Soulsborne titles
  • Some of the points below might seem contradictory or even lead to weird results if taken too seriously. In particular I want to recall as a fellow dev that as the critiquer of course, my job is mainly to tell you what I'm seeing and if I happen to provide a good suggestion or solution, that might be a lot of things but it's not the expected result
  • I made a number of comments about speed and world size--I think I stick by the speed one, but just wanted to note that whatever you do I think will work as long as it solves the (to me) central issue of feeling like one is walking through a fair bit of empty space

Enjoyment 4/5

  • Enjoyed my time with this overall
  • Boss was pretty baller for a first boss
  • Please make everything move like 30% faster, except maybe the spears

Execution 3/5:

  • (Apologies here is where most of my design nitpicks are going)
  • Actual fighting feels decent. Not sure the basic dudes really needed to take 3 hits
  • Spear dudes feel more annoying than challenging, though to be fair I didn't do a great job of blocking them
  • Not always clear on the intended LOS for the soldiers
  • Quality of Life request: Start the player with a potion and have it refill automatically on re-spawn
  • Ran across some visual glitching on the web, desktop seemed fine

Sensory 3/5

  • Visuals do the job. Music isn't really noticeably complementary in a good way but isn't noticeable in a bad way either
  • SFX were good, ambience a nice touch. More audio feedback when getting hit by enemies would be nice
  • This could go under Enjoyment or Execution, but in terms of worldbuilding and enjoyment alike I think it would've done well to consider a game area of about 50% of the size of this one for your jam entry. I feel like I spent a lot of time...walking through areas that felt empty. Walking through relatively full, if smaller, places that once appeared to be inhabited might have helped the overall sensory experience. Right now it kind of feels like someone built some pre-fab apartments for the cult or whatever it is you're intruding on but nobody's really moved in yet
  • You might have a slight conveyance issue on how the boss hands work, the first time, though I'm hard pressed to tell you what I think the alternative would be

Metroidvania 3/5:

  • It doesn't really register much as one right now but I feel like even though it's only used once or twice, there's at least non-negligible effort made to give a mobility/area unlock ability here such that had the game expanded, its Metroidvanianess would have similarly done so

Yes--took a few tries, but among the rooms in this game it's basically "that one room."

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I'm going to nitpick a lot because a lot of little things added up and affected the scores I gave, especially enjoyment, so before you read that I want you to know I legitimately enjoyed it and it's a favorite to place well for me so far. It's notable that all those little things didn't bother me much because the experience was otherwise so solid.

Enjoyment & Execution 4 - As they so often are they're tied together and suffer a little for it.

There's one room (alluded to by Zephyr below) that requires fairly noticeable coyote time use and I had to look up how to use the paralyze ability. Aside from that one room everything felt pretty fair, movement felt good, game was generally enjoyable. Kudos on 2 bosses and a chase scene.

Discretionary things that affected enjoyment: Spike pits are almost always a guaranteed kill, with notable backtracking. Spike ceilings aren't. I would recommend doing a respawn-at-last-solid-platform-or-so for pits and ceilings and making the jump that's giving people trouble in that one room a bit more vertically generous. I would also try to time the platforms a bit more casually since they feel a bit like a speedrun-or-suffer situation, or even a "train always leaves the station when you arrive" kind of deal in some rooms.

Sensory 5 - All-around visuals are solid, nothing to complain about there. I did have random sounds happening that sounded almost like the MegaZeux bomb noise and I had no clue what the intended trigger was there.

Metroidvania 4 - Pretty standard stuff in this regard. Solid Mini-vania. Should be getting more attention/ratings.

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Checked this page about something controls and read comments; I had some trouble with this room as well. You have to be pretty good with coyote time. From what I can tell, it's the only room that's really like that though.

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Pretty good all around. Honestly this one ended up at 5's except enjoyment which was a 4 mostly for smaller discretionary things, in combination with the arguably less pressing issue of difficulty hitting things that sometimes felt a bit artificial.

i agree with what others have said that crouch/jump is probably preferred for fall-through platforms.

But basically anything else is either a straight-up nitpick or goes to taste.

