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A member registered Jan 03, 2016 · View creator page →

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Unity (likely 2018 LTS, possibly 2019 LTS) and my own framework, CommonCore. The latter still has quite a bit of bizarre in-house tech jankiness but it's to the point where I can usually just build games without worrying too much about getting things to work behind the scenes.

That was a really nice little game. The length feels about right for a halloween special, the battles were satisfying and although I'm pretty sure that's stock RPG Maker art is looks good. And of course I am definitely down for more Magical Girl Priscilla games!

Was there some unused content? I picked up a key but couldn't seem to use it anywhere.

Thanks for playing!

I basically threw the story together in a day, it's nothing special but I think it worked out okay. I tried to give the protagonist a more distinctive personality this time.

Yeah, it definitely wasn't clear how you were supposed to take down enemies which is in hindsight a major fault. The original concept would have had it explained as part of the story, but obviously this one is cut down a lot. I toyed briefly with the idea of having Sakura explain it but I figured it wouldn't make sense because Sakura only uses magic and I thought players would figure it out fairly easily. Of course I'm very familiar with my own game and that weapon balance is very familiar to me which is of course not everyone's experience...

The post credits sequence I was very worried about people not understanding at the beginning but after I put it together I was a little more optimistic.

I might put out one more game this year but things are kind of up in the air right now so no promises. 

Some shooters do that, some don't. Closest to what you describe I can think of off the top of my head is the Flood Infection Forms from Halo, but I hate fighting them. 

The shields thing is probably something that would have been more obvious in the original concept. Your own shield mechanic would have been introduced and would have had plot significance, and the characters would have had a discussion at some point about the best way to fight the mysterious monsters.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with the height of the dialogue box! I've called my games visual novels, but in all honesty the dialogue system draws more from western RPGs than anything. Looking at both Fallout New Vegas and The Outer Worlds, both of them use at most as much vertical space as I do, and- this is something that's never occurred to me before- it's dynamic. The height of the dialogue box is generally a lot smaller than mine because it's sized to its contents.

I don't know when I'll get a chance to prototype it but that is absolutely what I'm going to try next. I'll probably have to rethink how I do character portraits at the same time. Then again they've looked a little weird since I switched to a semitransparent dialogue box anyway.

Killing the Shades off is quick if and only if you use the magic+bullets combo... and I think this is where my limited testing strategy (force my friends to play it, basically) really fell down. That combo is very similar to something in Halo called the "noob combo" and my friends all play Halo. For us it was almost instinctive, but for a player coming in from the cold yeah, why would you even try that?

Otherwise it takes almost a full magazine, which is probably a little excessive in retrospect. By FPS standards it's not unreasonable but more into bullet-sponge mid-level enemy territory. From my limited experience SHMUPs have fairly short TTK on non-boss enemies in general, don't they? I can see why you'd find the Shades so overpowered.

I do see the value in having an absolute cannon fodder basic enemy. I didn't really think of it at the time and I'm not sure if I'd put such an enemy in were I to do this again given how small and short the game was, but if I was going a bit bigger in scope I'd slot something in under the existing Shades. Some kind of Lesser Shade, maybe. I think it would add something to the combat in addition to serving as a gentler introduction.

There is a visual indicator for the enemy's shields- it's the glow they give off which fades as they take damage and there is a bit of a flash and pop when they drop. Unfortunately- and you're not the first to bring this up- it didn't work out as well in practice as it did in theory. Part of it is the effect just not being noticeable enough- in particular the audio cues are basically inaudible in the heat of combat. I think it also would have helped a lot the point it out at least once, which is again something that would have been in the original much bigger concept but was left by the wayside.

think there might also be a bug with the lighting effect that causes it to become almost invisible when enemies drop below about half shields but I've never confirmed that.

I find your disdain for the dialogue box kind of amusing to be honest. I will try to make it nicer next time. But no promises.

Out of curiosity, what kind of setup are you playing this on? You've mentioned twice that you found the text too small but to me it actually seems too big. 

Thanks for playing! I know the feeling of getting super busy unexpectedly, it can be pretty stressful.

I'm assuming you didn't read the postmortem- which is fine, it's long as hell and I know you've been busy- so I'll give you the short version here. I started off with a very different project, one much bigger in scope, and realized it wasn't really doable a few weeks into the jam. I hurriedly retooled what I had into something very, very different and of course much smaller. That's where a lot of the weirdness and, yes, flaws come from I think. 

In particular the style of combat and the way it's balanced ended up weird.

Magic was always planned to be infinite and recharging, but in the original concept there was a progression to it. You would start off with pretty weak magic and gain stronger attacks over the course of the game. I ended up basically with the attacks I implemented for testing, slightly tweaked, and granted pretty much immediately.

Having limited bullets probably seems odd and kind of pointless as well but again, in the original concept, there was more to it than that. There would have been ammo pickups (these are actually implemented but unused) and I even wanted to have it so you could pick up new weapons.

I am kind of surprised that you found the enemies to be too strong. In testing I found I blew through them easily, and so did most of my friends. That being said most of my friends play a lot of shooters.

