Saturday, January 31, 2015


Sent Feb 21, 2014 Feb 21, 2014
I've tried out your game, starting it up on the Default setting.
I'll go with the positives first, so you know what you're doing right and can keep doing it. The game's after-glow effects on things is very neat and give the game a very surreal feel that I feel is positive as it help make your game distinctive from the usual retro game and thus, make it eye-catching. I also find the idea of a keyboard + mouse simultaneously Bomberman/platformer game to be an original and potentially very fun idea.
Gameplay-wise, this makes the game very fluid. The controls are not immediately intuitive ; you pondered the use of signs and I approve of them versus a tutorial ; tutorials tend to be used as excuses for a steep difficulty curve usually. It's much better to introduce mechanics via gameplay. So you get a positive for this idea.
Now for the negatives, for which there is plenty. I will stress that so far, your idea has much potential and the engine appear solid so you're doing well. Likewise, the game is obviously a WIP so there's many things I won't fault you on (like the lack of the signs you planned for or the lack of a plot).
Graphics-wise, the game suffer from being a bit busy and confusing. Maybe it's the small size of objects or simply bad art but it's quite difficult to tell what is what ; the main character is a bit too perfectly blocky, making him look more like a glowing yellow block than an actual character. Although the mines you're meant to destroy are easily visible, the mines you're not meant to touch are dark blue on black, making them very difficult to see and thus, avoid.
I enjoyed some of the details you included, such as the breakable lamps ; small details such as these and furniture/misc items can help make your game world feel more 'genuine' and less like random collections of challenges. It also give a crunchier, more satisfying effect to the act of blowing up stuff.
Audio-wise, the sound effects are pretty good but the music loop is very repetitive, very short, and apparently the only music track, which means it become annoying very quickly. I recommend you have a different music track for the menus and if you're not going to have more than one music track for the game proper, I recommend you pick a long, varied, and if possible catchy (though you could pick a moody/atmospheric one if you want a less arcade-ish feel) one. The players will be hearing this for potentially hours on end so make sure the music track is slow to annoy.
The level design on the first few levels I played seemed to be pretty clever, with an emphasis on thinking before leaping but on keeping going once you do move. I feel it's the right feel for this game ; don't rush ahead but when you do move, move swiftly. The controls do have a bit of a perceived drift to them so keep that into account for later levels ; later stages should be hard through complexity of solutions, not pixel-perfect jumps (though I think that having foes and even bosses could be interesting too ; did not make it far enough to run into foes yet).
The game's restart option is bugged on level 1. Given this is a Bomberman-style game and blowing yourself up as your first action is very likely, it is jarring to be booted back to the main menu if you die on the first level. I'd recommend fixing this.
Likewise, the main menu, although it has an original layout, is not immediately intuitive. The red color of the default difficulty setting does help though. The main problem with the menu lies in the text box's font ; although it looks fancy, I feel it's not exactly super easy to read and could drive off many players (or motivate them to skim the text). Likewise, it is not immediately obvious that the text box can be scrolled or whenever or not you reached its end.
Given I can see the text box being useful for both story bits and/or stage descriptions and hints, I feel you should pick a more easily readable font and make it more obvious that you can scroll the text box.
Stage names are mostly just 'default 1, default 2, default 3' so far but I assume those are placeholder names.
So, overall, I think you're progressing very nicely. I love the afterglow effects and the surreal graphical style. The controls also seem to work pretty well and your gameplay concept is original and well-done. Mostly, what you need to do is fine-tune your game a bit, streamline the menus and early levels, and vary/change the music.
I'll try the other difficulty options later and see if I have any comments about them.

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