All 35 Game Reviews

14 w/ Responses

Before I really start I have to get some things out of the way: I don't enjoy maze games and might be biased. They are simply not my kind of game, mainly because I get bored by their simple setup. Despite this, I still think your game deserves a review, because it was rather well executed. Okay, let's see now...

You added a mute button. So your game is already superior to 95% of all maze games in existence. Good job! ;) You also spend some thought on the way the movement mechanics work, so players can not cheat their way to the goal. As far as 'true' maze games go, this might be one of the best there are. Overall, the game stands on solid feet. Quality control wise you did a lot of things right such as having a tester and fixing bugs 'before' you publish. Some of the bigger game developing studios could learn from you.
However, I also have some gripes...

Technical bits:
Instructions: The instruction you listed in the Author Comments should also be in the game. Additionally, having "Maze Game" in the title will only tell 'most, but not everybody' what the game is about. It would still be nice if you explained the game mechanics for the inexperienced gamer.
Key Bindings: 0, 1, 2, 3 & 4 aren't really intuitive keys. How about "M" for mute/unmute, "S" (or "H") for show/hide cursor and "R" for the reset option?
Level Select: I don't think the games saves a player's progress. Skilled players 'can' finish it quickly, but a level select on the main menu would spare players that had to close the game for some reason the frustration of having to play everything all over again. Showing the current level number in a corner would help players to tell how far it is to the end and give the whole experience a more professional look. Fancy graphics may be nice, but _effort_ will always show.
'The Bug': Everybody experienced it; everybody knows about it. You added a workaround, but it would still be better for both the players and your personal experience as a developer if you could manage to find a more elegant solution.
Pride: This is only a minor thing to me, but you should show more pride. You made a game and people liked it! You should add credits to the main menu. This would as well be a good place to tell your 'story' and thank your friend that tested the game during the beta phase.

Level Design: Some levels felt unnecessarily long. Not difficult, just... more 'artificially lengthened' than actually challenging. Speaking of challenge, I noticed that the tunnel bits get reduced to 1 block width rather early on. You worked with different shapes for the most part, but some parts seem to say "I'm just a long tunnel, because the developer had some space left and didn't want the level to be over." The cannons where a good and innovative addition to the level design, but for the most part they only did the same thing, just in different places. It would have been nice if you had invested more innovation in the way you placed them. One setup that immediately comes to mind would be two cannons that alternate shooting down a 2 block hallway that the player has to pass in the direction of the cannons (with a tunnel branching off right before them). The game could also use some other 'obstacles', adding more variety.
Ending: I didn't feel satisfied when I beat the game. Sure, there's a medal, but I don't play games only for the medals, if you can believe that. A single sentence might fit the theme of the game better, but I think I would have preferred something along the lines of "You, <Playername>, are awesome!" than just a notification that the game is done now.
Story: While I can't really blame you for not coming up with a appealing back story for this kind of game, games with even the sketchiest of stories tend to be more rememberable that those without one. Throwing the hero or a princess in a dungeon is often enough to leave 'some' feeling that a player's actions inside the game world matter. And if you let a girl rescue a boy you can score points for originality as well. (Which is still something that is hard for me to wrap my head around: The dark ages are long gone, but still most protagonists in gaming are dudes... What is wrong with you, world?)

Still... All in all you did a pretty good job. It's just that I think some tweaks might have made it 'exceptional'.

Rock On!

There seems to be no preloader. Newgrounds lets authors download and use their preloaders for free if you can't write one yourself.
The resolution of your game is HUGE, but yet the help texts are so tiny that they are barely noticeable when a player starts the game for the first time. The next few tries he has to focus on the 'new' help text and will most probably die while reading them. Why didn't you just add an "Instructions" button to the menu? You could have easily fitted all those texts on a single screenshot of the game.
There is no indication that your gun needs ammunition. "This is your energy indicator" is open to interpretation - especially since the ammunition is mounted to the lifebar...
Having the 'jump' and 'shoot' buttons on different far ends of the screen means nobody will use the option to click. I'm guessing you have a reason like android application or something, but for a flash game, I don't really see it.
In some other countries the "Z" and "X" keys are not right beside each other. An option to configure the controls would have been nice. (And No: I wouldn't want to use mouse AND keyboard for a game that utilizes only two buttons...)
The player doesn't get any information about the 'other' upgrades (gained from running a certain distance) actually do or that he could get upgrades by covering a certain distance. The screen is HUGE: Why didn't you fill in some headlines and informative texts?
You could have included a highscore board. Newgrounds lets authors use their highscore servers for free.
You forgot to include your story from the author comments in the game itself. Speaking about the story: It seems rather short and you should think about expanding it. Maybe explain where the machines came from or why the character can't stop running...
During gameplay the character isn't recognizable as female (having a ponytail and no beard doesn't make someone female) and there seems to be no screen where the player could have a good look at her face. Thus, describing the character as a "sexy female clone" in the author comments seems like a huge exaggeration.
I needed just a few lousy minutes to make all these observations. I'm guessing making this game took you several days. You should really pay more thought to creating games.