I think there is a trick to it which you're missing- which is entirely fair since it's never actually explained in the game itself- and that's how guns and magic are balanced. Enemies have shields and health. Magic is more effective against shields, bullets more effective against health. Take down their shields with the magic, then shoot them.

Is the dialogue box simply boring and uninspiring or does it have legibility issues? The former is something I'll try to improve next time, the latter is something I'll patch ASAP.

I've gone back and forth on the size of the text and the dialogue box itself a lot since Garlic Gang. The problem I've run into is that what works for a 27" monitor doesn't work for a 13" laptop screen and vice versa. Someday I might make it a user-configurable option, or try to do something fancy and adaptive.

As for quality over quantity, well... this is as good as it gets. I did try to polish things up more this time though at the end I was too burned out to get the last few bits in. I know there are some super polished games in this jam and I do find them very impressive. I used to strive for that but it was always a struggle, and over the past few years I've found that I enjoy making weird broken janky shit a lot more. I know this one won't win any awards, but that's not really what I was ever going for.

You can try some of the solutions here if you still need them. It looks like the first issue, which I thought I had fixed but apparently not. Apple has made some changes in recent years which have broken things and it's difficult to keep up sometimes. I'm in a really awkward position in regards to Mac support; I know some of potential audience is on Mac but it's really hard to support a platform without being able to test on it.

The posters are one of the awkward parts I alluded to. Those are super hacked together using a system designed for subtitles and just waiting for the usual interact key. In retrospect it was probably too much to just throw up on screen like that without some sort of better system. The reason I didn't use full dialogs for those is because I felt it would break flow too much, but it would have been much easier to read. Early on I had ambitions of having voice acting, which would have helped a lot, but that was never all that realistic a proposition.

Unfortunately I don't think The Last Magical Girl is ever going to happen. It's definitely not going to be a jam game; the scope is just way too big for that and that's why I abandoned it this time. If I have a brilliant idea on how to do something simpler along the same lines it might happen. But as it stands the huge scope of it is honestly really daunting and I'd much rather do something smaller.

Thanks for playing! I'm glad you had some fun with it.

I understand what you mean about the artstyle not being your thing. I'm a bit weird in my own preferences here; I'm really not a fan of the modern "lowpoly" style and I'm pretty meh on pixel art.

I'll admit that I was just too lazy to fade the music in some places. I really ought to write some convenience methods for fading from one track to another.

There's some feedback for hitting enemies but probably not enough. The audio effects especially tended to get drowned out in the testing I did. The Shades do have pain states but it's not really as obvious when they're in the pain state as it would be for a more recognizable humanoid.

Technically the gun fires on the same frame the input is registered, but there are a few things going on here that could make it feel sluggish. The sound effect- especially on the pistol- has a small but noticeable delay to it, and the animation is probably too slow. Bullets are also projectiles, not hitscan, so there is a time to target. I do see what you mean here- I found the pistol felt a bit sluggish in testing but not enough to be a problem so I left it.

I actually found the magic bolts more useful than the big blast because they can be spammed so quickly. The magic blast definitely is a lot more powerful, though, and has a proximity detonation effect. The idea was that bolts would be more useful against individual enemies and the blast against groups. I think a greater speed difference or making the blast move in an arc like you suggested would have differentiated it more.

A lot of the weirdness in the mechanics comes from it being designed for a completely different concept that I abandoned early in the jam. I'd also intended at one point to have multiple magic elements and required players to swap between them as some enemies would be weaker to different elements but I ended up dropping that because I felt it would be too complicated in a fast-paced game.

If I ever do a sequel I'd like to do more with the magic system. I'll also replace the assault rifle sprite, because- let's be honest- even compared to the rest of the art in the game, it's hideous. On that note I do have an idea for a sequel but I fear other projects will take priority.

Thanks for playing! I'm glad you, um, didn't hate it?

I certainly understand why you found the dialogue excessive. I think I needed to have that much to tell the story I wanted to tell, but for the length of the game it's very dialogue-heavy. I knew I was making a short game but I was kind of shocked at how short the main gameplay segment turned out when I playtested the whole thing for the first time. By that point I was pretty tired and didn't have any good ideas on how to extend it so I just left it, even though I might have had time. So in the end it ended up with a much higher proportion of dialogue to gameplay than I had expected or planned.

In retrospect I should have left room in the plan to extend things if I had time, which is one of the bigger lessons I've taken away from this project.

I'm a bit confused about what you mean about text automatically advancing. Are you talking about the subtitle text or full dialogues? The former are usually on a skippable timer. The reason I did this rather than leaving it entirely manual is because in that past I've found some people didn't realize that text could be skipped and got stuck. Still, it did end up awkward in places. In the full dialogues, they don't really have a concept of text advance, only pagination. I call this a visual novel but the dialogue system is really much more Western RPG than Visual Novel- very much like The Outer Worlds or Fallout games prior to 4.

How did the Mac version break? Did it launch and crash or fail to launch entirely? I don't have a Mac (well, not an Intel Mac) so I can't really test the Mac platform builds.

