Apologies for the late reply, we haven't yet dedicated a lot of time to an update.
(But we are making slow, steady progress on one.)
If you follow my itch.io, I'll be sure to send you a message when the game is fully updated.
Recent community posts
Apologies for the late reply, we haven't yet dedicated a lot of time to an update.
Hello, thanks for playing, and for streaming/recording your gameplay.
The game is more of a prototype of a core gameplay loop, which would be part of a bigger experience (bits of narrative framing, multiple characters, multiple visits to monster pit, etc.)
We had to trim a lot of this down, to get something partially finished for the jam. So we focused on getting a playable monster pit, with a small variety of enemies, and one character.
Checkpoints aren't conducive to the tone we're going for; as each character is only meant to have one-shot at the monster pit.
The music also always needs to start at the same point, to allow the rhythm to match up with block-breaking.
The problems you've described would have been lessened by the inclusion of the aforementioned narrative beats & changing characters, as the player would have had breaks in between gameplay sections.
However, since the narrative & other characters are not included in this prototype, the game is more frustrating in it's structure than it was intended to be.
(I also rushed the Player-Animation & Attack Collision, leading to a lot of players commenting on the game's difficulty. This was a mistake on my part. I should have increased the size/collision of the player's hammer.)
I enjoyed watching you play, and was surprised that your "avoid enemies" run actually got you further.
I also noticed that you always aimed to fall on the bottom floor, and never the raised platforms, which was interesting. I suppose by separating the play-field, I inadvertently made gaps, which may be more satisfying to land in, rather than on the raised platforms.
We'll be working on and updating the game post-jam, so take a gander in the future if you're interested.
Hey, thank you for playing, glad you enjoyed it.
It's good the music made you anxious. I also felt like blocks could be broken sooner; but in later stages the amount of time is paced to enemy difficulty a bit better. It's mostly a prototype of the core idea, that can be refined after the jam.
We'll be working on/updating the game post-jam, so keep an eye out if you're interested.
There are two things that stood out to me:
1. The use the "shadow-sprite" attached to the player at the beginning, to give a quick, fake shadow, it's a nice way to quickly add a bit of atmosphere.
2. The zoom out during the maze section was a good way to build tension and intrigue, along with it being a play on the mechanics of solving a maze.
I'd say focus on these two types of ideas going further with any projects.
One being quick, cheap ways to get interesting, atmospheric visuals (the shadow).
The other being simple, mechanical things you can do to get a changing reaction from the player (the zoom out maze).
Good work, keep at it
Quite difficult, but could easily be tuned to be more enjoyable.
Two main points:
1. The dodge felt like the main mechanic, and I think more focus should be put into audio/visual feedback for this, along with enemy patterns which compliment the dodge.
2. The "charging" needed some audio/visual feedback that was near the Player-Character, so the Player doesn't have to keep splitting their focus between checking the counter, and scanning the play-field. It was not satisfying to line up shots, whilst also trying to pay attention to the charge count. The split focus was frustrating.
I'd recommend perhaps tying the dodge mechanic to the charge mechanic?
IE: So dodging an attack results in a charge, or something similar.
Good work for a solo dev, keep at it and make improvements
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the pacing.
The vision of the floor breaking on a timer with this music style was the original kernel of the idea, and I'm glad people seem to enjoy that aspect.
We'll be updating the game in the future, so keep an eye out.
Hello, thank you for playing.
It's good you felt the tension/motivation increase as the game progresses. This was a major theme, so I'm glad it translates.
We were rushed for time towards the end of the jam, and so some of the feedback may be a bit wonky. I also had problems with the ramming enemy in regards to feedback, and should have changed it to 1hp to avoid confusion.
We will be updating the game in the future to something more substantial, I hope you'll be interested in it then.
Thank you, the image of the ground breaking on a timer was the original kernel of the idea, so I'm glad that has come through strongly.
I agree that the game is too harsh at the moment.
Currently, the game is more of a prototype of a larger idea; in which multiple characters would each fall into the Monster Hole, separated by short narrative sections.
We had to trim these ideas however, due to time constraints.
We will be updating the game in the future to be more substantial, and in line with the original vision.
