Not too shabby.
I admit the game is a fun little classic shooter but there are a few unfair gameplay issues. Like the enimies shooting non stop at you making it difficult to avoid the shots. But hey nothing wrong with a little challenge. Pretty much just minor flaws but nothing else I still like this game though.
It's challenging on the first and second level, then ramps up to impossible after that. Most of the time, the enemies felt like a simple copycat of early shooter formations. I could swear I was playing Space Invaders and Galaga at the same time. Nostalgic, maybe, but it still felt half-baked. The only challenge came when a wave started and an absurdly huge number of enemies appeared.
The death mechanics were just plain backwards. You face a situation that is so insurmountable that despite all your strength, you lose your last bit of health, and the mechanic to help you pull through on your next life is... taking away everything that was keeping you alive in the first place? Not really what I was hoping for. Hand in hand with that are the boss mechanics and the drop rates.
It was mentioned before, but it's worth noting again. As a boss reaches the last of his health, his rate of fire jumps up exponentially. By the third boss, it's nearly instant death for a fully stocked ship. Then you lose your powerups, aren't even protected enough to get the immediate drops, than continue to face this obliterating death machine with what's effectively a paper shirt and a pea shooter. Time after time, I would manage to fight my way to the third or fourth level, die once, then proceed to lose all five remaining lives. It's a nearly impossible situation.
It might be possible if the drop rate were done right, but it's not. You said that health packs are hard, but it's not just them. You dished out all the strength and shield you could swallow at the start, but when it came to the difficult sections where there was a huge demand to regain strength, there was nothing. The fact that the powerups flow freely at the start also means that there's no feeling of improvement for the rest of the game. The only thing that's done right are the shooter improvements, and even that goes awry. I preferred the triple shooter to the 3-way, but I kept being offered it until I got stuck with it. The only way to get the triple shooter back was to die, and we know what's wrong with that. The solution is to avoid those powerups, but that is part of another problem.
Your graphics are horrible. It's not "eye-bleeding MS Paint .jpeg." horrible, but it's only a step or two above it. There is no animation whatsoever outside of the fractal, and even that causes eye blisters. It was neat that the health was also represented by the background, but not when said background is a spinning, hypnotic, bland and off-center shape. But that's a minor inconvenience compared to fact that the powerups are difficult to identify. The only recognizable thing was the health pack. The shield was a close second, but it's color was too similar to the candy (which was aggravatingly pointless). The big trouble comes when the weapon strength and the shooter pickups, arguably the most important drops, are all virtually identical. Each of them are only circumstantially worth diving through bullets to reach, so it's a huge disappointment when it's the wrong one.
As a rule, powerups should be identifiable by their color and/or silhouette alone. Since you made them all squares, that leaves color. But since your useless candy comes in all sorts of colors, it's easy to lose useful things in the all-too-common crowd. Shooter pickups should have been different shapes altogether. Just because the hit box is a square doesn't mean the art should be.
On a parting comment, strongly consider the color of your obstacles with the color of your background. Gray bullets on a black surface is inexcusable.
@norat374, yes there are a lot of enemies that come at you at times, but they are in no way insurmountable. As @Fro said below, all you have to do is keep shooting and avoid the bullets. Try to blast your way into some clear space, then pick out the rest of the enemies.
About your death, your weapon power-ups are always added back on to the screen so you can collect them again almost immediately, making your ship strong again. As your invincible for a short time, you can ignore the enemy's bullets and just ensure you get the main power-ups again - and as much candy as you can. You're only left with a single shooter if you fail to do this.
Yes, the bosses' bullets fire out quickly as they are dying, but you should be able to stay between their bullets for the short time needed to finish them off for good. Just keep shooting and concentrate on staying between their bullets and you'll be fine. It's a little tricky, especially boss 4 (you need good reactions), but for the rest of the bosses you should be able to do this easily enough.
The Shield & Weapon Strength Power-Ups are handed out the same throughout the game, they are only added if your ship needs them, otherwise candy is given instead so you can improve your score. If your Shields or Weapon Strength goes down, then you'll stop gettin extra candy bonus points again and you'll get the power-ups you need. What you said isn't true. Yes, you can improve your ships strength quite quickly, this is so you can spend most of the time focusing on the action, and if you die, you can quickly get your strength back-up again.
Regarding the 3-Way Shooter, the power-up is given to you until you collect it, this is because it's the best weapon, it is better the the Triple Shooter. When all of the weapons shoot vertically and you have a weapon that shoots diagonally, then you will be king. You need to take advantage of the 3-Way Shooter, it helps a lot in avoiding the enemy's bullets while you're still able to pick them off one by one or 3 by 3! Killing yourself to get the Triple Shooter again isn't a good game strategy.
I made the graphics myself, and yes I'm not a great artist - for your information they were all made using vector graphics software, not MS Paint. I don't see how the Shield power-ups can be confused with Candy power-ups (which are quite the opposite to pointless, as they are the key to getting a top score. And are consistently yellow), and I take your point about having different shapes for each power-up - that could have been an improvement, but personally I don't find the colours or patterns hard to tell apart.
