Reviews for "Ice Story ( 氷物語 )"

Not bad! I enjoy the art, though I think the enemies could stand to be animated (I imagine that was left out to save time, though, which is fair enough). I feel like it could use a bit more depth, and the mechanics could maybe use a bit of tweaking, but the 80s Taito influence comes through clear as day! This is a great start to a game.

I've only skimmed the other reviews, so apologies if I'm repeating things other folks have already said, but here are my suggestions to build on this:
Mapping the dash to another button might feel a bit more intuitive than mapping it to the down key. The down key isn't bad per se, but it definitely feels a bit odd at first and takes some getting used to.

I think it might also be cool to have it so you get a point bonus if you collect all the dinos and send them through the gate at once, along the lines of Flicky (and perhaps set it up so pressing C throws all the dinos you're holding at once, instead of one at a time) - it feels like it would add a bit of depth to the game. As it stands, it's a bit easy to get all the books on a level and max out the score.

The ice spell mechanic sort of feels like it might work better if it went straight forward instead of in an arc - I can understand why keeping the horizontal distance limited would be beneficial, but it does feel a bit awkward. Maybe a blast that goes straight forward a bit and then bursts after a short distance? Or if the arc was more important to the gameplay - having to arc the spell over things, or onto things. Maybe I'm just being nitpicky though!

I'd also say that you should be able to dash through stunned dinos to bounce them back into the air so you can pick them up again instead of having to wait for them to go back to normal so you can freeze them and then dash through them again.

I think that's all I can really think of! The music took a bit to grow on me, and the falling rocks are a bit frustrating, but I really only ever ran into them naturally on one level, so I don't really have a problem with them. Good start to a game - I don't see a lot of games that come this close to capturing the feel of an 80s arcade game while still being fun!

castpixel responds:

Wow! Goatygoat that was an *ace* piece of feedback! Thank you so much!

Flicky was totally an influence, and it's what ruins my control scheme at the moment. Other reviewers have commented how it might be nice to throw dinos with the same button as the dash or the ice projectile. But that runs into the problem of not being able to catch more than one dino.

But the intention is 100% to get a bonus for 3 dinos disposed of consecutively. I might not take you up on throwing them all with one button press, as that would be a missed opportunity for
1. throwing one dino on another to stun it and
2. puzzle possibilities where you've picked up a [key] that needs to go in a [keyhole]. I'd like to work with the 3-slot inventory that Rocket Slime employs. (that's where I stole the catch mechanic from, although mine's not as fluid yet)

Being able to dash through stunned dinos would feel absolutely right, I agree and thanks for the suggestion!

The arc looks a little weird I'll admit, and much less visually pleasing than a horizontal projectile that just fizzes over distance. However it can be used to target dinos on lower levels as it is, keeping you out of harm's way. It's like the ground bomb from Cotton or indeed the snow spell from Snow Bros. I intend to have powerups that increase range and freezing strength.

Also a system for getting rewards when you finish the level - edibles like in bubble bobble, rainbow islands, kirby, etc. And a few forks in the path, secret levels and bosses. There, that's my entire development plan. I'm telling you because you're one of the few people that seem excited about this :D

I mean, there's much room for more modern ideas in a game genre that's 25 years old, but how do you top this wonderfully convoluted scoring system? http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Bubble_Bobble/Point_items

Thanks again! (And yeah the music isn't catchy enough. On the other hand, it gave me some hands on experience with the SEGA sound chip)

I quite liked this game, but it took some time to get used to the many quirks.
Like not being able to pick up a dinosaur after it stopped bouncing. Some levels this got to be a huge annoyance as it got thrown across the level, and by the time I could get to it, I could no longer pick it up.
Not being able to press up to jump, and having down move me really far forward, with no way to stop it. Personally, I'd prefer up be jump, and dash be X. That would have helped tremendously. Like some have mentioned, having both a jump button and up would be nice, but I'd like the option with dash as well. Heck, customizable controls would solve all these issues.

