Wow, super excited for that :D. For free even is really generous, thanks a lot for your efforts :)!
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Really great puzzler that uses some golf concepts, like resetting just before you fell into water, to evolve the mechanics in really fun and intuitive ways.
The card selection for which action might feel gimicky, but really it's a smooth way to select your actions and the game has a great flow to it. Especially with quality of life stuff like the last remaining action/card being automatically selected so you can quickly push through to the levels end.
Just really wish there were more levels. It feels like the mechanics there could have so many more levels built with them in mind, a level creator would just be the best.
Either way it was a fun and engaging couple hours with mechanics and ideas introduced at a steady pace, strongly recommended!
A really wonderful, immediately accessible 'jump in and play' experience.
The mechanics in battle are simple, but this lets you ignore any learning curve so you can fight the boss enemies and get a feel for the atmosphere of dragon bones animations in action.
Personally I think that makes this project perfect for its purposes.
There's some really engaging systems going on in this game and it has been pretty fun so far, but I feel there's also a few areas that don't quite feel polished enough-if I were to be nitpicky.
The effects/artifacts are a real strong part of combat and I like what they add to it, alongside the relative frequency of 'instant' attacks vs normal attacks. Makes for some fun set-ups in battle.
Also the team of 3 feel like they really compliment each others actions in battle which helps it all come together.
Some quality-of-life/hopefully constructive suggestions:
-- Teleporting 'back to base' next to the fountain and needing to use it feels natural, but I feel like when exiting you should be able to just use that item again to select an area. As I often felt myself not just wanting to heal up but go to the shop, having to travel from far left to far right just to get back out into the dungeon-a gameplay loop that seems like the focal point, feels too slow.
(( BUG NOTE: The second waypoint I found didn't save for me properly ))
-- Your star meter is really hard to read at a glance. It's hard for me to tell how many 'bars' the skills require. If you could alternate each segment of the star with yellow/white/yellow/white etc, or something similar, it would really help with that. Because it's something I was always trying to look at it impacted the experience for me quite a bit.
-- The stars in front of enemy hearts, for the boss-ish enemies etc, both look awkward and detract from some of the strategy/readability of the battle. Most noteworth is when I'm using the character that can strike down a whole heart guage, I couldn't tell how much of the enemies heart had been damaged yet behind the star. Something still obvious but not as 'in the way' would be really appreciated.
-- One of the characters deals bonuses based on whether an enemy was affected by a state or a debuff. They can be pretty hard to interpret the difference of, so it'd be really nice if you had a different border color or something to better help distinguish debuffs/states on enemies. Would make the decision of which skill to use a lot easier.
-- Not too important, but I think the very basic looking turn order gauge detracts from the rest of the 'character/style' the game has quite a bit. It feels almost out of place compared to the elements, especially with things like the 'stamina' gauge been represented by a star, etc. It would be nice if it were a bit more striking in appearance, even just some extra contrast for the boxes would be nice.
-- I do prefer 'on screen enemies' that I can target/avoid, but I do like how you've made more prominent battles have on-map battlers so can be more prepared for them. This helps alleviate what I know is super personal preference a bit.
Overall it still presents a pretty fun battle system, especially when thinking of how the combat/effects/artifacts may evolve alongside the enemies later on. Nothing super engaging world/character wise yet, but the dialog as still added more character than a generic 'you go kill enemies on x through x floor' while alluding to more development. So I'm looking forward to seeing this all grow more :D
It's going to be hard for me to go to sleep tonight, don't want to put this game down :(.
So far the experience is continuing to be absolutely awesome, having just made it past the first mass of tears as the deeper story unfolds.
So many layers of enjoyable and smooth mechanics, absolutely in love with this game.
Just a quick simple bugfix to report though atm:
After Klein's journal is available on her bed, if you read that the black/screen doesn't unfade after it. Just missing an event in there somewhere-I managed to navigate to the bed to sleep and that unfaded the screen for me.
