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Surmount

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For some reason, last week I started developing a platform game without having an original story or concept, but a few days ago I watched a motivational documentary about game development, so an idea came up: put some motivational messages based on the level mechanics. It's not much, but I enjoyed developing it.

The main message (if you rage just think about it):
-The obvious never give up
-Imagine obstacles as a thing that makes you strive and get better

If you get stuck, make sure you know that: When you press [Z], you also trigger an ice spike that can be used as a floor or wall.

Leave your feedback please, I'm a new developer so the game is probably not good but I would like to know where I went wrong and do better next time.

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Awful Physics, not fun to play

A great example of good mechanics but in a bad frame, added with a bit of jank.

I like the idea and a lot of what's going on here, but the difficulty climb becomes too steep, the controls are not clean enough, the jank is occasionally frustrating, and the amount of borderline frame perfect button presses you need, all stacked in small marathons, just becomes aggravating. Ultimately, it's not a fun experience, and there's a sense of dissonance between the atmosphere of the game and the demands of the game.

I hate to admit other reviewers are right in stating that the philosophy of the game does not help justify how the game itself operates. In a diegetic sense, the game is infuriating and built in a manner with high demand for precision and low output for fun. In a non-diegetic sense, the player is being told an enduring philosophy, but it does nothing to alter the frame of the game that does in itself teeter on the brink of utter futility.

Many platformers would circumvent this by accenting hard stretches with lighter stretches. They might also just have turf to use your powers in a way that's less linear and precise, thus giving you some creative leeway for a bit, particularly to take a breather. Giving checkpoints after particularly gnarly single or double sections is also commonly seen.

Issues I'd cite:
-Wall jump controls. In particular, it seems that the player, with enough velocity, can clip into objects for a frame or two when being thrown. For instance, it seems that holding left or right as appropriate when wall-jumping helps designate the direction you're jumping off of... But I had trouble learning the controls for this because I kept seeing examples where even though I'd be holding right, I'd do a left-sided wall jump. This process, in turn, had a far smaller window of operation than the intended method. It took until the level with you wall-jumping off of platforms for me to relieve how borked it was, and why I kept getting inconsistent results.

-Attempts to raise skill ceiling also raising skill floor. In particular, I had issues with having to slip around bends and then double jump to freedom, but instead of double jumping, I'd wall jump off of the wall nearest to me and plummet to my death. Said maneuver would've likely just let me jump coincidentally next to the wall, and then continue rightward momentum once clear of it. This is a small one, but it's one that made me hate wall jumping even more.

-Nearly frame perfect demands. This one has a great example with the wall-jumping between spike coated grey walls, with a small white spot. I swear I had to be within 1 or 2 frames of perfect to get "peak" jump and get the icicle to stick to the white section without suiciding against the spikes. Then, if I actually got that to work 1 minute later, I'd still have to double jump at the right height, hit the wall at the right elevation and arc, wall jump off of it, wall jump off of the ice-cicle, and then barely clear the platform. This would take me on the order of several minutes just to essentially start the level, and then when I'd try the actual level, I'd die for a fact because of my inability to practice its demands at any real rate. Thus, the cycle repeats itself, and I'm spending another 3-6 minutes trying to just get 1 more attempt. Absolutely. Undignified.

-Level bounds having bad physical characteristics. The same level with the BS icicle jump is the same level I found this out. You can stick icicles to the bounds of the level, since they're treated as stickable walls, and then stack those to jump all the way around that BS section, essentially saving you 5-6 minutes per attempt at the level. By the time I'd figured this out, however, I'd already spent 30 minutes just trying to figure out the first half of the level, so I was bored to the point of just walking away 2 or 3 deaths later anyways.

-Icicle spawn jank. Icicles don't let themselves be fired too close to walls, presumably for physics reasons, but most often this triggers too easily, just being an obstruction. Meanwhile, I've had cases where icicles still spawn inside me and shove me back (or rarely, trap me inside them), and even cases where I'd fire an icicle to the right, with my back against a left wall, and have a right-facing icicle spawn, wedged inside the wall to my left, shoving me aside.

-Platform "snapping". This one's pretty ugly, but a common sight in platformers. In particular, I noticed in one of the early levels for double jump that to make a particular gap, my jump needed to be near-perfect. Being the major roadblock for the level, that was actually acceptable in stride, but the only attempt I got off clearing the gap was me "snapping" onto the platform after I'd fallen too low to land my feet on it. This would later come back to haunt me as I'd be walljumping near spikes and just snap onto the platform above me, and die in the spikes.

-Loss of symbolism later game. It seems like the metaphor descended into a half-baked state, and lost meaning, instead giving way to the essence of the game. If the essence of the game is to deliver a message, then it should focus on the message and not be afraid to cut gameplay out of the picture once the story is told. Maybe there was a long drag about when I quit, but it seemed like the messages were padding for time as I just completed more levels. This drift between message and game further compounded me questioning why I was even spending time on this piece, which was extremely counter-intuitive, since I ended up just dropping the game halfway.

The game functions well enough, but could use some polish. The message in the first half dozen levels had a good flow and heart to it, but also fell off. The platforming and powers felt fun for a while, but only to be railroaded into a bog of difficulty and low reward.

On most every level, there's a lot good in this game's core, but I just feel like across the board it could use improved execution. I'd give it a 6/10 and a 3/5, if we stick to the old NG scoring system. Wish there was more to here to keep me satisfied.

Artwork, music and controls, ok. Level progressing - not ok. It gets insanely hard from nothing.

The first thing I want to say is that I think this has some great potential. I wanted to have fun playing this so bad because I love your esthetic but ultimately I was not having fun for the reasons I go into below.
I love the ambiance you've set up with the style and the music. judging just based on that alone i thought "ok I'm gonna have a fun, relaxing, good time. what I ended up with was being frustrated because the controls are difficult and every five seconds I'm dying to something and having to start over. its aggravating and makes me want to stop playing, and you knew this was the case when you uploaded it. your description claims that you know people will be raging at this game(which is obviously not what you're going for and was added to the description seemingly as a scapegoat) and claim it supports the theme of never giving up. People are getting mad because you took a game that was fundamentally unfinished and uploaded it. if your game is buggy and hard to control don't just write it off, fix it.
The game was buggy needs work. i recommend you keep working on it. I would love to play again if you ever update the game.

The wall jump was a little too jaggy. And the ice physics were annoying (After jumping on ice the player can no longer do anything about the rest of the jump trajectory?? Really?? why?)
Also, some level desings were really mean with adding hard precise jumps after a really hard to achieve part.
Adding the motivational text was a great choice, and you did manage to tie most of what was written to what the level was about. I fine job at that.
While the art was fine it could have been better. I liked the song, it was a great choice to evoke both a snowy feeling and the feeling to keep on moving.

Credits & Info

Views
2,819
Faves:
29
Votes
211
Score
3.53 / 5.00

Uploaded
Jan 8, 2019
3:17 PM EST
Genre
Action - Platformer - Hop and Bop
Tags
  • Daily 2nd Place January 10, 2019