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Specter - 2D action platformer - Asking for feedback!

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Specter

 

 
Hey everyone. We want to submit Specter to the IGF and would really appreciate some feedback!
 
 
Specter is an action-platformer which borrows a lot of our favorite tried-yet-true mechanics from the genre and meshes them, all while adding some new concepts to the mix.
 
You play as king Harold who's castle has been overtaken by spirits. While otherwise reasonably pleasant neighbors, they decided to not longer tolerate the loud parties and drunken noblemen, puking on their sacred grounds.
Thus they raided the castle, possessing Harold's sweet skull decorations and stripping him of his abilities.
Now he must trudge through his haunted halls, feeling remorse, and reclaim his lost skills.
 
So much for the set up...
 
The game revolves around the king’s abilities. You’ll be receiving a new ability after the completion of just about every level (attacks/activations are inspired by the Kirby series), and you’ll be using your abilities during both battles and platforming sequences.
There you are going to encounter obstacles such as walkways that flip around when struck by your dashing attack, or platforms that only appear when struck by a charged projectile (a more literal approach to “action-platforming” if you will).
 
The theme of Specter’s gameplay is critical thinking. We want players to constantly be thinking about the most efficient attack to use on a group of enemies, or quickly assessing a simplistic puzzle, before leaping forward in narrow escape of rising lava. 
This concept is encouraged in combat with elements like time limits during battle segments, and valuable rewards for speedy battle playthroughs (such as boosted max HP, secondary effects for your attacks, or even unlocking special attacks).
 
We want platforming in Specter to revolve a little less around precision, and more around thinking before you leap... ranging from quickly assessing a jump, to full-fledged puzzles.
 
We are three people working on this. I'm doing the programming and Blair the art/game design. The music is by Jonah Backfish
It might be interesting to mention that I live in Germany, while the other two guys are from the US. We do all of our communication via Skype, and share files via Dropbox (and git for the code). The 6 hour time difference was something to get used to, but it's working well now.
 
Currently I'm using XNA, but I really want to port it to MonoGame as a lot of my friends only run Linux and I want to support the Linux game dev community.
 
We are looking mainly for feedback on level design, but any criticism is welcome!
 
Cheers, Dario
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Sorry for the late answer, I downloaded it some days ago but was out of time to give a full answer (as I am now), but I'll leave here a small message, so if I forget it again I, at least, gave you my first impressions.

 

First off, I played only a single level until the end.

 

The game looks really promising, it looks awesome actually. The art is good, the music as well.

 

I really liked the way you guys made the "tutorial" messages. I hate all those "oh, hit A to attack" dialogues where we have to hit a button or click somewhere to close.

The design of the enemies is nice.

Maybe a "real" boss at the end of some levels would be nice! Let's say he had a Fkn Epic Dragon Skull kept as a trophy and now it is the boss of that castle section.

 

But some things annoyed me,

- I got a power, but had no idea of how to use it. I used it by chance, when I was telling him to run, but then randomly decided to attack. Maybe if you inserted a small power preview after we acquire it, it would be good. Even if it's just a text showing the "command" and a door for us to enter and leave the level (instead of auto-finish), with the clock stopped.

- we can't turn when we are attacking. This got me really frustrated a couple of times. It creates the possibility of attacking to the right while walking to the left, but I would prefer it if it was like the classics.

- There's no score counter on screen, given this is a 1-2-3 star type of game, it'd be nice to see the score while playing.

 

Again, a great job by your team, I hope to see this game on beta soon!

 

 

 

Currently I'm using XNA, but I really want to port it to MonoGame as a lot of my friends only run Linux and I want to support the Linux game dev community.

 

This is a good idea, given that Microsoft announced that the development of XNA itself has been stopped. MonoGame, on the other hand, still have a future.

Edited by dejaime
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Thank you for playing! (and sorry for the late answer, for some reason I didn't get a notification)

 


- I got a power, but had no idea of how to use it. I used it by chance, when I was telling him to run, but then randomly decided to attack. Maybe if you inserted a small power preview after we acquire it, it would be good. Even if it's just a text showing the "command" and a door for us to enter and leave the level (instead of auto-finish), with the clock stopped.

 

Oh, that's interesting, there should be a tutorial level after you unlock an ability. If that didn't load then that's a bug I haven't experienced yet. Gotta check what's going on there. Did you get to the score screen?

 


- we can't turn when we are attacking. This got me really frustrated a couple of times. It creates the possibility of attacking to the right while walking to the left, but I would prefer it if it was like the classics.

 

I did some research on that. Rogue Legacy does it similar to how we do it. Maybe I need to reduce the time for which you keep facing the same direction?

 


- There's no score counter on screen, given this is a 1-2-3 star type of game, it'd be nice to see the score while playing.

 

Some indication how well you are doing in the level is definitely needed. We do have a more complex score system though, The 1-2-3 stars are just for the "battle events" (e.g. the arena at the end of the first level).

 

I'm happy that you like the game! We're just two people doing this in our spare time and it's great to see that people enjoy to play the results of our work!

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I did get to the score screen right after I acquired the power; but seen no tutorial level.

 

About turning when attacking, the problem seems to get worse if I keep on jumping around instead of just walking.

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