This was an interesting diversion. Nice selection of images, interesting mechanics, I was spurred on by not only the desire to complete the game just to see all the images, but also to see what novelties continued to show up puzzle after puzzle. There was no true challenge to the game, so I never felt disheartened, but on the same token, you were careful not to throw some moon logic in, or asinine arbitrary infeasibly hard puzzle from left field.
True, some levels were less 'puzzle' than toy, like the one where it was essentially 52-pickup, but, where other game makers would have made it feel boring or a chore, just the act of sliding things into place, through a multitude of filters, made the experience feel whole. It also felt like you were trying to push the envelope and re-define what a generic jigsaw puzzle could be in the electronic era.
Now, unfortunately, I come to the sad part. Why I docked you half a star. Honestly, it came from the music and the level completion animations. The gameplay was intriguing enough, and the visuals stunning enough that the music fell to the background, and it was simple and repetitive enough that it began falling on my ears in the same way that a 20-second loop would. The solving animations were a pine cone in a fruit salad. A player would complete a puzzle, flexing their brains a little, and after making an image whole and beautiful again, they would be greeted sharply with a staticky jumble, which, at first, was a jarring shock, and by the end, was just the most unsatisfying 'Level complete' notifications ever.
Still, for all I harped on about those two things, that's still only caused me to dock half a star between them. The game is still amazing, and a real treat to play through. Thank you for bringing this to us, and I hope to see more submissions by you.
Thanks a lot, for so detailed review!
I really appreciate it!
And will do my best to make nice next works.
The game had some very good concepts and moments of fun. Although many puzzles are the same things I've seen other places. Listen, I know it's hard to come up with some decent puzzles when you're working with a simple platformer, but there's only so many times I can find 'mashing keyboard buttons to get the button that solves the puzzle.' enjoyable, even when it's not telegraphed. "yell for help" was entertaining, but not really engaging.
The 'graphics messed up' levels were some amount of challenge, trying to remember where platforms were in the second run, and the blocks appearing did add some nice flavor, but... having the blocks that prevent you from winning ran completely counter to the mechanics. The character floated and slid far to much for the precision that a couple of the levels demanded.
The other sticking point for me was that there were a couple of times that the game and incentives ran counter to each other. A difficult platformer is an experience of learning through failure. Level 29 comes to mind. Difficult platforming segment, but with penalty for failure. Things like level 40, it's hard, for me at least, to move the mouse at the same speed as the character in any game. not to mention level 26 being impossible when the game is muted.
BUT, enough being down, let's get positive. I wouldn't give you a rating of 4.5 if you gave me shit for a game. The music, the aesthetic, the game itself all felt good and was a treat to play. Finishing every level felt great when the announcer looked excited and the audience cheered. Level 42 was by far my favorite, because it actually called for some brainbending attentiveness I've not run across in a long time. Delicious difficulty.
And I've seen a lot of people get down on the final boss, Don't dare listen to 'em. As far as boss battles, this was awesome. The boss moved and continued to function throughout each stage in a consistent, clear manner, and there was absolutely nothing by way of Random Number Generation going on. RNG kills a game's enjoyability. Figuring out each stage and slipping in right at the weakpoint and anticipating the movement of each part there felt amazing as a player when a hit was landed.
That and the sheer cuteness of each character, from the backs of heads populating the audience, to the energetic announcer, to the number of cute and funny hats the contestants wore throughout. I played it through a third time during the course of writing this review, and still found myself smiling even though the challenge had left with nary a backward glance.
The puzzles were mostly cliche'd keyboard and mouse manipulation, things done many times before, with a few exceptions that shone brightly in the mire. The movement as floaty and slippery, and sometimes that got in the way. The audience mechanic kind of felt an insult to injury when dying, and there would be a definite boon to having a few more rounds of beta testing. The last couple of levels were astounding, and the whole game aesthetic was a marvel to behold. A truly enjoyable game, and id did not overstay its welcome.
<<PROSPECTIVE PLAYERS, READ ME>>
Game is good, game is fun and novel, and a trip to be had. Stop reading, give it a spin. Great fun, You'll be glad you did. Only read more when you have given it a shot.
Okay, Great concept, Great Idea. But the issue is, There's no ramp.
Sure, foes get incrimentally tougher with each battle, and more come out with each battle, and new types with each battle... But there's no... RAMP.
Okay, what I mean is... The battles don't get tougher over time. No new units every five seconds, or more tightly woven ranks. I had some issues with the spearmen, but... Who didn't? My problem is that I had NO issues with swordsmen and staffmen.
The killer for me was that the boss got WIPED too easily. He had low health, considering I had, what, 7 tries to kill it? Heck, My Swords/Staffmen never lost once, so when bossman showed up, I led with Spears just for a laugh.
IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN THE SPEARMEN WHUPPED HIM IN THE FIRST ATTEMPT. My weakest unit, by far, and I cream the final army. It took three minutes, but I took no damage, and destroyed him. He needed to get tougher to beat over time, and quickly. His power needed to ramp so hard that Mt. Everest looks like an afternoon hike. Game was too easy for the challenge it COULD have presented.
I could say a lot of things, but I'm going to refer to the review dropped by Menace13 before me. Saves good, exploration meh, Text ARGH, so on and so forth.
What I do have to add, is that along with the source and inspiration drawn heavily from VVVVVV, I felt twinges that felt strikingly similar to Solstice and Limbo. Solstice? I don't know, something about how the areas strung together, the keys and the collections of stuff, just seemed like it would lend itself to a few of the mechanics found there. Some collections would have been nice, but since everything could probably be done with your basic skills, unnecessary. As for Limbo? Being constrained to unidirectional movement did add some challenge, which dropped out with an audible thud later on.
Again, the exploration problems seem to need repeating. Going from place to place wasn't challenging, it was agonizing tedium. A few options would have been nice, muting the music after hearing the same loop for 20 minutes, yeah? An in-game notebook which held the Legend of Zelda Lost woods north-west-south-wests of this game would have been nice, as finding a (working)pen and (failing that, a) pencil broke all sense of flow.
I had no idea what was important, or what went where or whereamIsupposedtogotheworldistoobig- look, after you let us out of the initial area, we're dumped into this large, comparatively HUGE landscape filled with minimal landmarks and no direction. I hear mention of a cellar somewhere, and a tower? I thought I found both a few times, but was wrong. I never finished the game, because I'm passing out as I type, but, I May come back soon to try and figure this out. Failing that, I'm looking up a let's play.
Don't rush your next game. Hell, this one could have benefited from a few more weeks love and care. Maybe even a more robust Beta Testing phase. I dunno. But this looks like it has so much potential, and it feels amazing right up until we're dumped into the overworld unceremoniously to go look for plot. Please fix... Somehow.
Alright, I don't understand this game.
Is it an art game? It has all the markings of wanting to be one. The music, the time manipulation mechanic, and the great drawings.
Is it a challenge game? It has the telltale mark of that, too. A difficulty curve so steep it has an overhang.
If it's supposed to be an art game, then the challenge needs to be engaging, without being obstructive. clear some hurdles, duck an arrow, not this.. weaving through needle-like gaps in geometries and volleys of oncoming archery. And I've only gotten as far as 781. The 100 years back thing seemed awesome at first, but then it felt like it was far too much later on, when I spent 10 tries trying to make it past 781, with no progress at all. That and discovering that the words "1st century" were collision objects made me pull my hair.
If it's supposed to be a challenge game, then do away with the checkpoint, or at least make it toggle-able. That and tighten controls down. Make a three speed run rather than a sliding scale, same with jumps, make four-six levels of jump height. This will make it easier to map out obstacles, so that I'm not losing 98 years of timeline because I was a hair too slow and a hair too shallow on jumps that are hard to measure out and so difficult to gauge. This made me tear hair out in bloody clumps.
In general, the things that worked were the visual aesthetic, The simple drawings that contained each a few frames of still animation made it feel alive, even with mechanical movements. The music sounded nice, and was calming. It all made me want more.
What killed the game, KILLED it, I say... was the indecision between art and challenge, the controls themselves. Where I had to measure out a jump height just seconds before it was made, regardless of whether or not I released the button, the inability to change speed mid-jump or mid-slide, The fact that the music tied so close to the speed, making it aggravating to listen to certain parts unless the speed was in the green zone, and the utter lack of consistency in control feel. I could jump, planting my cursor in the same spot, where I wanted my head to be at the apex, and get two different jumps, depending on whether or not I clicked at the floor (making Sticklyman jump high, killing me) or above his head (making him jump low, same result.) And keyboard controls didn't help the matter. Honestly, I think a better scheme would have been to stick with keyboard, with three or four jump buttons, a slide button, and a speed up and slow down button.
Long story short? You got lightning here, but haven't bottled it. What the game needs is some more structure in controls, to pick a side on the art/challenge spectrum and go for it a little more deeply, and some general cleaning. Seriously, the music nut in me went apeshit at not only the tempo slides, but the altogether stops every time I jumped. Fix it.
Short story short? Good game, fix control structure, do something with the challenge level, wipe dirt.
Short short story short? 7/10 Needs improvement
I'd keep going, but I'm already beating a dead horse here.
Not really a good capture of the feeling of the Roguelikes. Not a lot of customization allowed, and only one weapon and armor slot each. Enchantments are pretty vague, and many small complaints litter the whole game when cast in the light of Rogue and NetHack. I assume that those WERE the games that inspired it, as the Amulet of Yendor is my main goal here.
It is a fun game and a good way to spend time, exploring dungeons and all.
I did encounter a bug. When in the underworld, I stunned the boatman, and then tried to go back to the dungeon (recieved prompt and all) and couldn't. Couldn't even open my menu at that point, either.
