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WoA V Judging

jbadams

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The following are my scores and feedback for all the fantastic entries in the fifth annual 'Week of Awesome ' contest, which has just wrapped up.

I was meant to be an official judge for this contest, but due to an unforeseen family medical problem, unfortunately, did not get my scores submitted in time for the official results.  I would like to extend my sincere apologies to all of the participants who put in such a great effort creating your entries.  I'm so impressed with what you all managed to create, and I hope that even though you didn't get my feedback in time for the official results you might still appreciate reading it -- I had all of this done before the deadline but unfortunately was simply unable to submit it.

As I missed the deadline and results have already been finalized, I've elected to publish my scores here but not submit them to the official tally this year, as I'm told that may alter the final scores published on the contest site.

 

Assassins 'r' Us:

Gameplay: 19
Graphics: 12
Theme: 16
Audio: 5
First Time User Experience: 7
Participation: 10
Judge: 4
Total: 73

Thoughts:

Great effort overall.  For the short duration of the contest, I'm impressed with the variety in levels provided.  I had some difficulty getting used to the controls, but they worked reasonably well with a bit of practice - I did forget a few times and press the wrong direction though, and the camera was also a little jarring.  The audio wasn't bad, but not a great fit for the theme and feel of the game.

I'm impressed by what was done within a week and think this would make a great candidate to be polished up for a proper release if the dev wanted to put more time into it.

 

Knights vs. Aliens:

Gameplay: 14
Graphics: 8
Theme: 16
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience: 3 
Participation: 10
Judge: 2
Total: 53

Thoughts:

Multiplayer was an interesting decision - unfortunately, it made this one a little difficult to judge.  I ended up playing against my wife (not really a gamer), which may have impacted my experience.  A more intuitive/modern way of connecting would make a nice improvement, but sticking to something simple and functional is understandable given the time constraint.

I had a bit of difficulty figuring out controls and wasn't great at the game - some sort of mini-map would have been a huge improvement, and I would have liked to see some sort of terrain/background. There was no audio.

 

ThunderStruck:

Gameplay: 20
Graphics: 18
Theme: 17
Audio: 9
First Time User Experience: 6
Participation: 10
Judge: 4
Total: 84

Thoughts:

This was a pretty cool game; definitely one that could be a great experience with a bit more work.  I liked the retro-styled graphics, and the audio was a great fit.  Gameplay was pretty good but got a bit repetitive at times (this could probably be improved with more time than the contest allowed), and I would have preferred some in-game prompting for the controls, which took me a while to figure out.  Definitely got that retro RPG feel.

The shockwave was a pretty neat idea!

 

The Tower of Chains:

Gameplay: 15
Graphics: 16
Theme: 16
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 4
Participation: 10
Judge: 3
Total: 72

Thoughts:

Although I've enjoyed a few of the popular ones, I've never been very good at FPS games - my reflexes aren't great.  Controls felt a bit sluggish, but I'm not sure if that's a genuine problem or my lack of skill. That being said, I'm impressed with the effort for one week, and could see this potentially being a really fun game.

I had to try this on a second computer, as there was a problem with the graphics at first.  I'm told this is possibly related to some bug with AMD chipsets.  Once I could see something, graphics were pretty good if maybe a little basic - very understandable with the time constraints.  Audio was pretty good.

The chains were a clever interpretation of the theme.

  

Strawberry:

Gameplay: 12
Graphics: 18
Theme: 11
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience: 8 
Participation: 10
Judge: 3
Total: 62

Thoughts:

Very well executed, but there wasn't a lot to it  With more content of the same quality, this could be a pretty good game.  Castle theme wasn't particularly integrated into the game.

Gameplay was probably a bit easy - this could probably be improved with a variety of enemies and some clever level design if more time was put in to the game.

No audio.

 

Invasion of Planet Frog:

Gameplay: 13
Graphics: 17
Theme: 10
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 8 
Participation: 10 
Judge: 3
Total: 69

Thoughts:

I'm invading the aliens?  Nice twist on the theme, but otherwise the themes felt somewhat superficial rather than a part of the game.

Overall really good - I'm not a huge fan of the graphical style, but it was pretty well done and overall consistent, and the audio was quite good.

Controls could use a little work.

 

Castle Spaceships:

Gameplay: 17
Graphics: 16
Theme: 18
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 9  
Participation: 10 
Judge: 4
Total: 82

Thoughts:

A Very simple arcade-feeling game, but also very well executed and enjoyable for a bit of fun.  Unfortunately for such a simple game I felt it lacked that "one more try" factor, so if I were to make a suggestion to improve the game I would suggest either adding some more complexity with additional mechanics, or trying to really tighten the core game loop and get the player invested to try to improve on subsequent plays.

Graphics were a mixed bag, and I felt lacked consistency.  The environment (especially that night sky!) were fantastic, but some of the props could use some work -- and I wasn't sure if the changing colours were meant to signify something?

 

TowerDefenseFPS:

Gameplay: 2
Graphics: 15
Theme: 5
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience: 3 
Participation: 1
Judge: 0
Total: 26

Thoughts:

The author straight up says this one wasn't actually completed due to participation in another jam.  Models look good, but otherwise there isn't really anything to comment on.

 

Castilla 1528:

Gameplay: 22
Graphics: 16
Theme: 19
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 7
Participation: 7
Judge: 3
Total: 82

Thoughts:

I'm not really a fan of the NES-styled retro graphics, but they were very consistent and seem quite well done for that style.  