Well that was stranger than I was expected... I won't spoil it for anyone else, you have to try it yourself.

I think it could really use sound though.

So I played through the latest version. I didn't end up outside of the world, and I got a second dialogue scene instead of the bugged boss battle I'd got last time, which I assume is intended. There were still some issues with the first dialogue scene and the tilemap still pops in and out at the edges, though, and collision seemed to be a little more finicky this time.

The ending was kind of a disappointment though I understand why you chose to end it there given the scope of the game and the length of the jam. The ending dialogue only had voice acting up to about halfway for me- is this a bug, or is that all there is?

So I got further this time and I still have mixed feelings on the combat. I think it's interesting and I think that maybe it could work, but as it stands it's very unintuitive and confusing to play.

I figured out that the reason why I usually wasn't attacking is because I had to hit a movement key and the attack key. I find this awkward and confusing because it doesn't really act as a combo- you just move and also attack. I think with better feedback and some tweaking to the mechanics (maybe a pause or hesitation in the movement?) this could be really fun, but as it stands it just feels kind of janky.

That it requires a paragraph to explain how charge mode works says a lot in and of itself. I know some people prefer that kind of complexity but I'm not a fan; I've never been good at fighting games because I have no idea what the combos are for instance. I was able to get the charge mode to work a few times, but I also tried and failed a few times and I had no idea why it sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.

I think at one point the game actually glitched out and wouldn't let me attack but I wasn't sure because the interface frankly does a very poor job of telling you what's going on. The gauges at least need labels and some prompts would help a lot as well.

If there's one way to improve this game it would definitely be the feedback. Give the player a better idea of what they can do at any given point in time and how they can do it. I realize that's something that's going to typically be left until the end and maybe left by the wayside on a jam game but I think it's really critical for a game like this.

Thanks for playing!

I'm kind of two minds on the Halo inspired gameplay. I think it works relatively well- and people have told me they enjoy it- but it's also a very odd choice for a game like this. If I'd developed this game from scratch rather than building it on what I'd already done on my first concept I probably would have chosen something different.

I'll admit that some of it was grasping at straws a little but I really do like the premise of this game. 

Making a game save is hard. Leaving it until the end was definitely a mistake but I could understand ending up in that situation if you've never done it before.

Some kind of interactive tutorial would be great, but again, I understand why you don't often see such things in jam games.

Switching characters was your core mechanic and trying to rip that out that late into the jam would have been unreasonable. I actually liked the idea and I think with some changes to the implementation it could make a really interesting game.

I have no idea what Godot's UI system is like so there's not much I can say there. Unity's UI system is intuitive if limited, I've heard Unreal's is a nightmare.

The store thing ties into what I said near the end- the player has absolutely no idea that's a thing.

Absolutely take what you learned here and build upon it. You've already made a very strong start and I think you've learned some lessons the hard way about what to do and what not to do.

To me it just felt too complex, like there were too many mechanics. I do agree though that it didn't really "click" as it is. It might be worth iterating on this some more and swapping things in and out to see if you can figure out some really solid gameplay.

To me it really felt like things just kept getting tacked on to the narrative. It kept going in new directions that at best only kind of followed from the last, and each one wasn't really fleshed out.

(spoilers ahead)

I really liked the initial plot of finding her true desires, and the mystery of what the one-eyed flying thing was. Though I wasn't really sure why I was fighting my desires or what that was supposed to represent. When Mira's Dark and Troubled Past came up I thought that was an interesting twist but it was also very confusing. Someone close to her died, and maybe it was her fault? She struggled with addiction or self-harm? It was a little disjointed but I thought this would end up ultimately tied in to the initial premise. But then the game went in what to me was a super weird direction with gods and demons and something about Mira wanting to destroy everything maybe and her dead sister comes back but it's not really her and whaaaat?

(spoilers end)

I guess I'm just kind of curious what your development process was like. Did you lock down the story early on or were your rewriting and revising up to the end? I don't think either approach is inherently bad but each one definitely has its ups and downs.

I think the problem is that the art was scaled down for the game's target resolution and then scaled up to the actual display resolution which of course makes a mess of things. I'm not sure how easy this would be to do in Godot but it might be better to keep the art at its original resolution (or at least closer to it) and size it down at runtime.

A better explanation of the magic would help. It's definitely unintuitive in that it doesn't work the way you'd expect; I'm not sure about all playtesters but my natural inclination was to hold in a direction and then push the magic key.

I think if you do a 1.4 or 2.0 the focus should be on cleaning up some of the story/narrative issues. The battles are a bit cheap but they work well enough for the length of the game, while the weak introduction could become an issue for the sequel. Of course you could always push an update later that alters things a bit like the update Valve pushed for Portal just before Portal 2.

That's fair. I'm kind of disappointed you're not taking this further but I totally understand your reasoning. I'd say your strength is definitely with art- if you'd told me pixel art was your bread and butter I would have believed you as it is very well done.

Shattered 2 is more a matter of when than if now; I had tentatively planned it for the end of this year but I've decided to take a break in October and this year has been so unpredictable I don't know what my November and December will look like. So it may end up being next year instead.

