Great atmosphere, crappy controls.
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Great atmosphere, crappy controls.
Every year or so, a game emerges here on Newgrounds that goes beyond what is expected of flash games or even free games in general. Those flash games are pretty much the only reason I even visit Newgrounds at all. This is that game. This is the game that made me glad that I still visit Newgrounds to find new games to play.
DISCLAIMER: I know very little about Castlevania. All I know is the attack delay, level design, and graphics.
Graphics are clearly inspired by the early Castlevania games. I can't say much, since I wasn't around during the era of early video games, but I will say that it is very fitting to the overall concept of the game.
The gameplay is superb and has a LOT of depth. (But not without its flaws. more on that later)
Much like Castlevania, the delay on your weapon forces you to time your attacks and actually think about how to approach a challenge, an aspect that is essential to beating the game. The chain gives the game more depth than I think people realize it does. It gives new ways to move through the level, and as a result, makes the world feel real and physical. The terrain is designed so that it compliments the complexity of the chain. Traversing through a level actually requires thought and analysis of the world around you, which also in turn, helps feels the world feel even more physical.
Music is fine. Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. I will say that when a song has ambiance be its main priority, it does a solid job of it.
The level design is well thought out and thorough, and in my opinion, is my favourite aspect of the game. Enemies will despawn and respawn if not killed. This allows players not only to fall back to reassess situations, but also forces players to complete tasks from start to finish and not cheap out the game.
For example, let's say that your fighting an iron maiden (The knight that throws axes overhead), and you get a couple of hit, but you're dangerously low on blood. So, you go back to an area that has leftover blood for you to refill on, and you go back to continue fighting. Except, the enemy respawned, so any damage you did beforehand is negated. This forces you to actually fight enemies fairly and intelligently, and makes it that much more satisfying when you do killed them all the way.
Not only that, since enemies only spawn when the player is near enough to them, it gives the player a chance to analyze the situation and act accordingly. For example, an enemy will spawn facing away from the player, giving them a chance to either 1) Wait for a more opportune time to attack, or 2) Go for the kill while you still have the chance.
The level design legitimately makes you fee
Stuff like this is what I wish other platformers did with their level design, and really makes me wish
The rising difficulty as the game progresses is also very well done and respectful to the player. It's not so superficial that it's just adding more enemies and having platforms be smaller as the levels go on. It increases its difficulty by forcing you to combine and perfect techniques that the game teaches you. This makes the game feel like it legitimately cares about the player's growth, rather than just being there solely to kill time.
But this game definitely isn't without fault. I'm sure many of you are frustrated with the slippery landings of the player, I am too, and is one of 2 main reason why I couldn't be bothered to finish the game in one night. I understand having planning and difficulty be a major part of the game, but when a perfectly executed jump and chain ends up being fruitless just because you landed a little too close to the edge of a block, it feels unfair, like the game is trying to extend its playtime by increasing the death count.
The second flaw I have with the game is how there is NO invincibility buffer. This is ESPECIALLY a problem with enemies that shoot multiple damaging entities. If you mess up just once with these enemies, you can lose all 3 of your bloods, or even flat out die if you're in an unfortunate enough position. This makes it very frustrating and tempting to just leave and forget the game. I'm not sure if it was intentional to omit the invincibility buffer, as a design choice to punish players for mistakes, but losing almost everything you have because of a half-second mistiming seems too severe of a punishment.
Are these flaws enough to make the game not worth playing? In my opinion, absolutely not. Even with these imperfections, this game is one of the best I've played in a good long while, and I'm very glad that I didn't skimp out on it when its flaws became apparent. If you're someone who checks the reviews before playing the game, I say play it. Definitely play it.
My rating average = (6.7/10)
Any number above 6.7 means it's better than I expected it to be. Likewise for any number below 6.7.