Thank you for playing
Hello, thanks for playing.
The game is more of a prototype, to test the main idea of the "Monster Hole".
It restarts for playtesting purposes, although I can see that this is annoying from a gameplay perspective.
Originally, the game was to be divided into different characters sections, who would each go into the Monster Hole one-by-one, with short narrative segments to break up the gameplay.
This proved to be an over-scope however, so we trimmed the game down to what was feasible in the time-frame: one character, no narrative and a playtest of the Monster Hole.
We're looking to update the game in the future with the above structures though, so keep an eye out if you're interested.
Very well polished, with a semi-solid idea that could be developed further.
I liked the whole package, with the world map, brief context for why we're rolling dice, etc.
When stripping away all the bells and whistles; the core challenge was in studying enemy behaviours, (do they heal? do they attack often?) and comparing own dice rolls to see if "7" mechanic would yield greater results if used/not used.
My issue with this, is that it wasn't very "fun".
There is challenge; but the challenge doesn't feel engaging.
It feels like doing basic math/comparisons.
(I realize this describes nearly all RPGs, but the genre tends to skirt around this issue by having a narrative that pulls the player along, whilst keeping battles as a power-fantasy/optimization challenge that rarely impact the narrative.)
There's definitely something here though, that can be reworked/expanded with more time.
Perhaps instead of binary "attack, defend, heal", there are gradients that you charge up? And then they only activate when hitting certain thresholds, which you decide inside/outside of battle?
I'm not sure, something just felt "off" in the game. There are a multitude of ways to develop this idea further. Hopefully if you continue to work on this game, you can address the issues above.
Good work, strong beginnings of a potential project.
The contrast between the visuals/mechanics and the audio made me burst out laughing at first, although I'm not sure if this was the intended effect.
However as I continued, I feel like the tone took on a life of it's own, and really felt unique.
Like the feeling you might have as a child, walking past drunk adults in the night with blaring music in the distance.
Or being in an unfamiliar place, with strange sounds and smells.
It's a very bizarre clash, and I think it's the games strongest point.
This is a great example of how audio completely changes the experience of the user. If you had traditionally twee happy music, it would have a completely different flavour.
I quite enjoyed this game, and would have liked to played more. But I was running into a problem, though not sure if it was by design:
The "beat" to hit doesn't seem synced up with the audio. It's like, half a beat before it should be.
This leads to be trying to ignore what I'm hearing/seeing, and trying to rush the beat faster than feels natural.
I'm not sure if this is a synchronization issue, or by design, or if it's just my hardware, dunno. (I was using keyboard btw).
It is playable like this, but a bit confusing and frustrating.
But other than that, I like it, and would have liked to play more.
I like the idea, taking "Breakout" and using it to represent the mechanics of the body (the heart passing blood between organs). This is interesting. I like the presentation.
I didn't enjoy playing the game too much though. The heart shape didn't feel conducive to the Breakout formula. (it kept hitting the side)
This may have been because I was using keyboard instead of mouse.
The audio loop also became too repetitive. Perhaps if audio was linked to each organ? So hitting them could switch audio layers on/off?
The art is great, the use of sound for humour is great. A collection of mini-games in this style would be really cool. Like, a watercolour WarioWare.
My one complaint would be that the "Main menu" button was located roughly in the area where I would be clicking, so I kept accidentally going back to the menu.
However this allowed me to discover mashing the Play button replays the audio, which was funny.
Good job on this, keep doing your thing.
Love the art. Very much reminds me of "Simpsons Pictures I Gone and Done" in it's charming, but creepy nature.
I thought the overall tone of the game was great, and the inclusion of the Pokemon minigame's "lawsuit" attack got a laugh.
As did Paul, upon first seeing him.
Really good job with this.
This was mildly like something out of a fever dream. In a good way.
Laughed when the music started becoming more intense, especially with the clown's face/animations. Absurd but creepy.
I have a massive soft spot for "Hall of the Mountain King" though, so you get extra points for that.
It was a little difficult to read which attacks were hitting where, but once I had figured it out through trial-error I was able to play the game as intended.
A similar build-up with other mini-games and a narrative that gave the mini-games weight, would have had me more engaged.