It was a little bit better for playability and I got further, but ultimately I still had the same problem unfortunately.

I think it might be because there's stuff going on across the whole screen and you kind of have to look at everything at once rather than focusing on the center of the screen. That means my eyes are constantly darting about and it kind of fries my brain too. To be fair all shmups might be like this, I don't really play them much. I mostly play first person shooters which are pretty much designed around your field of view.

It's a hypothesis but by no means scientific.

I played the latest version and while it's improved, it doesn't fully fix the gameplay issues in my opinion. Movement is better but it's still not great. It's a little bit more controllable, but also just slower, and I'm still having problems jumping onto things, grabbing overhead bars and climbing. It does feel less bouncy, which is good, but I'm still having a lot of trouble trying to move precisely.

My playthrough was also cut short by jumping through the ceiling and out of the map.

I appreciate the fullscreen toggle for playability's sake but unfortunately the game does not look good in fullscreen. I think it's still rendering at 720p, and stretched over a 27" 4K monitor it's blurry with indistinct lines. When blown up a lot of the flaws in the graphics that I hadn't really noticed before stand out.

Combat feels pretty much the same to be honest. Maybe it has less knockback? 

I noticed the hints for the controls show a SNES controller with Nintendo button layout. I looked at the original version and it was the case there are well. While this looks cool, I think the majority of players will be using an Xbox controller or at least something with the Microsoft button layout so it may end up confusing.

I think you're moving in the right direction with this but it's still not there.

So I noticed there was an update and I gave it another shot. The map is ugly and a bit buggy, but it made it a lot easier for me and I definitely preferred it with the map. As a "let's try this mechanic" thing it worked. I did make it to the end this time.

However I also ran into an issue I didn't have before with inputs not registering at all. It didn't work on Chromium Edge but it did work in Waterfox- I don't recall if I played the original in Edge, Chrome, or Waterfox.

I was really, really hyped for this one. A Change of Heart and Within Her HeART were amazing, and the teasers you posted had me salivating. I ended up let down though this wasn't any fault of yours- I'll get to this shortly.

The art and music are great. I really like the opening animation, although I'd seen that before it was a treat to see it again. The menu is also very polished and even has buttons that light up and make noise.

It is very small in my browser, so I can see why fullscreen is recommended.

I really, really wanted to play this game to completion. Unfortunately I never got past the first level. I do agree with Thoof that the heavy movement with a lot of inertia is kind of questionable given how precisely and quickly you need to move, though I think one could get used to it. I've also stated my thoughts on positive feedback loops earlier in the Discord- I don't like how starting to lose makes the game harder. I'm also terrible at bullet hells in general, so there's that.

That being said I think the gameplay is mostly solid. I didn't really have much of a chance to get used to it is the thing.

I couldn't play much because this game gave me horrendous eyestrain. I don't know why that is. The last game I played that did that to me was Zombie Driver- another game which I really liked but reached a point where I couldn't play any longer- and I have no idea why that did it to me either. I don't think it's anything you did, and I don't think the majority of players will have an issue with it, but I was only able to play a few minutes.

I'm not sold on the status bar moving from top to bottom, and I found it very hard to read at a glance, but again I didn't play much and... eyestrain.

Finally, June can fly now?

I still do think this is one of the best games in the jam, though I'm not sure if I should try to rate it because I didn't/couldn't play much of it.

My first impression was "wow, this really looks a lot like Birth By Magic". Considering how good that game was that is absolutely not a bad thing. Taking what worked in that game and evolving it was an excellent decision here.

I thought the choice of music was a bit odd at first, but as I played and got a better feel for the setting and tone of the game it started to fit better. I really like the premise, a kind of retro-ish Demonpunk setting. The art is top-notch and the graphical style is very nice, I think I like it even more than Birth By Magic.

I'm not a fan of the map layout, I'd definitely prefer a hub and spokes to a maze with stores scattered everywhere. That being said I understand that it's pretty much par for the course in the subgenre you're going for so I don't really consider it a problem.

I didn't get lost in the time I played but a map might be in order for the full game.

Even the demo is huge. I don't expect to get very far to be honest; I'm kinda eh on metroidvania in general and I'm not very good at this game so I'll probably just keep dying. But it is a crazy long game full of content.

The only thing I really found offputting was how harsh dying in a boss fight is. Losing all your money when you die and having to get it back didn't seem too bad in the overworld, but you're most likely (or at least I'm most likely) to die during a boss fight. And when you go back it's win or lose the money for good...

I found the combat quite difficult and pretty much resorted to spamming the light attack because I could never get the power attack timed right. That being said I struggled a lot with Birth By Magic as well so this is more just me.

Between the scope and the polish of this game I'm still kind of scratching my head at how you managed this. I don't know if it's my personal favourite- again, I'm just not a fan of this subgenre in general- but I would definitely call it one of the best games in the jam.

So it took me a while to get to this one. Unreal games murder my laptop so I ran it on my gaming PC.

On a side note I find it interesting how there always seems to be exactly one Unreal game in the jam no matter how big or small the jam is.

