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Once A Time In Dark

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Ho boy, you have much to learn...

This game is a classic example of unfun, rookie design. Don't worry, my first games were like this too!
The light controls are too cumbersome, and a precission platformer with vision this restrained is just annoying.
The control scheme is kinda ok, until the elevators are introduced - now you need arrows, space and the mouse, three hands to operate the game, why would you break the flow this much?
The best solution for both problems would be to have the light face the mouse cursor, this would actually make the game have much more sense to it.
There are also minor annoyances - almost no interaction has a visual response whatsoever, when you click "next level" you get the Level Select screen instead, the music changes and resets too often, making the thing extra annoying.

I've given up at the second level because of the negative ammount of fun I was having.

Still, I applaud trying your own ideas, this means there's a designer waiting to be unleashed - keep improving and you may be very good :)

This game was unimpressive. If I were going to ask for money to support my making games, I'd make sure it was on a game that people would want to play. The flashlight effect would work as occasional small levels of a much larger game, but fails to carry an entire game. The ten and a half second music loop (I timed it.) was really annoying. The blocks that become active when you approach them fall in a random enough way to make them occasionally almost useless in getting across the hazard. I'd repurpose this game, and use the levels in between the levels of a real game. Then it would have something interesting going for it.

Darkness is something a lot of games have used as a 1 level gimmik but I haven't seen many platformers solely built around it so this was interesting. Control wise it was easy to understand but I could see some ways to improve it; slowy turning the light can become cumbersome (combined with the fact its so small/thin can make it feel slightly pointless), and whilst I can see why the light turns with the player, this too gets annoying after I spend the time to turn it around only to realise I'm facing the wrong direction. I can see using the mouse to aim the light as working much better (presumably WASD would then be used for movement and jumping), it would make sense too given how you already have lifts using the mouse.

Mechanics wise I feel the light could have been a bit better utilized. I stopped playing at level 5 because the gameplay really didn't change much, I think introducing new mechanics as you go would help this, I wouldn't really count the lift as a mechanic given how it doesn't really change up the gameplay/challenge so much as it does pad time between challenges. I did like the objects that become physics-y when you get near them mind.

The atmosphere was quite well done. It has a very distinct look that blends well with the music. That being said, having no art I think is a point against the game. The greyscale, music and rain all go towards creating an artsy feel but then the super simplistic black box look stands out as out of place by contrast. I'm not saying you couldn't keep the only-black style but combined with the lack of and context or shape and it just feels lazy, which is a shame given how everything else feels great.

As is, there's some interesting ideas here as well as some strong polish in certain areas but a lot of areas of the game feel neglected. It gives off this whole well polished and artsy feel but then presents a rather basic and generic game, bar a couple of interesting ideas. The stuff that's had effort put into it clearly shows, that level of polish just isn't consistent. I'd personally recommend tightening up the controls first and foremost, else developing new mechanics would be quite difficult.

Credits & Info

2.71 / 5.00

Oct 27, 2018
6:25 AM EDT