Just thought I should point out that games that have a lot of substance give many opportunities for criticism. I could say "I would do this game slightly differently" but I didn't so I won't. Great concept, minimalistic story and art play well together, and frustrating at first.
p.s. Use the length of the comment to judge how much the reviewer got out of the game. Then use that to judge how well your idea came across. Don't pander to the masses.
I liked this. The color fading as you lose hope is a nice touch. I got all endings except for "D." At one point I saw a large green and smaller purple eyeball or ship in the background right outside the lower entrance to the caves when I came back out. Are they maybe a clue for ending "D?"
I'll admit the lack of direction started to get to me part way through and thought about quitting but I was very compelled to keep going and find out what happened. the lack of maps and other aids helps with the atmosphere of the game. Only played through once so far and got ending B by the way..
This game is really wonderful and one of the best I've ever played on Newgrounds in its strength of storytelling, tone and uniqueness. Some have complained of lack of a map, directions or sufficient hope, but the lack of these explicit elements lends to the gameplay a distant sense of mystery and loneliness. The mood is excellently set, with the gradual dimness of color and lack of direction bringing on at first a muffled sense of urgency and later an environment of isolation and coldness. The process of discovery and exploration are as inherent in the character's experience as they are in the plot, and with absolutely no context given a story slowly coalesces as the inhuman yet human protagonist moves through the vast caves.
Technically, the piece is very strong. The retro graphics sustain imagery of arcade color schemes that contrast with the enigmatic statues, the sad darkness and the wide, empty skies. The sound is good too, lack of music reinforces the movement of an engaging plot. Furthermore, the slight slipperiness in the controls adds an element of fingerwok that pushes tension into movements. And the praying is brilliant, it both fleshes so much of the character out and provides a strategic element.
Somebody complained of sometimes only being able to jump once; this happens only when the character falls off a ledge and then jumps. Otherwise, I found no such glitch. The one programming problem is that of pressing X post-Chloe ending.
The strongest part of the game is the beginning when the character is lost in direction. After most items have been found and the player understands the geography of the tunnels it becomes a simple "find the missing item" game. The strength in the gameplay arises from exploration and enigma... if more elements of mystery could be added late game player engagement would remain high. Also, player decisions should not only exist in the ending chosen; more activism should exist in selection of plot line over the whole course of the game. The player might have to make moral decisions (save him or save her), exploratory decisions (open one tunnel at the expense of another) or investigative decisions (trade this item for another, either gain special dialogue abilities or gain a special flashlight that reveals messages on walls), just something to keep the environment dynamic rather than static. This could also be accomplished by having side stories, or quests, where you bring items to ghosts, send messages for them or fulfill some task. Maybe in completing a ghosts task they can be released for the temple ending. Regardless of how it is done though, players should have more discoveries than simple geographic ones.
Congratulations on this feat. You are a literary inspiration.
Good concept. Mechanics can be improved.
I like the ideas behind this game. Praying as a morale booster is an interesting gaming component that I don't think I've seen quite used this way before. It gives the game a unique ambiance that feels new and innovative, as well as an artful emotional depth.
I like that the game doesn't rely as much on the cutscenes and extended dialog to give itself its haunted feel. You can just start playing. To tell the truth, I often end up skipping extended cutscenes even if they're well designed and acted. I appreciate a game that doesn't use them as a creative crutch or have ones that feel ponderous and tacked on. Most of the folks on here are skilled in game design but not necessarily in writing dialog anyway. And even good writers benefit from brevity in most situations.
I don't mind difficulty or a learning curve, but the platforming mechanics come off as containing frustrating design flaws rather than as genuinely designed to be challenging. The wonky double jumping feels this way in particular. Another reviewer's comparison to Castlevania (in a bad way) is useful if you're familiar with that game on the 8 bit Nintendo or original Gameboy in particular. I'm a big fan of those games, but because they were early in platform gaming, Castlevania's difficulty was sometimes related too much to it's choppy character movement and too imprecise character control mechanics.
Still, good work and it feels like it has lots of originality.