Also, though it's not something fun to have to tell players, I might give additional advise on the necessity to save frequently somewhere in-game at the start. Having been as hooked on the game as I have been, It's crashed a few times now. Not much lost thanks to reading the readme, but it feels important enough to be mentioned in-game unless a future RPG Maker update/build helps resolve the issue.
(If possible I'd recommend adding auto-saves after a Mog Cluster, as that was a tough battle to redo after crashing, and they're noteworthy/not too frequent).
Ahh, yeah that's understandable. Thanks for at least not disabling it, as that would make it hard for me to personally play the game, I'll just keep that in mind when making any interactions with the game in the future.
No worries, I can certainly imagine that-some factors/results of RPG Maker can be impossible to understand regrettably lol ^^;. Thanks for trying your best to do what you can though, like making difficulty settings adjusted later on in your adventure, etc :).
Absolutely loving the tone/polish/pace of the demo so far and looking forward to the final release.
However I wanted to report a bug and couldn't find any 'best way'/suggestion on how to report it, so thought with you thankfully active here I'd mention it here.
-When selecting skills with the mouse, it seems like that causes an automatic target selection as well. That might make players mistakenly believe skills can't choose a target (as pressing z/enter to confirm the skill does let you choose the target).
Weirdly it doesn't do that for Troz's Puppy Breath skill, which as a skill targeting all enemies should be the one to auto select if any.
So it might be some problem with the skill+key settings somehow? As otherwise it would be a universal problem.
-Also just a small suggestion, but it would be nice to have access to volume options after entering the game too. I've had to save and exit just to adjust the volume after playing more of the game and thinking it needed further adjusting.
Especially with all the additional battler's already made available at akashics.moe, this is a perfect set of general player characters/opponents for experimenting with RPG Maker MV.
Though still limited in scope player-character wise, I'd strongly recommend this for anyone wanting more vibrant character/enemy assets to make a small project with.
Note that the massive collection on this artists site is a great alternative for projects of any scope (and my personal favorite to work with).
These honestly look incredible :D.
However I'd like to ask as I couldn't find it referenced anywhere alongside the icons, does purchasing these allow for the use of them in commercial projects? E.g. Game project.
Yeah. It also would have been a good opportunity in your case I imagine to share a point of reference for people to look at, as you make progress on the bigger game. Gives them a sneak peak at the world/characters they can look forward to :).
Thanks a lot :D, good luck with your project and future endeavors too ^^!
Honored to hear your interest :D.
Yep, I can't push myself as much as I did during the month of the contest, but I'm still working on it as a longterm-ish project, lowering the initial learning curve and smoothing out the difficulty growth among other things, to create an easier entry point overall.
Once I have a more solid foundation/entry point I'll be releasing that and adding content/boss conquests/classes over time.
Here's a short WIP video of the class selection which is the biggest initial change :).
Thank you so much, happy to hear you enjoyed your time with it :)!
While I'm not a personal fan of your projects tone, the graphic/UI design is amazing and super polished from what I've seen in an LP of it, so I wish you the best of luck with your project and the larger project it was a spin off of ^^.
I enjoyed this so much, really charming art direction with fun and cute characters with some story nuances and commentary that pulled everything together into an awesome package. Was very happy to have played through it all and the ending was really satisfying for a small story. I also really loved some of the puzzles/clues you had to connect, great work :)!
No worries :)!
Oh cool haha. Just got a chance to check it out and it's great. A weird but cool creepy atmosphere -without unnecessary jumpscares from what I experienced- though I got super stuck, and I did feel like it took a bit too long to explore/re-explore areas that you needed to over and over again (even with the item that helped you move faster). Still has me looking forward to seeing what the final product could turn out like :D.
Thank you :)!
Ohh I could definitely do that for the skills, and no worries about taking a turn to read them-I know an instant cast trick that means it won't cost a turn, that's what I use for the Journal in the battle menu :D. I can create an action below the Journal, 'Skill List', that will let you read through your characters skills.