I found no bugs in the gameplay or controls themselves, so that's a plus.

In summary, 'Sci-Fi Runner' is a 'Canabalt' clone where the player can shoot robots and earn upgrades. It has okay controls, average mechanics, decent graphics, a poor tutorial and offers only little long-term motivation. I wouldn't play his again and wouldn't recommend it even to hardcore fans of the genre.

Hazneliel responds:

Your opinion is very constructive, thank you very much explaining the points that I need to fix to make it a better game. I will work soon on fixing it.

About the preloader, when I load it it has a loader screen with the game´s logo, I dont know what preloader you cant see

One thing before I really start: I HATE 'Flappy Bird'. Bad controls and needlessly narrow flight corridors ruin that game completely. And don't get me started on that retarded looking blob of a bird.

That being said, 'Flappy Corgi' is NOTHING like 'Flappy Bird'!
You created a game with great BGM, fabulous choice of colors, hilarious setting, progress rewards, unusual controls, introduced a HP-system to the universe of 'Flappy' games that actually makes sense and to put the cherry on the cake: The player controls a flying corgi that shoots hearts and rainbows at cats in UFOs...
Not only did you create an enjoyable experience, but you made it even real fun. You created a 'Flappy Bird clone' that is FUN to play... My mind is blown!

If I was desperately searching for something to improve: A Pause function and a hotkey for mute would make the game even better, but wouldn't be mandatory. Maybe add the story in the game as well. However for this great service to not only the kingdom but the whole world, there can be no other rating: 5/5 and 10/10. Hell, I would even award you 'The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire' if I could!
Great game. Great innovations. Keep up the good work and thank you for making this. I'm just so happy right now...

sournote103 responds:

I can definitely work on adding a pause system and a mute hotkey when I get time. Thanks for the suggestions, and I'm really glad you enjoyed the game!

'Night Lights: After Dark' is a good game: Solid mechanics, the few controls are easy to learn, the graphic looks nice, the bgm is good, it has a mute button for those who don't agree and a walkthrough for the desperate and the impatient. It really shows that you've put a lot of work into this game.

I really like it, but there's still a little room for improvements...

For level 4 I had to look at the walkthrough. The thing is: It's not that hard or complicated - I just didn't expect the movable blocks to behave different. One box fell through the platform, so I expected the other one to behave and didn't try it out. I shouldn't have 'had to' look the solution up, because I should have learned the necessary techniques and game mechanics in earlier levels. My suggestion would be to drop that broken level 12 and add a level before the current number 4 that teaches the player, about not all boxes being 'solid' when the light hits them. Think about it...

Also there seems to be no background story in the actual game - only in the Newgrounds author comments. When the game started I thought that level 1 was my characters house, but actually quite the opposite was true.

I had a habit of pushing boxes too far towards the next wall, so I had to restart because I couldn't push it out, even though there was still a gap. However, this didn't seem to be a problem with two 'boxes' pushed too close together, as those seem to recognize what you are trying to do and moved when I tried to squeeze into the gap. It would be nice if you could replicate that behavior for the walls scenario as well.

Another thing: Every level earns the player 25 medal points, except Levels 12 and 14, which grant only 5. Wouldn't it be fairer to earn 5 points each for levels 1 to 3 and slowly increase the points from there?

I'm sorry, but I would say you created a game of chance rather than a game of skill. Which bar-segment comes next seems to be determined solely by the rng() rather than some sort of formula. Because of that, a player could (for instance) receive 3 bar-segments with the longest possible distance at the start, making it impossible to pass them in time or get 5 identical bar-segments right from the start, giving him or her a huge headstart.
Because of this, I see this submission rather as a exercise in programming, rather than a challenging game.

Also on the game design front, it takes the players forever to reach any 'upgrade' - at least in the game's current development-stage. Making the color-options hard to reach doesn't add to the gameplay-value.

