thank you so much for the kind words!
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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)