Avoid be mapped by those dammed ships
You know when you are a timid Island but those stupidy cartographers keep taking maps of you? Yeah.
Arrows keys to move your island.
That was an interesting (and fun) combination of mechanics!
I like how the game becomes progressively harder due to your previous actions and mistakes. The interplay between gobbling up land (making navigation harder) and losing the land again (making the level more restrictive) worked really well!
Graphics were nice and clear, and thematically the game is on point as well.
A daft idea, but it works! Apart from the slight tile fitting bugs on the island, that is.
While the different mechanics fit well, there is one glaring design issue. Reducing the size of the island by ramming into other islands doesn't cost anything, so it is possible to keep collecting more and more bits and pieces with no threat or challenge. This tactic is slow for sure, but it does render the highscore system moot.
The ever expanding (is it infinite?) level progression could be replaced with a static level and a single progress bar which ends the challenge once filled. This way trying to stay big and scoring big is an actual risk vs reward choice the player has to make. Play poorly and the small level fills up with junk and the island is reduced due to necessity, hampering the total score.
This way there would also be a theoretical maximum score attained by not hitting any ships at all and filling the progress bar completely. Another improvement would be to the controls. Continually tapping the arrow keys on a huge map is not enjoyable.
As not to sound harsh, I'll stress that the project is innovative and well made. Sometimes small design tweaks do yield a huge improment, though. This is one of those cases.
Good concept! Works well with the theme(s), liked playing it.
I also like the redraw effect you get when you move the island (it doesn't always 100% work, but we all have bugs in our games…)
I think a lot of what I noticed otherwise has already been said (I didn't submit my hiscore for example, as I kept playing for a while after I noticed the 'ram into islands' thing mentioned above… it didn't feel in the spirit of the game to submit that).
I did notice that the ships still sail over the 'dead' (or carthographed I suppose … solidified into the reality of the sailors) parts of island. A neat idea would be to turn the ships around when they bump into that, but then also to have the rare plane that can continue over land. Would give a nice bit of additional risk/reward (boxing yourself in suddenly has not only a risk, but also a reward … well other than the thing you already have, which is making the island smaller by being 'viewed' and scoring less points at a time, but be more nimble).
As for the either 'keep playing indefinitely by bashing yourself against other islands' or 'I'm stuck and waiting for my gameover' (if you don't do the former)… maybe (the bashing could be somehwat slow and) there could be a time limit to get to the next 'island-bread-crumb'?
OK, this is just an extremely clever combination of mechanics. There's risk/reward in growing your island, and you need to try to manoeuver in such a way to be as compact and square as possible. There's a real cost to getting "hit", because it limits your further movements, which is much more tangible and interesting than simply reducing a health bar. This debris gets even more annoying if you're big, yet the ships pass through this debris unhindered. Conversely, it's possible to rebound from the brink of destruction because a single-square island can sneak through smaller gaps: a great auto-balancing feature. And all this is immediately discoverable to new players without requiring any explanation. Brilliant game design all around!
I'm not too fond of the bfxr sounds, but better than nothing I guess. The pixel art is good in and of itself (I like the island changing shape while moving), but scaling pixels dynamically always looks a bit messy; it might have looked better as high-res vector sprites.
Edit after reading the above comments: you can sometimes destroy bits of your island by pushing into debris, but sometimes not. I hadn't even noticed that it sometimes works, but I agree with @HuvaaKoodia and @remco that it should never be possible.
Thanks for you feedback, @HuvaaKoodia.
I agree with you about the Island ramming strategy.
The reason I added this mechanic was because getting stuck with a big island was sort of frustating but I was running of time and the island smashing was left as an half baked ability. I though that players would avoid destroying the island because a smaller islands gives you less combo points and you need more points each level to expand the exploration area.
Now post jam I see that there is no real reason to survive with a bigger island.
I also like the redraw effect you get when you move the island
It's a bug Aw, thank you, @remco!
About the interaction with Islands and ships, I almost added this mechanic but then you could use it to create a impenetrable wall with the island parts.
I also had considerated having a "ships and land get destroyed when meet" mechanic during development, not sure why I didn't implemented it.
I loved the Airplane idea as an advanced enemy.
Very cool game.
I like the way the difficulty decrease as soon as you get your island croped.
But even if the new islands block your ways, the games tends to be more annoying in the end : You can easily survive by being small, even when map is crowded. I had to suicide to end the game.
I think the game would benefit from another end condition like a % of the map discovered.
Also I like the idea of the plane and, the fact that enemies could evolve like in a civ game. First are basic ships, then biggers ships, planes and in the end satellites ! They would hilight a very big zone ( 5x5 or 6x6 ) then 3-4 seconds later, picture it !
There's a lot more to do with this idea ! Good luck !