The simple pictographs of the weapons are easy to recognize, you should be able to glance at a weapon power-up and see if it has an W or 2 or 3 lines on it without too much trouble. They are all consistent in colour so you know they are a weapon power-up, all you need to do is look for the one with the most red bits in the middle.
Also, the weapon power-ups are made easier to find as I have ensured they are always rendered above the lesser power-ups. They are never hiding behind any candy.
Likewise, hit boxes don't have to boxes, if you didn't notice, I've used radial hit checks in most cases, for collecting power-ups and on enemies - that's why you get a nice explosion affect as you hit the enemies and bosses on their sides or front. Not everything in the game needs to be curved, I think the power-ups being square makes them stand-out from the game objects.
And on your final comment, again I don't see why you can't see grey on black. Grey can easily be seen on black, that's why most people don't want a black car, as the dirt can be seen too easily. Any colour can be seen easily on a black background. But as a few people have commented on this, I might make it a little brighter...
Way too easy!
~ Comments ~
I don't see how people are complaining about what happens when they die or anything like that. The only time I've died is on survival and the only reason I died on survival is because I got pretty bored for playing so long and I died on purpose. If you have any decent gaming skills this game is extremely easy. It's all about avoiding the incoming shots first and being accurate second. In fact, you'll eventually hit the enemy. Just hold down the shoot button and avoid the the bullets. Anyone with any reaction skills should blow by this game really quickly.
~ Animation/Graphics ~
There's a lot going on and almost no lag on my computer. I'm impressed with that! Usually games where there's this much action I can't seem to avoid the major lag issues. The graphics were good enough. I kind of liked the art style.
~ Story/Content ~
A cool type of Halloween game. You took an old type of style and added a few new things to it. I agree that being able to go up and down would help, but it's not necessary as the game was easy enough without it. I would have also liked to see more weapon upgrades than the ones that you had. Perhaps two or three different things. Also, upgrades or other things appearing would have been nice for those who seem to be lacking in the game. :P
The medals were actually fun to get. The hardest medal to get is the 10,000 kills one in my opinion. It's not really a hard medal to get, but it just takes longer than the other ones. The high score system along with the medals makes this a fun game to come back to.
~ Audio ~
The music was very fitting and the sound effects were pretty good. I liked that the shooting sound effect was present, but wasn't over powering to the rest of the noise going on in the submission. All in all a good job there.
~ Overall ~
For some reason people are complaining about this being hard, but I found it to be way too easy. In fact, I didn't even know there was a health power up until I read your author comments and read some of the reviews because I never had one appear on the screen.
I liked that you had to different modes with survival and arcade. Perhaps implementing a cheat system or just working on an advanced upgrade system in general can improve this game or make a better future game.
I don't think it's a perfect 10, but I'm taking in consideration of how much fun I had playing this game so it does get a 10 from me.
@Fro, thanks for the great review - I think I agree with you on almost every point.
I'm a bit surprised people are finding it so hard, you've worked out the game-play perfectly.
It's about dodging the bullets, especially the bigger bullets, and shooting down the enemies quickly and in a logical way.
It's designed so the best players can complete the Arcade Mode without losing a life. It is quite hard to complete without being killed, but it is possible. The hardest parts are the 4th Bat Boss (it has a quick and powerful weapon), and the final boss (it is surrounded with evil purple pumpkins - you should try to kill them off early before concentrating on the boss itself).
I didn't have time to add loads of extra upgrades and things, I just wanted to get loads of action on the screen at the same time with loads of explosions - and good game-play of course.
Good attempt at a Raiden shooter but...
No up and down movement is deadly when the enemies (especially, the big pumpkins) come up right in front of you. The lack of a screen clearer or super attack is just as deadly.
They way you say that dying meant the player's unlucky says that a game typically about SKILL now has to hinge upon how lucky the player is instead of just how good the player is. There's also the fact that just after dying, if you're not lucky enough to get enough Shield power ups as the boss is sitting right up in front of you AND streaming bolts is just saying "You Lose"
I might make a shooter with vertical movement in the future, but this game was designed to be fun without it.
It doesn't matter if the bosses come right up close to you, only their bullets harm you, and if they are up close then you can stay between their bullets easily and just keep shooting.
Also, when you die, all of the power-ups you had, and all of the weapon strength and shield strength you'd lost, explodes out of your spaceship with some candy that you've lost too.
As you're invincible after death for a short time, you can collect all of the important power-ups straight away. They are shown above the candy, so you should be able to see them easily. If you're playing the game right, you should be able to get a powerful ship again easily. If you miss out on regaining your good weapons, then it does get harder, but you shouldn't let that happen.
Most of the skill in the game is in dodging the bullets and working out witch enemies to take out first - and making sure you don't get hit by a boss's bullet.