Good job on this, it's made me think of the possibilities of absurd mini-games paired with classical music.
(EDIT: Also, my team submitted quite a similar mechanical concept, in terms of player/opponent attacking/dodging with rhythm in mind, so it's cool to see other people are in a similar mindset.)
Whilst I understood that each enemy had a pattern, I found it difficult to parse what enemies where about to do, whilst also moving my own character. This led to the aforementioned strategy of "hopping between 2 tiles, and only moving away when necessary".
To make a comparison; in Crypt of the Necrodancer (if I remember correctly) the Player is not damaged for standing still, they just lose whatever bonus/combo they currently had. This allows the player time to observe enemies from a distance, without being penalized too much. Whereas being forced to move in SoulBeat; caused me to ignore enemy patterns, and just focus on my own movement between 2 squares to minimize damage.
Not so much a critique, as an observation. I enjoyed hopping back and forth and moving when necessary, it just didn't allow me to plan/move to the degree that was needed.
I don't think I got very far; just past the wave with the multiple yellow dudes who do AOEs. I'm sure there's more to it, but I got frustrated after the 6th or 7th try.
Perhaps if enemies were introduced at a slower pace, and with checkpoints? It might make the internalization of the rules of each enemy a bit easier.
Or if the current Player tile was also highlighted in a colour.
Small things like this might allow a player like myself to be able to read what's happening on screen a bit quicker, and therefore react appropriately.
Other than these notes, this game is very well polished, and I did enjoy it.
I think the idea of "committing" to a space ahead of time is an interesting concept, especially to tie to rhythm.
I tried to play this game, but unfortunately the "heartbeat" effect was difficult for me to play with. The constant pulsing of the screen was stressful on the eyes.
Due to this, I only played for a very short time.
Whilst I understood that I needed to guide the ducks, I wasn't sure where they needed to go.
I like the idea, but I think the game could be improved quite a bit.
The initial level is quite difficult, and without any audio feedback it becomes confusing as to how to advance, other than randomly drive around. Due to the tight corners, it became hard to navigate, and I got stuck more often than I was driving fluidly.
This could be turned into a mechanic unto itself though; with the player making a trail of carnage and destruction, only to rescue one person.
But as it is, the ambulance feels both heavy, but also indestructible. In my opinion; either the ambulance, or the scenery, should have some effect when driven into.
I like the concept, and I quite like the graphical style of the ambulance.
The main concept (2 worlds, switching between them) is interesting, although not fully explored. My favourite room was the one with 2 horizontal pits, and crystal obstacles; requiring the player to switch back and forth to advance. This highlighted a problem though; since the game requires switching back and forth between dimensions, there's no way to tell if you're a pixel out of range, before you switch.
This could be remedied by making the game grid-based, or by giving the player more landmarks to mentally chart where obstacles are.
The controls were quite awkwardly mapped, and more than once I found myself losing health due to grazing a pit edge.
With the fast acceleration of the character, it didn't feel too good to navigate. (Such as the blocks that the Player can move very quickly).
I was also unsure of how the "heart" theme tied into the mechanics.
Regardless, I think further exploring the "switching between dimensions" idea might prove fruitful, if you were to think of how it can engage the player more. This is the most interesting part of the game, and could be built upon. Good job on this.
The presentation was great, especially the "falling tiles" for expanding the level size.
The mechanics are interesting, although I'm not sure if fully utilized. Currently it's quite difficult to predict what enemies are going to do, and still play the game, so the most efficient strategy seemed to be going back and forth between 2 spaces. Further exploring the concept of "committing" to a tile on beat might lead to some interesting places.
Good job on this, I would like to see it expanded, and the design of how/why a player navigates to be explored more.
Hey, thank for you playing, hope you enjoyed it.
We had a lot more to add, but couldn't due to the rush to meet the deadline.
We'll be updating the game once the jam-review period is over, so stay posted for the updated version.
Hey VikfFro, good to see you here and thanks for playing/reviewing.
I'm glad the slow grind came through as intended, as does the long tutorial.
