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All 16 Game Reviews

5 w/ Responses

Generally, a very good game, though the hard and insane modes are very disappointing, as they consist mainly of replaying the same bosses with a faster time constant, rescaled damage, and more expensive items (that generally do the same thing). This game doesn't really feel like the effort was placed in it that can be found in other popular NG bullet hells.

As another example, the bullet patterns of these bosses employ massive amounts of randomness, where more serious bullet hells have very carefully calculated bullet patterns. Of course, this doesn't really matter much until Insane mode, where most bosses can kill you in 2 hits. Generally, as a game design principle, randomness and lack-of-forgiveness don't go together. In easier modes, the randomness can be forgiven with the inbuilt healing systems and bosses' low damage output, but this terrible combination makes some bosses of the Insane mode inordinately dependent on luck. (Some of them, I cleared first try without actually trying, like boss 8, and others took many many tries, like boss 6, or 10)

I should mention that the walls boss 6 makes are an interesting touch, but due to the randomness re: earlier, he has a relatively high chance of sending a bullet right toward the opening of the wall, creating a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't situation.

I also want to point out that the cyclops boss (boss 9) is wonderful, but there seems to be a bug - after he leans down to the table: the first fist slam after he stands back up will not actually be connected to his arm, fixing itself for the remaining fist slams.

As far as item balancing goes: although I can understand you probably did this to make calibrating the boss health easier, the huge nerf of additional bullets from your last game makes items that do little other than increase bullet count not worth wasting the item slot on unless your damage is extraordinarily high. I would suggest that the nerf is probably excessive. Remember that serious players (like myself) will actually do the math to see what item combinations have the most impact on damage output.

Finally, in games like this, it is usually a nice touch to allow players to skip straight to hard mode - it helps the game experience, as being forced to go though easier modes feels very much like grinding (especially in games like this that introduce nothing new when replaying older bosses). I would also request that insane mode changed some aspect of the bosses (they had new moves, different patterns, etc), as opposed to just being 'faster'.

All in all, the game was most enjoyable to play on hard mode - I personally had a blast. Unfortunately, there are too many other flaws to this game to take it seriously, or to give it replay value (which is compounded by the game forcing you 'replay' it 3 times just in the course of playing it once).

Hopefully some of the above was helpful. Looking forward to a more polished installment when you make the third! ^^

Very good if you are just starting out! It does have a bit of charm, and quite a lot of content to it. I managed to beat all of the standard with most badges, and a decent bit of the bonus levels with all badges before writing this.

This game has a few things that could use improvement or polish. The biggest issue I noticed is the movement system; it didn't seem quite so 'spot on' to me, it seemed instead rather sloppy. For example, it employs both acceleration and momentum, which isn't necessarily a bad combo for a precision platformer, but when combined with low deceleration values, and the air decel value being so close to the ground friction, the controls feel really slippery.

Long jumps with a full running start seem to require just as much time to stop as they did to build speed, which tends to obviate precision placement, as the player needs 'runway' to slow down after they land on their platform. Since there are many levels with small platforms, these quickly become tedious, feeling more like work than play.

Additionally, there are other movement oddities that make movement difficult to predict (in addition to being slippery). For example, landing on a platform with no key pressed instantly cancels momentum, but if a key is pressed, the character must first decelerate his momentum before moving. This is the same when running - if you run forwards, then press backwards, you will continue to slide forward for a bit. If you release the key, you will simply stop. Up and Down instantly cancel momentum, unless you are in the air. Or, if you walk off of a platform then 'water jump', you will jump to full height, whereas if you jump first, the 'water jump' is only half height.

The final thing I would like to mention is that the enemies hitbox is bigger than their visual representation (either that, or the player hurtbox is bigger than his ground collision box). Normally, this would be fine and a good player in a game with good controls may never notice, but this just frustrates this game all that much more.

