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In The Heart Pumps Clay, players take control over Mara, a swamp witch, her golem, Bud, and the aptly named Crow as they climb the Tree of Life in order to obtain the Source of All Things. Gameplay consists of fixed battles set at choke points on the map. However, after every battle, Bud will lose some of his max health, so it's up to the player to balance Bud's waning strength with their urge to open the many deliciously tempting treasure chests along the way.

Battles are the traditional rpg affair, but the unique cast provides an interesting party dynamic that slowly evolves over the course of the journey. Mara's spells can be devastating, but she has to shift between elements, which also synergizes in different ways with Bud. Bud is a tank and a physical powerhouse, and Crow is a thieving little rat with wings. Consumable items can be stolen or crafted during battle, but they're removed after each battle, so if the player wants a safety net, they better plan ahead. If they fail a battle, though, no problem: hp and mp are restored and the player is returned to the map as if nothing happened.



Features:
-Mostly original assets, including character portraits, battle animations, and enemy graphics.
-An original soundtrack. Check it out here.
-A vibrant cast of characters in a concise, well-presented story.
-Well-balanced battles with an emphasis on strategy.
-Character progression comes through a variety of equipment found throughout the Tree of Life, including equippable spells for Mara.
-About 1-2 hours of gameplay.

Credits:
Lead developer: Kasey Ozymy
Character Portraits: Jason Vanderslice
Most spell graphics: Cameron Bishop
Scripts:
MOG Animated Title
Yanfly:
Ace Core Engine
Ace Message System
Ace Battle Engine
Battle Command List
Ace Equip Engine
Skill Restrictions
Steal Items
Ace Menu Engine
System Options
Parallax Lock


This is my entry into the 2014 Indie Game Maker Contest.

Latest Blog

Soundtrack Now Available!

Well, I meant to do this forever ago, but, well, I didn't. The soundtrack's here now, though!

Get the soundtrack to The Heart Pumps Clay here.

Also, here's the soundtrack to Born Under the Rain.

Everything should be free to download and you should be able to stream as much as you want, so enjoy!

And, hey, while I'm here, why don't you check out the progress of the current game I'm working on: Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass. It's going to be the best thing I've ever done, including that one time I saved* a cat that was stuck up a tree!

*By saved I mean I threw sticks and stuff at it until it came down on its own.**

**This never happened. One time I pet a cat, though, and it seemed to like it.
  • Completed
  • Housekeeping
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • RPG
  • 06/29/2014 08:11 AM
  • 07/10/2016 01:53 PM
  • 06/29/2014
  • 40404
  • 19
  • 623

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nhubi
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
11099
"Crow is a thieving little rat with wings". Sounds like my kind of guy. I'll give this a go before voting ends.

Good Luck.
Thanks! I'm about to start checking out the competition, but based on some of the screenshots I've been seeing, I'll need all the luck I can get, haha.
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
Oooh, I've been waiting for a new Housekeeping game, and this looks interesting! :D I'll definitely check this out! ^_^
Ahhhhh! I have yet to explore everything in A Very Long Rope, and you have a new game??? :D
However, after every battle, Bud will lose some of his max health


Oh, that sounds fascinating. I've heard the concept of an RPG where you lose power instead of gaining it after every battle, but I've yet to see it actually made manifest. Color me intrigued.
author=argh
Oh, that sounds fascinating. I've heard the concept of an RPG where you lose power instead of gaining it after every battle, but I've yet to see it actually made manifest. Color me intrigued.


Yeah; I came up with this basic idea a while back and was saving it for a contest. Then I remember seeing a thread discussing characters getting weaker after each fight, and everyone was talking about how that was an awful idea, and I just sheepishly monitored the thread and secretly vowed to prove them wrong. I think the way to do it is to counterbalance the weakening by making the other characters stronger. Let me know if it worked for you!

author=pthariensflame
Ahhhhh! I have yet to explore everything in A Very Long Rope, and you have a new game??? :D

Haha, well, this game's more of a nice, afternoon snack. A Very Long Rope is more like going to a Chinese buffet and refusing to leave for a month.
i like the unique characteristics, and hey, another girl hero? and she looks like a villain to me :D great battle systems so far, you just have to think first before you attack! never saw some good detailed drawings here!
author=Mizushimi
i like the unique characteristics, and hey, another girl hero? and she looks like a villain to me :D great battle systems so far, you just have to think first before you attack! never saw some good detailed drawings here!


The weird thing is that I see people push the need to have more female protagonists all the time, so I think I might get mistaken for a hardcore feminist when, in reality, this was just what came out when I was writing.

