I went ahead and released another game. This one’s pointedly unpolished and has a weird experimental jump and occasionally glitchy platforms, but I wanted to see what I could do with this concept. I actually started working on it in February 2016, when I was aiming at releasing a game every month for the whole year (I’d released something on January 31, but would only actually finish 2 more games the whole year that year). It’s called CYANiDE, only because the game has a monochromatic cyan palette.
Basically, you manipulate tilting platforms by using your player character’s body in a seesaw effect, setting a path up so that when you change yourself into a ball you roll to the goal.
It came from ruminating on the balance/seesaw platforms from Super Mario Bros 3, wondering what could be done with them. I imagined an implementation that would be focused on making higher areas accessible, kind of like the motion-control iteration in NSMB Wii.
Because I wanted to keep it a single-screen platformer (a design obsession I just can’t shake these last five years), I gave the PC a really high jump but a slow walking speed. Not sure how successful that was.
I really liked the idea, though. It was supposed to be a Glorious Trainwrecks-style one-evening project, but I realized that with the idiosyncrasy of movement I’d chosen, making good levels required a lot of testing–and Game Maker Studio takes a bit longer producing buildsd than i’d like–and so it got pushed back to a weeklong project and then i showed it at a Eugene, Oregon playtesting event and got a good response. Then i got busy with grad school and teaching and getting married, so I never got around to finishing it.
And thus I picked it up last week and decided to polish it off a year and a half since I’d done anything with it. I gave it 7 new levels for a total of 15 levels.
The movement of the platforms is a little weird, and I’m sure there’s a more elegant way to go about it, but for this experiment, I thought this would suffice. A more polished version is surely possible, but I didn’t want to let this swell up and take over the next month.
Anyway, this may or may not be fun to play. I think it might be fun despite the slight awkardness. That’s what the first comment from a Gamejolt reviewer said, anyway.
I kinda want to return to something with this basic conceit some time soon–like an Incredible Machine you have to navigate. In a sense, I explored something like that with my 2015 game Shadow Wrangler, though that required more active intervention and a different kind of automation.
Not sure what comes next! I’ve been thinking more and more about playing more with game narratives (the most story-heavy game I’ve made in the last five years was Ungrateful Birds, I think, as thin as that is). I also need to rewrite some components of my game-making toolkit so I can get out of redundantly writing identical menus and functions in every game.