There were a couple issues I took to immediately. The kinds of things I've come to expect in a launch game of this style that were mishandled, really.
1) The controls. Awesome launch mechanic, but, once I gained control, the flight itself was squiffy. burning fuel to tilt up and down? I'm sorry, but every engine I've liked in a flight game has increased speed, not altered altitude. that and no matter how upgraded the engine is, you still start out at a paltry 5 mph and crawl through the numbers like you got a ball and chain tied to your one good arm.
2) Resources. Loved having several pools to upgrade from, instead of one big 'money' pool. But come on, you seriously made it necessary to strike things that injure my plane in order to collect resources that would help me improve the plane. Counter intuitive, much? That and in order to get a third of the resources, you had to, HAD TO hug the ground, so why have a 100,000 foot altitude ceiling when I spent half my time in the low thousands? the other third, I only noticed gains through leveling and resource cards, so thankfully, those were the ones I only needed about a thousand of all told.
3) Leveling itself. Okay, quests to gain XP, in order to gain levels, which only give a 200 count boost to one resource. I was with you up until that last part of the sentence. Come on, Leveling has been ingrained in minds to give avatar strength, not the arrival of a delivery truck.
4) The upgrade system. Boosters are broken. That's, the bottom line, really. Sure, buying the other things make resource collection easier, but the boosters, once that's maxed out, you're 75% of the way home. That and no matter how upgraded something is, it takes two hits to break, and armor barely helps when you really get into it. With the density of the mines and birds and windmills and all sorts of nasties. Crashing didn't feel like the end of a good run, it felt like a robbery when half my fuel tank and three boosters were still available to this sheep rolling across the ground into yet another owl. that and it breaks randomly. if the wheels and booster go first, you hardly notice, but if the fuel tank drops off first, say good night Irene!
5) Exchanges. With the resources, a great idea, it felt good, and it helped me take my 8,000 water and turn it into wood and food when I needed it. Awesome touch. Issue came from having 3,000 cloth by the end of it and having literally nothing I could do with it. Already upgraded all the cloth-needing things, I wanted steel, but couldn't do it. What I'm saying there is that every resource in an exchanger should have both a 'to get' and a 'to make' option. Even if you just add to the recipes four anything for one something else.
You have a really nice game, and I'm not disputing the ratings, but this really did feel like it fell apart in all the wrong places for me. Some things were fresh, but the rest were either staler than gingerbread houses in July or mishandled. Big fan of you guys, I've played everything JMTB02 has made. I just felt it would be a disservice if these things were left unsaid.
Love it. On my first try I got down to the last two minutes and
"Sup." "Yo" "Hi"
Motherfuckersleavemeaalonefor five seconds....
Found myself trying desperately to
"Sup." "Yo" "Hi"
GODS DAMN IT.
Weave complex patterns through the hallways to
"Sup." "Yo" "Hi"
"Sup." "Yo" "Hi"
Place where I could read more than two seconds of letter, and had about 45 seconds
"Sup." "Yo" "Hi"
WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?
Left to get in position. It handled well, I must say, although the pathfinding to the mouse cursor left a little to be desired, it worked.
One big gripe, I wish the turtles would go away when you go to drop a launcher or prox mine. Hard to see where they already are when your view is obstructed by brown and green blobs.
Beaten in 327 deaths.
Now, I do realize that a lot of this was difficult to program, but... I'm a be frank.
1) Hit recognition needs tightening, like, yesterday. I cannot count how many deaths and near-deaths were caused by passing through the platform I intended to land on.
2) Moving platforms - Yes, they do make a game more difficult, especially when the platform does not move the player, But at least 36 of those deaths were caused when a moving platform I tried to land on either halted my upward or sideways progression. They should be floors, maybe ceilings, but not walls as well.
3) I've played Cat Mario. This reminded me much of it. But in Cat Mario, a lot of things, while difficult, allows the player to take things at his/her own pace, and still surprise someone with a false floor. Look into it for inspiration if you have not already. It will give you a better feel for what many expect from these games. Difficult, where only the paranoid triumph.
4) your first edit seems to prove that you relied on glitchwork, which is a sign of a bad programmer. Everything should be under control at all times, whether or not the player has the coordination and reflexes to do anything with that control is up to, well, the player. Leave it there.
5) Lastly, you seemed to rely on two major traps, Spikes, and drop(Or lift) kills. While each setup was new, different, and challenging, it got boring after the third screen. even the overplayed seizure screens were dull. Traps should be hard to recognize at first, easy to remember, and then switched up.
Other then that, you had a great game here, I give it a well deserved 7. I especially liked the opening screens, simple, yet still a spark of surprise each of the 10 deaths I had there.
Oh! Quick note before I go, please, do something different with the death counter, having that portion of the screen obscured was a bastard, and I would have liked, even for aesthetics, to have been able to remove that frame from view.
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