As you've stated this is a prototype, and a pretty barebones one at that.

Seeing the example robots being used as placeholders was kind of hilarious given the setting and content of the game. As for the rest of the graphics, I'm not personally a fan of the lowpoly style but I think it would be a reasonable art direction for the game.

Gameplay seems reasonable though it's hard to get a good feel for it since enemies attacking back hasn't been implemented yet. However, you don't stay facing the direction you last moved in, which makes aiming difficult. There's also something up with collision- I kept running into invisible walls.

I thought the premise was interesting although the writing in the intro was shaky. It was somewhat confusing to follow and had a lot of typos and errors.

All in all there's not much for me to talk about here. I will say that I'd be interested to see it continued. Do you think that's in your future or do you have other projects in mind?

It's hard to say much about this because so little has been implemented. To be honest I'd hesitate to even call this a prototype; it's more of a pitch.

I definitely like the concept of supporting the heroes. There's so much that could be done with it, so many directions to go in. The title, Who will save the hero, is great, too, and I'd probably keep that for the final game.

I like the art style shown in the conversation section, a mix of drawing and manipulated photo. A whole game done that way could look really good. I think there might have been a submission along those lines in the last jam.

The Google Maps overworld, on the other hand, looks horrible. I'm assuming it's just a placeholder; I would be very turned off if I saw that in a finished game.

With the interface as designed, it's not clear who's talking. Something would need to be done about that in a finished game.

Are you planning to develop this further?

This looks promising, but it's definitely very very early, and I'm probably not going to write that much because there's so little to really look at here.

The premise reminds me of Magical Girl Z from the last jam a bit. I'd definitely be interested in playing a game with that storyline!

I didn't like the combat at first, but I liked it better the second time around. It seems very timing based, but it's loose enough that I can land hits even though I kind of suck at timing things. I'm not sure how well it would work with multiple enemies- I think that would be the next thing to try.

I like the dynamic music that changes when a fight starts. If there's something that stands out as interesting and innovative it's definitely this.

The world is visually pleasing and has an interesting layout, though I'd like to see more details and interactivity in a finished game.

Any plans to continue with this?

So I wasn't going to write much about this game but once I started going through my notes and turning it into a proper writeup this comment kind of ballooned.

Let's start with the good: the graphics and the sound. The graphics are simple and retro, but visually pleasing and it's usually clear what everything is supposed to be. Retro and minimalist isn't my personal favourite style, but it usually works and a lot of people like it, for good reason. The music doesn't quite loop which is too bad because it's quite pleasing to the ear. Often I find this type of chiptune gets tiring but that never happened during my fairly long play session.

I really do wish there was more of an intro explaining what's happening and how to play. I generally prefer games with story- in this case, it works fine without heavy story content and some will prefer it that way. Still I think most players would appreciate a small introduction. The how to play thing I'll get to at the end.

I found switching characters very awkward and unintuitive at first. I did get used to it somewhat but it could be improved. It's not clear which character maps to which button or which character is currently active. The order of the keys seems to correspond to the order of the names, but the names mean nothing to me- portraits or even just colors would be better. Leaving one character in place and moving the others can also be tricky.

Combat is also a mixed bag. I found that sometimes I took a whole ton of damage for no apparent reason. Some characters are definitely better than others- the black character is powerful but dies too easily, the blue character is completely useless unless I'm missing something, the red character is the best. The worst thing is getting suddenly switched to a much less useful character after the active one is downed. It was sometimes hard to hit enemies and I found that stunlocking was an effective if degenerate strategy.

The shop only seems to work once. Is this a bug or intentional?

The first time I played this game I got stuck on the first puzzle, the one with four buttons. To be honest, if your composer hadn't clued me in in the Discord, I would never have figured out that puzzle. I assumed that the special abilities were all attacks and had no idea one of them could duplicate. I kept trying combinations of two and three buttons to no avail.

Stuff just happening with no indication what has happened or that anything has happened at all is a recurring issue. There's a reason a lot of games have a click, and Zelda has that little jingle. If solving a puzzle opens a door offscreen I won't notice that it's open.

I did really like the puzzles themselves, especially the light balls/reflectors puzzles. The statue puzzle wasn't half bad either, though I prefer the other type. I'm kind of glad that the push blocks didn't really become a puzzle because I don't like those.

The pacing and length seemed about right. It's long enough to be satisfying but not so long that it becomes tedious. Importantly, no mechanic overstayed its welcome. New types of puzzles and gameplay were introduced before the last ones got too stale. I kind of wish the game had a map, but the world was small and straightforward enough for it to not be a problem.

I think I almost finished the game, but lost all three characters and had a game over on the way to collect the last gem. The lack of a continue option here is a little cruel- I'd already sunk a lot of time into the game and wasn't willing to replay everything again. To be honest I was kind of surprised by the sudden game over considering how forgiving the respawn logic was.

I'd like to see more quality of life features in general- this game is on the edge of needing a save feature- but in a jam it's not uncommon to see those fall by the wayside.