Now for the technical part.
Having the same default color for both ball and bars isn't a good combination. A silvery grey as default color for the ball would have been much nicer.
All functions and menus are mouse-based, but the actual game is keyboard-based. It's not a 'big' deal, but focusing all controls on the keyboard would make it look more integrated.
You implemented a pause function, which is great. But you didn't implement a hotkey for it (like "P", "Space" or both). Since there aren't any other buttons in the 'action' part of the game, simply clicking the screen would have sufficed.
The mute function is hidden in the options and can only be reached from there. "M" as a mute hotkey would have been nice.
There is only one choice for the bgm. Maybe you could add at least two others for players who aren't into such electronic tunes.
The Newgrounds highscore board only seems to update when the player actually presses the corresponding button in the game. Other games update the highscore board every time a higher score is reached. Newgrounds has so much daily traffic, I'm sure they wouldn't mind a few more updates to their highscore database. (While I type this review, only 3 players found, or at least pressed, the button.)
What I really like is that the backgrounds aren't bland and chance randomly every time the player changes the screen. I wouldn't have thought of that and it really makes the game easier on the eyes. Whatever you are going to change, you should keep that. ;)

Overall, you've done a decent implementation of an already existing game concept. But you gave away the chance to make more of it. I came up with those ideas in a few minutes, and I haven't even touched game-changing topics like upgrades, different terrains, different balls, different game modes...

Again: I'm sorry, but because of that, your (possibly) beloved work just makes you look a little lazy in my eyes.

ErLuiSS responds:


The game has these bugs because my main objective was publish it for mobile and now i fix this bugs :)

Thanks for the comment :)

To make a classic LL/CC quote: "wat."

You youngsters... Always with the psychoactive drugs... ;)

I like the extras and the theme very much and I don't even care that I don't recognize the faces you used (although I wonder). Overall it has great (but also somewhat amateur looking) style, the same CC/LL work sometime has. It has a certain class to it - a personality of its own, so to speak. Your effort shows in the solid mechanics, the power-ups and that it's not purely 'smash those blocks over there three times'. The very smooth scaling of object sizes with depth made it feel more real and you made it mouse controlled - like it should be.

But the places where you rushed it show as well. I'll try to structure the points where I see room for improvement:
Instructions – There is no menu and no ingame-instructions. You made a few remarks in the author comments, but until I throw my expectations at the game and start to experiment, I don't know anything about it. "Randy Qurush Saga" -> "Play" -> the game starts. Sure "It's 'Breakout'", but there's always that new player that doesn't know this. It's also unclear that the player can move the 'bar' vertically as well, unless he finds out by chance. Even a 'quick and dirty' game doesn't have to look that way. That goes for Jam games as well.
Story – There's no line about the author or what the story is. Who IS Randy Qurush, anyway? If even the author doesn't think it's important enough to explain, why should I think it's important enough to look it up? A story can add much to the player's experience.
Performance – The game starts to lag once you set things in motion. There are a whole lot of photos used where they don't need to be. The best examples might be the ball and the bar.
Level design – The game is the level and the level is the game. I was able to beat it in just a few minutes (the lag was beneficial in that way), but after that the game is 'done'. If there had been at least 2 levels before this one, with a level select-screen and saved progress, it could have been much 'more'. In its current form most players will forget about it 5 minutes after finishing.

I happen to know you can do much better if you want to, Jack. Loose some of the images, keep most of the crazy, add some text as well as a few levels and this game could be good for 30 to 45 minutes of delightful gaming experience. It's a good, solid game - but it could be so much more and it's a shame that it isn't...

jacklehamster responds:

Yep, I have to admit some parts were rushed. Thanks for the insightful comments

I noticed a few things you could iron out: Sometimes the controls freeze, the bgm keeps looping after you die and the highscore-button seems to do nothing. Also the big balls seem to always drop down at the current position, making the game very easy following the same pattern for an unlimited amount of time. The only thing that makes it more difficult over time is the slow increase in speed. I reached 1401 before it got too boring to continue.

Other than that it's a nice game - just a bit too monotonous for my taste. With a little more variation in patterns and soundtrack, it could be a great game.

Your game would have fitted nicely into the Ludum Dare 26 theme "Minimalism". It's a shame you missed that one.

This is just the n-th keyboard based DDR-clone. You made neither improvements to the original concept nor did you do anything original with it.

For the convenience, my specific complaints are:
- There is only a single level with a single song.
- The song is mainstream (and meanwhile hated by a fair share of the planets population) while you had a giant selection of great new songs at your disposal right here at Newgrounds' very own Audio Portal, where great artists offer their new and original work for free.
- The character is able to be moved behind the arrows, making it harder to get the timing right.
- The character moves at least twice the speed he should be to be in sync with the tact.
- Speaking of sync: There is no relation whatsoever between the track and the moves. It seems almost as if they were randomly generated.
- When you fail, because of having no life left, there is no message indicating that. At first I was under the impression the "gangnam session" medal was broken, because I clearly finished the session...
- The secret medals are way to straightforward and are no challenge at all. There's also no relation to the game itself and also no challenge. You could as well have put in two buttons that grant the medals just by pressing them.

