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A lot of promise, sadly ruined by a gamebreaker..

  • Caz
  • 11/08/2016 11:02 AM
  • 1354 views
I played as much as I could into The Eldritch Woods before I had to stop after reaching a gamebreaker.

So the game starts out with your main character, Udo, riding in a car with his parents. He’s quite upset by how spooky the journey is, so his parents decide to give him an old musicbox of his to distract him. Their car then inevitably crashes in the thick rain, and Udo is left to wander around the woods alone.. until a “friend” shows up.



Your friend asks you a riddle, the answer to which is the letter M. However, if you enter a lower case m it won’t work, as I found out the hard way.



The rest of the game’s challenges from what I found were made up largely of rock puzzles. While these are usually entertaining enough, I found it quite hard to navigate the puzzles with such low visibility. It didn’t really allow for much intelligent planning since all your pushes are based on pure luck. In the cave, I got stuck after retrieving a key and there was no button to reset the puzzle, meaning I had to reload my game. My available save point was sadly outside in the woods, a good twenty minutes back.

There are a couple rock puzzles outside too, where the aim is to push a rock under a cliff so that you can jump across it and over the cliffs. However, this only works for ONE particular rock, which occupied me for a good five minutes trying to work out why I couldn’t cross over.

Similarly, there’s a section where you have to find an alternate way across a river and you need to cut some vines. The event only works on one out of the four vines available though, so if you were like me and only checked an unlucky one or two, you thought nothing of them and spent the next twenty minutes walking around looking for another way out.

Visually, other than the poor visibility to add to the spook-factor, it was constantly raining outside. This was fine for a few minutes, but the effect of bright rain on a black screen was eventually hurting my eyes a lot and I had to take a break or two. It did make the game feel spooky not being able to see anything however, but I think it needs to be tested for long periods of time to make sure a player doesn’t get tired of looking at it for so long.

The mapping, from what was visible, seemed pretty good. It was very well detailed, only let down by the fact that it couldn’t much be seen in the darkness.

Not much can be said for the music in the game, as I only recall one track being played: a scary kind of drumbeat in one of the forest maps, which was actually pretty tense and had me on my toes for a bit. It did the job really well, and a lot of the sound effects were used really appropriately.

I liked the story from what I played. There was definitely always a sense of calling towards the tower so that you could find out what was going on, and your mission was always clear at every point of the game.

How to improve:
- Get an outside tester, preferably someone who hasn’t played many games before, to go through your game and make sure everything is easily understood.

Necessary themes: Bloody Smile
Necessary items: Old Musicbox, Golden Key
Spook rating: ★★★★☆
OVERALL RATING: ★★☆☆☆

Posts

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I was going through the whole alphabet before rereading the riddle. Got to C and thought "okay maybe I should start playing the game properly now"

Didn't have too much trouble with the rock puzzles, though I did get lost in that cave a fair few times. Somehow managed to get fluky with the vines, only because of my tendency to spam enter in RM games. Also liked how the main monster served as some sort of spirit guide rather than being the usual jump scare/chaser trope we often get.

Does Udo have a wart on his face or is it some injury from the car crash? Regardless, the faceset looks absolutely gross in the best way possible.
Thanks a lot for the review! This certainly put some perspective on the various ways I can improve the game. I might not get to fixing everything right away because of school and all, but you can definitely expect an updated download in the future.
I've included specific replies to the review under the spoiler, since it's kinda long.

"I found it quite hard to navigate the puzzles with such low visibility."
This seems to be the main issue people are having. Aside from the music box's glow, I might implement some sort of camera-flash item to temporarily increase visibility range to make things easier, if that makes sense. If not that, then perhaps I'll work on making the darkness not as solid.

"In the cave, I got stuck after retrieving a key and there was no button to reset the puzzle, meaning I had to reload my game. My available save point was sadly outside in the woods, a good twenty minutes back."
It is on the to-do list to add more save points, as well as making it more obvious that they actually are saves. There is a save point in the cave, but I'll probably move it since it's fairly hard to find.

"Visually, other than the poor visibility to add to the spook-factor, it was constantly raining outside. This was fine for a few minutes, but the effect of bright rain on a black screen was eventually hurting my eyes a lot and I had to take a break or two. It did make the game feel spooky not being able to see anything however, but I think it needs to be tested for long periods of time to make sure a player doesn’t get tired of looking at it for so long."
This is a good idea. I didn't think of this as I was coding the game so I'll definitely experiment a bit to see how to improve this. Thanks!

"Not much can be said for the music in the game, as I only recall one track being played..."
There are other tracks as well but I couldn't implement them in the amount of time I had at the time. (You can thank DragonOfGearsAndCogs for the music, he's quite talented.)
"The mapping, from what was visible, seemed pretty good. It was very well detailed, only let down by the fact that it couldn’t much be seen in the darkness."
Yeah, the way the lighting works will probably change in the future to make everything easier to see, but also keeping the spookiness. I'll pass on the compliment to Drake_Invincible, since he made all the maps!

I won't drag on this long post any further but thanks again for the review! I'll definitely take your suggestions to heart when working on the game.

author=StarSkipp
Does Udo have a wart on his face or is it some injury from the car crash? Regardless, the faceset looks absolutely gross in the best way possible.

Yup, an injury; it's part of the bloody smile...
I'll make sure to pass the compliment on to DragonOfGearsAndCogs, since he made all the custom art and sprites.
Caz
LET'SBIAN DO THIS.
6081
Thanks for the response! :D It's good to see a developer taking all the criticism into consideration, and I'm really happy to see you intend to work on everything!

All in all, don't take the review's numerical score into much consideration, as I also have yet to play a lot of the other games so I'm staying quite low in the numbers for now.

This was a good start of a game, and I'm excited to see what you do in the future.
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