Level and Game Design = (9.4/10)
Music = (7/10)
Gameplay = (8.8/10)
Graphics = (Rating irrelevant, since its a homage to another game)
FFS, why does your character slip and slide all over the place? And why did you feel it appropriate to put precision platforming in a game with permanent ice physics?
Nothing to say.
I seem to have met the same problem of the guy below with the chain, but that can't turn so angry as to give you lower than the mark I'm giving now. Your game is great. I'm no fetichist and neither what people call "a fragile", but your game reminds me of another I played on Newgrounds where the player is enabled to feel the hero's sadness and torments.
I'll start with the positives.
I like the look and general mood of the game. The first few minutes, at least. The graphic style is a nice blend of 8-16-bit era stuff, which is usually a nice thing to see. Nothing new or original, but it works.
The controls have a really 'weighted' feel to them, which is a great thing to have, when implemented correctly. In this game it might be worth it to rebalance things a bit. Speeding up for jumping, jumping with precision (which is required, and I'll get to in a sec) and sliding when landing just don't quite feel right. I cannot review the full game because I have no access to the full game. The first pit to cross when you're introduced to the chain in the dungeon under the bridge... I cannot pass over it. I've gotten close, or so I think, but with no tips or clues as to if I'm doing it right or not... I'm stuck. I find it nearly impossible to both make the perfect jump and to throw the chain at the right time AT the same time.
I'm sorry dude, but you're getting a low score from me. The game looks promising, but if the tutorial already requires fully mastering the control scheme, it's just not for a casual platform lover like myself. Hopefully (if you agree/get similar feedback) you can make this game work for everyone.
Why do you say that it's nearly impossible to jump and throw the chain at the same time? You press and hold jump, then just hit the chain as you near the apex of your jump.
You say there are no indications as to if you're doing it right or not. Huh? If the chain never reaches the wall, you threw it too early. If it does but you're too low on the wall, you were too late. How is that not a clean and obvious indication?
It makes me worry your keyboard might have a key pressing conflict of some sort. I've stated this everywhere, but, when you throw the chain, you are pressing up to 4 buttons at one time and some keyboards won't allow certain keys to be pressed at once. If you open up the menu and go to keybindings, the buttons will flash if you are holding them down... if they aren't flashing, the game isn't registering the key presses correctly. Rebinding new keys may enable a working combination... I wish it weren't this complicated.
Unfortunately, I can't control people's hardware and most platformers are designed with controllers in mind, not keyboards. But maybe this isn't the problem you are experiencing.
If not, I don't know what to tell you. I intended the game to be hard, not causal. I wish I could see what people are doing when they say they can't stick a landing because I find it laughably easy, having grown up on platformers like Mario, Sonic, Mega Man, etc.
But that's the point. I didn't want to make an easy, simple platformer with the same yawn i've seen before set to a different theme. I wanted mechanics and gameplay that a person had to figure out and get into. When you read the reviews, I seem to either get scathing reviews talking about the frustrating controls or people who absolutely loved it. At an average score of 3.6, i'd wager most people didn't have difficulty figuring out how to play... and I suppose no matter what you do, there's always going to be a percentage of people who don't play the game right or won't figure it out.
Changing the chain at this point would be a disaster, breaking many aspects of the game and forcing me into another month of work and, likely, unintended consequences that must be fixed. Changing the controls to be tighter would make a lot of the game easier and would devalue second playthroughs... possibly damaging the scores I received from people who actually enjoyed the challenge.
As much as i'd like to please everyone, I feel that the real game is figuring out when I should stand my ground and when to cave to the complaints of players. I have to ask myself... "is this guy just an idiot?" Or, "Am I just so used to the game I don't realize how hard it is?". Again, the reviews are back and forth... and I think that's acceptable. Surely a hard game won't appeal to everyone, but there is an audience for what i've made here and they seem to be having fun.
I feel, at this point, it is what it is. I'm sorry you felt that the game was only worth 1 star... (hardly seems fair *big inhale*) but that's your judgement and that's fine.