I hope the battles and art are strong. Art's never been my strong suit, but I definitely tried to cover it as best I could. I think most of my development time was spent in MS Paint.
battle system elements are off-the-chain!
btw, i can draw... but i dont really have much time for it...
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
I had a bit of trouble with that final boss fight, but I've finally beaten it. ^_^ I was going to just leave my thoughts here, but I think this game deserves a review, so I'll be typing that up! For now, just know that I really enjoyed it :D

EDIT: Review written and submitted! ^_^
Woah! Thanks a ton, Unity, this was a lovely thing to wake up to!

I think I'll make a hints/tips page since I know that the last boss (and some of the other encounters) will probably give quite a few people some trouble.
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
Hee, you're welcome! ^_^

I liked the challenge and having to figure out how to win battles. The encounters really make you think. You've gotten really good at crafting compelling battles!
Thanks! That's actually partially because of you. I really, really take feedback seriously. With A Very Long Rope, I was already basically aware of my own weaknesses, but I justified them because I was in the mindset that the story is what really mattered, and, besides, it wasn't like I was an artist or a programmer, anyway. Of course, the feedback I got was all about the design and art (mapping included). So, I've been working on another game entirely and focusing much more on art and design. When this contest came out, I had that under my belt, so I had more experience in the design/art department from the last six or so months. I'm really glad that those skills are paying off, and, again, it's mainly thanks to your and others' feedback to make me snap out of it and get tougher on my weaknesses.
unity
You're magical to me.
11129
Wow, that's both really flattering and a great mindset to have! ^_^ And the work you've put into it certainly shows!
Just started this, and I'm liking it so far. I'm going for a completist run, so I'll see how that goes! Haven't had too much trouble so far, but this is only the beginning after all. I'm sure by the final battle Bud will go down in one hit. :p

Battles are a bit repetitive, but fairly short. I think it'd be nice if you could start battles with an elemental shift already in place, since Mara's first turn almost always involves that anyway. Having the shifts take an entire turn does make things drag a little, especially in battles where elemental magic is the only way to damage enemies.

But yeah, this is nice. I'm liking the art style, music, and everything. It seems really polished, and characters look distinct, unlike in A Very Long Rope.

(Also, when the "Magnifico" enemy revives his puppets, they no longer have the "string" object so Crow can't instakill them. Intentional?)
I wouldn't say Chuckles's non-regenerating strings were intentional, but I do know about it. I used a script to allow stealing, and my scripting knowledge is pretty minimal, so I wasn't able to figure out a way to regenerate items on the monsters post-resurrection. But...within the lore of the game, let's just say it's magic, haha.

And, yeah, I really tried to make the presentation as good as I could with my crappy skill set, so I'm glad it's looking good. That's not a bad idea about the elemental shift; I should have made it castable from the menu.
Also, a minor graphical glitch: ability animations (most notably Phosphorescence) display underneath Scrum's sprite.

And... is the lich skull from that mimic permanently missable if you don't get it in that battle? Aaaaggh. I hate random steal chances.
It's missable, but the mimic equipment isn't necessary; I put it in there for a little risk/reward dynamic in those fights. And, I know about that graphical glitch, too; it's because I used pictures for Scrum's armor and finished the animations last, so I didn't catch it until very late in development. That's something I think I'll be able to fix post-contest, though.
aaaaa completist run was not a good idea aaaaaaaaaaaa

So I'm at the final boss and Bud's at 95 HP. I have no idea what to do. I tried turtling until I amassed an armory's worth of healing items and I still lost. Is the battle even possible at this point? Eeek.

I think the problem is the limited equipment slots. You said that Bud's deterioration was intended to be counterbalanced by empowering the other characters, but after you get 6 pieces of equipment that plateaus while Bud keeps getting weaker and weaker. I mean I currently have 8 pieces of equipment burning a hole in my inventory (and 3 tomes); that's 55 HP lost for nothing. I guess the idea is that you're supposed to take what you need, but without knowing what you're going to get in advance, it's impossible to make an informed decision on that front. The fact that some equipment is simply a better version of earlier equipment is also a problem, since it feels like a slap in the face if you got the earlier one. (If there were more slots stacking them might be interesting, but...) Czarina Must Die had a similar problem I believe.

Edit: Nevermind, I looked at the hints page and the strategy worked. I never considered using Mara as the tank, but that's obvious in hindsight. If you get enough stuff, she and Bud can switch roles, very clever. The ending was sad and great, good job. I loved how easy it was for the standard RPG hero party to fall apart. (I didn't realize that stealing the items actually altered their behavior, I thought it was just a one-off attack. That does make things much easier since you don't need to disable the healer every three turns...)
Thanks, glad you liked it! I hope, in the end, you found the last fight more clever than irritating, haha.
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