With all that being said, for a first game it's pretty damn good. It has a lot of what I would consider beginner mistakes, but it has reasonable gameplay, visually pleasing graphics, and audio, and it seems to be completely functional. It's not my favourite game in the jam, nor do I think it is the best game in the jam, but it's on the same level as a lot of them, and if you hadn't mentioned it was your first game I never would have figured it.

I think the biggest piece of advice I'd give is to consider that your audience is coming from a place of zero knowledge. Your game may be easy, its systems and plot completely straightforward to you, but things that are obvious to you may not be to the people who play your game. It's essentially a black box, and they don't know a lot more than what you tell them. Of course determining what to tell and how to tell it is the big challenge. You do want to make your players feel smart after all.

Going back to the puzzle I nearly got stuck on, this is a dead easy puzzle if you already know how to solve it. Even if you only know the mechanics, it's still pretty easy. But I had no idea one of the characters could duplicate- actually, for the first few minutes I didn't even realize I could switch characters. I looked at the layout of the pots and thought that was a clue to which three switches I needed to hit- no dice. I think that introducing this mechanic early on was a good decision, but you need to actually introduce the mechanic in some way rather than assuming the player already knows it.

This game definitely has its flaws, but it's pretty good taken as a whole, especially for a first game.

It's unfinished, but I think you're pretty close here. It needs menus and sounds but the core gameplay is working and working pretty well.

I like the character design and the sprites, although I'm slightly disappointed it's not the blue Ikea shark. It really, really needs sound, though. The visual effects are good but without the punchy booms to go with them it just doesn't have the same impact.

The gameplay reminds me of Pac-Man for sure, but also with a little bit of Bomberman. I found it too intense and too complex for me, but it definitely has that arcade feel FacemeltingSolos mentioned. I can handle a game where you jump around on a shark, or a game where you collect pellets, or a game where you dodge artillery, but not all at once. I think some people will have a lot of fun with this, though.

Any plans to continue with this?

This is definitely one of the more interesting games in the jam. I have somewhat mixed feelings about it overall, but it was certainly a unique experience.

I'm still undecided on the visual style of this game. It's certainly dreamlike, but it's also kind of ugly. I think I like the battle sprites and background effects, but the world tiles less so.

Mira's design is nice, though her single glove bothers my OCD.

I really liked the combat, at least at first. The use of masks and emotions for strengths and weaknesses isn't something I'd seen before and it was a lot of fun initially. However it did start to get tedious. Boss battles and new enemies and attacks were welcome changes but I felt there was too much of the same in between- it started to feel grindy and it started to feel like filler. The last bits in the lead up to and immediately after (what I thought was) the final boss were particularly egregious- by that point the combat had become pretty samey.

About two thirds of the way in we got some very different gameplay which I appreciated. It's hard to talk about it here without spoilers but I liked it. It was a really nice break and I was disappointed when it shifted back to mostly combat.

The use of in-battle events in the boss battles worked really well, I think. However I was never able to figure out how elemental weaknesses worked and which attacks were best against which boss. I was particularly confused when I was advised that it "looks like magic is not very effective"... immediately after doing 300 damage with a fire blast.

Overall I think the combat is the biggest strength of this game even if it is sometimes confusing and maybe a little overused. I wouldn't mind seeing another game with a similar setup.

I loved the premise from the beginning, and the narrative had a flow and energy to it that kept me engaged. But at the same time I found it really confusing and hard to follow. By halfway through the game I really had no idea what was going on anymore. Every new thing that was introduced just left me with more questions. Some of that is dialogue that was sometimes shakily written and unclear but I think some of that is just inherent weirdness.

I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone but it was an absolute mind screw. I thought I'd finally get some resolution and explanation after the final boss but was left even more confused. The very, very last bit of the game- as in the last few lines- reminded me of Monty Python and didn't work for me. Was this added because you ran out of time?

Finally, I'm a dirty save scummer so the semi-immersive save points are kind of lost on me.

All in all I'm not sure where I stand on this one. It's certainly an interesting game with some really neat ideas, but I did find it a little tedious, and I kind of walked out wondering what I just played.

I liked the aesthetic and design of the main character. It's unique and unexpected, and the graphics are nice and visually pleasing. It's a little different from the "norm" of this jam but I really liked it. The sound effects made from broken glass also worked very well.

The gameplay just didn't do it for me at all, though. I found it incredibly confusing and very tedious. The explanations on the game page didn't match what was happening on screen. The only thing that seemed to work was hammering U, which does damage but takes forever to kill enemies (and sometimes seems to fail for some reason). I was also able to sometimes dash with O, but I didn't find it useful. The red bar I understood as health, the blue as stamina, but I still don't know what the orange bar or the bar above my character really mean. The unusual controls were also a little awkward at first but I did get used to them.

I totally understand starting out with a very different, much bigger concept and having to rework and cut it down partway through, though.

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So when I first saw this my immediate reaction was "oh, this is the one with the super good art!"

The intro segment was really, really good. I knew it would have amazing art, but I didn't realize it would also have voice acting as well. The writing is pretty good; I especially like that it managed to explain things reasonably well without feeling like a huge infodump. I still have some questions but I think it's better to avoid the risk of overwhelming players with information.