Happy to hear you like the idea for the separate Boss category too. Yeah I certainly agree that it could use some more battles before it, or scaling back its difficulty to have more difficult difficult Boss's after it instead would be nice. Maybe even a rematch with a stronger Slime King with a full set of slime battlers would immediately work well for that.
I hoped that keeping the tutorial boss as interactive as it was but an easier challenge could help reduce new players frustration when reaching the single Boss's intended challenge. It was a difficult judgement on how to scale its difficulty when I both wanted to make it a challenge to overcome, as too easy a Boss when it's the only one could leave you without any sense of accomplishment, but too hard would definitely lead to that frustration. Hopefully it's not so daunting that players who didn't defeat it wouldn't be willing to come back for other in-between challenge levels later.
Thank you so very much for your words of encouragement towards the project, I'll do my best for sure :)!
Absolutely incredible write-up! Thank you so much for considering the game worthy of one and for taking such a thorough look at the systems within it, I'm really happy to hear you enjoyed your overall experience with it :).
Haha.....the swordsman axe holder thing, heard that elsewhere and I feel so silly, got caught up in the gameplay I never stopped to consider renaming the classes after I added the axe for her to hold (she didn't have a weapon until I did the animation which was late in development).
And yeah I wish I could have done something more to merge their art styles but at most I was able to add some weak shadows to them, glad you enjoyed their characterization enough to enjoy them being there though.
I'm most happy to hear how much you interacted with the choices I tried to build in there like the twist in the scissors-paper-rock system and risk-reward of lower health for the skill bonuses, etc, reading your write-up honestly put such a grin on my face :)! Truly honored for you to have written this and so strongly observed the game and its mechanics ^^.
I'd like to have more interaction from the players and enemies/boss with the boss mindset too, but I was both limited by time and not wanting to overwhelm the player with even more initial considerations. Ideally I'd scale this boss back a bit/tweak its difficulty and have a followup boss after it that built more on its mindset, like enemies gaining passive effects when its at a certain location or sub-directions its mindset could take it. I'm more glad to know that as-is not paying significant attention to the mindsets state each turn won't end you guaranteed with everything else to still consider.
Hopefully you'll get to see more of it in the future if I develop it further, as now the architecture is there it'll be easier to expand, I'm happy to know you show interest in that :).
Again sincerely thanks so much for the awesome awesome write-up :)!
Also read a few more of your articles and you've got a bunch of awesome writing there. I noticed too you were planning to do write-ups on more IGMC2017 entries. If I might be able to suggest one, I'd strongly recommend https://itch.io/jam/igmc2017/rate/190782, as among other strong entries it is without a doubt my personal favorite. A super cute and charming, imaginative story focused project with a few light puzzles.
Thanks a lot for your thoughtful response.
First I want to mention regarding the skills, they are available besides the learn action to read what they are (I couldn't fit the skill information and explain that you need to take a turn to learn it etc within the same thing, so I have them besides eachother).
If I were to have more time with it I'd like to add an initial character selection screen that includes the full detail of their skill/power actions too before the battle.
As this was a solo project within the months time, and the majority of that time was spent just getting the systems working, regrettably I didn't get to have any smoother learning curve between the tutorial boss and the boss itself. Ideally of course I'd like to have more Boss's inbetween/after it, but I made sure I could consistently beat it-while recognizing that I knew the battle inside and out, before I felt the challenge was likely right-while expecting a new player to need 1+ attempts before beating it. I also hoped to ease their progression between battles by having the few ranks I was able to implement there to add at least some feeling of progress.
The reason the cheer and skill learning is taken from the same pool is for you to try and balance the opportunity between learning new skills and recovering, if they were separate pools it would feel redundant. Though if I end up investing in the project more I may try to adjust the pacing and reduce the cheering to 2 given your feedback, and that there's already the overlapping limitation that you need to defeat a new enemy to use that/take your turn using it. It would depend on how the new boss's/enemies affect the current mechanics/pace.
