I really enjoyed this! I feel like it'd be super fun to design levels for it, too.
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Sure thing! With some of the EC Game Jam games I've looked at, I've looked at some of the creators' other work - that's how I came across this one!
Thanks! I look forward to if/when I have a finished game from that idea. I'll send it your way then!
It is indeed strange! And it's also interesting that we took that basic idea in different ways after we had it.
If you do make an update with this game, I'd focus on taking the mechanic and using it in more interesting scenarios. Games are all about meaningful choices, and the choices in this game are mostly all when the player can see - they have to decide how long they can afford looking around, then pick a path, and face in that direction. When the player is blind, however, the only choice from what I could tell was how far to walk forward (as I thought you couldn't turn while blind). I'd wonder if any more meaningful decisions could be put in that phase? Maybe turning is possible and you have to estimate when to turn, or maybe other challenges in the dark? If that's the case, audio feedback for when you bump into a wall could be handy. And, assuming you would keep the blind-not blind phases on a fixed timer, maybe more tuning on that would be needed? How long for each phase is perfect - not too annoying, but just right? As it is, it can be a little frustrating, because you feel a bit out of control when some external force is repeatedly altering your controls. That might not be a bad thing, but the perfect lengths for those phases may be something to think about. Good luck!
Great concept! The mechanic definitely had some interesting dynamics - for instance, turning to look at your surroundings may jeopardize facing the right direction for when you can walk. I feel like this level scratched the surface on what this set up can do - like, maybe a hypothetical future level could introduce moving platforms or hazards in more wide open spaces? Although it looks like this was made for a game jam, so it makes sense it's just the one level.
A little bit of feedback for the walking would be nice - maybe if I made stepping sound effects when I walked? That would make me feel like I'm actually performing the action and give me an idea of how much I'm moving. Keeping track of which keys I had would be helpful, too. Also, I wonder if the "curse removed, curse returned" text could be traded out with simple magical/dramatic sound effects?
Good call with the light pillars, they're good guides on where to go... And, I really like the inclusion of the story to give meaning to the game (even if the story page was just a tad lengthy)!
It's funny because I also recently thought of a "you can only walk when you can't see" game mechanic, but the game I had in mind was totally different from this! It definitely works in this game!
I love that you had an interesting backstory to the game - I think it makes it much more enjoyable.
I got stuck for awhile. From what I could tell, when you jump into the one area halfway through the game, if you didn't collect enough emotions at the first areas, you can't get back out. So, after exploring in vain for awhile, I restarted, and made sure to collect enough emotions before venturing down again.
I think the jump being so high is neat - with a simple sound effect and particle trail, I think that could be very satisfying, like how it's always fun to jump when you're playing a Mario game. The music also fit. I liked the feel it gave... except after hearing it loop so much while I played (I got stuck, so I was just running around as it repeated dozens of times), I muted the game the second time I played.
Since the protagonist is emotionless and the aesthetic is black and white, I thought it would be awesome if the emotion collecting somehow incorporated different colors. Y'know... maybe the effect from collecting each emotion, instead of being black, would always be a color from the rainbow. Or, when you collect an emotion, the black boxes in its vicinity change to a solid color. The result of that would be the player coloring the landscape with various colors, paralleling the protagonist's coloring of their soul with various emotions. Also, it would help players keep track of where they have explored, which would be nice, because the landscape otherwise looks similar.
That's just a thought I had when playing - I understand its sorta at odds with the whole "use only two colors" challenge.
So, I think with some tweaks (several more effects, eliminating getting stuck, less repeats in the music), this can be a very compelling experience! I also really respect how you managed to develop this by yourself while balancing your day job.
I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for your feedback!
In the second level, where that headbump mechanic is introduced, the blue player is stuck in a very small space until the players both use that technique. I figured that, at the top of the level, the red player will venture out - but then realize the blue player is stuck behind the blue wall. The red player, free to pass in and out and not seeing any way to help on the outside, will go to the blue player, I figured. In the likely event neither player realizes the headbump mechanic initially, I figured they would inevitably jump on each other in their attempts to hop the blue wall, being that the space is so tiny. From there, the players will excitedly discover this new technique, which is needed (and reinforced) shortly after in that second vertical challenge in the same level.
The two people I had playtest the game said that the headbump mechanic (or any other parts of the game) did not need explained in an additional way. I do feel like that mechanic is more natural to discover with two players, so I'm curious if that would have been a lot easier if you played it with a buddy...
That's awesome you can round up a great number of playtesters! In future jams I'll try to have more - sharing it online is a good idea.
Two little touches I liked was how the music and screen faded from the start screen and how the speech bubbles appearing matched up well to the cadence of a person speaking. The former added to the important feel of the story and the latter made the characters feel more real! And on a bigger scale, the visual design of the characters and the core area was definitely interesting. Plus, there were tons of interesting concepts in this story - a relationship between a duty-bound priestess and her deceased mother, mind-reading, empathy vs. duty, etc... all in some far-out alien-world!
I'd wonder, though, for a short project like this, if focusing on fewer ideas would have let the story get deeper? For example... what if the story was just about a priestess who can read minds? Or, a priestess who has to deal with the struggles of losing her mind-reading powers? Or, what happens when one of two hardened agents starts to gain empathy - how do those two characters (and their conflicting philosophies) deal with each other?
All of the ideas presented in this story were super interesting, so I'd love to explore the fascinating elements from any single one of them!
That's great to hear! At first the player colliding was just the initial way we coded the movement, but we liked it, so we capitalized on that. I think it makes cooperation more central to the game!
Yeah, I was a little concerned that effect would be a little confusing, but we liked how it looked. With more time we would have tinkered with it more to make it more obvious.
Glad you liked the chase levels! I would have loved to had made more of them. And as we were playtesting, I realized that that strategy you mentioned of jumping at the same time reinforced the jam theme even more, as both players are in a sense "connected" to each other as they make those jumps. Also, the blue player, for example, needs to stay "connected" to the blue platform so the red player doesn't fall. But the initial way we thought to use the theme was that both players would have to be well "connected" in the real world to succeed - that is, they'd have to communicate and cooperate effectively.
Cool! Right, simple and good is key for a jam like this. That's what my partner and I focused on (we also made a two player platformer where cooperation is key). And I imagine sticking to that really helped you have time to put in the visual polishes in your game!
Not into scary games at all, but figured I'd give it a try. Really cool visuals, like with the camera! And the box that just flew around when I hit is was spooky too. Definitely a captivating aesthetic! I didn't play past the LOST number pad puzzle, because I was sorta lost on what to do, and really was not in a mood to get spooked!
Really unique idea! And great use of the two color challenge! It's a great submission: unique, easy to understand, fun!
But, I feel like something needs to be (no pun intended) tuned a bit more to make the game more fun. I think there's really interesting, fast-paced strategy in this game, but it felt a little too fast for me. Maybe more time, or slower people, or something slightly altered would have helped. But of course, it's hard to playtest and keep tuning when on such a tight schedule. Also, it was strange I kept continuing to the next level even after losing. I wanted to get it right!
Really cool! The sound effects and visuals were cute... And the mechanic where you took enemies' abilities was interesting, too, and it worked in well with the game! I'd be interested in how it could developed into a bigger game! I also like how the big blue enemy didn't take knockback from your attack, just to get across the idea that it's heavy.
A couple times, I'd have to make a jump downward with no assurance that there was ground beneath me. This was especially problematic, because as far as I could tell, that had to happen to get to one of the puzzle pieces in the first level. I looked everywhere but just couldn't find it, til I took a leap of faith! Having to restart the level from dying made that more problematic... Also, I feel like a key press for the shooting controls would be more natural, as I want to aim with the mouse. I got used to it though, and I thought it was a great decision to have the two types of the attack. Also, some unique set pieces around would have probably helped me get my bearings on my location, especially in the first level.
All in all, it's a well-working game with an endearing aesthetic and an interesting mechanic that's just begging to be expanded in a bigger game! Which is fantastic for such a short jam!
Really liked how you incorporated the two-color challenge. And it's super cool how when you get near the chair, color comes back to the scene. I guess it's like you're remembering when you're sitting in the chair! It's a nice touch how the boxes you move make a couple different sounds, too. As far as criticism goes: some box colliders on the furniture to keep me from walking through them would have made the experience more immersive. But all in all, I liked the feel of the game!
It's pretty cool you combined an important message with game mechanics! I'm curious what it would be like if the game was expanded? Would the squirrel always die? Or maybe the squirrel would be successful for awhile, but as the game went on, survival slowly became increasingly more impossible. I think having a player play as a human, then as an animal puzzling through the same exact level - but with their consequences left over - could be incredibly compelling! From your message at the end of the game, it seems like you are new to game development, so its awesome you decided not only to make a game, but one with deep meaning imbued into the mechanics.
My brother and I beat the casual mode and almost beat the the hardest level. I thought it would be easier if the locks could be undone just be colliding with the key, but perhaps you wanted the players to share pressing the same space bar? That's a neat idea. The slightly different sound effects on the two players' jumps was fun! And the mechanic where the the players can hand onto walls is cool, too.