This was an interesting game jam because of the fact that my theme won. Although I didn't have any ideas for the theme. I was really hoping that one of my other themes would've won. Nature(one of the two) got 11th place.
My goal for this Alakajam was to make a game that was fun(placing high in gameplay). I somewhat failed at that because I made it too hard, although I still managed to get 4th in said category. I've been focusing on gane aesthetic for a while now, but this time I tried to do something different. I ended up placing 1st in graphics, so it seems like the graphics category is unrelated to the quality of the aesthetic in popular opinion. When it comes to aesthetic, my favorite game I've made was The Crushed Sky from the last Ludum Dare. I think the quality of the aesthetic can be seen in the mood category for the Ludum Dare. It would be really nice if aesthetic/mood were a theme in the AKJ.
What went well:
- the artwork
- visual fx
I think that the graphics were a clear success along with the visual fx. I think that I was capable of doing the visual fx better, but I didn't have very much time for it because I was busy on Sunday.
The mechanics felt really good in my opinion. I used a few platformer tricks to make everything feel nice. The one issue here is that the wall jumping system I used to make it a bit easier felt a bit unnatural to some people. A few people never figured out how wall jumping worked with my system even though it was clearly stated. I'm really not sure what a good way to do wall jumping is. The standard way would've resulted in a lot of pain in the fingers. One method that came to mind(which wouldn't work here) is how wall jumping works in something like King of Thieves where you just tap to wall jump. This relies on automatic movement, so it wouldn't be usable in a game like Lollipop Ninja.
What went poorly:
- level design
The level design was obviously the biggest flaw here. Even though all the levels were linear, people would accidentally backtrack by dropping down to places they've been. It seems that I overestimated people's ability to tell where they are in a level. If you only went to places you've never been, there's only one spot in the game where there's a split path. Although if you look at it for a bit you can tell where you're supposed to go. @Aurel300 said that having to move so much makes it so you panic and can't pay attention to where you're going. I think there are some more subtle tricks I could use to show the player where to go though. One trick I plan on using in the update I'm working on is camera movement. For example: using the camera to show where you're heading.
The music was kind of a failure because I was too tired to figure anything out for it. I was working on it at like 4AM because I was running out of time, so I came up with some sort of drum track that gets played really quietly. I'm not sure what type of music would even make sense for a game like this. There's stealth and ninjas, but it also has a lighter mood because of the lollipops and the art style.
The final issue was with how the vision worked. The vision lines were slightly off(going from a bit up and to the left of the eyes of the people). Those still worked fine for the most part. The real issue was that you couldn't really tell where people were staring at you from. I assumed that since you could just go invisible and then hide in a smoke bomb that it wouldn't be a problem, but a lot of people would panic and not think to press X. This was something I fixed in the update I'm working on with vision lines.
Overall the game did pretty well. Even with its flaws, the people outside of the Alakajam thought it was very good(especially in the Pygame community). It maintains a 4.2 to a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Gamejolt and has been downloaded almost 1,800 times(this is after a couple weeks).
See ya'll next AKJ/LD!