Philosopher's Strike

Philosopher's Strike is a space shooter where you need to collect elements you drop from your enemies, in order to transmutate them for gold and ship upgrades.

Your spaceship has a huge Philosopher's Stone on it that explodes enemy ships into valuable elements. Upgrade your ship, try to survive, and gather as much gold as you can!

Tips

  • Each element has it's unique ability.
  • The air element resplenishes by itself over time, you will need to get the rest from your enemies.

The team

Changes done after the jam

* Lots of balancing changes (the jam version could be played indefinitely)
* Tighter controls
* Current wave added to in-game UI
* Gold is attracted by the player
* High score added to the title screen

Voting results

Overall
4th
6.647
Graphics
5th
7.588
Audio
4th
6.882
Gameplay
2nd
7.059
Originality
9th
4.824
Theme
11th
4.706

This game entered in the Team competition (16 entries).

Comments (14)

rnlf
7 months ago

First game I played in this Alakajam!

I'm a bit surprised you actually found time to work on a game while keeping the jam going at the same time, @wan. That being said, I think the game is good and fun to play, though I, personally, would have done a few things differently (or, more likely, would have tried to do them differently and failed miserably).

I'll go through each of the sections and try to give an overview of my thoughts about it. Take them with a grain of salt, as I am
a. a bad game designer,
b. a bad graphics designer and
c. a bad audio designer.

Theme
Tacking the four-elements mechanic onto a space shooter feels a bit far fetched, but the implementation is good, with the elements actually coming out of space-specific things (planets? how rude, I'll assume they're asteroids). Nice touch making the fire be the explosion of the enemies.

I just read the description now, with the philosopher's stone on board, it actually makes a lot more sense :D

Originality
Honestly, there is no super original stuff going on in this game, but I assume you are aware of that. Though, I haven't seen the "collect many parts to get a single upgrade" mechanic in a shmup before, I don't think.

Graphics
This is where the game really shines, in my opinion. The voxelized style is pretty popular at the moment for a reason. It works really well in this game and looked mostly very cohesive. What I didn't like too much was the design of the shield. Or, actually, the design of the shield itself is not actually bad, but it doesn't fit nicely into the rest of the graphics. A voxel shield would make it feel less out of place.

Also, after retrying it right now, I realized I could only see the green philosopher's stone on the green ship panel when looking really closely, in my first few attempts I thought it was only an empty cube rotating there. A bit more contrast might work better.

I think a more pixelated font might fight the graphics theme better, also maybe use a single or two closely related fonts instead of two only similarly themed ones.

Audio
When rating the audio on its own, it's pretty solid. The music has a nice tune and the effects sound very convincing in their chippy way. I feel the music could have used a bit higher fidelity instruments though, to make it fit the not-quite-that-retro graphics style better.

Gameplay
The gameplay kept me invested enough to play quite a lengthy session. After understanding how to acquire the other elements besides fire, I think I got actually relatively good at the game, scoring in at 122,250 points after four or five games.

The implementation is solid, and there is a progression in difficulty. For me personally, this progression could go a bit faster, there was a rather long part in the middle where I didn't feel very challenged.

It turns out there was no reason for me to ever lift my hand of the spacebar. Maybe a small gimmick could be added to make perma-fire less desirable. Thanks for not making me hit the spacebar for every bullet though :)

Maybe building up the power ups over time should go quite a bit slower. I had the biggest gun and highest fire rate very early on and from that time it was only "fire without aming, collect gold, water and earth while avoidin enemy bullets". That part worked pretty well though.

There was a little bug, where some of the elements would get flung out of the playfield, unreachable for the player. In the beginning I was a bit annoyed by that, but it turns out it doesn't change much in the difficulty.

I didn't understand how to get water and earth at first until I hit an asteroid enough times by accident - during my fourth or so replay -, maybe a small explanation would help.

For me the game could be a tiny bit faster overall, but that's a question of taste.

Also a tiny explosion or death animation when the player ship dies would be nice instead of dropping you right into the highscore screen.

The shmup mechanics worked flawlessly for me, well done!

Oh, one last minor thing: I really can't play 2D games with WASD, but my games forces you to play them with cursor keys, so I guess we're even on this one :-p

Overall
Besides the things mentioned above, I think this is a solid, if not necessarily great entry. I had fun playing it. In order to leave some room in my personal rating scheme for games like The One Room Club some of your team worked on for LD37, I'll give you an overall rating of 6 stars, a bit more in Graphics and Gameplay, a bit less in Originality and Theme.

thomastc
7 months ago

This is my favourite entry so far! It nails the retro arcade theme, while also looking modern and 3D. It has smooth controls and challenging gameplay. The music is great, although the sound effects could do with a bit more attention. Too bad that I suck at such games, because I would have liked to see what is coming in the later stages :)

@rnlf Luckily for you (and me), Unity also seems to bind movement to the cursor keys by default!

