It's your final magic exam, cast spells and solve puzzles!
Solo project, made in puzzlescript, I'm very tired… Warning that in-game jokes may only be funny to me and other sleep deprived jammers. =)
Optional background music I made during the jam, in the last half-hour… It's easier to just loop it in another tab than to use puzzlescript's builtin youtube loader, and this gives you guys volume control, too. Turn it way down, it's pretty bad.
Thanks everyone! @thesunda, to give you some idea of puzzlescript's limitations, every sprite is 5 pixels by 5 pixels (defined in text like .000.01010.000..222..333.), and must occupy a space on the grid. To make larger characters, you have to create two sprites, and then set a rule like:
After that, just make sure that all the heads are drawn in a separate higher layer, and erased at the start of every frame, and you're good! Animations are similarly difficult, you have to swap out separate sprites every frame as their own rules. So there are benefits and limitations to working in puzzlescript, but it was a fun little framework to try out. Even the visual cutscenes are something I haven't seen done before in it, and basically ate up all of my level tokens with the custom 5x4 font they needed… sorry if it's a little difficult to read, I tried my hardest to make it legible.
I really liked the gameplay. The game was very polished for something made in 48h and the puzzles were pretty good (but some where just repetitive). The mana mechanic fits the theme very well but I had trouble trying to understand the earth one because the mechanic of water splashing that was not very intutive. What i really liked was the rewind mechanic, made try and error easier to understand.
A tricky and enjoyable puzzle with many small, unfortunate, downsides.
The water splash and wind direction mechanics took me a while to understand properly due to the lack of feedback and hints. Perseverance prevailed and the extra credit levels were a blast! Took me quite a bit of thinking to finish those levels.
The main mechanic, alongside the spells, is the inability to turn in place, strangely enough. This is imperative for the small levels to work, but feels weird as it is something every human ever can do. Not an actual issue this one, more of an observation.
I didn't get the outro, but other than that the humor added much needed levity. The extremely low pixel count graphics and font…Not a fan, but they do function just fine. You managed to add character to the tiny portraits, though. so a point there.
The music does fit, a longer loop would be preferable, and the sound effects certainly go with the graphics…
The undo feature records menu movements too, which is unnecessary. Is it a limitation of puzzlescript?
Good work, if not for the small problems. So ah, above average work!
Overall: Above Average (6.0)
Graphics: Above Average (6.0)
Audio: Above Average (6.0)
Gameplay: Great (8.0)
Originality:Above Average (6.0)
Theme:Above Average (6.0)
Jesus, that was a struggle. Almost gave up soooo many times but after about two hours I finally made it…
Dunno if some of these critizisms are due to puzzlescript limitations but here it goes anyway. The whole spell selecting and undo system was very clumsy. Changing spells didn't even come up until the very end so it shouldn't ever default to empty slots. Same goes for undo, shouldn't need to individually undo each spell change and movement, player always wants to undo the previous spell they cast and not be in the spell menu after that.
My biggest hurdle was the wind levels. I really struggled hard trying to grasp how to properly push the trees. And I think I passed the third tree level without actually destroying everything. Pushing the trees to water also felt somehow inconsistent, from a single spot I could move a tree 2 or three spaces (by being above or one step past) but they both resulted in the same thing of it not hitting the water. Really made the level pictured below way too hard.
I think I found a bug…
I think this will be my only game of the day, I was actually starting to get angry at the levels right before the mixup of spells…
Anyways, good job!
@AnttiHaavikko Yeah, nice job! I was hoping a full playthrough would take an hour or more, glad you had some fun with it. I did plan to do more combo levels, but the time limit made that impossible… I'm happy you stuck with it to see the ones I did get in. Here's a walkthrough for anyone really stumped, and one of those levels can actually be beaten with a spare mana left over…
Puzzlescript limitations are what affected the undo, there's no way to not record menu movements in it. Behind the scenes, the framework only lets you move a single player around the screen, so I had to swap an invisible player between witch and finger positions to even get spell selecting working in the first place. The menu was optimized a bit to auto-select the spell adjacent to you, if it exists, and auto-exit after casting a spell, but those were the only good UX optimizations I got in. The next was definitely testing if auto-select any spell was better or more confusing, and with most levels ending up being one type I definitely see your point here.
