The Indie Game Maker Contest, 2015 has completed its submission phase. Any games on the page at this point are final and ready to be played, judged, and enjoyed by the community. Over the next couple of months as the scores are added up by the judges and games are eliminated down to the final few we’ll be taking a look at some of the games that stand out (or fade away) from the crowd. I will judge them following the same guidelines the official judges do. My score has no effect on the actual scores the game’s receive but just represent my own thoughts on the games. Let’s take a look at today’s games…
Background Information: A stealth/horror platformer made through Game Maker Studio by the developer Ylzor.
Presentation: From the start the introduction music is that of a gentle melody reminiscent of a music box. It’s a good introduction to the overall beautiful, yet dark atmosphere that the remainder of the game delivers. Sound effects are based on their source location and with headphones you will feel as if the environment surrounds you. The art is simple yet excellent and delivers enough of a transition between background, enemies, and the player that you can easily track what is what. Be it the gray backdrop, the black foreground, the red eyed enemies, or the colorful character, you know where everything is at all times and this makes puzzle solving and sneaking challenging, not annoying.
Gameplay: The tutorial is simple and what you’d expect from a platformer, but the instructions are delivered well as they fade into the background and are not repeatedly thrown at you as you try to figure out the game on your own. The animations are smooth and the character’s reactions feel believable. (Though a bit slow compared to your traditional platformer) The camera is also very good at following the character and showing you what’s just ahead (or below) that you need to see in order to progress.
Your first death will likely be at the first drop. There is no rush to complete this first challenge and you will likely die if you do rush, but it does better enforce the hang and drop mechanic as well as present to you how sensitive the character is to fall damage. Though deaths are common the time between death and action is short. Similar to games like Super Meat Boy, once you die there is no pop up menu asking you to play again. Instead after a quick fade to black you are brought back to a previous checkpoint usually not far from where you died, allowing you to easily go at it again without having to work your way back.
Your first encounter with an enemy is exciting. A small blob like creature that in most games would be as simple to defeat as jumping on its head or swinging a sword. Instead in Guilt even something small can be deadly and you must avoid it at all cost. If you get spotted be prepared to run and the excitement will continue until you get to safety or die trying. This energy keeps up throughout the game and ensures you’ll be watching every step you take to make sure it is going to get you through the game and not lost in the dark.
Engagement: As you take your first steps little waves emit from the soles of your feet. They seem to be some sort of sound wave that leaves the player wondering what exactly they may be from the start and so begins the list of questions that will soon follow.
As you progress past the first couple of stages you will run into your first enemy of the game. Once again the music delivers excellency here as your character tries to sneak past the creature. Upon being seen there is a sudden shock similar to that of a horror movie and you begin to attempt to flee, and in my case meet a quick demise.
Though the game is short, every stage delivers another piece of the story in the background. Nothing is thrown in your face or made clear until right at the very end and that sudden realization of what Guilt was all about is like a punch to the gut that leaves you shocked, sad, and a range of other emotions I didn’t think such a short game could deliver.
Bugs and Glitches: The game is mostly bug free though in one encounter I did have a creature get stuck while chasing me and though I was thankful to have a break, the creature was clearly meant to kill me and it did not do as intended.
The Twist / Growth: My interpretation of growth within Guilt was its excellent delivery of a story that wasn’t made clear until the very end and even then much was left up to the player to interpret. It was exciting and left me teared up, for that I believe it did the role well though not extraordinarily so.
Overall: Guilt will make you excited to solve puzzle after puzzle, despite the several times you may die you’ll be back up and ready to go again. The story is a nice touch that wraps up this short game well and the music and sound, though not perfectly transitioned between tracks, is a joy to listen to.
-Short on Content
-Little to no Replayability
Overall Score: 47/70, Great Game!
IGMC Page (Download): Guilt (Be sure to upvote and share the game if you enjoyed it, reward the devs for their work and allow others to enjoy what you have all at the same time)
Background Information: An action platformer made through Unity by the developer Double Ring Studios.
Presentation: Xintana Legends has very elegant, detailed, and interesting art. Where it falls short though is in polish and animation. Movement between frames is jumpy, the character often gets stuck in a single frame and slides for several seconds instead of running, and running into a wall will cause the character to get stuck bouncing back and forth creating a horrible static sound for headphone users. The music is also better listened to out of the game than in as it too can suffer from the occasional hiccup despite being a good soundtrack on its own. Not to mention the voice actress behind Xintana’s voice is very bland and doesn’t seem to fit the character, lacking an accent to fit her ethnic background unlike the creatures that speak throughout the game.
Despite crouching being a feature it only reveals that the ground comes to a sudden end (as seen in the screenshot below). The pause screen is just a sudden freeze that poorly communicates to the player that the game has been paused. At first I assumed the game crashed on me.
As far as presentation is concerned, Xintana Legends seems beautiful at first glance but it is made clear quickly that the thirty day competition forced the team to make some cuts in quality on the project as a whole.
Gameplay: The gameplay feels unresponsive and the character, Xintana, has little to no interaction with the environment. Jumping on ledges causes weird jitters that force you to have to walk away and try to jump on them again without hitting the edge. More often than not the character’s actions were completely broken and not long into my playthrough I felt I was more so fighting with the game itself and not the challenges it put in front of me and I exited before going more than ten minutes into the game.
Sliding across the screen stuck in a damaged state
Engagement: If there was a story to be told the game could not hold my interest long enough to tell it.
Bugs and Glitches: Xintana Legends is riddled with bugs, but they are almost entirely graphical and none of which broke the game during my short playthrough.
The Twist / Growth: The character has some progression throughout the game but nothing unique happened during the first two stages I witnessed.
Overall: Xintana Legends has a lot of potential but as it stands in its current state it just isn’t worth playing.
Overall Score: 12/70, Inadequate
IGMC Page (Download): Xintana Legends (Be sure to upvote and share the game if you enjoyed it, reward the devs for their work and allow others to enjoy what you have all at the same time)