I can see the potential for this game, and being someone whos favorite games of all times includes snow bros, bubble bobble, and liquid kids I'm really excited to see what you do with this game.

castpixel responds:

Boldot thanks so much for taking the time! It's great to see people excited about this silly thing.
I'm taking notes, all of your suggestions are great. I think once the dinos are down it's fair game that you wouldn't be able to pick them up, but I agree your time window to catch them is limited right now. I'll have to tweak it, maybe with bouncier dinos or a slight bullet time on impact so you can plan your course.

I'm reluctant to let people completely customize all the controls, because when I made the change from 2-buttons to 3 I found people who were happy with the nintendo-style controls became very frustrated. This is going to take a lot of tweaking. Up as jump would be terrible on a controller. I'm still struggling to solve that one.

Thank you so much for taking the time!

i second everything tom said, but with the addendum that i had some issues picking the enemies up. if i dashed into them while i was on a platform, they would land up there and i'd fall to the ground generally, but by the time i got back up, i couldn't grab them so they just kinda sat there on the ground. this was kinda frustrating because after a few attempts, they'd stand up and kill me instead, and the levels really arent big enough to perform a dash without falling most of the time.
i kind of understand why you'd want to force the player to catch the enemies, but it doesn't really make much sense when you cant control yourself after a dash. IMO you'd be better off either stopping the dash when the player makes contact with an enemy, or allowing the player to pick the enemies up after they're stunned.

castpixel responds:

Understood. I'm trying to explore a Rocket Slime mechanic. Have you played it? It's very charming.

The reason you can't catch the dinos is they need to be falling or at most on their second bounce off the floor. Once they're on the floor and immobile, they're harmless (until they get up, which I need to animate btw) and you need to try again. They used to get up right after landing, but playtesters thought it's too unfair, and that they ought to stay confused for longer. So now there's a long pause until the dinos get up. Their internal "frozen" value works by the way, if you try to freeze them while unconscious. Which means there's a bug, because ice doesn't form around them until they're upright. Gah :)

I need to tweak the main mechanic so it's clear, you can't pick dinos off the ground, and I don't want you to be able to. But it needs to feel good dashing into them and trying to catch them afterwards. Probably more bouncy dinos, does that make sense?

Here's a post-mortem that outlines what I'm aiming for http://ludumdare.com/compo/2015/04/22/461035/

Thank you for the detailed feedback!

Been reading the reviews and thinking about the controls... I typically like having a jump button in games but while playing I WAS wondering about using the UP arrow to jump instead. You could add support for both UP arrow AND a jump button so people can choose either.

I also did find myself instinctively pressing down to drop through plafforms, although this doesn't need to be an ability. Maybe it's problematic because people do instinctively try it and end up dashing instead... What if C makes you DASH if you aren't carrying an enemy and THROW if you are carrying an enemy? That would let players focus on tapping C twice to complete the grab / throw process, less likely to get mixed up with different buttons.

Also the intro could have a "Press Z to SKIP" note in the bottom corner to make sure players are aware.

Love the music and art! Only other issue is whether the difficulty is too oldschool - which plenty of people like - but nowadays I prefer something where I get infinite chances to complete a level, vs a limited set of lives to complete all levels.... Or maybe some hybrid where you have limited lives, but every 5 levels reaches a checkpoint you can continue from infinitely.

castpixel responds:

Tom thanks :)
I need players to be able to carry more than one dino. I know, this isn't evident in this version, but carrying three or more would be higher risk and higher reward, with a score bonus for consecutive portal throws.

So one button for DASH and THROW isn't going to work. It used to be that 3 buttons were super-acceptable for an arcade game, what happened since :S I'm racking my brain to find a simpler control scheme. People hated the 2-button controls too, even though it was more well-thought out.

I hear what you're saying about the old-school difficulty. I'm liking those ideas. My original plan to make it more modern was to implement a continue feature, based on your score. Like, buying continues at the expense of your high score. That would theoretically motivate retro fans and convenience more casual players. But as it's an LD game, I didn't have time to even implement score.

Thanks for the kind words.

Had such high expectations for this seeing it was a retro based game... but the controls are not user intuitive, and the intro went on for way to long... plus the lag I was experiencing was unbearable. Could be my browser but who knows. I couldn't even make it past the tutorial level, shame, this game looked promising.

castpixel responds:

Chrome is recommended.
The intro can be skipped by pressing Z.
What would be user intuitive controls for you?