Fortunately, the content (AKA all of the hard work) of this game is very good! I enjoyed it enough to complete the main campaign with most badges. Fixing the controls would be an excellent step towards putting the bow on this, methinks. That, and another song or two, as the same tune gets old 40 or so minutes in (not to mention listening to it the whole time I wrote this review). ;)

Other ancillary suggestions/thoughts:
-Though you made excellent use of the enemies currently present, I was disappointed that the most challenging enemy is the one who moves towards you ;( Maybe consider more challenging enemies in lieu of loads of ultra-easy enemies in the later levels?
-This is very minor, but the water's size does not line up with the gun/player's collision box when in a wall. For example, though you can press against a wall and shoot water up with no problem, shooting water downwards will cause it to disappear into the wall. Obviously this is not an issue until the later challenge levels (when you are water-jumping because you want to shoot water downwards).
-It looks like you collision check for enemies before checking the wall. This is also minor, but it allows savvy players like myself to shoot certain enemies through the floors and walls if they are close to the edges ;)

Hopefully these tips will be useful to you sir! The game content is good, but the controls are really bad, even though the concepts you were shooting for are good (momentum, with shooting water modifying momentum). I hope you will make an update with tighter controls, I would love to play it!


VinceB responds:

I appreciate you going through the trouble of giving me some detailed feedback. What I wouldn't give to have you give me this feedback before I released it.

Your attention to detail shows that you understand the systems I created to their fullest. I will go back and at least attempt to fix the controls. I am scared to touch them in case I break the ability to complete some of the levels, but it is worth it to try and work towards a better product now that I have gotten feedback from someone in my target audience.

I will dedicate a couple days next week to fixing up these issues so I hope you look forward to what I come up with! (There! I just made myself accountable with releasing an update in a timely manner.)

Again, thank you for the feedback. It is appreciated.

A wonderful little game, bugs and all! I had a blast playing it, and have played through 3 times now (wanted to play through twice, but a bug stuffed my second run). On one of the levels, (I can't remember which, maybe 6th?), I got a blaster to fire a shot only once and never again, which was a tad gamebreaking. To make matters worse, without an autosave feature, refreshing (which is the standard way of dealing with a buggy playthrough) causes a total restart :/

I just replayed to try to verify the bug for you: on field 8, if the trigger behind the gun is activated by the gun's bullet, the gun will never shoot another bullet. BioVass mentioned this, and it is a bug; you can't complete the level if this happens. To replicate this bug, you simply start level 8, and instead of activating the trigger first or changing the angle of the shot deflector, simply click the blaster (the one in the top left of the screen, above the red info placard). This bug forces a game restart, because you need the blaster to activate a platform that would allow you to enter the level exit (so that you might restart the level). I further agree that escape should allow a level restart, or at least confirm restarting the game (so that you have the option to back out of a total restart).

This bug got me too on my second playthrough.

The only other thing I would recommend is alternate controls (introduced to the player in the first level) for those of us who don't have right-clicks (e.g. so that left click is light, and right click OR space is move command). I would have used alt keys anyway since right clicks feel like a slippery movement for me anyway.

All of this aside, this game ROCKS! This is legitimately one of the best puzzle platformers I have played on NG. The effects are spot on and not overdone, the presentation is wonderful, there is little to fault other than bugs. Consider throwing in bonus levels with the bugfixes, and maybe more puzzle mechanics as well!

Other tips:
-The pong level can be beat by simply moving the paddle in the path of the initial blaster shot, shooting the blaster, then allowing the shot to rebound off of the paddle and wall piece until random deflections angle the ball upwards into the field generator. If it randomly deflects downward, allow the ball to leave the playfield and try again.
-The platforms seem to use a simple sine based movement with a default height. Consider setting the platforms to using changeable heights at least, and use accel and decel values to control move speed at most. Currently, some platforms can not be boarded even though they are only knee height to the man, which forces some silly situations sometimes (where you need to board platforms by letting them come down on top of you, then 'popping' on top of the platform). The platforms feel somewhat crude, so more refinement there would seriously polish a game like this up. An example of this is in the 7th level (I think) where there are three switches for 3 platforms on the right of the screen. Depending on how you activate these platforms, you can actually make the two right-most platforms intersect each other before you can actually get off the first platform, making you either unable to move (at worst), or instantly pops you onto the highest platform (at best).

Hopefully this information is helpful to you sir. Excellent game, overall.

Kouboooo responds:

Thanks a lot for your detailed review!
I'll try to take into account the more of your excellent suggestions.
At first, I fixed some bugs that you reported me (blasters, etc.). I am grateful for your help and thank you for playing!

