ahhhh thank you, pace!
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hilarious, charming, great way to spend an hour or so. I wish there was a bit more of a climax (maybe if that one ending was only accessible after completing the others?) but I like that the game's exactly what it is. jam is a fun character and so's their rapport with badmann; it's easy to imagine their previous run-ins.
I really like this take on the "losing controls" idea! The screen wrap is a smart way to give the player a (more difficult) alternative to a lost left or right input. Great way to force them into an interesting decision. I do wish the player could wrap vertically as well, because if you lose the down input you can end up stuck pretty high on the screen and have no way of getting back. I also had trouble with waiting through a wave if I lost control early.
Resetting controls on waves, though, is a great way to keep the player engaged and give them an incentive to survive. The controls are solid, the UI is very readable and looks good, the enemy types are well-thought-out and easy to distinguish, and the difficulty curve seems well-modulated. Great game!
Hey, this is a neat puzzle concept. I like the mix of fully planning in advance but having to execute in real-time. Quirks of the tile system (and That Bug) do make the timings tighter than they should be, especially on the last level, but it's a jam game and that's a question of polish. Excited to see where you take this, and glad to hear this is getting a post-jam update! I'd definitely play it again.
(Also, the pathfinding bug has been talked to death but honestly I think you could replicate the behavior and turn it into a predictable puzzle mechanic? Before I realized it was a bug I thought you might've been about to introduce some sort of "fix broken-down car" idea.)
The idea that the believability of the lie is tied to your success in the minigames is a great formal conceit. That (or the more generalized concept behind it) seems well-adaptable to different narrative situations, if y'all decide to expand it post-jam. Great stuff.
thank you for the feedback! glad the writing comes across well, and I'm really glad it works okay as a first work of IF. (if you'd like to play more in the genre, consider ryan veeder's taco fiction, adam cadre's photopia, and/or emily short's counterfeit monkey for a few different takes on what parser IF can look like!)
I've been working on an update, so I'll definitely put your suggestions on the list! I do want to ask if you could give a little bit more information on what you mean by "pull down," because I can't think of an action in the game that that'd apply to. either I've forgotten the action or my description's misleading/vague.
I...didn't expect the engine to allow you to pick that up, given how that item is defined in the code, but I'm honestly tempted to allow the possibility in v1.1 now. or at least put in a special "instead of taking" for it. thanks for letting me know!
(similarly, after the jam I'll probably make "answer" a synonym for "radio"/"call".)
I was really impressed that you managed to make a game this spinny and disorienting—a cool ludic tension-builder!—without making it...nauseating. At least for me, anyway. That's a hard needle to thread. There are some little things you could adjust in camera and controls (without sacrificing the scrambling nature of the player's actions) to add some QoL and make the setup work for something bigger, but I think it works great for this game.
Also, maybe I missed something, but gryyvat gur cynlre nobhg n abarkvfgrag tha vf irel zrna. V ybir vg. Znqr gur npghny fbyhgvba srry yvxr phggvat gur Tbeqvna xabg.
Nyfb n arng jnl gb cynl jvgu gur nffhzrq fpbcr bs gur tnzr; V svtherq V jnf tbvat gb unir gb or onggyvat zhygvcyr ybofgref jura gur svefg bar fubjrq hc.
Cool, concise, classic "neat mechanic" jam game.
first off, thank you so much!
and absolutely, no problem. I've put a .zip of the jam version on the page now, it was an oversight on my part to not have that up already.
enjoy yr internet-free 192X experience!
I loved the relationship between the letter-writer and the recipient that the player's options implied! I also loved getting to decide what to actually commit to paper and how those decisions influenced the signal I found in the Markov chain noise. A touching mood piece.
I really like the idea of playing the madness in a Lovecraft adaptation. The meta jokes are fun, but more than that they surprisingly end up evoking the story's fear of the inevitable pretty well, even while characters say things like "do a cannibalism."
The idea that you being the rats means you're also effectively Delapore is a nice twist on the story, too. Even though I found the controls very frustrating, in that light there's something ludonarratively consonant there.
