Infested Zone

It's a game this time. What do you know!


Top-down shooter. Complete 5 levels to win. Tutorial included.
Keyboard and mouse only (WASD and arrow keys both work!)

Developer's comments

A fun project. Turned out pretty much the way I intended. Even managed to wrangle the graphics as not to be embarrasing. Could use a few more sound effects (hopefully you won't notice where!)

No WebGL build as the current Unity version has a bug with the new Tilemap system.

Comments (13)

2 months ago

Tough but fun. Minor points, would be easier to see what was going on if the darkness and walls were not quite the same shade of black so it was easier to see where the room ends and where its just shadow.. sometimes its not too clear. Would add left click to retry since there is so much retrying, no need to make the user take a hand of the mouse. Liked the screenshake and the stylistic choice of the sudden black as death.
Liked it.

2 months ago


Thanks for playing.

Didn't think about the darkness being an issue. It looks way better being the same shade, yet maybe some tweaking could be done for the inevitable WebGL version.

I totally forgot to change the arrows in the tutorial to WASD, after all that is how it is intended to be played! Added that to the description.

2 months ago

Overall impressions

The torchlight mechanic is excellent.

While similar view cones seem to be used in a lot of top-down games, I don't think I've played any that used the concept in a such way.

Having the darkness use the same color as the walls is a strong choice, and to me it definitely works. Requiring the player to remember the level layout, having him rely on sound to know when enemies are near, the double fear of getting hit by monsters & of retreating into uncleared territory make things pretty exciting. A true horror game, except in top-down 2D.

On the other hand I found the game hard to the point of being unfair at times, mostly because of the (random?) level design. I died a lot but still haven't managed to beat level 2 :P

Here's my suggestions:

  • Wider spaces/larger rooms with less branching, at least in the early levels
  • Make attacking enemies visible even in the dark, maybe as a pair of blue eyes (I've died sometimes without knowing how/why, which can be frustrating). Of course idle ones would remain hidden.
  • Maybe make the view cone a bit wider
  • Tweak the art a bit to give the overall scene more contrast: blue enemies and grey missiles don't contrast too much with the background of similar shades of blue/grey. Otherwise the art is acceptable indeed, and the enemy animation was a good investment to make the mood more oppressive.

Oh and fyi I wanted to make our game frightening, but yours succeeded much more than ours, so props for that!

Game juice

First I'll note a good use of camera shake in general. The wall-breaking bombs are pretty satisfying to use, with a super polished explosion & smoke effect.

Surprisingly the basic shooting felt less satisfying, with for instance little feedback when first hitting an enemy, and some missed potential for maybe a trail of particles on those slow-ish bullets, and/or some smoke when we shoot them.

I did not reach the levels with lava yet, but the work-in-progress gif seemed promising.

2 months ago

Thanks for the thorough criticism.

Tweaking the level generator is something I should have done indeed. Wider areas in the beginning is a good idea. Another is custom starting locations which are better protected from surrounding enemies. Currently you just get a random pick from the pool of all available rooms, which I slapped together in about an hour (reminds me I still need to write a post about the generator).

Visible eyes maybe for some enemies or when using an upgrade? Didn't get to implement any of those you see. I'll add that to the list. Currently all you can do is listen and tread carefully.

More contrast, I agree. Hit particles, yup forgot those. No sound effect on hit either, which was a deliberate omission (due to trying to finish the project and move on). The lava looks nicer now too. You can see it in the Dev Commentary, if you don't mind spoilers.

I have a strong feeling I will revisit this prototype in the future and flesh it out, so thanks again for the feedback. The WebGL patch version should pop earlier than that though. ETA, once a new Unity version comes out!

2 months ago

For me the game fades to black and stays there (I see the white round cursor though and can move it around) after the first level (after I destroy the wall and walk to the purple particle). So I can't say much about the game on the whole.

Anyhow, from the first level I can tell that the mechanics that are in place seem to work well. I found the shooting to be quite juicy indeed, what with the screen shaking and sounds being plucky. The darkness and ambience give the game a pleasantly creepy atmosphere.

The controls are a little weird to me, since I guess I expected W or Up arrow to go where the player is pointing at, rather than having fixed directions. It didn't take much to get used to, though, so it's a minor issue.

I also enjoyed the tutorial. It's very clear, and no words were required.

2 months ago

Well, that is weird. There is hardly a difference between the tutorial scene and the main scene. I wonder if the shaders bugged out. It might be the tilemap too, given that it is a new Unity feature.

Could you try again with a different graphics quality level perchance? (You don't happen to have access to multiple computers, do you?)

Thanks for giving it a go nonetheless.

2 months ago

I tried it out with highest and lowest quality settings, windowed and fullscreen. Here's a video:

2 months ago

Cor, a video! Well done.

Ok, two possibilities. Either your computer setup (hardware, OS, drivers, etc) for some reason breaks the tilemap system in Unity or the data files aren't there (or being read properly). Hopefully the latter.

Check the InfestedZone_Data/StreamingAssets folder. It should have two .CSV files. You see, I got the same black screen result by removing those two.

2 months ago

I have BasicRooms.csv & TestRooms.csv there, so that's not it I suppose.

2 months ago

Okay, the problem was probably at my end. I had some weird read-only stuff going on where I unpacked the game. I moved the folder to another drive, and it seems to be working now. Sorry!

2 months ago

No worries! I'm glad you got it working and doubly glad that it wasn's a Unity issue. That would've eroded my confidence in the engine.

2 months ago

A quite challenging, and very atmospheric game! I had the same technical issue as bradur, including the fix of having to unpack the game to a folder on another drive, after which is worked fine. (specifically I moved it from F: to E:)

The game was quite hard, I didn't manage to get past level 3. As you mentioned, perhaps starting the player off in a small "safe" dead end corridor would prevent the "sudden death" issue that often crops up when a level starts.

As for the juiciness, I agree with Wan that the game feels quote atmospheric/scary - the enemy sound effects, and the fact that you hear them before you see them, works really well.

The effect of destructible terrain on the feeling of juiciness and power cannot be understated, and it works well in the game, both when you cause it directly using the bombs, or indirectly through defeating the explosive enemies. The bombs are also very satisfying to use.

The small screens shake effect when firing, makes the small gun feel quite satisfying, even though it is a weak weapon mechanics-wise.

I think that the lack of a dying effect is the most noticeable lack of juiciness in the game. Especially since you often die without even seeing what killed you. Considering the overall mood of the game, some kind of horrific death effect would seem fitting.

If tweaked a bit, I think that the randomness of the levels, even in-between respawns in the same level, works well: You don't have to retrace your steps, but get a new area to explore - which, given the tense atmosphere of the game, feels like a good thing. Currently, the levels feel a bit too random however. Perhaps place some random fixtures/decorations in the level as well (e.g. machinery, with lights being visible in the dark, which is either on unless destroyed, or can be turned on by the player until destroyed - these could work as "navigation points" in the otherwise dark world.

Slowly moving forth,
fearing what lurks in darkness.
But alas! No ducks.

2 months ago

Thanks for playing!

I'm glad the scary atmosphere is coming though. I could not test it as I'm not feeling it at all, the curse of knowing how everything works.

The difficulty is high, most certainly. I dig challenge so I tend to go for that whenever making games specifically. It is a niche I'm willing to develop for.

Not tweaking the level generator some more is my biggest regret, now that I think about it. It would not have been hard. Well, something for the future then. Graphical level variation and lights here and there are solid ideas, will think of something along those lines too.

I'm not living up to my past track record. Completely forgot them ducks again. Not that a bright yellow ducky would really fit, but still. I'm as disappointed as you are.

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