(Also, yep, I'm aware of that bug, it's more limitations with how puzzlescript ignores rules that fall outside of the screen edges. There's a couple levels where it's possible to encounter it, but the action can be undone and won't help you solve any of them, so I hoped most people wouldn't encounter it. Gamejam-level QA. =P)
@HuvaaKoodia Check the above if you're interested in some of the reasons for the clunky undo, I did the best I could with the framework's limitations. Also, I'm definitely in the camp that puzzle games should explain very little about their mechanics to you, and you have to learn them to solve puzzles. But I do get what you're saying about water splashing, the animation is too quick and it's not properly conveyed in the first lift stage. I could have set up three targets so your only move was to encounter it, and a more exaggerated effect. Glad you enjoyed you time here, even if I'm a little surprised that your theme score is so low.
@some_other_people I definitely get that the graphics aren't everyone's taste here, but I was limited to only 5x5 sprites by the framework and did the best I could with that. A lot of work went into making the art nicer than puzzlescript standard graphics, actually.
This does confirm my suspicions that people are losing interest in low pixel games, which is a little sad, but I'm honestly surpised that the art made the puzzles badly conveyed for some people. I guess it's good that I made the choice to move over to full hd with 3d models on my main puzzle project, though…
Nah, not everyone dislikes low pixel stuff. I at least like it and there is bound to be more. Sure, obviously it isn't as beautiful as higher pixel destity pixel art or hand drawn full blown hd but it's an artform in itself to make something recognizible with so little. Only thing I had any issue with here was the font. Having to squint of zoom out the browser to easily read it…
Yes, letting the player experiement is preferable to outright telling them how every ability interacts with every other ability. This is after all where aha-moments come from.
Better ability feedback to convey needed information is indeed the key to this issue. In a bigger project some kind of a hint system should exists though, just in case someone really gets stuck for a while despite great feedback.
Here is how I rate the theme aspect (there is some fuzzyiness in practice of course):
Terribad (1.0) Theme not present at all
Terrible (2.0) Theme only in name, description, or a few words.
Bad (3.0) Theme only in visuals or backstory partially
Below Average (4.0) Theme only in visuals or backstory fully
Average (5.0) Theme integrated into interactivity at least slightly (previous requirements also apply to some degree from now on)
Above Average (6.0) Theme integrated into interactivity partially (could still work with another theme)
Good (7.0) Theme integrated into interactivity mostly (could hardly work with another theme)
Great (8.0) Theme integrated into interactivity fully (could not work with another theme)
Amazing (9.0) Theme integrated into every aspect of the project
In this case I thought that picking up mana from the groud is strange, the spells could be replaced with technological tools (flame thrower, water cannot, digger, air blower), the visuals don't support the theme much (miranda has a pointy hat, but the enviroment is very plain), and the story is optional. Regardless, the spells do fit the theme, so that's the extra point above average.
The music isn't as bad as you made us believe. :)
Anyway, good puzzle game. I don't particularly like the low-res look, but don't hate it either (except for text, man that was hard to read). The art style was consistent and was clear enought to "read" the gameplay (even though I couldnt finish the game).
Love me some puzzle games, and this is a fun one!
I'm a big fan of sokoban games, too, even though I suck at them (The number of times I pressed the Z key is insane. Probably some number with seventeen digits or so).
The art is cute, the spells are cool, and there's a decent number of levels.
This was a fun little game! It took a bit of experimentation to figure out the fire mechanics (I didn't realize at first that it could shoot through more than one square) and I ended up getting stuck on the first earth magic level (it always seemed like I just had one too few spells to get that last target), but overall I really enjoyed trying to figure out the puzzles and the fact that they took some thinking.
As far as the graphics go, I actually tend to like the big chunky pixel look, especially if it's sharp and crisp with easily distinguishable sprites and generally feels like a cohesive style. The 5px scale may be a bit on the extreme side resulting in the text being hard to read as other comments have mentioned, though I realize this is a limitation of the PuzzleScript engine.
I'd never heard of PuzzleScript before this, but from the docs it seems to be a pretty well-suited tool for making small 2D puzzle games like this. I'm actually super impressed by how much content you were able to pack in -- multiple levels all with unique designs, a narrative with dialogues, a save system, plus capturing the spellcasting theme in a way that actually has you casting different spells that do different things in the world. Amazing job for a solo entry in a weekend game jam!