Cool idea, but the implementation of weapon swapping in-battle is just painful to play. The culprit seems to me to be few under-thought misfeatures that may have sounded okay on paper or even tested in isolation of each other:
- Only one key controls the transition from style to style, and it only cycles in its fixed order (yellow->blue->green). This alone, I think, is just an inexplicable handicap that I could have gotten over with some practice, but not if...
- Style automatically cycles if you overheat your current style; this can happen mid-combo, while blocking, really any time unless you cycle every other key or so. Of course, that will never work because...
- Being green is a terrible idea if you were recently blue. The only way the long-range style can avoid damage is to be far away, and her back-step just isn't quick enough to outrun any of the enemies when they are attacking. Thus, you have to gain a lot of distance with yellow's E evade before you double-tap space to switch to green. This is a maneuver fraught with complications for the above two reasons. If you have been using your yellow style for anything else, you might not have enough left to get to the other side, and poof! you are unexpectedly a blue sitting duck mid-screen, and that double-space turns you back to yellow, which has no more energy. Even if you have planned a cautious, slow retreat covered by blue style's E block, enemies cover that distance so quickly that green style still isn't safe to stand still - which is her only move. In addition to being a death trap in most cases, green doesn't do much damage OR heal very efficiently, so I would use her VERY sparingly if at all.
So the control scheme is unusable, and I cannot figure out why you intentionally went off the beaten path to accomplish this. I would be happier with:
- Nine keys, one for each possible action, e.g. QWE = yellow QWE, ASD = blue QWE, ZXC = green QWE. No independent cycling keys; never cycle unless I ask for it by pressing an action outside of my current style. If I don't have the energy for the corresponding style, do nothing, instead of something I didn't intend.
- Two cycle keys, let's say right and left shift. One obviously goes in the reverse order, so that if I want to go blue->yellow->blue, I would press right-shift, left-shift, right-shift. At least give me the option to turn auto-cycling for lack of energy off, and if I leave it on, have it go in the opposite direction of the last intentional shift.
- One default style, two shifted styles. Again suppose, assuming blue is default, that holding left shift will cause me to use yellow style and holding right shift will cause me to use green style. Whether or not I have the option to configure which style is default, I would still like it better this way because it eliminates all uncertainty about what style I will be in at any given moment. Forget about auto-cycling here, just have the action fail if I don't have the corresponding energy.
- The classic 1 = turn yellow, 2 = turn blue, 3 = turn green. We've been doing this for weapon selection for ages and it works just fine. Again, please let me opt-out of automatically cycling when I run out of energy.
Apart from the battle system, while the presentation and story are not terrible, there is not much integration between the mechanics I went through (battles, walking right / cut scene, upgrading) and in every case it felt barely hacked together. As if it was originally planned as entirely cinematic, but someone decided it had to be merged with some other game project about a color-coded morphing ninja, and rather than spend time on designing maps and levels to explore, the devs just forced me to hold the right arrow key while the original cinematic played. Between cutscenes, I play the game about the color ninja, and if I win, Talia goes on with her movie.
When I upgraded, it was not only very unclear what the upgrades were supposed to be doing precisely, but it was also unpredictable where in the level I would be when I left the upgrade screen. Sometimes I started the room over, sometimes I skipped ahead. Again this feels like a half-baked feature tacked on by a third party who had little passion for the project but knew that every game has to have upgrades now, so the 4 most bland, indistinct improvements were put together in a dialog over a lunch break.
Okay, now the good points. The animations and art are pretty good quality. Story is not terrible. Enemies in battles have good variety of tactics. The mechanics of the combat system itself, if it could be controlled in a way that wasn't so irritating, are cool ideas that deserve more exploration than the control scheme and upgrade system currently allow.
Guys, how many times do I have to tell you to play your games all the way through at least once on every release? Everything goes too fast in battle. Enemies tend to walk through walls. Instructions are not very clear. Forget it, I'm not playing your games anymore.
Oh cool, another third party browser plugin with a closed standard. Hey, I broke it! I didn't and will not ever install Unity. Don't makes games for Unity if you want me to play and review and rate them. The same goes for any closed-standard zero-interoperability platform. We've been down this road countless times and it has never either failed due to a previous plugin with overlapping features, or introduced security risks that no one but the Unity author can solve (slowly, if ever).
