Thanks for the heads up! I had already played the remake of Shadowgate they did a few years back, but missed this one.
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Saw this on Neco the Sergal's channel a while back and decided to try it myself. I love your creativity in successfully making a convincing horror experience out of a fishing game, of all things! Between this, Pylons, Third Shift, and Occult Case Files, you clearly have a gift for horror. I'm looking forward to the full releases of the last two, as well.
One very minor gripe is that there doesn't seem to be an option to actually quit the game other than alt-F4. Not really a big deal since it's a "bite-sized" game that can be finished in a single sitting, but just a little thing I noticed.
Is it possible to view achievements in the non-Steam deluxe version, though? They're popping up in-game, but I don't see any option to view them.
EDIT: Never mind, I see that they're viewable in Steam.
Love this game! It and Infested capture the atmosphere of the old Kemco games perfectly.
First, let me say how much I LOVED the keyboard hotkeys to select actions. This little quality-of-life tweak makes playing the game much more enjoyable. Much as I loved Shadowgate, Deja Vu, and Uninvited, the slowness of having to move the cursor around and click on verbs definitely made actual gameplay more cumbersome, so this was a really welcome feature.
I'm also really impressed with how well you succeeded in coming up with a completely original story while still capturing the feel of the NES Kemco games. Well done!
I do have a couple of pieces of hopefully constructive criticism for future projects: [SPOILERS]
- I completely missed the fact that the fruit regrows in the same spot over time. Unless I'm overlooking something, there wasn't any hint that this was the case in-game. After obtaining the first piece, I wandered around for ages trying to find the second piece – I figured there was another tree south of the desert or something. It never occurred to me to revisit the screen with the fruit tree since I thought I'd collected everything that screen had to offer, which led to a lot of frustrated wandering around. I eventually had to check out a walkthrough video on YouTube to find the solution. Maybe a bit of text along the lines of "You notice a bud already beginning to regrow from where you cut off the fruit. Perhaps fruit trees grow faster in this magical land?" after you take the first fruit?
- The cicada puzzle was also a bit opaque. I could tell it was supposed to be a clock face, but I thought the solution must require a specific time, since that was the case with the earlier puzzles for the sun and moon. I eventually managed to brute force the solution, but didn't realize that the solution is the current time whenever you happen to be trying to open the lock. A cryptic inscription hinting in that direction would have been a good addition. I'll acknowledge that this one is more subjective, though – perhaps the solution was more obvious to other players, and just didn't click for me.
All in all, though, I thought the puzzles were generally very well balanced – just enough hints in-game to point the player in the right direction without holding their hand completely and making the game boring.
Looking forward to your next project!
For a first-time effort, this is a really well put-together little game! All the little secrets you can find, the changes in character dialog after different events... it's obvious you've put in a lot of planning and effort.
As you said, there is a little bit of a learning curve for the first part of the game - I died a few times after making it to the village, where I immediately got mauled to death by a dark man and a wolf after going right into the first house. But the first section is short enough and the game compelling enough that it sucked me in, and replays became more of a challenge than a frustration. Plus, with each death I learned more about item and enemy locations, and which order to gather the items in to make my life easier (if you're wondering: boots, ax, stamina potion, belt, pendant, goggles, lantern, oil). I also appreciated how the enemies are still tough enough to keep you on your toes even after you find weapons.
I will say the abruptness of the endings was a slight letdown, especially after taking the time to find everything while still beating the clock - sort of like beating one of those old Nintendo Hard 8-bit games only to get "YOU ARE GREAT PLAYER! SEE YOU NEXT TIME" - but the game is still a lot of fun. At least they make for a good sequel hook!
A few points of constructive criticism:
1) The tutorial for the lockpick is somewhat opaque. It took me quite a few tries before I finally got the knack of how to use it. One thing that contributed to my confusion is the character's idle animation where he looks from side to side - I thought at first I was supposed to match the button press timing with that. Some sort of visual cue, or rewording the tutorial text, might help.
2) It wasn't immediately obvious how to defeat the giant. Most bullets bounce right off him, of course, and the dialog from the priest made me think that perhaps I needed to find a way to pacify the giant, rather than killing him. I eventually had to turn to a YouTube playthrough by Manly Badass Hero (which is where I first found out about the game) to learn how to defeat him. Maybe the hunter's dialog could be tweaked to drop a hint to aim for the head?
The addition of the cursor when aiming the gun in the latest version is a *huge* improvement, by the way.
Once again, a great first offering. Hope to see more from you!