There's a lot I really, really like about this game. The arm mechanic's super neat, the self-imposed risk/reward is cool, the gamefeel's pretty damn impressive for a jam. I like that it's reactive, but also puzzley. You nailed the addictive, "just one more try" loop of a Binding of Isaac-style roguelite and/or a masocore game. (To the point where this comment took a long time to write, because I kept reopening the game to try again!)
I get that you're going for a very twitch gameplay style—and I really like the twitch gameplay, even if, like other have people said, I think player speed's just slightly too fast (though maybe it could be fixed by adjusting the controls?)—but the enemy bullet speed feels a bit unfair. I spent a lot of time going "where did that come from" instead of "oh yeah, I should've seen that." (Oftentimes my instinctive attempts to dodge bullets ended in me running straight into the bullet instead.) Maybe this is just because I like bullet hell games, but I feel like you could get similar panic without the player feeling cheated if the bullets were slower and had smaller hitboxes, but fired more often? Dodging leftover bullets could give the player something to do while waiting for the hole to open, and could also make the spikes a bigger part of the challenge. Just one potential adjustment.
Similarly, I really like the idea of conserving time by firing shots that kill multiple enemies, but I feel like opportunities are slim, and risk tends to outweigh reward to the point where I don't do it as much as I'd like to, for fear of running out of time. (I love the "limited time for a set number of levels, with rest/reset areas" mechanic, though. Great idea.) Maybe it could be interesting to lean into the "combo" idea and add a bit of ricochet to the player bullet, or program the enemy AI to cluster more.
All that being said, I would play the hell out of a full-length version of this. It's so easy to imagine potential obstacles, enemies, modes with different time limits, what ways you could spin and tweak the mechanics, what a boss in this game might look like...it really has a lot going for it, and that's true even in its current form. Good work!
it's okay! I don't mind talking about the game.
to yr question: they're different women. different names. I totally get the confusion, though; I've just realized that the main HANG UP branch is ambiguous in several places, potentially suggesting a chronology (e.g. all hang ups ends up going therapy -> meds) but the whole game's intended to be non-chronological vignettes tied together with the ending line of one being the starting line of the other. sort of stream-of-consciousness flashes of "your" life, adding up to an impression. more obvious in the main PAY branch! another thing to improve post-jam.
thank you so much for the feedback! I'm glad I made the kind of game you were looking for.
in response to yr notes:
- will consider for a post-jam version! personally I'm more of a fan of cw/tw outside of the actual bounds of the work (which is why I put it on the game page—well, that and time pressure) but I definitely see the argument for something inline.
- the lack of a back button is intentional. twine actually has one by default that I disabled, mainly to prevent people who play adventure/IF/choice games in the same way I do—what ian danskin would call futzers—from taking themselves out of the story by second-guessing their choices. (it's also probably a hold-over from all the parser IF I played as a kid, in that I like the idea of there being a lot of options you're not taking...but I admit that's a little silly in a game like this where the branches are this directly laid out.) for the post-jam version I'll try to figure out a way to re-enable the back button on a second playthrough, or something in a similar vein, because I do feel like the permanent choices are a part of the experience, but I also definitely don't want to bug people who have had the experience and now just want to see the other branches.
- yeah, that was really tough to convey through the writing without making it too obviously game-y. (thank you for letting me know that the date in particular is a problem spot!) I tried to put a direct reference to at least one of the options near the end of most of the vignettes, and explain what the option meant in the "bridge quote" between one vignette and another, but some of them are still too ambiguous and need to be revised. (same goes for the therapist scene, for example.)
(to your question, though: HANG UP means hanging up on Will, and PAY means paying for your half of dinner and leaving.)
again though, thank you for the comment! it really means a lot.
this game is so cute and charming. the art is lovely, simple but evocative. I really admire how much personality you managed to give to the duck and their hat through the level design? I never felt cheated when the hat fell off, it felt like a very "aw shucks" moment. very playful design. and the hat rack mechanic was neat.
if the jumps and controls were a little more forgiving and there was music, I'd gladly play hours of a full version! as it stands in its current game jam version, I really liked the time I spent with it. great job.
this is such a cool idea, and the execution is stellar. it's much more tense than your average escape game, even in the planning phase! I'd love to see a sequel with more rooms.
(though I have to confess, I didn't get out my first try)