I didn't realize our target audience was specifically you. This is the only place we can host it online for the public TO TEST! If you don't want to play, that's fine. Don't play then. Or wait until we have the game done and on Steam or somewhere. I know the Unity plug-in is weird, but it is what we have. It's a 3D game, we have no other option. Unity is allowed on NewGrounds.
It's a cool concept, but it takes so much guesswork and time (3x is way too little) to get anything at all to happen. I'm afraid I'll have to abandon it, though if you continue to work at it, then PM me amd maybe I'll play it again.
But it goes up to x100 speed! D:
Try the tutorial.
Anyway, the 2D version of the game is no longer under development, so there wont be any changes or fixes to this version of the game, but like I said in the description, we're working on a 3D version of the game with many more features.
This is basically what it looks like right now:
Thanks for the feedback either way!
A couple of bugs: about every time I pressed "start wave" on the "wave" tab, I entered the wave with my drone in "battle" mode, which I did not want. At least once, I started in "medic" mode inadvertently as well, but I'm not sure about the context. That was a confusing moment; I thought the new kind of bugs were healed by my drone bullets, it turned out everything was healed by my drone bullets.
I can tell what everything is supposed to be by looking at it. Presentation star get!
The mechanics are sort of a neat little mashup of defense, tactical, shooter, and RPG, each in its own micro sort of way. The mix works and produces fun. Not afraid to kill you right away, which means your target gamer is not a crybaby. Thanks for the respect.
I think what most critics are referring to as difficulty is more accurately described as "trial and error gameplay". When I lose, whether it's a barricade, a veteran sniper, or the whole base, it's usually because I did something wrong. There is something I could have done to prevent it. But there was no indication (with some big exceptions) what I should have done before it happened. That doesn't mean the game is hard, it just means the game is hard the first time you try to do anything.
I don't think the manual is quite enough to "reduce casualties" as you put it. It's enough to explain the interface, which is absolutely necessary; even with a lot of stuff locked at first, it looks a little intellectually intimidating. The manual tells you how to play, but really doesn't say anything about how to win. You still need trial and error to figure out how a lot of key things work.
The differences between unit types and what makes them effective or not effective, in particular, I did not see as being intuitive or adequately conveyed by the documentation and interface. I expected, for example, the gunner to be great at suppression fire, but it turned out to be terrible at suppression fire, which I discovered by losing a barricade, the gunner, and another unit. The plain old marine is the best at suppression fire because his bullets kick most enemies back all the way to the edge of his range, whereas gunner bullets do not seem to bother martians until they suddenly die. The same could be said of the railgun, but they do tend to suddenly die on the first shot.
The manual also fails to portend the underground worms that can fry your units that are behind perfectly healthy barricades. That I learned by having 5 experienced units fried from behind nice strong barricades. It doesn't say that your units can fire from behind barricades either, but you can figure that out from the interface without taking any losses.
I'm still figuring out the enemy color coding, of which the manual makes no mention. The black things take little damage from your units but are weak to drone fire, correct? It sure seems that way, and if I made a habit of using the drone in medic mode, I'm pretty sure I could have lost on the first wave where I encountered them. The mystery is the green bugs; how the hell do I kill the green bugs? I know something works because one or two of them did die, but if it doesn't have some critical weakness like the black giants, then it just has an unreasonable amount of HP.
All things considered, good game, I like it. Doesn't treat me like I'm going to run and cry when I lose, which you would think is what happens in most modern games that have an auto-save every time you successfully blink.
I love this genre, and my passion for it has gone largely unsatisfied for a long, long time. The story is present and as good as it needs to be, graphics are good enough, sounds are good enough. +1 presentation.
In addition to having done the beat-em-up right, your additions are solid. Characters are in good variety, each have ever-expanding options for their moveset. I like sequences instead of hotkeys, but hotkeys are in style, so whatever. I definitely haven't seen two-layer customization of special moves in a beat-em-up, if any game at all, so kudos. +1 design
The AI-controlled henchmen, each with dynamic skillset, means that your character and skill build can actually be customized to fit a party together in different ways. I'm actually having a hard time finding a party composition that just won't work without fiddling with the skill particulars. +1 design, +1 execution.
Would have been cool to see character attributes evolving or buy or find equips in secret rooms, but there is a lot of character building going on anyway.
Enemies were varied and original. They weren't all pulled directly from a Tolkien novel (or any of the bajillion games that have done so) so I didn't immediately know the best strategy for defeating them. Figuring out what they were and how to kill them was often over before I could finish the process of trial and error, but hey, at least I didn't see an isolated village of elves who don't care for the cave dwelling dwarves who reluctantly came together to help me fight orcs with axes, and ogres with blunt objects all the time. +1 design, +0.5 execution.
