A game of which I will probably never finish.
Alright, I'm probably never going to work on this project again, but I figured since it's my most recent work why not submit it. Always nice to have feedback. =)
There is a bit of story to this game. Firstly I made the games in about 2 days time with no sleep in between. That's one point. The other is that this game was made for a assignment from my current school. Knowing that now I have no idea why I put so much effort into it. To be honest I feel some guilt with this game. Not because that I did'nt give credit or something like that, more as that I mostly used free resources and that I know how to make some of the resources I used. I know that in that current moment of time crunch I could'nt have made my own sprites,music and such because i wanted gameplay at that moment to be priority. Turns into generic platformer. Oh well.
Neat start on a game. I like the punch controls conceptually but in practice it was hard to control: sometimes it would fall off the bottom of the screen while running forwards, other times it would fly forwards while standing still. The actual platforming has some control issues as well: sticking on corners and not being able to move horizontally in the air from a standing jump, like when standing next to a box that you want to jump over. If you do ever work on this project again those would be good places to start looking to polish it up, there's definitely a solid foundation to work with if you fine tune it a little.
This is a great looking and sounding platformer. The art reminds me of Wonder Boy, and the music really fits well with the level themes. The level design is good, I think, and each level is fairly short which makes it less frustrating. At the moment, the controls and enemy interaction is quite frustrating, making it hard to get the dude to do what you want. I ended up mostly ignoring the punching action and just jumping over enemies to get through the level. The balloon is a decent idea for an obstacle but infuriating :) Atleast make it possible to kill him in one way or another!
You have done a great job putting various resources together to make something that looks and sounds great, with several levels and worlds. I got to the end and would love to see this with proper controls and collisions/interactions - it's a great start as dwemthy said!
Art: Wow, just wow. This is like incredible levels of art polish, and I love it, Three different tilesets for such a short game? Really like how everythign is rendered and slightly animated and everything. Props to the artist. Just some slight issues where sometimes backgroudn and foregroudn are not super clear (especially in the snow tileset) and also the enemies are not telegraphed enough for how to defeat them, there seems to be a bit of "variety for the sake of variety".
Music and SFX: Works very well and is super nice and reminiscent of similar classic games. The sfx might be a bit too punchy, which might be itnentional, but the bounce and jump sfx were kidna giving me a slight headache at the end. Thats how the arcade and classic titles sounded like, tho, so idk.
Gameplay: The idea is nice, its just a simple platformer, nothing revolutionary, but the design is all over the place. The levels don't feel streamlined at all, and especially the movement and the physics is so messy. Its especially noticeable considering the huge disconnect between the level of polish in art and music but the lack of it in gameplay. You get stuck constatly, the jumps dont feel controlled at all, and sometimes you cant move in the air for whatever reason, hitboxes are weird, collisions glitch a bit… I almost want to say that it kidna replicates very well the experience of those classic nes platformers wherethe movement is all over the place and that's part of the charm, but if you weren't actually going for that the physics and movement definitely need some improvement. As I say, its especially wonky considering how incredible everything else is, it would probably be a lot more "forgivable" if the art was on the same polish level.
The conceptual design itself, apart from technical issues, is also a bit weird. Youre given powers that work in very very weird glichy uncontrollable ways, apparently on purpose, but then you almost never want to use them cause they're unreliable and unnecessary. The levels are nice, but have no theme and almost seem generated by a very good procedural thing.
Final thoughts: It feels like such a beautiful nice game, that with just some more time given to the technical side and some thought given to the design side, and maybe a slight twist to not make it such a basic platformer, it would be just bonkers good, cause you clearly know how to work and make a polished thingie that feels nice to play. I feel like I'm bashing a bit on you, now having the credits open in my other screen. I don't know which engine is this on or what was the technical pipeline of things, but you should probably give a thought on using some framework you cna prepare and feel comfortable in.
I'm just now reading the description, and you probably already did that. I also understand better why this project is as it is. Some of my prevous comments are a bit useless lol. I'd say when using another artist's work, even if he's not present, make sure that everythign of his that you put in the game has some purpose and showcases a mechanic. I really loved stuff like the ghosts that slow you when going through them, but I just understood that randomly cause I was not avoiding them as well as I should, and it wasn't used for anything interesting. Getting good gameplay in is usually not putting in a lot of stuff, but putting in one stuff and making the most out of it. Well, that's my conclusion.
I hope I'm not too harsh. Two days for this seems incredible, I was 200% sure there was more time into it. Making a platformer controller that feels nice mostly relies on copying one nice tutorial you find. I really like Heartbeast's approach to platformer physics.
For starters, I think you shouldn't feel guilty at all for using existing resources. Quite the opposite it's a good exercise to focus on programming and gameplay for once, rather than having to deal with the whole package. I often find myself trying too hard to avoid using existing art, just because I want my projects to be entirely "my thing" with their own unique identity, but it's not a very productive way of reasoning. I guess there's a balance to be found.
I'd also like to say that wherever the art and audio came from, you made great use of them! The game has a great snes look, with a good use of the tilesets and character animations, and things were made even smoother thanks to touches like the water effect (my favorite), the scan lines, the UI animation, the pause FX, and a cool use of sound cues like when you win a level.
Gameplay-wise I have more mixed feelings! I'll start with minor stuff but during the first level, I found the tutorial a bit inconvenient because each text only displayed in thin areas, making me accidentally walk/jump right past them, then go back to read. Maybe turning them into fully modal popups (e.g. "press space to close") would have helped.
The first actual level got me confused on a few things:
In the first levels it took me a while to get used to the controls, mostly due to the sticking walls, and the sliding making it hard to land on small platforms. Throughout the game I still got some fun moments though, notably when I realized I could skip a chunk of a level like this:
I later tried to do the same on world 2 with ghosts, but obviously that didn't work anymore because they're ghosts! Clever! I had fun overall discovering the various creatures that roamed the world.
Eventually I gave up at the first beach level, because those unbearable balloons kept bouncing me against crabs. Plus when there's two ballons at the same time it got too infuriating for me… The only time I managed to pass the spot guarded by two balloons and a crab, the crab that followed surprised me by aborting his left/right loop to catch me before I could jump.
I've got to say the AIs are pretty interesting overall because I found them quite unpredictable :P
Overall it's a promising game that is visually very pleasant, but it feels like there was a lot of fighting with the physics engine, with the end result a bit frustrating to play. For instance I suspect you used material friction to deal with slowing down the player, but in arcade games it's often better to set friction to zero and deal with it manually. Arcade platformers come with a surprising lot of tricks to learn to make things feel good, so keep it up! The next time you'll make handmade art for a platformer I'm sure you'll be glad to have had this experience first :)
I'll end with 2 things: