Saturday, September 11, 2021

From Dev to Dev. It is time of roguelike indie games in pixelart!

Recently we talked about Witchcrafter: Empire Legends, a dark fantasy, story focused, pixel art platformer metroidvania with elemental magic, that is reaching a lot of new players every day!

A little gem made using Defold, a new engine game! Now this indie game, playable also online, has over 35,000 players! But there a re a lot of metroidvania games every day... and Paweł Jarosz, the solo dev behind Witchcrafter, shared his feedback about a new game in pixelart recently uploaded on indiexpo and added also in the Top 2 Indie Games of August 2021 video! From Dev to Dev is back!

Let me talk about Light Keeper by Hugo Laion, a game I spotted on indiexpo and it got me very interested and I would love to share a word or two to the dev from the dev :)

Light Keeper is a pixelart roguelike platformer with a background story about a city plagued by creatures crawling from underground which was ages ago protected by magical light that supposed to be eternal. Unfortunately it was not.

As a queen of this city you must stop them and light up those torches. This is a nice excuse for making such type of game.

After introducing the setting let me first focus on mechanics and gameplay at first and then we will go to a technical breakdown with a lot of advices not only for Hugo, but for all indiedevs!

Light Keeper is a platformer with non-intuitive, but smooth controls. The character is moving really nice, has a noticable inertion - nice acceleration and decceleration.

However, as a gamer I am used to jump with Space bar, but here Space is for dashing. You jump with W key, which is very hard for me to use in the heat of a battle.

Some controls customisation would be very nice to have (but I know how hard it is to implement!).

The character has useful platforming abilities like sliding and jumping on walls, edge grabbing etc. This is so nice to have in a modern platformer and it makes the game less stiff comparing to classic ones. I like it!

The creatures are starting to crawl from the darkness and you begin to feel the pressure. It is really hard to survive here! Random spawning of enemies is not yet balanced well.

It happened to me to meet a boss I couldn't even scratch, while he got me smashed in a turmoil of (almost unpredictable when first met) missiles trajectories.

The current, random structure of encounters made it impossible to introduce mechanics and learn useful tactics and behaviors on weaker enemies, before encoutnering a challenging boss.

You are generally put in the middle of a boiling battlefield and after just a few moments of peace, you need to fight for your life. Tension is very high here - this is considered as an advantage for some players!

When it comes to audiovisuals the first thing that attracts my attention are assets used in the game. As a dev, I am very familiar with the market and I understand that being a solodev, as Hugo is, means you would like to utilise what is available.

I do the same myself. However, this means you could see a bunch of different art styles mashed up in the game which may distract you from the mechanics.

This is also very hard to present the game to others as it lacks its unique style at first glance. I know that struggle!

The key for this to be thoughtful is to add your own spice to the game so it is unique. Hugo manages to do it pretty well.

Light Keeper is made in Construct 2 and introduces a nice lighting shader. The structure of the game is clear for me, there is also a compass in game that shows you where the closest torch is.

The GUI is pretty scalled-up in this game, covering a lot of the screen - it is also demands some time to get used to it. In general this is a solid platformer and a good roguelike with high tension.

The game is available in English or Brazilian Portuguese.

If you like such genre it could be an interesting title for you to check out!

Good luck, Hugo, with the further development! You have make a huge milestone in your career - completing a game, releasing it and gathering a feedback is undescribed precious for game devs!


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