The game is a little fast-paced for me to really evaluate sidekick and enemy AI, but generally when I play the role I put together for my character within my party, I encountered the challenges I expected, won if I filled that role effectively, and lost if I didn't. Therefore, the sidekicks and enemies must have all known what they were doing. +1 execution,
I felt that the hitbox width and character reach were a little small; for reach, go ahead and make the attack animations a little more dramatic than a quick rotate arm/skew body, maybe make weapons a little longer. I can't even count how many times I whiffed repeatedly thinking surely I was in plane and within a sword's length. I did get used to it, though, so just -0.5 execution. For the fact that I often couldn't tell whether my character had actually done his or her skill animation or if instead I had slipped my finger and just attacked normally, I have to dock you -0.5 presentation too.
A lot of folks have complained that there is a lot of frameskip type lag. I didn't see this as game-breakingly bad running FF on Win7, computer maybe 4-5 years old that was not at all top of the line at the time. -0.5 execution.
The lag is what I call frameskip because it appears that time elapses even though it is not being drawn or accepting input. That means some threads of your code maintaining the game state are performing fine, but some step limits the rate at which the state can be rendered. I don't know a thing about flash, but if I was writing this for HTML5, I would rule out any physics, collision, mechanics, and AI as optimizations and focus on graphics and layers close to it. The circumstances I saw where there was some lag involved having a lot of enemies running around (i.e. the necromancer before I realized he was summoning more mobs) or a lot of status effects or other special effects going on. Obviously you'll want to limit the number of active characters - I do hope that necromancer boss has some sort of limit, and if so I think you should turn it down. If you haven't been doing so, some of the enemies and some of their animations can be pre-rendered to make them draw faster. I don't recall if they did any really dynamic stuff like ragdolling, but you can rasterize and cache just about anything else. This will be especially helpful if your textures or sprites are getting scaled down or rotated all the time. As for special effects, you always have to watch out for a lot of dynamic transparencies - especially dynamic radial gradients. Remember that these can be rasterized too, and while composition will still cost you, at least you won't be doing so many square roots on every frame. When I did this for 5ong (RIP) there was no perceptible quality loss and a truly epic performance improvement.
Just two other bugs bring your total down from 5 stars to 4.5. At some point (I'm gonna guess after I lost a battle then tried it again) the "Game Over" screen started to fade in over the battlefield every time I paused to use an item or fiddle with skills. The game didn't end at that point, so no big deal, just weird, -0.25. Finally, I often had to cycle through my whole party - I think several cycles at least once! - at the beginning of each battle in order to be in control over the character I wanted AND have the correct skill bar displayed. Again, no big since there wasn't usually an immediate ambush, I got used to mashing F a few times at the start of each battle, -0.25.
Your final score of 4.5 means that you have made a great game with a few pesky flaws that will not prevent me from finishing it and having good fun doing so. Probably right now. So cheers!
Thanks for review
The henchman AI is overpowerd compared to standard enemy AI, since it reacts alot faster than enemy. There is delay on enemy block action, henchmen don't have that. I wanted henchmen take care themselves and not have player worry about them.
There is a dummied out equipment system with couple accessories. I cut it because the game was already huge.
Necromancer (I call him Collector since it's a contruct that builds, maintains and plants those walking corpses around the crypt and is the last line of defense between the player and the final room of the crypt) originally didn't have a minion limit, then I put 1000 minion limit, then 10 and finally 7 + 4 limit. Since the Collector is a guardian contruct that builds minions from corpses I wanted him to be very insane flunky boss. He was insane but I toned him more managable level.
When I started writing the story, I avoided using Tolkien as a primary inspiration. Very first rule I made: No elves, No dwarfs. Every fantasy cliche I hate got crushed in this story and cliches I love got in. The unwinnable battle at the beginning of the game sucked but it was necessary for story. The Fumus Empire (Hostile state that was mentioned here and there) originally had bigger presence on story but I cut it because I realized it didn't contribute much to the story. In hindsight it would have helped to flesh out universe more. My only regert in the story is the potrayal of goblins and ogres. Goblins and ogres are alot more civilized than this game shows. Also human world is full of empty towns and villages since the Great Chaos wiped out 2/3 of world population.
