My first project as an independent interactive-digital-media developer is finished.
is a pausable real-time light-tactics single-player competition.
Try the WebGL demo
PS. Project 2 has begun!
Congrats for the game launch! I admire the dedication to completing your project, as I still haven't managed to finish any game of a larger scope like this. The only game I've worked on for >1 month is still in limbo due to me not being able to make satisfying art.
After playing some of your online demo:
The first issue I've had is when, after a few levels (getting only F grades) I wanted to check the controls to see if I missed anything: I went back to the menu and lost my progress in the process :(
The other immediate impression is that the UI is not very clear/precise, especially regarding the progress of the level and how my characters impact corruption. This led me to having a hard time understanding how corruption works, how my characters exactly impact it, and what is even the goal of a level. During my first session, all I did for a few levels was send the fairy to a yellow lock, wait until the portal got activated, then run back to the exit. It was actually sufficient for me to win, so something felt off.
After re-playing the first non-intro level 3/4 times (props to you for the options to disable tutorial & dialogue), I eventually understood the basics enough and managed to get a B+. For reaching that I had to understand by myself that the things to unlock were actually the homes of civies, and that the yellow triangles were actually civies running for their lives and not a UI indicator of something. I felt stupid when I figured out that the fairy didn't have to wait until a place was 100% freed before going to the next one.
After finally understanding most of the core mechanics, I felt I still wasn't having too much fun. Like in Peacekeeper, the goal is to "not lose" for as long as possible and get a high score: while it can fit a short strategy game, I found it not too fitting for a level-based adventure. Most of all I could just rush the game, get Fs and complete it it seems. I assume from the itch.io description that the main interest of playing well is for getting a happier ending, but that's too subtle an incentive.
A cheap way to solve some of these problems is by setting on each level a fixed minimum of civies to save before we can exit.
Otherwise for what I've played I found the game had plenty of interesting ideas gameplay-wise. The story elements were welcome. The art was alright, with an interesting atmosphere brought by the island-based layout. Some of the animations were pretty cool (e.g. the crumbling little islands). The visuals did lack consistency a bit, but I know how producing art assets as a developer can turn you insane so I will refrain from criticizing ;) The music was good and fitting.
Overall it's an innovative game that is, to me, a bit broken due to some design choices & unclear UI. I think these would have come out quite quickly by making some friends try the game, so if you haven't already I suggest to schedule playtesting for your next project.
Anyway congrats again, I'm looking forward to see what you'll come up with for your 2nd project :)
Thanks for taking the time to play the demo and to dish out actual criticism! If you wish to release something, you just gotta release it. The graphics will be satisfying by the nth project.
The first bit is all on me. I simply disabled saving in the demo rather than making it work in WebGL due to time constraints. Will change that in the next update.
Escaping the level without saving the civies isn't winning. In many competitions reaching the end of a level is the same as winning, not here. This is all about saving the civies! i.e high grades. Will have to clarify this in some way. The happy/sad ending incentive certainly does not affect the demo (and is tied to the prose, so you can actually disable it too!)
I had a handful of testers, yet new things obviously aren't obvious to everybody. I now understand why "Shoot the limbs!" was repeated 4-5 times in the first 10 minutes of Dead Space, and they must have had hundreds of testers.
I think I can fix these issues with a few more tutorial messages and optional dialog. All the levels are well tested (by someone who knows the rules, that being me) so the problem should be about communication in this case.
When it comes to graphical inconsistencies I'd actually like to hear about those. Not only did producing the visuals drive me mad, it rendered me blind also! (j/k btw)