Man, you got robbed. This game really should have placed higher.
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I did really enjoy the game, and I plan on playing this demo to the end at some point, I just ran out of time this weekend and wanted to give it a rating before the contest was over. I'm sorry if I came off harsh in my critique, you have one of the best entries I've seen and I'm really looking forward to seeing it develop. Your game really has a lot of potential, and it's already very charming and fun to play.
I really liked this game, up to the part where I, too, fell victim to Jet standing in the damn way. I feel like this game has a good basis, but it's also got a lot of little issues that hamper the experience. Obviously, it's a marvel how much of the game you were able to put together, but at the same time, many of the activities were just downright boring. Fishing, for instance, just involves having the right items and standing in the right place, then crossing your fingers. In fact, the whole apprentice thing doesn't really pay off in any interesting gameplay. I liked the writing, tho I felt like a lot (most?) of it was first draft. That, again, is understandable given the time constraint. (This might just be a personal preference, but I really dislike getting a text box with the last word of a sentence in it and nothing else. Either rewrite the text box to be more concise or add more text.) I'm really interested in seeing where this goes, so I'll be keeping on eye on the game page! Good luck on the contest, btw, you have one of the more promising games I've played.
I have to be honest here: I wasn't into this game at all. It starts with a splash screen that says "loading," and it took quite awhile for anything to happen after that. I wasn't even sure the game hadn't just froze or something, until the game finally started. The intro text don't really set up the game too well... who am I? Where am I? Why? The character doesn't control very well and I found myself fighting to get the game to work how it should. Sometimes I have to press the space bar to grab onto a crystal, other times I don't. And you can shove a crystal over a symbol and have it just jump back off sometimes instead of going through the portal. Finally, I came to a room where I jumped off a ledge and couldn't get back anywhere (because you can't stand on something and make a portal within that enclosure). No way to reset without starting all over again, so I just gave up. I probably would have spent more time playing the game, but it was a bit frustrating up to this point and I wasn't going to play over the parts I already beat just to try to see more of it. If I was more investing in the characters/story, I might have, or if the game was fun to play. There might be a good story in there, but there just wasn't enough of a hook to make me want to keep going.
I also figured out why the font was getting cut off for the credits sequence: I guess Windows doesn't like .ttc fonts and won't load/install them. I even included the font but it doesn't work. Works fine on Mac tho (which is what I used to make the game). Really weird. I need to try making a Mac version and see if the font works or not, then figure out what to do for Windows.
I wanted to beat this game before reviewing it but it's taking me awhile and I feel like I've seen a good amount of the game so far. I'll revise or submit another review when I do end up beating it, tho, if my thoughts change at all.
This is a great idea for a game jam submission because the emptiness of the world feels like a design decision, rather than a time-saving one. In fact, a lot of things that would have seemed half-finished in another game just seems like it's meant to be that way. The only time the game gives any indication that things are sparse because of the time limit are when you meet yourself and are given a suicide pill because "there's nothing else to do here."
I didn't find much story beyond what's there initially. I did get some new items to appear in the store, but the only thing I ended up using was the earrings and the upgrade substance for it. I picked Fists and Flurry and Barrage and, frankly, had no reason to try anything else. I'm gonna say this now: if you don't plan on having more than one party member, I don't see the point of restricting what skills that character can use. Frankly, once I found what worked, I just kept doing that over and over. I tried out the Fingerless Gloves, but I didn't really like the finickiness of how magic works. I would have switched to magic if there was a healing spell. That's what I wanted the most, but again, it seems like a design decision rather than an oversight or anything. But it did mean that certain maps took retry after retry to get through. Great for a game jam, but it would be pretty frustrating otherwise.
I like the use of dust to travel to different maps, but it only really works when the maps are fairly empty. I think if more structure were applied to it, then it wouldn't work. For instance, if the maps had things that you'd have to come back to in order to progress further, or you went to a map too early and didn't have the whatever in order to advance (heck, if you went to one and you weren't strong enough yet, or there was a tricky puzzle you wanted to skip until later), then it might be a good idea to have a way to look at what formula is needed to go where (ie, how much of this and that dust to make the connection to this or that map). As it is, it works fine, but if you start adding things or the maps get more complex with more things to do, to the point where someone will want to skip to another map without doing everything in the other one first, then it's gonna get a bit more confusing/frustrating.
So far, this has been my favorite submission. I am hoping, tho, that the game gets expanded and improved upon, because, for one thing, doing the same sequence of attacks over and over gets boring. I noticed there was a main hand and an off hand, but never figured out what goes in the offhand. Personally, I'd have liked to have been able to put the shield there, or the fingerless gloves, and either gotten defensive stuff or magic to use. Maybe when I see what you actually do with it and how you expand on the classes, I'll change my mind, but for now, the main problem with the game is how repetitive the combat is. So far, it feels like mashing the attack button just with extra steps.