The character sprites do have some weird artifacts. Check your texture import settings- specifically non-power-of-two scaling and texture compression. Default DXT1/DXT5 compression butchers lineart, BC7 ("high quality") is better but I found I had to sometimes use uncompressed textures in my games.

The top-down gameplay was almost a letdown after that. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, it's actually pretty good! The pixel art is nice, and it grew on me as I played, but I still prefer the animesque visual novel that preceded it. I found combat to be kind of janky and I still don't fully understand the day/night mechanic.

Also, one of the backgrounds is eye searing.

Unfortunately it's also really dragged down by bugs and glitches, more so than any of the other games I've played so far. The tilemap has artifacts and the edges sometimes pop in and out of existence, all of which detract from the look. I also haven't been able to complete the game. The first try I think the boss bugged out and disappeared from the game. The second try I ended up outside the map a few rooms in. The intro segment was not free of this either, sometimes repeating lines or flashing a blue screen.

I think if it was less buggy it would be one of my favourites in the jam. It still might be; I do really like it, but it's also a huge downer that I haven't been able to finish a playthrough.

EDIT: I see that an update has been pushed. I'll give it another shot when I get the chance.

There's a high level of polish here- the game looks really good, with a nice title screen, release quality UI, and even a super fancy page.

The design of the main character reminds me of PowerPuff Girls.

I did run into the bug where the music didn't work, but the second time I played the game it seemed to go fine.

I didn't get very far unfortunately. I'm terrible at rhythm games in general, and I found the first level really difficult. Every time I think I've got it the beat changes, and while that's probably a fun challenge for people who are actually good at rhythm games as someone who sucks at them I wish at least the first level didn't do that.

I wish there was more I could say about it. There's clearly a good game here, and it looks to be very complete and polished as well.

This is another one that kind of came out of nowhere and blew me away!

It was actually longer or at least more involved than I thought. I was like "oh, this looks promising and it says it's short so I'll try it" and it took me an hour or two to get through it.

I also was not expecting the feels or the grimdark.

The storytelling was top-notch. The mix of walking around and point-and-click gameplay works well here, and telling a story in past tense via notes and objects worked great. The environments gave a lot of feel and emotion to the game just by the way they were designed.

I like how you showed us bits of the setting through small snippets and ambience rather than a huge infodump. I had enough context and understanding of the world to know what was going on, but without being bombarded with information.

I do wish you could review the notes, since you won't necessarily discover them in order. And I do agree with the previous commenter about it sometimes being hard to tell what can be interacted with.

The style of the backgrounds, combined with the postprocessing, gave the game a unique aesthetic that contributed to the tone and feel but it did start to get grating after a while. Sometimes I found it hard to see things because of the chromatic aberration and blockiness, and the environment could be hard to navigate because some of the areas look extremely similar.

It didn't really become a problem but if the game kept going I think it would start to be.

I think the puzzles are good but I found them very difficult. I don't think they are that difficult, but I don't typically play this kind of game. That's one of the downsides to jams; not everybody will be skilled at or into the genre of game you've made. I resorted to basically randomly guessing with the symbols puzzle and had a lot of trouble with the slide puzzle because I thought the star tiles needed to be in the spots indicated by the outlines. Someone with more puzzle game experience would be much more qualified than me to comment on these.

The game is teetering on the edge of needing save/load, length-wise.

I might have to give this one another playthrough once I've played all the other games in the jam. I still don't really understand the ending. Was that girl the other girl? Is she a vampire? The cheerful music kind of threw me for a loop here.

Overall it was a very good entry.

This one was really shockingly good. I'll reticently admit that I wasn't expecting much from the screenshots. It looked like just another cookie-cutter RPG Maker game.

While it does seem to be mostly stock assets with some third-party ones mixed in, they're used very well. The game looks good and has a very polished feel to it. I think some custom scripts were used (I'm not familiar with MZ) and they were nicely integrated such that I couldn't tell where one started and the other ended.

There was also plenty of interactivity in the environments, which I always appreciate.

I hadn't been expecting the puzzles and they were definitely a pleasant surprise. It gave the game an extra dimension that made it stand out from a lot of others. I enjoyed the battles but I think they could get dull if the game was longer- most of the time it was just waiting until I could use the finishing move. Difficulty seemed a bit on the easy side overall, which I prefer personally, but it might not be to everyone's taste.

I liked the story but I feel it needed a better introduction. Names are thrown at me and I feel like they're supposed to be significant but I've just heard of these people. I wasn't even sure if Priscilla was already a magical girl at the beginning. I also felt the fact that Priscilla just ended up in a new and very strange land wasn't emphasized enough by her actions and reactions.

I do like the (minor spoilers) sequel hook at the end; do you have any plans to continue or develop a sequel?

Note: I played version 1.2 of the game.

I definitely agree with the other commenters that this is rough and could have used more work. On the other hand I totally understand wanting to leave a project be and move onto other things, for many reasons.