But honestly the graphics and atmosphere and world-building were pretty solid overall, and so was the game play, even though the jump was a bit fast for me. I liked that the revealed story had a twist or two beyond what one might have initially expected.

* Edit: There is a fall-through platform in one room I can't fall through and it seemed like this was probably to prevent a problematic sequence break. That's a bit of a nitpick but please don't do that :)

Nice. If you join the jam discord you'll find lots of fun distraction comradery there!

NP. Since I know I'm not missing a ton, I'll go ahead and leave an actual rating with reasoning on each category.

This one is 4's across the board except enjoyment which is a 3.

Enjoyment 3/5: It's not necessarily a technical thing I can put my finger on (I think it's related to how quick the jump feels) but it didn't quite nail it for me. A few extra quality of life tweaks would have gone a ways

Execution 4/5: Pretty solid overall. Not a lot of glitchiness. Respawn choice, at risk of harping on it a bit, deserves a mention here, though the map feels pretty good..

Sensory 4/5: A feast for the eyes, even with the main character seeming to be in a bit more of a draft state, and my ears didn't feel so bad about it either.

Metroidvania 4/5: Getting the job done so far from the Metroid side of the genre.

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Stuck respawning after the boss with 3 health. Was this intentional and is there substantially more content after this point? Please advise--I may not feel I'm able to rate game fairly with present state of affairs or be up to replaying it unless I know what I'm replaying for.

To be clear the game is really pretty and plays decently. But if I have any constructive criticism so far:

* Make the jump slightly floatier

* Never stick the player with a low-health re-spawn if you have an alternative. It just isn't fun. Normies (including me) will probably take enough damage in this one that you can probably just give them all their health back.

Enjoyment 4/5: Could have done with a little more explanation and a little less weirdness. I know that goes partly to taste, but that is sort of how it went for me.

Execution 4/5: I'm not 100% sure what was going on.

Sensory 4/5: Could do with better balances/more inclusions on sounds/music. The actual visual aesthetics were nicely consistent as far as they went though.

Metroidvania 4/5: There's a couple of mobility/attack upgrades but nothing life-changing or super-big genre-wise. Maybe a tad on the linear side.

Enjoyment 4/5: Hampered a bit by a couple frustrating sections. That last segment is LONG! But contrary to what I said on stream I think mostly fair.

Execution: 4/5: Hampered a bit by some crashes but mostly awesome. Maybe a bit of refinement on the area designs / elimination of unnecessary waiting would be nice.

Sensory: 4/5: Graphics are great, if a tad simple. Music is fitting.

Metroidvania 5/5: Props for using some very un-"Metroidvania"-y abilities as hard/soft gates for movement.

Honestly IDK if you're allowed to win your own jam, but if you are, this is a contender.

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Enjoyment 4/5: This suffered for a couple of segments wherein a single missed fireball dodge sends you back several repetitive screens.

Execution 5/5: Technically excellent pretty much no notes.

Sensory 4/5: Good presentation/use of gameboy aesthetic overall

Metroidvania 4/5: This one is tough, because clearly the mobility abilities help, but there's not really much in the way of the exploration aspect and it feels a bit more puzzle-platformer. If we had decimals it would probably lose another .5 points.

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Enjoyment 4/5: Enjoyed my time with this one. One puzzle might have been more frustrating than fun had I not had someone there to point out the (in retrospect obvious) solution to me.

Execution 4/5: Not necessarily absolutely stellar on level design but mostly solid all around, if a bit 'tight' as far as requirements for making jumps. i only seemed to have one walljump and it was unclear if this was intentional.

Sensory 4/5: Music and graphics get the job done here pretty pleasantly.

Metroidvania 5/5: Checking all the boxes or was set up to so far. Nothing super-clever but it's getting the job done genre-wise.

Enjoyment 4/5: Mostly had fun with a few frustrations here and there. Not always clear where to go and not always in a fun way :(, but movement generally felt good.

Execution 3/5: Some jank in the movement (not the controls properly speaking as far as I know) and well optimized generally. But it wasn't always clear what could or couldn't be phased through (e.g. I would have expected deadly spikes to be a "no" but this seems not to be true, at least not universally.) Wasn't always clear when bouncy pads would work and I'm still not entirely certain how they were meant to work.