I did a lot of retesting for this and had to go with what felt like the right balance at the time while leaving me the wiggle room to finish everything else, but I wouldn't doubt this could be improved more so thanks for voicing your thoughts about it (e.g. I tried to make the B skills easier to achieve but I might want to tweak them more too, like automatically giving you a charge each time the character cheers).
The boss battle is meant to be a longer than standard journey from start to finish while you try to take advantage of weaknesses you might discover (not exactly, but think Shadows of the Colossus if you know of that game-a journey to defeat the boss), (e.g. if you activate it in the right way when its mindset is at the left/right side [the green side] it will end up short-circuiting giving you extra room for damage/delaying monster spawning). Of course though it may have felt more natural if there had been stepping stones before this boss. If I have enough interest to develop more boss's I may split long/short battles between their own categories so it's more understood what challenge you're participating in.
Thanks a lot for trying it out and sharing your impressions :), hopefully it may evolve into a project you can enjoy more in the future.
If I may suggest a previous project that might already be closer to something you'd enjoy - https://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?threads/phernil-academy-use-knowledge-a... - of course it's up to you though, just thought I'd share it :). And there's a few videos of it to quickly see if it may interest you.
Again thanks so much for playing and taking the time to respond :).
This was an absolutely adorable gem of a game.
A super cute and charming small story with a lot of character and smart light puzzles that fit into the games world, as an overall experience this is honestly one of my favorite RPG Maker projects I've seen in and outside of this contest.
Super jealous of those who are able to make small but fun and imaginative stories and you did an incredible job with this and I loved the ending which was totally satisfying and sweet, when most projects fall short at the end. I finished it at just over an hour, I hope whichever judge plays through this gets to see it all, and I certainly hope the link to the VX ace RTP is enough to keep it as a valid entry as it would be too much of a shame for this to not shine as one of the strongest entries.
And that's before even mentioning the beautiful aesthetic and sound/music design, seriously awesome work from start to finish :)!
Oh and the moon character that doubled as a friendly guide/hint giver was just really great. Well done!
I think you may have misunderstood one of the contest rules. Regarding #4
"Game Length: Judges will only be required to evaluate a game for 1 HOUR if it passes the screening stage. Any game over 1 hour will be judged only on its first hour of gameplay."
It just means that if you developed a game that lasted longer than 1 hour, they will only judge the first hour of it. If the game plays in less than an hour that doesn't matter. For example they would be free to if they didn't defeat the boss in their first attempt try again unless it would take them past an hour of play, or if they think they've experienced enough of the game to judge it before then they won't need to play again.
Yep it uses dragonbones animation for the boss and player characters, happy to hear you liked them :) (credit to the original artwork though is http://www.akashics.moe/ for the monsters and http://woestijn.deviantart.com/ for the characters.) Glad I had time to animate the characters and that you liked that.
Happy to hear you like the twist on that mechanic ^^. Yeah, the challenge of the battle is observing the boss's actions, preparing and trying to eliminate monsters as efficiently as possible with new abilities learnt, and best removing those sponges so you can defeat the boss. Regrettably I didn't have time to add more variability into the enemies actions, I just focused on the characters and the overarching boss's stages and polishing that, thinking if interest grew with the base system there I could certainly add a new boss later with more complex minions and strategies to face.
If you'd like to try another project any time, an earlier game I designed does have more varied enemies and different overlapping systems, with a growing challenge and 'currency' you can use to not make your characters stronger but customize the layers of challenge with highscores you can gain http://i.imgur.com/hQ10GmP.png . You can find it here.
Thank you for trying out the game, I'm happy to hear you'd like to see it evolve further as a lot of the work I did was just getting everything functional, so I'd have a lot of fun just adding new content and Boss/enemy challenges to it now :).