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Shoot down the walls of Gameboy! Bang Bang!

  • unity
  • 08/28/2018 02:41 AM
  • 189 views
This review is based on the demo as of 8/27/2018. I know a lot's changed since the demo was released, but I wanted to share my two cents ^_^

Wow, this was an odd one. Where do I start when it comes to introducing this game? Basically, you are a guy (or gal? not sure) arriving on an island along with a sneaky catfish. Your catfish friend gets to the treasure before you, but it seems you both can't help but get caught up in whatever has cursed this particular island.

The first thing you'll notice about the game is the Gameboy graphics style. It looks quite amazing in that regard, and I get a nostalgia vibes just playing! Although, enjoy that while it lasts, because it looks like we're getting upgraded to a Gameboy Color look in the final game (which is also awesome).



Everything, from enemy sprites and in-battle art, to the HUD and attack animations, have been carefully rendered in that Gameboy style. It all looks and feels very nice!

What's the story about? Well, aside from seemingly always being one step behind your catfish friend, it seems you both are bound to this island now, and must defeat the Ancient One, an elder-god looking fellow, to leave.

You are taken to the Nexus, where a cackling skull insults you (and throws around all manner of foul language) and says that there are more heroes who are trapped here, and you must get their Hope (this game's version of EXP) and slay the Ancient One. It honestly all feels very Dark Souls-y, which contrasts a lot with the Gameboy feel of the game. From there, you must access areas in the basement (the first one's the only one available in the demo).

What really drew me to this game were the battles. Since you are always behind your catfish friend, the battles are just you against all the enemies of the island. Honestly, whenever I hear about an RPG with just one playable party member, I worry. Most of those are pretty tedious and terrible. How does Shooty and the Catfish get around that? With (mostly) really quick battles and resource management.



Shooty has a gun, you see, and using the gun can quickly dispatch lesser foes. But that's frankly a waste of ammo, which is in short supply around here. You're better off sticking with your knife for the small fries and busting out the gun for high-damaging stronger encounters. Thus the typical battle is over relatively quickly: either you hit the enemy with a knife and beat them or throw in a gun blast to take down their health before they can do major damage to you. The battles go so fast in many cases that I kept hearing only the opening note to the battle theme.

This is actually a cool thing, and keeps the battles quick and breezy, which somewhat offsets the lack of multiple party members. The other part of the equation is the resource management. I found no way to buy anything in the demo, so it became a balancing act of using bullets to kill tough enemies, because if you trade too many blows with them, you use all your herbs trying to heal.

This all works in the demo, but I'm honestly not so sure how far this set of mechanics can be pushed before it begins to be stretched too thin. The boss of the demo is an example of this problem, as this was the exact opposite of the fast-paced battles of the rest of the game. Even if you blast away with your remaining ammo and pipe bombs, it's gonna take a while to kill this guy, and you fall into the tedium of attack attack heal, attack attack heal. It ends up making for a somewhat boring encounter.



As far as level design goes, I noticed another review called it overly linear. It is a bit, especially in the first dungeon, but given that you're just starting the game at that point, it didn't really bother me. Newfolk Castle, the big dungeon before the end of the demo, is a lot better. There are multiple paths for treasure and several places where you can unlock shortcuts to the start where you can save and heal.

There was a part of the game that didn't quite work for me, and that was some of the humor. You're warned at the start that there's going to be foul language in this game, and fair enough, but I didn't find that it added a lot to me personally. The skull guy that runs the hub will curse at you every other sentence, and the first bosses' attacks are all stupid ugly stuff you hear people calling each other on the internet all the time, and I get that that's the joke, but eh. I personally didn't enjoy that part.

That aside, the rest of the game is pretty great. Awesome Gameboy visual aesthetic, (mostly) fast-paced battles, goofy-fun monster art. I give it 4 Stars for how it is now. Here's to seeing how the final project turns out! :DDDD

Posts

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Thanks for taking the time to release my dodgy little demo!

I found no way to buy anything in the demo, so it became a balancing act of using bullets to kill tough enemies, because if you trade too many blows with them, you use all your herbs trying to heal.

A vendor was the most common request I got once I released the demo. In the full game a vendor has been added to the Nexus that you can buy ammo and herbs from (provided you find and save them in Newfolk Castle). Though in order to keep the game a little more balanced everything he sells is quite expensive.

This all works in the demo, but I'm honestly not so sure how far this set of mechanics can be pushed before it begins to be stretched too thin. The boss of the demo is an example of this problem, as this was the exact opposite of the fast-paced battles of the rest of the game. Even if you blast away with your remaining ammo and pipe bombs, it's gonna take a while to kill this guy, and you fall into the tedium of attack attack heal, attack attack heal. It ends up making for a somewhat boring encounter.

This has definitely become more and more of an issue as the games development has progressed unfortunately, not something I foresaw when I started development but here we are. My solution in the end has been to take a similar ideology to Space Funeral and focus more on making the encounters brief and funny rather than challenging. Its not an ideal solution but its something.

As far as level design goes, I noticed another review called it overly linear. It is a bit, especially in the first dungeon, but given that you're just starting the game at that point, it didn't really bother me. Newfolk Castle, the big dungeon before the end of the demo, is a lot better. There are multiple paths for treasure and several places where you can unlock shortcuts to the start where you can save and heal.

The first area is certainly linear, in the full release it is structured much more as a tutorial than a real dungeon which was my initial goal. The following dungeons I have tried to keep as different as possible from each other in terms of layout. A few focus on open exploration, others on key hunting, linear dungeon crawling and another on mazes. Hopefully this keeps things feeling varied for people.

There was a part of the game that didn't quite work for me, and that was some of the humor. You're warned at the start that there's going to be foul language in this game, and fair enough, but I didn't find that it added a lot to me personally. The skull guy that runs the hub will curse at you every other sentence, and the first bosses' attacks are all stupid ugly stuff you hear people calling each other on the internet all the time, and I get that that's the joke, but eh. I personally didn't enjoy that part.

Humor will always be a subjective thing. I do think Slim Grim needs to be toned down a bit, just so his dialogue feels less repetitive. The first boss indeed says some ugly things, but its not something I ever really planned as a joke. I don't doubt there is humor to be found in it for some people, but that was never the intention, at least not in full. The character is fleshed out more in the full game and his moveset ties into that. Despite the games cartoonish appearance I do want it to touch on some pretty heavy themes, though whether or not they are implemented well or not will be up to the players to decide.

Thanks again for taking the time to review the demo! Its much appreciated and all feedback gets taken on board to try to make a better game! <3
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