UX needs a bit of work--I recommend less of a wait between dialog and choices where there are choices.

Sensory 4/5: Pretty fitting music/sound overall! Graphics were neat.

Metroidvania 5/5: central mobility ability (through time) was very crucial

Major points for the bubble wand. That one had some good uses, of the best type--a 'lock' I didn't even identify until I had the key, but then I almost immediately knew what it was. Brilliant!

Enjoyment: 4/5: Kept back from fullness by that knockback/ease of damage loop

Execution: 3/5: Similar, slightly jank movement and some of what seems to be unoptimized performance on occasion, but not too egregious.

Sensory: 4/5: All pleasant enough stuff. Pixels > music but nothing was bad.

Metroidvania: 5/5: By jam standards, definitely about as Metroidvania as it gets. Bonus points in my heart for doing so without the double-jump or wall-jump/climb.

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I have to ask...how much health does this boss have?

Update: I beat the boss. Did you just--


Anyway, pretty fun game. Takes a few hits on enjoyment/execution mainly for the hitbox of the main character's basic attack being so small.

Could do with a bit more auditory feedback but the visual feedback piece was pretty OK.

But pretty fun besides that!

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There appears to be a walljump or something required after the third scroll or so.

I cannot do that walljump for the life of me and also I don't know how to turn around--if there are instructions here that aren't in the game or that were in the game and I impatiently clicked past them please remind me. If there is no further information, I may be able to give a score, but I figured I should check before making a judgment.

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Next week's tricky since I will have my own project to be working on and unlike most of these jams, haven't taken any late-in-jam time off from work. However, I could probably carve out an hour with sufficient notice. Depending on how well my computer runs it (newer, but not a gaming PC by any stretch) and how much time I have, the feedback will range from "my computer can't run this well enough to fairly evaluate" to a short play/reaction video.

3.5/5 Enjoyment - I enjoyed my time with this one alright. It wasn't 100% enjoyable but (despite some issues mentioned below) not overly frustrating, and I didn't feel like my time was wasted at any point, at least, not particularly so for a jam game. I bumped this up to 4 in the scoring.

3/5 Execution - The jump feels wrong to me. I can't tell you why. I think it goes beyond my anti-WASD+spacebar biases, though. The most concrete thing I can say is, I feel like I'm uncertain what I'm able to do with it, and not in the easy-to-learn-hard-to-master way.

3/5 Visuals - The visuals here aren't absolutely stellar, but they are is pleasant to look at and inoffensive, and they mostly convey what the game is about.

2/5 Audio - There's 1 track here and it's honestly not super-fitting to the setting, that I can tell.

2/5 Metroidvania - This gets a point for being a platformer with some exploration aspect which I could readily see expanding into something more genre-fitting if it were extended. As it stands though, with neither literal nor figurative keys and doors involved, I think 2/5 is appropriate.

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A quick note on these notes: For better or worse, as will probably be clear upon reading the following, I didn't have a great experience of this game overall. I want to be clear that the following is offered in a spirit of hopeful improvement--making your project the best it can be--rather than trying to tear anyone down. If you have further questions or want a playtester for the future, you can ask here or find me on the Metroidvania Month Discord.

Notes:

The game looks pretty so far! It isn't quite my style but it is pretty coherent, and the music seems to match what's happening so far as well.

The game really needs a check under the hood for dropped inputs and the reasons they're happening. If that's not what is happening, there should be some major changes to convey to the player when they can or can't jump. I experienced dropped jump inputs both with a keyboard setup and with a controller, assuming "space" was the jump key.

Please have players on every platform check the game for softlocks. I found at least two places in the game as it exists where my character simply began to run in place, seemingly forever, and if there's a way to leave that state once I'm in it, I don't know what it is. I have video of this if you want it (you can find me on the Metroidvania Month Discord by looking for kkairos.)

I have a feeling that there's more content here than I actually saw, but hitting two different softlocks plus the dropped inputs has sort of discouraged me from playing further in the game's current state. As it stands I'm not even sure I've seen enough to rate the game fairly or even judge if it's really in the genre for the jam. I will be following the dev who did the upload in case there are further updates, however! Keep us posted!