We did plan to have fights displayed on the calendar, and there were originally 4 planned (1 each week), which would unlock on completion respectively. (There was also a countdown made, but was not implemented due to rushing for the deadline.)
The text did have a variable which allowed for varying speeds, etc. but we did not utilize them due to being rushed for deadline.
The game ends at the first fight, so you've experienced all of the story (for now).
In regards to the boss fight being too difficult; originally the fight was playtested with placeholder art, and the positioning/wind-ups made the fight much easier to parse. However upon rushing to implement as much final art as possible before the deadline, we did not have time to properly playtest the fight, and so it may be difficult to read which direction to dodge, etc.
The fights were also playtested with a slower BPM track, and were only updated to a faster BPM before submission; which in hindsight was a mistake on my part to do, because I had only playtested according to an easier fight.
Apologies if it was needlessly difficult because of this.
The On Beat detection is definitely something we'll look into, and it went through many revisions throughout the process of making the prototype.
(I think one of the bigger issues with keeping time currently is the lack of visual/audio feedback that lets you know if you are on beat correctly/incorrectly. Originally the Player's and Opponents Hearts were meant to beat in time with the track, acting a visual metronomes for the Player. This is mildly implemented, but not properly, and thus becomes confusing rather than helpful.)
The game will be updated post-jam review phase, so keep a look out for the updated version/s.
Hello, I'm glad you enjoyed the game.
I didn't realize that I had accidentally referenced the FF7 opening motif (our artist also pointed it out to me), but we left it in as I was fond of the theme.
Unfortunately we're not able to add more versions whilst the jam review period is active, but we will try to add a HTML version once the jam has finished.
Thank you for playing, and for posting a review.
Hello, thank you for playing and for the review.
Rocky was definitely a source of inspiration (although I haven't actually seen it, it was more the archetype of "underdog boxer").
I am also very fond of the idea of a rhythm boxer/fighter. I think it is very much an untapped genre, but due to the technical / design difficulties, I understand why this market hasn't been explored as much yet.
Thank you for the compliments, we actually had many more assets and potential fights that unfortunately didn't make it into the cut, due to rushing for the deadline.
These assets will be added in a later update after the jam reviews finish, so be on the look out for that.
Hello, thank you for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed the game.
I was hoping that the level design would teach the mechanics to a degree; but we should include a written tutorial at the beginning/on the game page somewhere that's more detailed. (I thought experimenting and learning the mechanics would be more fun, but can see how it would be frustrating).
Apologies for not including an end screen; this is something we should have implemented.
(Just so you know; the Special Star Level is the final level)
Also; good point about the 'Dark Theme'. I was playtesting the game on a low-brightness screen, so now I realize it may be too bright.
Thank you for leaving a review; we did upload the game before submission, but we had some bugs/stretch goals that needed sorting out.
I love the mood; very oppressive and sad. I felt drawn into the world as soon as I saw another human; but the way they stare away from you at TVs was so depressing. Great audio work.
I was confused as to what I was supposed to do; I realized it had something to do with... (SPOILERS) the coloured text?
I couldn't figure out what order to execute it in though.
I think my favourite visuals/scenarios, are the fuzzy outside nightmare, and the dog staring out into it.
Since the humans are staring at the "TV static", it makes sense the dog is staring at the "outside world static". (Although I may be reading into it too much)
Also the fact that everyone just wants their own "drug", without any human interaction; speaks to a different type of family dynamic.
I love the vibe/mood, but with something this "downer", I would suggest juxtaposing it with something more colourful/engaging within the world. (a minigame or something) which sits within the depressing frame. I feel this would heighten the set of emotions you seem to be going for, by showing their dual opposite in little slices. (interactive fun mini games, in a dour dark world)
(And also, if this is at all reflective of your personal life; don't let it get you down, channeling part of it into games is clearly a good method)
Absolutely amazing idea! Well done!
Really, my only complains are because I would like to see the concept expanded:
1. It requires far too many clicks to "Marry".
2. There's little visual feedback for aging
3. The game is far too hard. Losing just 1 old person brings you to the Main Menu. Perhaps if you lost more than 3 Family Members within a certain time? Like a cooldown Game Over?
Other than that, well done! This is my favourite of the jam so far.