HonestDan
7 months ago

Found the game enjoyable, despite streaming showing a few different games, this was one of the ones where I wanted to try again a few times!! Well executed, the main draw backs are the lack of theme… did you guys start with the space station theme? and perhaps the originality, as space shooters are relatively common and the shooting patterns etc you aquire was nothing new to me. The rest was very impressive, and the game handles well and has progression to make it interesting the long you play it. Great job!

automatonvx
7 months ago

Nice entry, All felt pretty polished, good art and music. For the voxel style, with a fixed camera a lot of the objects end up looking pretty flat much of the time, seems like you might as well play around with the camera a bit more to make the most of the 3d ness perhaps. Also personally i would lose the grid in the background or make it more subtle, i just find it distracting. Also agree with as someone else said that given the higher res visuals, less chip sounding fx and influence in the music might feel more appropriate, but just minor things. And wheres the online leaderboard? Solid entry overall.

Thrainsa
7 months ago

Thx for the nice feedbacks.
@rnlf In fact, the theme was not really far at first. The idea was to get elements from the environment (this part works pretty well except for the air element). And then you could keep your elements to upgarde passivly your ship or use it to boost temporaly your ship like using fire to send fire shoot, or air to accelerate.
The other mecanisme was the big philosopher's stone on the ship that you were supposed to fill with the four elements at once to change everything you kill into shiny gold.
Obviously, it was too big for 48h.
Graphics: For the philosopher stone, I think we should have imagine another shape for the ship to be able to make the stone bigger.
Gameplay: It's definitely too long in the middle. Upgrading the life of the last type of ship could have be more interesting. If we make a post compo version, this is definitely something we need to work on.

@rnlf @thomastc WASD vs arrow key, it's always hard to choose. I made the choice to enable WASD AND ZQSD (azerty key board). And I don't know how to enable arrow keys in unity when 2 keys are already map for one direction.

@HonestDan "did you guys start with the space station theme?" Seems like @wan start with it xD
No, honestly we didn't start with it, it's just that we like to find something in the theme but not the first thing we think with the theme. And I made a private joke to @wan before it start saying that I already have the name of our game "Space robot alchemy" (that was my 3 favorites themes ;) )

@automatonvx Where is the online board??? Yep, I think that's one on my biggest regret with this entry. But at the end I had a choice, correct bugs/gameplay or make an online board, which would have been useless with a broken game :(

James_Deans_Jeans
7 months ago

This was a well executed shooter. I like that everything drops a pick up, and the ship levels up quickly. I also like the fact that the earth is the life giving element and is primarily dropped by asteroids. This creates an effective strategy of avoiding enemies while gathering heath resources after having taken damage. This game was fun with decent replay value.
I would like it if the enemy lasers tracked the players position more, as it was difficult to open up lanes in their fire, But perhaps that played too easy… or hard. The theme seemed to be of little significance beyond painting the power ups. The music was pleasant but not entirely fitting. Also, a stronger damage indication would help the feel.
Good work, though. This game presents well.

bradur
7 months ago

Good looking shmup with nice sfx & music. I thought the relation to the theme was a little far fetched.

KorbohneD
7 months ago

Pretty solid graphics, pretty solid gameplay. I liked it, even though the it was pretty far away from the theme with the only connection being the upgrading stuff part.
Exactly that one is a little bit unbalanced with me getting the updates pretty fast and then just shooting all the bad guys afterwards.
On that note, if you make it so that you have to collect something, please note in the future that normaly stuff flies a little bit towards you, when you fly close to it. That way you have more time for the actually fun shooty bit and use less concentration on the boring gather points bit.
It also looks good if gold flies towards you, just a sidenote.

But all in all, I liked it very much.

DancingClownGames
7 months ago

We really liked audio and gameplay. Nice job!

Lokior
7 months ago

Really nice and smooth sailing.
An alchemist through space protecting the philosopher's stone from evil pirates.
Loved it, graphics are nice and simple.
Start screen is nice
Game music is a bit childish but it goes super well with the game and style.
my own personal bad notes is are 1-we did'nt think going into space with our game and 2-playing with keyboard only is always a mess for me (but it's really only a me thing)
11/10 great job guys!

HuvaaKoodia
7 months ago

Very basic side scrolling shooter. The graphics are technically fine, but I did get a slightly different vibe from the title menu. The flat shaded voxel models didn't live up to my neon fueled expectations; looks a bit bland to me. Audio is ok'ish, slightly hard on the ears due to the chiptune tones.

The theme simply isn't there. This is a spaceship shooter where you collect powerups to improve your ship, just like most shmups. Which is to say originality is out the window too… Which is to say playing isn't that interesting either.

A manual upgrade system where you mix elements to improve different part of the ship would have been more thematic. Some combinations might even be bad for you? Sure, you had a more complicated design idea, but ran out of time in the end. I understand that and feel the pain.

What can I say, below average is the best you can get with such drastic shortcomings.

O 4, G 8, A 5, G 5, O 1, T 1

Aurel300
6 months ago

Hi! We played your game with Danae on this twitch channel, and now the video is available on YouTube. Feel free to check it out :)

Danae plays: Philosopher's Strike

Wan
6 months ago

@Aurel300 Thanks for linking to the video, it was fun watching you beat @TimBeaudet's score ;)

Jupiter_Hadley
5 months ago

This game is quite fun! I included it in my compilation video series of all of the games entered in the Alakajam #1, if you’d like to take a look. :) https://youtu.be/QBXJYhpSjpA

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Info

A game of robots, space and alchemy

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Authors

wan
Thrainsa

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@Wan 3900
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