I loved everything about this game. The music and its concept had a simplistic almost 16 bit nes charm to it. The graphics were nice to look at and the story had a lovely twist in it.
I look forward to seeing more games by you! Good luck and great job!
I wanted to finish this game before reviewing, I really did, but I'm hopelessly stuck in the dungeon, and so far, I'm just not seeing any way past this particular section. I just cannot get up the increasingly projecting blocks. I've even tried backtracking to see if I missed a chain extension, but I can't seem to backtrack fully at this point, either. Maybe I'm missing something glaringly obvious, or maybe it's just not a well designed section - without seeing how I'm supposed to get out, I can't make that call. But either way, as it stands, I'm just going to give you the rundown on what I've played so far. Long review incoming.
-Not gonna lie, I bumped this game up a star purely because I am so happy to see a game calling out the whole "princesses as prizes" thing. Don't ditch the title for any future releases, please - it's fantastic.
-While it could be a bit awkward to use, I really like the concept of the chain mechanic - I would definitely build on that type of thing for future games.
-The controls in general are pretty smooth, actually - they're responsive and don't lag.
-The graphics are cute - simple, but charming.
-You asked me whether I wanted sound before the game even started, which was a nice touch - I almost always play on mute. You have separate sound and music mute buttons, too, which are a huge plus.
-That having been said, your music is really cute and fun. I love it.
-I get that you were on a deadline for the contest, but for future releases, your top priority should be the issue with the health bar disappearing before publication. Sound cues just don't really cut it.
-I'd include an in-game tutorial for some features such as blocking projectiles via chain - those aren't really obvious from the game itself. An infodump in the description just doesn't really work.
-You seem not to have a restart/take me back to the last save point option. While you seem not to have included any no return zones in here, I would still include that option so that if there is a clipping issue or something you do not become hopelessly lost.
-A way to aim the chain would be nice - most of my ledge-ascending involved luck and button mashing, tbh. Something as simple as firing at an upward angle while pressing up, firing at a downward angle while pressing down, and firing straight while pressing neither would do wonders, especially for some of the particularly tricky jumping bits. I wouldn't go so far as mouse control, because that'd require entirely too many hands, but an up/straight/down feature would be really useful. I know that the lack of aiming is some of the challenge, but honestly, it's not a very good source of challenge, and requires more button mashing than any real skill. Add in a basic aiming system and use that to enhance the puzzles.
-Power-ups should probably be a bit more obvious. Give them an aura or something, maybe.
-On that note, try to make background objects a bit more... backgroundy? I spent a little bit early on stuck because I thought that a background pillar was an actual wall, for example.
-The dialogue is kind of stilted - I like the point you're making, but it's awkward and rather anviltastic, which detracts from the experience a lot.
-I know the lead-in with the knight is just fluff for the real game, but I would like something a bit more than grabbing a few flowers and some kittens. My suggestion: open with the king begging the knight to save his kidnapped daughter in exchange for her hand in marriage, and have the knight actually fight some enemies. Nothing long, but some actual difficulty involved, and more importantly, as tropey and formulaic as possible. Real "chivalric hero" type stuff. Then when he gets there, turn it on its head. I think it'll make the critique MUCH stronger if it resembles the type of stuff that gets played straight so often, rather than "go get some flowers."
All in all, I really like this game conceptually. I can see the shape of what you're going for, and it has a tremendous amount of promise. But this game feels more like a concept test than an actual finished product. Make it richer and fix some bugs in the next version and you could have a really great game here.
Fantastic feedback, I will definitely use this review as a basis for most changes in a future release, thank you! I really appreciate how in-depth it is and the volume of critique provided, this is all extremely helpful.
Thanks again for putting the time into writing this!