Also thanks for the tips on performance. I'm aware on performance hits on using gradient colors, rotations and tweening. This game's development started in the beginning of 2013 and I only recently learned about amazing program called Spriter which is for making spritesheet. Had I known about this program eariler, it would saved a lot of valuable performance budget.
I did definitely bite more than I could chew when making this game but I learn best when I doing things through hard way.
Very cool in concept, and slick in execution. Good difficulty curve too. I like how every tree, wall, and claw is slightly different, that is a really neat touch. I understand that the whole ludum dare thing introduces some limitations, but I think it would be cool if some of the gems like this saw extensions or sequels that are more feature-rich. Maybe I want different kinds of minions to choose from and upgrade, maybe more than one enemy type, and so on and so forth. For what it is, though, the game is great. Well done.
I am a sucker for side scrolling beat-em-ups; my formative years consisted of shoveling quarters into machines like TMNT, The Simpsons, XMen, and finally in the twilight of the genre's limelight, games like Dungeons and Dragons and Battle Circuit took it to a whole grand new level with infinite promise. Shortly thereafter the genre mysteriously tanked. I blame the advent of full 3D rendering, but whatever.
Long story short, I do appreciate throwbacks to this genre that play smoothly like this game. Animations are well done in that they use both the retro pixel crunchiness and the more modern 2D standard transform-based movements without making either of the approaches feel hacked together or forced. Everything moves at the right pace, the character and enemy speed, reach, and hit reactions just feel right. With one exception. The "boomstick" move almost never hits for any character. It looks like it should have some reach or spread, especially with the knights whose "boomstick" is a big flashy wave, but it almost always passes harmlessly through enemies.
This brings me to my next mixed feeling: you've gone to the trouble of putting together a nice big variety of playable characters, and I tend to like that for a beat-em-up. But since all of them share one move set and similar (if not identical) quantitative abilities, the great selection is reduced to superficial fluff. Check out some of the all time greats of the genre like Knights of Valor and D&D: Shadow Over Mystara and you will see that every character is a very different experience to play, has a different set of combos and specials... that's the ideal model for how to implement a large cast of playable characters in a beat-em-up. Just having the cast like this game is disappointing if you make that comparison, and it leaves this game feeling very much incomplete.
The incompleteness is yet more obvious in the progression of enemies and environments. There simply is none. There are two enemy types and only one room. I do have to give you credit for giving the skeletons a little bit of sense in trying to spread out and get behind me sometimes, but the big red boss relies entirely on his disregard for my attacks. It seems like all I can do there is hit and run, try to stay out of his ludicrous reach. The skeletons, despite their best efforts and numeric advantage, are almost always defeated by spamming XXZZ once they're all on the same side.
By this point, the monotony weighs very heavily on my motivation to climb the leaderboard or to get the next character; the game is not delivering anything of substance once the player masters these two very simple tactics.
I want to encourage you to develop this further, even though I'm sure it sounds like I've made a lot of complaints. The engine is great and plays very efficiently, there are no bugs that I could find, the art is retro-cool, and I had a good time playing it for a while. It's just unfinished. The mechanics for giving a character a decent sized move set are obviously there, as are the beginnings of a viable AI. There's no reason to throw away any of your code or assets, just extend what you've got to make more substantive variety in characters, add more enemies, add more environments. If you do that, you will have a great game that I will enjoy a lot, and you have my word that it will get my glowing review as soon as it's worthy.
Great game! Good enough graphics, could use some music; I could bring my own, but then I wouldn't hear the skill CD sound effect. Quick & simple to pick up. Good selection of skills, they really work for letting you develop a style, and freely redistributed points make it fun to try everything without worrying about the next level. My final skill set was dive, devour, and armagedon[sic], but I can see a real master going with some combination of the final invincibility/drain skill and devour or healing or both.
Only complaint: I didn't gain a level on the first dive, and later, I topped out (level 18) at stage 13. That means the level curve could use some adjustment. Very little exp for your first skill point makes it clear what kind of choices you'll be making throughout the game right away. I have the feeling you didn't want to make it a grind-fest, and it's supposed to ultimately be a game of finger-work, but going through more than half the game without advancing abilities any further doesn't feel right anymore.
Overall this is great, though. Will play sequel!
I noticed a lot of features that affected my experience while playing this, and found some quirky bugs, too. That feature of the review is locked in this version.
NG is not a free advertisement platform. Upload a full game on NG and I'll write a full review.
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