Game Journal Week 09/07<Finished>
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
Game 1: Only One Minute Before Restart ( https://levimoore.itch.io/only-one-minute-before-restart )
A fun little experience in which the player plays a company employee who is finishing up an email to the boss and about to get off work for the day. As the employee is writing the email, a system update suddenly appears, interrupts the process and calls for a system shutdown, which will cost the unfinished email to be deleted. Player tries to stop this shutdown by tackling an apparently age-old OS which requires user to complete a series of mini-games in order to complete the process.
Through some trial and error, player gains a better understanding of the mechanics of each mini-games, eventually reaches the end. A timer is ticking at the bottom right corner of the screen, so there is a sense of urgency present in the game. However, the undertone of humor and playfulness can also be felt thank to the gameplay+artistic design of these mini-games: stick figure, galaga, etc.
Game 2: Winter-Falling: Survival Strategy ( https://rarykos.itch.io/winter-falling )
A mini RTS+chess style game based upon the GoT franchise.
The main gameplay is divided into two phases:
1. planning phase, the pre-war period during which player set up the battlefield(trench, positioning of the chess units)
2. battle phase, the period during which the battle is taking place and player has to make real-time decisions and mobilize/activate the units
The game only had one level(a game jam build), and the tutorial came after the player fails the battle(which is by design. The battle is hard enough to overwhelm most players and the planning phase is also not present during this gameplay session)
Planning phase requires players to make a serial of choices that can affect how the battle is played out in the later phase: should the player recruit more units? should player have the units rest or build more trenches? Each choice has its supposed consequence laid out to the player. Player has to mentally calculate the effect of these consequences on the later battle phase and learn to balance things out. Recruiting more units, though increase the strength of the army, can potentially result more undead army generated through their death.
Battle phase is where things get intense. The army of undead seems very overwhelming and they respawn after death. Player has to survive a timer by carefully arranging and positioning its own army at real-time. Battling certain undead units will earn action points which can be used to unlock certain events like dragon breath that can bring large destruction to the undead army. When the timer runs out, player wins.
What was really memorable for me was that I won almost at the exact moment all of army units were devoured by the undead and my king unit was suffocated by the enemy. I think this moment was actually carefully and intentionally designed by the developer of this game to imitate the Battle of the Winterfell scene in GoT. Developer did a good job on balancing/calculating the resource given to the player and the variables of the battlefield to deliver such tense moment to the player.
I wish map/battlefield layout can play a more significant factor during the gameplay session. For now everything is just flat battleground and situation can get really chaotic at times.
-A clean and simple game interface. The art style is vibrant, bright, simple and easy to read. Each chess piece is represented by a rect sprite art. A smart design details: the sprite size of the unit underlying its power level. Cavalries are stronger piece with more movement points, so their 2D art is of bigger size.
Game 3: Mondar's Dungeon by Rat King ( https://ratking.itch.io/mondars-dungeon )
Mondar's Dungeon is a brilliant marriage between the genres of deck building and dungeon exploration.
The objective is to reach the depth of the dungeon and to obtain the amulet, which means player wants to proceed in the game as far as possible.
At each level/stage of the dungeon, player gets to flip cards from 4 decks. Cards, upon being flipped face up, reveal themselves to be either (1)an enemy card which player has to fight, (2)an usable item card which player can carry and store in the inventory, (3)money card, (4) an environment card like a door card which opens new door to the next stages/levels for player or a trap card which hurts the player every time player returns to the same level.
The gameplay is largely affected by chance and player's mental calculation on the situation. The choices that player has to make include things like:
Which deck of cards to flip?
Which items to carry to the next level?
Fight a monster, or abandon the fight, save the firepower and proceed to the next level?
Return to a previous level(hurt by trap but might proceed to an alternative path/grab an unused item) or proceed to the next one(face new enemy)?
Give food to a rat(which can lure the rat away and prevent it from hurting you) or save the food for yourself and fist fight the rat?
There are so many delicate and subtle scenarios which really drive the player to think and strategize each move.
The dungeon part of the game gives the deck building component a new and refreshing meaning: to better equip oneself and to survive as long as possible.
All the cards of different types are pretty much self explanatory and easy to understand. It's a game that's easy for beginners to get into but requires several iterations of gameplay sessions to start noticing the nitty-gritty and mastering.