Uf, in upgrade games like these, the math behind the different upgrades should be done to prevent huge gaps in cost effectiveness.

In this game, you should buy the guns but not upgrade any of them (none of the damage output upgrades are cost effective). The sole exception is your partner's grenade launcher, in which case putting a point or two into the number of rounds per magazine is very cost effective (100% for $400, then 50% for $440 [or therabouts, forgot the actual price])

You should buy all of the specials (once you have tier 2 guns), but not upgrade any of them either. Surprisingly, upgrading them doesn't seem to make the cooldowns significantly faster, if at all. Use them as soon as they come online so you get maximum uses out of a wave.

In the defenses tab, both the howitzer and the mines should be purchased. The mines are the only other cost effective upgrade in the game, since for base price of $1000 plus $100 per level you get an additional mine, each capable of a huge damage output. Remember to allow enemies to run over them so you get your money's worth. The howitzer is generally useless, but can save your ass in rare situations where the map is flooded with enemies and you can't shoot through the grunts to the explosive donkeys (the howitzer will shoot past the grunts to the explosives and generally clear the map for you).

Other than that, the upgrades are poorly priced for what they do and should be avoided. Fun game though, and interesting concept.

I certainly wasn't going to play it either, but I am also glad I did. A great game, with some cool fresh twists. I would enjoy a mode that allowed continues, just for casual play. This is actually a very entertaining game.

Even though this was short, this was FANTASTIC! There was something SUPER satisfying about shooting the rocket or super gun, and there was all these nice touches like the ships looking electrified (which from what I can tell is purely a visual effect) - great work.

Also, I don't know if this was intentional, but it seems like the mid-game 'interludes' always seem to come when I have this awesome multiple gun upgrade-powerup thing going on - I figure it is the AI's way to let my timers run out before deciding to attack again ;)

Some tips: Someone complained that you can shoot at where the enemies spawn at and not collect the energy things. Turns out that your mouse tracks off the screen with you if you are clicking. Also, the ground off screen seems to continue to slope. Since certain powerups (air defense/rocket launcher) will happily kill enemies off screen, just remember to periodically do brief off-screen swipes with the mouse to collect all those lost orb things ;)

MAN! What a satisfying game! Pew Pew Pew! :)

It plays very smoothly, however it feels slow when you play in it (the aliens stay down/invincible for a while, controls don't feel as sharp as they could be). As far as precision, I don't particularly like deceleration in movement, I prefer a character to completely stop when I remove all fingers from the keys (if on the ground). It likely won't be an issue if this game doesn't require precision jumps etc, but I figured I would leave the feedback anyway.

I like the mario-esque platforms that are destroyable by jumping, which quickly led to me trying other mario-esque things like jumping on enemies (and taking damage for it). I also like the idea of a stock-up room, though none of the things stayed properly suspended in the air. This could be cool though, so I hope you finish fleshing this out into a game.


busypixels responds:

thanks for your response!

actually I wanted the aliens (wich were meant to be zombies^^) to not be able to get hit by bullets for a time... maybe this idea wasn't that good^^

haha, yeah... at first the player could kill zombies by jumping on their head... but that made the enemy seem ridiculously weak^^

Awesome concept, I would love to see more games like this. The hitboxes for the monsters seem larger than their actual per-pixel size, so if you progressed far enough, you would find that you could end up in situations where you couldn't reach any doors at all (it turns out it was possible, but it took some strategic dying to respawn at just the right time).

Good idea sir, I love what tech is doing to teaching!

This game is hot. I love the bullet hell flavor for starts, the menus are fluid, the gameplay is smooth, and the mix of pixel art is pretty fancy.

In only a very few spots does it actually show through as your first attempt at a game. You have got the formula right, however.

A white bar fills from left to right, then it just freezes.

On a possibly related note, it may be wise to drop the adblock nonsense, as those of us that opt out are not going to change their mind to play your game. Think, does it make sense for any entity to try to force us to use our internet service to load any content we don't want it to? I'll watch ads when they start paying for my internet service.

Camron Mercer @DeseNutz

26, Male

*Still getting one*

South Granville High

North Carolina, USA

Joined on 1/27/08

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