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Pandaqi

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A member registered Nov 20, 2016 · View creator page →

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I adore games like this! I’ll try to explain why (also to myself).

  • Slime mechanic fits theme, is unique, and well-explained
  • Slime mechanic is also just a good mechanic: it forces you to bring your spaceship close to bullets, adding a high risk/high reward idea
  • Slime mechanic becomes even better once you realize they are a shield against bullets as well.
  • The crew members being thrown around inside the spaceship like it’s nothing is funny

Very easy to learn and play. Sometimes a bit janky to control with the very bouncy walls. Could use better visuals and feedback, but that’s alright for a jam game. (I only realized very late that spikes removed a crew member. I’d just avoided them entirely on the assumption they’d insta-kill me.)

Well done!

I understand what you’re going for (the idea of “fewer moves is better”), but I feel the way it’s explained and the difficulty of level 1 is just way too high.

Took me a long while to understand the controls. I still never got past level 1 :p

Here are some friendly suggestions.

  • Instead of a separate tutorial screen, make the tutorial interactive: the first few levels are very basic and simply teach one new button each time.
  • And then the first level could be the same as it is now, but upside down: you simply have to “fall into” that box. It still requires some steering and understanding controls, but at least I would have been able to play past it.

A very simple core gameplay loop, but it works well :) The easiest ideas are often also the easiest to screw up, but I feel you dodged that bullet. The speed, the snappy controls, the spacing of checkpoints, it’s all nicely balanced.

As others stated, with more polish and content, it could turn into something great. And the soundtrack does make it feel almost like a rhythm game.

Also, congratulations on your first jam entry!

Very polished, feels like an app you could download right now in the Play Store. Also love how well (and quickly) the game is taught.

The “randomness” (or chaotic nature) of the puzzles feels near the right balance between “oh god why don’t the leaves ever do what I want” and “yeah, I feel in control”. Sometimes frustrating, but never too much.

(As others stated, level 6 blew up in my face with leaves appearing and disappearing randomly :p)

A very pretty game, both the content and the general presentation (icon, logo, etc)! Certainly did not feel like a rough jam game. The application of the theme/story is also nice.

The core gameplay is okay (cleaning an area is always satisfying!), but did not really interest me. Maybe it was the repetitiveness (and I wanted extra twists or ideas earlier on). Maybe the beautiful art gave me unreasonably high expectations.

Nevertheless, well done!

Wow, that’s a lot of content for a jam game! (Or maybe I’m just very bad at clicking a dot at the right time, which is why it took me a while to finish.)

Explaining the game while playing is always great. The overall theme/design/mood feel polished, unique and well-done. The sound effects really helped here!

I’m not sold on the minigame: at first, it seemed smart and fun, but then it gets repetitive. (Maybe one or two extra “twists” to it, near the end, would’ve been nice?)

Thanks! Yes, I used a simple Area2D that checks if it overlaps the customer body. But that body is quite a bit smaller than their actual sprite (to make the fake perspective/sprite sorting work). In the future, I should probably just use an Area on Area check (with a much larger area for enemies, or customers in this case).

Haha, thanks! It’s always very hard to gauge how difficult your own game is, after playing it yourself for hours. When I submitted it, I thought “isn’t this game too simple!?” Judging by everyone’s comments, it’s far from simple :p

Haha I actually asked another to playtest the game before submitting, and they also sometimes thought the UI dash icon was a real one. Completely forgot to fix that before submitting!

(Although I’m not sure how to fix it. Maybe move it so the UI icon is never inside the store bounds? Or animate it in a completely different way?)

Thanks a lot!

Yes, I had doubts about that rule until the moment I submitted the game. My first implementation actually was “it takes 3 dash to remove a tile”. But the UI never shows you exactly how many dash you have, and I thought no player would actually count this in their head, and so decided it would become too complicated :p

Interesting, I will try to play and review your game sometime the coming days!

Thanks! Yeah, as I developed the game, I kept shortening the duration of the first stage, because I knew the game got more interesting with later stages. (It’s 15 seconds now, but used to be 45.)

Thanks!

Hmm, what a bummer :/ Others have also reported performance issues. It seems to happen to, well, some people but not all.

I think I narrowed it down to the way the terrain is painted when an egg splatters on it. It’s the first time I’ve ever done something like this, so I see now that there could be some issues with my approach …

I’ll try to publish a patch after the jam ends, and you can enjoy it even more :)

I’m sorry you couldn’t play :( There’s something weird going on somewhere that sometimes causes the game to run really slowly. (Happens perhaps 1 in 50 times on my PC.)