There are also some points outside of the game but related to it nonetheless:
- "Tags: funny"? The only thing about this that seems funny to me is, how you thought tagging it this way would be a good idea... The game has nothing humoristic about it.
- Author Comments: "play as Psy dance around in Gangnam dsitrict with its hillarious style". The first word of the sentence isn't capitalized, "dsitrict", "its" (should be "his"), "hillarious" and no Period. This is something very minor and typos happen to the best of us. I wouldn't have said anything about it, if it wouldn't fit the picture so perfectly: You wrote only a single sentence to describe your game and made 5 typos. It would have taken maybe a minute to spell-check it, but you just hit "submit" and never looked at it again. The very same lack of attention and affection for your own game shows in your work as well. I'm serious: I find it hard to understand why you even program games at all...
- The game is online since December 2012 and you haven't answered to a single one of the reviews. I'm not saying "this game sucks" (actual quote) deserves any reply or consideration, but some users already passed first grade and make good points in their reviews. It is as if you submitted the game and with that you're 'done' and don't care anymore.

And now something for my fellow medal-hunters:
I achieved 4,330 Points (S rank) easily with the following technique: Place your fingers so that you can hit up&right and down&left with the same 'keystroke'. Hit them fast and alternating (as if playing a tiny drum).
This works because there is no penalty for hitting the wrong key. Again: Lack of attention to his own game...

It's a working real-time strategy game with understandable instructions, medals and characters from MLP:FiM and Castle Grayskull. That's about it.

I'm sorry, but your game reminds me of a quote from the movie Hudson Hawk: "I'll torture you so slowly, you'll think it's a career!"

Here are some of my observations:
- During the normal levels there are only minor increases in difficulty. The game would have been better off if there where only 3 levels before each boss with three times the diamonds. I'm serious: That change would have made a lot of difference.
- It's way too grindy - either the upgrade & buy costs are way too high or the diamonds are way to scarce.
- The mini-game is the same in every zone. Playing it for diamonds would only make sense if the player was a natural in it. Having to wait for 7 regular levels to play it again makes it harder to 'switch' to that game. A training-mode would have helped; or at least the option to store an unlimited amount of points.
- The bgm is too monotonous and the mute button is missing in most of the screens.
- Pinky Pie and Rainbow Dash have jerking leg animations which didn't look particular 'life-like'. Another example of how there was no attention paid to detail.

Let's talk strategy:
- In general the best strategy seems to be to upgrade the cheapest 'foot soldier' (Pipsqueak) the most and the rank 3 one (Snails) by one level (to fill the cool down period) and then just use theses two. All other troop-ponies seem to be there to leech diamonds away from the Mane 6 Ponies who are the only ones who really need the upgrades.
- Boss-strategy is to die 'just right', upgrade the castle for a miraculous full auto-repair so you can face the boss with full HP. Timing that right is boring and tedious.

As a summary, the whole game seems like a loveless clone of the "Epic War"* series to me - just without any special features and designed so that the player would have to spend the longest possible time playing it without having any feeling of accomplishment or reward. The only reason for players to keep playing this beyond the first encounter with the 2nd boss would be the Newgrounds medals. I can only speculate, but it seems to me you were bored with developing the game and weren't in the mood to playtest it properly - so you submitted the version you happened to have and called it a day. There's a lot of potential wasted on this one and I'm convinced with some additional hours of work, this could have been a fun game.

* And speaking of "epic"... Tagging something "epic" is just pathetic - especially when it's below mediocre...

You should add a mute button and improve the controls. Your game is 'hard' not because the player needs some sort of advanced strategy, but because the controls are so... bad! It's some blend of laggy controls and a far to short time spend in the air.
A pause button would be nice as well.
There's also no background story. Is the character running towards something or is he running away from something? Why are ladders an obstacle? Why should I care about this nameless pixel person that's obviously too stupid to slow down or stop before running into a wall?

I hope you're getting my point and my rating. Right now what I see before me is a poor-quality Atari game. (Sorry Atari...)

Remynfv responds:

ok... (Deep breath)...

I am working on fixing the controls (thanks for pointing that out). Mute button coming soon.
also I am not changing the air time of the player(Sorry). Pause button should be out soon. Background story is good but not that important, think about it, the impossible game has 0% story I mean your just a jumping cube! (btw those are fences not ladders).

I hope that makes it better!

Right now I don't have much time to play games online (or at all). Because of this, replies to your PMs might take up to several months. My best wishes to the NG top medal point users list. ;)
Update: Sorry, but I REALLY have no time for NG anymore. :/

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