This game is very beautiful! I had trouble getting into it for controls and movement mechanics reasons mainly, coupled with what I suspect is higher difficulty than intended, such that I really ended up stopping after finding the first save point. The game looks great, and sounds pretty decent, but the difficulty and movement don't quite live up to the visuals. As always with me these are pain points which may or may not point to a solution, and as one dev to another the solution, if one is needed, is yours to determine. But I would recommend the following:

  • Tone down the difficulty several notches. Consider decreasing the amount of overall things that can threaten the player.
  • Workshop controls and movement more or less from scratch, or at least be open to heavily tweaking them in the player's favor. In particular the jump feels a bit short and there's a weird pause after dashing--which, if I gather correct and there's some sort of stamina meter in place, does not seem to correlate cleanly to said stamina bar.
  • If you've not done so, have a friend who is good at platformers and has played a lot of them test the game and observe them.
  • The same as the previous, except with a friend who is bad at platformers.
  • Please replace that jump sound effect. It is weird and the sort of thing I would expect from a character who had just run a mile in a horror film--not from a jump.

A couple other small details:

    • There also seemed to be an issue with the character auto-moving if I try to play with a controller. Unplugged it and used keyboard and that seems to be fine; might be worth testing whether some interaction with an XB360 controller is problematic.
    • There are a number of hazards I'm not sure how one is meant to dodge.
    • It's not entirely clear what can hurt me and what can't.
    • Sometimes textboxes seem to come up at awkward moments during gameplay.
    • Enemy movement doesn't, at least not on the phone, look as fluid as player movement.
    • If there is a weapon, I wasn't playing long enough to find it before the first save point.
    • if there is a use for the shock ability at the save point I found, I'm not sure what it is.

    I hope this feedback doesn't strike you as too harsh--I would love to see a project with a good aesthetic sense like this one succeed, but right now it feels held back. I'll be following you on itch.io so if you develop this further I can check out future builds.

    (2 edits)

    This is a great game so far! I missed it out the first time you entered it in an MVM and I think in the process I missed out. Bullet point review below, from overarching down to smaller details

    • Mechanics are solid overall
    • Controls are pretty good overall (at least for controller, though I tried a small amount with keyboard/mouse)
      • The main menu can be used by controller but it's not obvious. I recommend having more buttons act as confirmation buttons when in doubt
      • There should probably be an attack button on the keyboard that works nicely with either WASD or the arrow keys--but if there is, I don't know what it would be from the documentation. The controller layout is pretty intuitive though, IMO, at least re XB360
    • World design is great overall
      • The nonlinearity is very well-handled in the version I played for MVM 20 Super--I got the impression the number of possible legitimate routes through the game was actually at least a route or two more than the route I've taken thus far, and that's not necessarily even accounting for the east/west choice.
      • I am missing one of twelve key pieces--if there's some way to get a hint about this ingame, so that I might at least get a notion on which room I've yet to scour sufficiently, I don't know what it is
      • I would suggest asking critically for each one-way transition whether it really needs to be one-way. Unless you're gating so that the player will use a power to get back, it feels like they more or less just get punished for taking a "wrong turn at Albuquerque."
    • Enemies and bosses are well-designed and I enjoyed fighting them, mostly
      • Bosses could be slightly more telegraphed, the prince/princess ones in particular
      • Please give players a damage upgrade option at some point or decrease the amount of hits each enemy takes by 1. Too many things take too many hits to kill.
    • Audio-visual presentation is fairly on point
      • It might be a tiny bit too cute for what's happening, but aside from that dissonance, and a weird lack of music during some of the boss and brawl sections, I don't really see much issue
      • In overall options please give a windowed option and maybe an option to turn down the visual effects a bit. I would have given you some video reacts to look at, but my computer may in fact not have been sufficiently powerful to get those without a lot of frame-skipping.