When the jam is over, I’ll probably improve the game and try to find the source of this. Hopefully you can play then!

Amazing graphics! Short but sweet. Loved the insects showing up in the background. Once I realized they just eat you at the slightest touch, I legit got scared when I saw a wasp flying through the background :p

A bit more leeway on the climbing and jumping would be nice. But otherwise, great work!

Also, would you mind sharing how you created the graphics? Vector art? Handdrawn? Painted? It’s a really cool style that I haven’t seen before.

Surprisingly challenging for such a simple concept! I agree that it would work well on mobile.

And the AI … man, started to really hate them after a while. Would you mind sharing (just a general summary) how you programmed the AI?

Also, at first I was puzzled how this would relate to the “new horizons” theme … until I read the description. Interesting take on the theme.

Had quite some fun with this game, good job!

This concept is amazing! The idea of bugging faraway people or places, so you can hear what they say, or see what happens there, could be an amazing full-blown game.

The animations are really fluid and the sound effects on point.

The physics feel a bit off, though. The jump felt quite inconsistent and I mostly spent time trying to get to a higher platform but failing numerous times. I feel the game might be better with a quicker jump (with less height variation) and more leeway on the platforms. Focus more on the bugging, less on the jumping.

Is there a reason you can only bug horizontally, instead of giving free aim? Would be interested to know.

Also, I was never sure when a guard could see me or not. Again, it feels like they should be able to see anything in a straight line. Otherwise show their sight radius? (Or only show their view distance once you’ve bugged them.)

Lastly, whenever I got into a new room, I just started throwing around bugs literally everywhere, to clear the fog and see stuff. This kinda defeats the purpose, so maybe limit the number of bugs a player has? Maybe they have to retrieve them as well?

If any of these things are done/changed in later levels, I apologize. I just wasn’t able to get very far, due to failing the simplest of jumps time and time again :/ In the new year, when I have more time, I want to come back and try to get the full experience.

Many points for innovation and theme application!

Thanks a lot for playing and the detailed feedback!

You actually mentioned one of the reasons for jumping yourself :) Doing so will create new lines around your base, so you can walk around without dropping off your points at the home base. (The other reason is just because it’s sometimes faster or the only way to get somewhere/flee from danger.)

But I agree with you: I think this concept is very interesting, but could be executed better with some more time and playtesting. The one test session I was able to get (before the jam deadline) revealed that ~50% of the players don’t use the jump at all, so I’ll need to find something for that.

As for the menu: what you encountered is indeed a glitch and not supposed to happen! But even then your suggestion is a good one. (I learned this the hard way with another recent game too :/ The lesson: just never make menu options activate automatically, it always leads to confusion among players :p Show a button prompt.)

Thanks again, your feedback will help improve the game!

Love the graphics! Also surprisingly challenging for such a simple concept. I agree with you that this could work great as a mobile game.

Possible points of improvement:

  • A little more instruction at the start would’ve been nice, but I was able to figure it out soon enough.
  • The recipes are quite small and in the far corner of the screen, which means I was constantly looking away from the action and didn’t see what was happening. Then again, that’s part of the challenge. Should be less of an issue on smaller (mobile) screens!

Nice job!

Haha, thanks for playing and great to hear you’re having fun :)

Hmm, sorry to hear that! I guess I could turn down some of the brightness just to be sure.

Did you start with the training level? (The first egg you walk into, on the stone?) When coming near, it explains what to do. And when you start it, it says “solo mode” and that yes, you control both of them! (If you want, not required of course :p)

Perhaps I could include some barrier to ensure players start with this first level, and get a few seconds to read the tutorial image that pops up.

I’ll try to push an update within the next 24 hours, hopefully it fixes these issues for you :)

Thanks! Obviously, I recommend giving it a try :)

If you do, be sure to let me know, and any feedback is always welcome.

Thanks a lot!

Thanks! Let me know how it went playing multiplayer with your friend :)

And yes, there are rare occasions where the web overlaps itself, or edges around a point (just by pure bad luck with the angles) are hard to navigate. I couldn’t find a 100% fix in time, but will be looking for it once the jam ends!

Thanks a lot for playing and feedback!

Thanks! I’m planning on updating the game in the coming weeks (to improve issues mentioned here and also add some extra worlds and puzzles), so be sure to come back then :)

No worries, this is already great feedback!

