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mk.jr.fan

What makes a good beat'em up game?

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I'm creating a 2d sidescroller beat'em up game and wanted to know what separates the good beat'em games that are fun and have replayability from the brain dead games where all you do is spam the attack button to win.

 

I am going to list what I think separates a good game of this genre from the bad ones.

  1. Need at least two buttons: one to punch, one to block.
  2. have enemies that give you a reason to block.
  3. putting in different attack combos
  4. variation of enemy types (ex. high damage, high health)

I want to know if these are good ideas as well as any other ideas or concepts that I might have missed.

If you think there are better ideas put them down below.  

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Interesting, I like your ideas of pauses needed between attacks as well as unblockable attacks. With the idea of strategy, I feel that the distinction between playing offensively and defensively also plays a major role in that sweat victory. But would the inclusion of more attacks (lets say kicking) different speed of attacks (powerful attacks require more time then smaller attacks) add more to the experience or make it overly complicated?

 

Also concerning enemy health, would having an equal mix of weak enemies and strong enemies be better to have then lets say consistently  stronger enemies as it gets harder (basically having no weak enemies)?

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Also concerning enemy health, would having an equal mix of weak enemies and strong enemies be better to have then lets say consistently  stronger enemies as it gets harder (basically having no weak enemies)?

Don't make an enemy who is universally weaker than a preceding enemy. They can have less health, but offset it with more speed/damage/etc. This way the player is forced to adopt different strategies, but each opponent is never much easier than any other.

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Though harder work yields greater rewards wouldn't the persistent difficulty make it frustrating if the player is unable to overcome the obstacles?

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I think what you're getting at is pacing, and good pacing can make a good game great or an otherwise fine game tedious.

 

Pacing can, and I think should, be achieved in ways other than the numbers inherent to an enemy though, as ifthen touched on. You're right, a linear increase in difficulty can and often will frustrate the player, especially if the playable characters are supposed to be getting more powerful. Nothing takes the fun out of getting power-up or level or weapon than having an enemy that just gets stronger right back at you. I think Diablo 3 is a good example of how this was done wrong.

 

So, how do you make the game harder while getting your players to keep playing? How about different battle-types: maybe in one encounter your player is put in the defensive position, avoiding powerful attacks and really trying to time their offensive moves well so that they don't get hit in the process, while in another your character is chasing a set of enemies around the screen while they run away and fling rocks in your direction. There are a lot of ways to vary the types of encounters your player will face beyond making enemies that have different dps/hp ratios, and your players will thank you for supplying them.

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I think what you're getting at is pacing, and good pacing can make a good game great or an otherwise fine game tedious.

 

Pacing can, and I think should, be achieved in ways other than the numbers inherent to an enemy though, as ifthen touched on. You're right, a linear increase in difficulty can and often will frustrate the player, especially if the playable characters are supposed to be getting more powerful. Nothing takes the fun out of getting power-up or level or weapon than having an enemy that just gets stronger right back at you. I think Diablo 3 is a good example of how this was done wrong.

 

So, how do you make the game harder while getting your players to keep playing? How about different battle-types: maybe in one encounter your player is put in the defensive position, avoiding powerful attacks and really trying to time their offensive moves well so that they don't get hit in the process, while in another your character is chasing a set of enemies around the screen while they run away and fling rocks in your direction. There are a lot of ways to vary the types of encounters your player will face beyond making enemies that have different dps/hp ratios, and your players will thank you for supplying them.

 

Question on making the game difficulty scale when acquiring new abilities; Would making the game be really easy in the beginning of the level and then scale the difficulty as you progress later in the level maybe a better option?

My logic behind this is that the player would still be able to feel powerful after receiving the new powerup in the beginning and would not feel any frustration, but the level difficulty would still be there and in the end make it feel like a more balanced feel.

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Personally, one of my favorite elements of a simple beat 'em up is the ability to counter an attack. Think of the Lord of the Rings Two Towers / RotK (and countless others, I suppose) as an example. Nothing beats a good parry / riposte insta-kill. Nothing to say that can't be added into a simpler hobbyist build.

 

As for your difficulty progression I would say don't be afraid to have the game scale, but throw in a few old enemies along with the meaner, palette swapped baddies. That way, the player can have a feeling of transcendence over the once tough foes.

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That is a good point for putting foes that where once hard but now easier. But one question for the parry. Would it be acceptable to make a parry a button combination like making the player press the attack and block button at the same time or it should have its own special button?

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I was envisioning a dedicated button, but if you're set on the 2 button approach, then I would think that could work. An alternative would just include a timer on the block button itself. If the player presses block at the right time, he'll automatically parry. That being said, as long as you explain the controls to the potential player and it doesn't make him do anything stupid with his fingers, he'll figure it out. 

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