Controls were a bit awkward, but gameplay was quite good overall.  Good candidate to polish up for a proper release!

Not to my personal taste, but a very well executed game.  I appreciate the added constraint of meeting requirements for TWO jams at once.

 

Merlin & The Invaders from Mars:

Gameplay: 20
Graphics: 16
Theme: 18
Audio: 6
First Time User Experience: 8  
Participation: 10
Judge: 3
Total: 81

Thoughts:

Really well executed!  Controls were intuitive and the game was easy to get in to.  I found it dragged a bit after getting towers placed, but find most TD games to be similar.

Some of the SFX were a little grating, but overall the audio was pretty good.

 

Humanity's Last Hope:

Gameplay: 12
Graphics: 19
Theme: 13
Audio: 9
First Time User Experience: 8  
Participation: 10
Judge: 4
Total: 75

Thoughts:

Fantastic start to a game - everything that's available is really well polished.  Unfortunately, it's not complete.  For any future jams with such a time constraint, I might suggest either picking a smaller game that can be completed with this level of polish, or making something less polished with a bit more gameplay.  I would definitely like to see more of this game, and think it could possibly make for a good release with more content of the same quality.

I found it a little difficult/fiddly, but otherwise the gameplay that was present was very good.

I felt that the incomplete nature of the game left the themes a little lacking.

 

Alien Day Heroic:

Gameplay: 14
Graphics: 14
Theme: 17
Audio: 6
First Time User Experience: 8
Participation: 7
Judge: 3
Total: 69

Thoughts:

Gameplay was fine if a bit repetitive and not particularly interesting.  Definitely a good basis to expand upon with more time.

Graphics (not a style I particularly like, but quite well executed) and music are both good, but there's not much in the way of SFX.

 

Invasion of The Liquid Snatchers:

Gameplay: 24
Graphics: 18
Theme: 18
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 9  
Participation: 10
Judge: 5
Total: 92

Thoughts:

Extremely well executed, this is a fantastic effort in 7 days.  Would definitely be worth pursuing as a larger release.

Appreciate the effort behind the fluids.

 

Aliens from The Sky:

Gameplay: 23
Graphics: 16
Theme: 17
Audio: 8
First Time User Experience: 9  
Participation: 10
Judge: 5
Total: 88

Thoughts:

Really well made and polished, I could see this as a web game or mobile release with little or no changes needed.

While it is a pretty basic experience, I felt like this one has that "one more try" factor.

While the castle theme is present, I felt it could have easily been re-skinned as something else, but overall good use of the themes especially for such simple gameplay.

 

ProjectCastle:

Gameplay: 6
Graphics: 10
Theme: 5
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience:  7
Participation: 5
Judge: 1
Total: 34

Thoughts:

Good start, but not really any gameplay present, this entry clearly wasn't finished.  Despite that, the physics is enjoyable to mess around with briefly, so this could possibly be turned into something cool with more work.  

I assume one of the themes is chain reaction, but there isn't really a second theme present other than the hint of "castle" in the title.  No audio.

 

RobinDuck:

Gameplay: 9
Graphics: 8
Theme: 15
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience: 5  
Participation: 8
Judge: 1
Total: 46

Thoughts:

I can see the idea, but unfortunately the game is too dark, which makes it very hard to see much or play the game.  Could be good with better lighting and some more work.  

 

KingGame:

Gameplay: 15
Graphics: 19
Theme: 15
Audio: 9
First Time User Experience: 8  
Participation: 10
Judge: 4
Total: 80

Thoughts:

Really well executed - good graphics, great audio.  I think my wife (enjoys adventure games, mysteries, and horror themes) might actually enjoy this one.

Some puzzles were a bit unintuitive, but I think that's par for the course for the genre.

 

Domino Castles:

Gameplay: 18
Graphics: 19
Theme: 17
Audio: 6
First Time User Experience: 7  
Participation: 10
Judge: 3
Total: 80

Thoughts:

Clever idea, I think this could be a really good game with good potential for that "one more try" factor.  Unfortunately, I found it really difficult, even after finding the easy setting (which I probably would have made the default).  I'm actually planning to give this some more playtime, as I, unfortunately, didn't have time to really master the gameplay and get a good rhythm going during the judging period.

Graphics and audio (fitting, but simple) were very good, and overall I think this game would be a good one to polish up (and tweak that difficulty a bit!) for a larger release.

 

Wovanosh Invasion:

Gameplay: 15
Graphics: 11
Theme: 18
Audio: 6
First Time User Experience:  8
Participation: 10
Judge: 3
Total: 71

Thoughts:

Simple, but pretty good given the time constraint.  Would like to see some more variety if more time were spent on it.

Graphics obviously amateur but consistent and not at all bad, and audio is pretty reasonable.  Overall a good entry.

 

Assassinator:

Gameplay: 10
Graphics: 14
Theme: 10
Audio: 0
First Time User Experience: 3
Participation: 7
Judge: 2
Total: 46

Thoughts:

What I saw seemed good, but unfortunately, this was buggy and had a few crashes, and ran into a few others bugs as well.  Would love to see this one polished up a bit so that I could really give it a proper try.  Probably not able to judge gameplay fairly due to the problems.

Audio not present.

 

...and that's it folks!



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Tank you for the review. My game was humanity's Last Hope. I will continue my game in a few week. I have a lot of ideas to implement. I will post my progress on my blog here on gamedev.net.

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