I completely agree with your approach to divide it into even smaller steps. I will surely divide the first (two?) worlds into multiple smaller worlds that roughly follow what you suggested.

I’m not sure if the tutorial images should be hidden entirely (to allow players to figure things out themselves), as I’ve seen time and time again (in playtesting) that 50% of the players will just get frustrated that things aren’t clearly explained and quit.

Anyway, thanks for your time, and I’ll be figuring out how to improve the tutorials and presentation the coming weeks. You’ll see the update when it arrives :)

Thanks!

And yes, I tried to make the game playable without jumping as well, as I noticed during testing that it takes people some time to get used to it. (I also tried other aiming methods, such as “hold the button and you rotate, release to make the jump”, but they were just too slow.)

Thanks a lot for playing! I’d be interested to hear you expand on your gripes with presentation and tutorial. (As the game was made for a game jam, lack of polish is mostly a lack of time.)

In puzzle games like these, creating a perfect tutorial is crucial to me!

Thanks for playing and uploading a video! Very interesting to actually see how others approach the game and what could be improved.

Thanks a lot! And, well, no (critical) feedback is also feedback :)

Haha, well, having fun is what games are all about, right? :p

Thanks for playing!

Hmm, that’s weird, I’ll look into that. Did you play the web version or downloaded version? On what browser/platform?

And yes, the menu will surely be changed, as more people stumbled over it :)

Thanks! And wow … that’s so smart, never thought of that :p Way smarter than assigning unique buttons to everything, and once you’re on game over you don’t need the arrow keys for anything else, so your idea would work perfectly. I will surely implement that when I update it!

Thanks!

Yes, someone else also mentioned that starting the game with the whole world being visible/accessible … is a bit confusing. And some mechanics (especially inverting) should get more time or an extra tip/tutorial. Will fix that in an update!

Again, thanks for playing!

Thanks a lot!

And I agree. I plan to update the game later, and then you’ll just start with the intro levels only, no chance of moving into a random level at the start :)

(I chose to do it this way because I didn’t want to prevent players from continuing if they couldn’t solve a particularly hard level. But seeing that you can just ask endless hints … this wasn’t actually a problem.)

Thanks for playing! Could you perhaps explain what you found confusing or how you would improve it? That would help immensely with improving this game :)

Wow, thanks a lot for investing that much time in my game! Great to hear you enjoyed it.

This is my first 3D game in a looong time, and in my haste I saw no great way to do a grid, so I agree the grid visual is unpolished.

And others agree with you that the font is indeed suboptimal. I do plan on polishing the game and adding some final worlds, and I will experiment overhauling all text with less curvy fonts then :p (While trying to maintain that magicy, swishy feel.)

As with most things, puzzle design is just practice.

Earlier this year, I released a huge puzzle game (Square Ogre). Even though I can now see the flaws in it, working on a big puzzle game for several months taught me all sorts of things:

  • Not too many levels per world (overwhelming)
  • Everything can be broken into smaller chunks (so do it)
  • Build all mechanics/ideas first and then keep the best ones in the best order (instead of trying to do everything right the first time)
  • If it takes too long to explain your core rule, it’s too complicated. (As you said, I think the core rules for this game are … on the edge of the maximum complexity.)

Additionally, I use a simulation to help me out. It can spit out randomly generated puzzles, following strict requirements I set. I use that as a starting point for inspiration and difficulty curve. (Because actual random puzzles are usually quite ugly and either obvious (1-2 moves) or impossible.)

If you’re really interested, I always write these way too detailed devlogs about my projects: Devlog (on Pandaqi Blog)

Again, thanks for the feedback!

Thanks! And you mentioned exactly the two things I’d change if I had more time.

In level 3, you are taught that “going counterclockwise winds up something in reverse”. (So a grayed-out bunny, when wound up counterclockwise, would invert as they are now wound up “-1”.)

This is a major rule with major implications, so I think it should indeed get more time to sink in with players (and perhaps a few more tutorial images).

When I chose the font, I happened to be on a screen with a really good resolution. Playing the game on my old laptop, I can see where the illegibility comes from.

Lesson for the future: don’t pick fonts when you’re on an amazing screen :p

Thanks! And yes, I’ve learned over the years to reserve 1 or 2 days just for the gamepage (and a (very) basic trailer). It really makes a difference!

Haha loved the texts before each level :)

Would’ve been nice if you could just hold a button and it would keep moving in that direction. But overall a solid 5 minutes of entertainment, as promised.