    Overall a solid 4/5 all around for me except the genre which is an easy 5/5. I've played about 1-2 hours at this point and would readily volunteer to beta test when the game gets to that point. As you probably know as a dev, any potential problems I'm pointing to here are mostly minor pain points as a user and not necessarily a pointer to an exact solution. Best of luck continuing this one. Consider it wishlisted per your request. :)

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    Best of luck! The idea of doing this grand of a procgen project in 30 days breaks my brain a little, though the thought of doing a 3D 'vania already does, so..

    Will be watching this! If I can run it, would be happy to give it a playtest/feedback at some point.

    • This was awesome. I feel like you basically packed a whole soundtrack into about 5 minutes
    • So many swirls and flourishes and recurring themes!
    • Please BEGOME GAMEDEV if you aren't one already and make this game real 
    • Cards on the table, I haven't given a lot of 5s on theme, but I'm giving one here because it's such a clear effort on the imagination and realization front.
    • Pretty good fit to theme
    • Pretty good quality, nothing glaring
    • Smooth listen but does maintain a bit of unease/'wonder' one might expect from your description
    • Wasn't sure until halfway through Main Theme, then it grabbed me and i was in. Second half almost feels like it could be a basis of or have a variant that also serves as a boss theme.
    • Definitely feels unified and like it fits your concept/interpretation. Very 'loopy' sound.
    • This is a really neat duo of pieces!
    • Pretty well-mixed, tracks fit the concept well. Definitely could see this in a stealthy FPS.
    • Feels like part of the same soundtrack
    • This is a pretty baller soundtrack and fits your intended game concept pretty well
    • Everything is pretty well-mixed, nothing feels overwhelming despite large amounts of energy
    • This is uh...really, really impressive. Very high production value, feels very unified and on-theme. energetic but not overwhelming beats and synths. even the alarm is only minimally obnoxious
    • somewhat silly track titles are a help here
    • I could see it being used for anything from an action-puzzley platformer through more of a straight action game, depending
    • But honestly this might get listened to again by me just for fun
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    • well-chosen samples/instruments, heard a bit of what sounded like accidental distortion but might have been the streaming or the mix?
    • the commitment to using clock-like noises in your rhythms is impressive
    • that last one sounds almost (while it could be played as an epilogue over credits) it could also be pretty fitting for a more eldritch/alien area of a game
    • overall would probably fit well in a platformer or metroidvania with a more 'cinematic' soundtrack style

    * Intro: Lovely bit of piano/keys here. It didn't "grab" me quite as well as the second track, but it was very nice and easy listening, and giving a second listen I feel like I'm better appreciating the layering happening. Good title screen or intro sequence music for sure.
    * Lost Time: Use of multiple time signatures always a cool thing to hear. I love that you managed to do this in the boss theme without throwing off the listener (at least not accidentally). Dig the bass and could really feel the epicness of the encounter.
    * Samples/instruments are well chosen overall and nothing really feels overbearing

    Thanks for your kind words! And definitely not a secret--it's the DSK Saxophone: https://www.dskmusic.com/dsk-saxophones/

    • This is pretty high-quality as far as the music goes. Makes for good listening!
    • The second track feels reminiscent of a jRPG "sad and possibly epic story" theme.
    • This was really good on theme for sheer intentionality
    • Rattrapan felt a bit like a circus-y track compared with the rest; add funhouse mirrors for amazing boss battle?
    • This feels pretty much like what you meant it to--a lost horror adventure disc from the not-PSX PSX.
    • Rhythms feel very "clocky" overall
    • It's less clocky, but the last track really nails its goal of fitting a place where time works differently. I found it a mite unnerving!
    • Overall, it feels a bit like a 3d collectathon platformer with Tim Burton at the aesthetic helm, and I mean that in a good way
    • Interesting call and response on track 1. Would be fitting for a nice, and slightly creepy forest, with or without melting clocks!
    • Interesting "clocky" reuse of the hymn in track 2; feels like a bit of a solid small-town theme.
    • Time theme is pretty prevalent here, lots of mechanical bits thrown here and there in the beats
    • Theme relatively "on" as far as your stated goals
    • Feels like it could be in a Kenta Cho Shooter--lest there be any doubt, I mean that as a compliment
    • Really <3 the A-section, B-section, and bridge, which is neat because that's the song
    • In another life you could've been a synth-pop artist