I really like the color switching mechanic. It felt really weird that you sort of replaced it completely with the box pushing mechanic in the second half ...
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So, where do I start?
I guess I really like the core idea; Splitting otherwise simple action into multiple panels that have to be managed independently could definitely lead to some frantic, really stressfull but fun gameplay. I even have some fondness for the idea of having to mash the buttons of a system to repair it.
That being said, I sadly find the implementation quite lacking.
First of, the aesthetics look a lot like MS Paint doodles. And I really don't want to attack your artistic pride, but I think it may have driven quite a few potential players away from your game.
I've also encountered some really werid glitches, like the fact that the top left view stutters/ jumps all the time. It's quite distracting.
The by far worst issue though is that your mechanics don't reinforce and depend on each other enough!
The sonar is too cumbersome to be of use half the time, you can really circumvent looking at the weapons bay if you just memorize on which state you fired last, and I don't even know what the engine room is good for. Really, the game seems to be almost completely playable using just the top left panel alone.
However, I don't think all is lost. There are many ways in which this game could be drastically improved. For example:
- Make the top left panel be a view from inside the submarine. This way, it would be much harder to judge where the enemies are, and you really would be forced to use the sonar.
- Give the weapons room more use. Make it so that the player actually has to reload and roughly aim each shot.
- Redo the engine room (or just replace it by some other type of room).
- Add lots of distracting shiny buttons and levers to all panels. This would really add to the stressfull, micromanagement-heavy atmosphere this game could have.
- Change the aesthetics. I suspect that this probably isn't your strong suit. (it isn't mine either). But there are ways around it. You could use some really abstract but sleek art style for example (like I did). Some sort of pixel art could also be a good choice.
- Work harder on the difficulty ramping. Linear games like these lend themselves perfectly to fine-tuning the difficulty ramping. You could for example start really easy so the player has some time to warm up, and then regularly increase the difficulty by say 2%.
Anyway, I'm actually really sorry to be so harsh on your game. I just think the core idea deserves a better attempt. But I know, this probably is your first GameJam. So after all,I'm glad you participated. Have a nice day!
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I guess you're right about the strategy v. action thing - I really wasn't focused on making the game as strategic as possible; Instead I was more interested in finding a basic common ground between some of my favourite big strategy franchises - Age of Empires, Master of Orion, Homeworld, Risc etc.
It's quite interesting that you bring up defender's advantage though - because as far as the game is concerned, there isn't any! However, the fighting system isn't completely deterministic; There is a lot of chance involved. I guess you just had a streak of bad luck :/
The problem is: I don't think I can change a lot about that. The randomness is there on purpose, to give players (and AI alike) at least a chance at surviving an unfavorable starting position.
Thank you! And yes, I do agree that the AI is way too easy at times, but I can't really do anything about that. :( I was so under time pressure that I basically implemented the AI as a glorified random-number generator with some heuristics to avoid the worst moves.