(The mechanic also managed to be representative of the theme you're trying to put forward; that "Families are Pyramid Schemes". When looked through this mechanical lens, they are. This is wonderful design; as it gets you to think of a real life situation a little differently.)
1. I love the joke of "any setting is just a variation of "Hard", and "Flee from the Problems EXIT". In fact, most of the jokes in this main menu made me chuckle; but also made me wince in genuine sadness.
2. There was a bad moire effect on the wooden floor; which was very distracting. I'm not sure if this was intentional; or a visual bug of being displayed on a TV.
3. Overall visual feedback was lacking in letting you know what must be done
4. The House is also too large, and becomes boring to navigate. I would make the house smaller; akin to a small apartment?
5. However the game DOES emulate the feeling of being rushed for time, and constantly needing to do something; without any reward. This is both funny and depressing; and there definitely need to be more games like it.
6. Eventually I gave up, because the game was becoming a bit of a drag; but I feel like that might have been the point.
7. I would definitely expand upon this idea; but be careful with feedback. You need to engage the player; but you must keep some of the activities droll. It will be a fine balance with a theme such as this. Maybe allow for planning days for the family? (Holidays, Birthdays?) That way the Player gets to make a plan, and then try to enact it under pressure; emulating the feeling of being a parent.
8. Perhaps allow the player to [NAME] all of their family members and pets? This allows for a small amount of bonding, and personality projection as the game progresses.
9. I love the amount of settings on the main screen. Obviously this is good for playtesting/debugging; but a mechanic could be made out of this. (by increasing one slider; others increase/decrease) Almost like a "choose your own adventure" before you start the game proper.
Overall, good job on trying to push the boundaries! I definitely would like to see more of this type of game; thinking outside the box as to what game mechanics/structures can be. It fits the jam theme very well.
A very interesting idea! I love the core concept of having a timer for "lifespan", in addition to your health bar.
I completed the game, and the ending punch line genuinely made me chuckle. (the dragon was also bizarrely scary. Something about the proportions.)
My main issue would be with level design/structure. I think this idea would work brilliantly with a "Hub" that the player returns to, and the Hub changes as time/generations pass.
So a town/village/commune the player could visit.
This would change the current design (corridors/paths/linear progression) into an "octopus" structure (central hub, with many paths in different directions that intertwine). This would force the player to spend their lives creating shortcuts/an easier time, for their offspring; mimicking real life a little.
Controls were a little stiff, but as a working proof of concept; it's fine.
Very good start, and potential here!
Definitely revisit this "lifespan as a timer" idea.
Thank you for the notes!
You have a lot of good points, many of them were noted during development, but we ran short on time.
We were aware of the "dog being used as a buffer" strategy, but decided to work around it and include it.
Instead of having the Happiness Meter decrease with every honk of a car; we decided just to have it be the first honk for prototyping, and instead fix the issue with level design.
The plan was to create more levels, and with each level the "Dog Buffer in Front of Traffic" strategy would become less viable, as more roads, curved roads, and a higher spawn rate would be introduced.
As you can see we had to cut many of these stretch goals short to keep within the time frame, but it's good you identified some of the design problems we also had; as it means we were on the right track during development!
(We also had ideas around each Human having their own Happiness Meters, and Family Names that would display to create more of a bond; but these were also pushed back due to time constraints.)
Thank you for playing and thinking about the design/strategy, it means a lot.
(I'm glad you were invested, I think with the above changes it could have been even better)
I love the animation of the dog in general, (although the barking anim looks like he is sneezing?) and think an exploratory game with that artstyle could be lovely.
Overall I was confused as to what I was supposed to do, but figured out I was meant to bark into the instruments to amplify the sound.
This could be communicated to the player much better; and the consequences of the loud bark could be more linked into sound consequences? (Making someone drop something, startling them, gaining someones attention, etc.)
As it is now; the barking seems to set off a Rube Goldberg machine, which is a cool idea.
But imagine extending this principle to; being a dog in a chefs kitchen, and trying to ruin the meal of the day. You could bark at different things, to create chain reactions that the chef would try to undo.
(just an idea)
Good job though, and for a personal project and second game jam; well done!