That being said it really does have the feel of a prototype or quickly made short jam game. Finishing and submitting any game is an accomplishment. In a two month long jam 

The graphics are okay. It's clear they're thrown together out of what was available, and they go reasonably well together. The only thing that didn't really work is that the game scales graphical assets a lot and they just don't look good starting from such a low resolution.

I do wish it had audio. Audio frequently gets left by the wayside when there's no time left but it really is important to the feel of the game.

It's basic, but plenty playable.

Having power-ups not be universally beneficial is an interesting mechanic and it did force me to think about my strategy. I do wish it was easier to tell them apart- some have very different effects but are almost impossible to tell apart. I think some of the effects also need to be limited for purely technical reasons- one time I picked up so many speed powerups that collision stopped working and the game basically broke.

I also kept taking damage for no apparent reason- maybe running into my own bullets?

I was able to finish the game by being careful and killing 20 enemies. It was tough and it was tense and I felt the difficulty was about right, though I'm not very good at these games so it might have been too easy.

I'm assuming by the lack of updates in the past month that you're not planning on taking this game further? Do you have any other future game dev plans?

It's a very nice, cute little game!

I have a feeling I'm going to be saying this a lot this jam but this game has some really nice art. Kind of a 16-bit style in this game. I really like Sherry's design and her animations work great. I was too busy to appreciate the background most of the time unfortunately but it's very nice too! It took me until the second playthrough to notice the "Waifus" store.

There's some weird blurriness and scaling artifacts on the main menu which unfortunately sullies the look of that a bit. I'm not sure if this only appears on the downloaded version (which is the one I played).

The gameplay is just really satisfying and I've gone back a few times despite not being any good at the game. The difficulty feels about right to me but is probably too easy for people who are actually good at this kind of game. I still haven't been able to defeat the boss, though.

At first I thought I was just doing magic wrong, then I thought it was broken, then I came around to thinking I was doing it wrong. I didn't realize I had to hold X to charge and then select magic with a direction and kept ending up standing there and charging because I'd hit the direction first or at the same time. Once I realized that I could cast magic a little more consistently although I still found it difficult to do under stress.

The name Sherry does make me think of wine though...

Well, that was interesting.

It has a very different feel than I was expecting from the games of this jam. As I found out halfway through the last Magical Girl Game Jam, magical girls are a Japanese thing and you tend to get a lot of animesque games. This one has a very different style and a kind of Norse mythology feel to it. It's kinda iffy on being a magical girl game but I really like the style and premise here.

The main menu theme makes me think of Game of Thrones.

The art is absolutely the highlight here. It looks really good, very polished, maybe not AAA but definitely a big-I Indie game that could be on Steam for $20. The character art looks good, the environment are amazing and the parallaxes really do add an extra amount of depth. There are a lot of good looking games in this jam but this one really stands out because of its style and polish.

I read your devlog and noticed that you used FMOD and spent a lot of effort on the sound design here. To be honest I thought the sound was good but it didn't blow me away as much as I thought it would, so make of that what you will.

I had mixed feelings on the gameplay. Generally I liked the ideas but found it often fell flat in execution.

I think ninety percent of this boils down to the levels demanding very precise movement while the game makes it very difficult to move precisely. I guess I would describe it as bouncy. Your character has a lot of inertia but also seems to bounce off objects, and swinging your sword pushes you around as well. Climbing doesn't seem as sticky as it should be either.

I really feel like either the movement needs to be tightened up or the levels redesigned to account for it. Honestly most of this comment is me being ridiculously nitpicky, but this is something that really needs to be addressed.

I'm kind of on the fence about the combat. The power attack didn't seem all that powerful, and it was kind of unclear how to trigger it. It was hard to get a good feel for this with how short the demo was (or at least seemed to be- I think I hit the end but might have just got stuck). I think the fundamentals are there but it needs some tweaking to be really satisfying.

I didn't like the lives system; I found it both unforgiving and kind of confusing. Lives seem to work more like health. But once you're out of lives, it's permadeath. Between this and the aforementioned gameplay issues it would become incredibly frustrating if the game were a lot longer.

I'm not entirely sold on having to pick up weapons every level. It could make things interesting or really tedious. I think it would depend on how you decide to use this mechanic.

It plays in a tiny window on my machine but I blame Unity and their decision to remove the resolution dialog for that, not you.

Overall I enjoyed this game. There's a really good start here and I'd be really interested to see it continued.

What the fuck did I just play...

So, uh, I don't know what to say about this one. I don't know what I expected. This is definitely not my thing, and I didn't enjoy playing it. The toilet humour alone is enough to turn me away completely.

However, I wouldn't call it a bad game. The art may have not been my thing, but it's well executed. The UI is good looking, well polished, and has nice quality-of-life features. There's not a lot of gameplay here, but it works well, the pacing is good, and I appreciate the multiple endings.

If anything it kind of has the feel of an injoke I didn't get. I'm assuming Palutena is OP, but I don't play Smash so I've never experienced this firsthand. I'm thinking Poopinteetha is also a reference to something, but I don't know what.

Also, I just realized that's a Playstation controller.