I really, really want to like this game. Visually, it's pretty amazing. There are a lot of really cool visual effects going on at any point in time throughout the game. The premise is great, and I really think the different skills would be interesting to play around with. This is a game that probably would take awhile to really figure out. The problem is, it just isn't that much fun to play. The big problem I had was the amount of slow-down. This is most noticeable in the battles. I'm not 100% sure it's not just my computer, so I don't want to judge too harshly here, but... even the music takes awhile to load. The game just feels super sluggish. My other problem is the game is also quite directionless. I kinda don't mind this so much, but it's pretty easy to run into some super tough enemies very early. Because there's no tutorial or anything, the battles are guesswork. Combined with the slowness, it makes the experience more frustrating than anything else. I didn't dislike the game or anything, and I'm probably going to have another go at it later tonight. I can definitely see this game becoming a retail release down the road. It just needs better optimization, for one.
Thank you so much for the great review! I hate to have to confess this but there isn't really anything else done in the game. I had part of the puzzle done, but only the part in the first room, which requires items from the other rooms, but I ran out of time doing that. There were also several things that were supposed to happen that I messed up the events on so they don't trigger properly. (There are more enemies, for instance, but the event for them has them off because I put the wrong switch as the page condition.) I also had been implementing a skill level up system that I didn't finish putting in. The drop rate was turned up high so I could test how much junk vs good items you'd get, and also see if any of the permutations I put in are too strong.
If you're interested, I plan on putting up a new demo for this game, maybe in a couple weeks, with the first floor done. I, unfortunately, work fairly slowly bc I have a full time job and a family. And I just got MV earlier this year so I'm still learning. That's one reason I didn't have more to show for it in a "make a game in a month" contest. XD I'm actually a bit embarrassed seeing everyone's games and my submission is so amateurish. But I'm gonna keep plugging away at it.
Thanks for the kind words! Let me know if you have any suggestions. I kinda have a good idea of what the weaknesses are in the game so far, but I might be missing something obvious. (Intro is too long, everything is spelled out, player has no control for most of it, and when you finally get control there's nothing to do bc I barely worked on the dungeon at all.)
I've been playing your game. Really like it! I'll write up a review and give it a rating when I finish playing it. Is it complete? There seems to both be a lot of things in the game, and not a lot of things. I can see how there could be endless permutations of how much of the different colored powder you use on the altar. Anyway, it's gonna take me awhile to finish it, regardless, bc the computer I use during the week is a mac and I think your game is windows, and at any rate, I'd have to start over if I wanted to keep playing (or figure out how to access my save on another computer). But at any rate I'm enjoying it so far!
Now that I have the introduction to the story, I can work on filling out the first "dungeon" with puzzles and enemies and whatnot. I don't think I have a whole lot of complicated scenes ahead, but I'll try to just narrate through them if I do. But I do think that writing is my strong suit, and I'd rather focus on that aspect until I have a better grasp of how to do things in MV. I do plan on expanding the gameplay mechanics to include things like a branching skill tree (that the player won't see, it'll be based on which skill the player selects when they level up another skill), projectile-based puzzles, and two ways of solving problems.
Did you have an entry as well? I'd love to play your game if you do.
Thanks for the feedback! I tried to make the opening dialogue scene stay on the screen long enough so it would be easier to read, but I can see why some wouldn't like it regardless. I had planned to record voice-over for that scene but didn't get around to it in time. Originally, they would be riding in a stagecoach, and that whole scene was going to take place with them sitting around a table in a stagecoach, with sky and plants showing through the window. If I had the graphics for it, that's how I would have done it, anyway.
As for the second enemy, do you mean one of the ones inside a classroom? Those are meant to be bosses. I tried to set it up so the low-level enemies will respawn after a few minutes, and will drop random equipment. But I didn't get a chance to test the bosses - would have meant doing quite a bit of grinding and I only put those in last minute. Also, your skills level up and get stronger, and after awhile they make new skills.
Thank you, I appreciate the kind words! Yeah, what I submitted was really short. I just kinda ran out of time to get things done. A lot of the description for what happened in the past isn't going to be spelled out immediately - I only did that because I knew I wouldn't have time to finish the actual game and didn't want to be vague for no reason. I'm definitely going to be working on this again, but I think I have three or four projects all in various stages. I really need to find someone to help me with the graphics bc far and away that is the thing I have the most trouble with and what seriously ate up all my time while not ever turning out how I wanted. I'm definitely going to be practicing stuff like parallax mapping, but... I'm just not good with art and don't think I ever really will be. I think tho that just not having a lot of time meant I didn't even bother trying to do anything more advanced with the mapping. XD