My first Pico-8 game!
There's actually gameplay stuff this time! Instructions are in the game, 4 enemies are in the game, and you can lose!
The enemies appear randomly, and you have to learn the correct spell to use on each type. After a certain amount of time, the enemy will attack, and with each defeated enemy, the next is even faster. Cast your spells quickly and get as far as you can before being overtaken by the horde!
How to Play:
Boot up your pico-8, load the cart, and run! You’ll see a wand and a target (which is just for show). Use your wand to cast any of the 4 spells (fire, ice, elec, and rock) in the game by matching their directional formula and casting the spell. Every time you run the game, the 4 spells’ formulas randomize, so you’ll need to learn the spells from the spellbook before you can cast anything successfully. You can’t move your wand while looking at your spellbook, though. That’s preposterous! So learn those spells and cast away!
The correct spells to use against enemies never change, so if you die while learning the correct spell to use, you can still use the proper spell next time. But don't wait too long to cast your spells, because your entered spell expires after 2 seconds! The spell expiration never changes, but the time before the enemy attacks does change, so be quick!
• Arrow Keys: move your wand
• Z: Cast your spell
• X: Open spellbook
• Z while holding X: Change your wand (just cosmetic)
• Ctrl + R: Restart cart (if you want to change the spells easily)
• Save feature for consistent spells/high scores using Lua’s io—is it possible?
• Combo spells. (Ice -> Elec does more damage, etc.)
If you have any ideas, please let me know! I just thought the mechanic would be fun, and I didn’t have any solid ideas for how to play with it, but if you have any thoughts, let me know!
Below is the original proof of concept cart. It contains nothing but casting spells with no time limit. Could be good to practice with before trying for a high score run on the most recent cart! (Note: no high scores are saved yet.)
I got a piece of feedback from a friend, and thought I'd post it here:
"I really enjoyed this! Simple, fun, and retro. Though it is a bit annoying how long some of the spells can take.
I had to keep referring to the spell book since it’s randomly generated each time, and by then I’d have lost health. Which means I would only get so far. That and it took a bit too long to figure out rock + spider = dead spider."
And that gave me the idea to add a "spell complexity" option that you can set on the title screen. It'd let you choose the length of your spells, either random (by default), 2, 3, or 4 motions per spell, which might help the game be a little bit less frustrating/easier to learn when starting over with new spells as well as give the option to always have it harder for yourself if you want that!
EDIT EDIT: I was confused about the controls this is actually a really neat game. Just hard enough, I thought. A difficulty setting would be nice, though, since right now the length of spells is random.
Also it ought to display your score on the death screen and/or display a High Score, in case you didn't see what score you had before you died.
This was fun! I would tighten up the controls (should be one frame of pressed key to add that command), then overlay the graphics on top as a separate thing. So I mean let the player move the wand anywhere, and if no keys are pressed return to center. Maybe even cast the spell when the wand returns to center also, for fast or slow casting by player action.
The only other idea I have is to have levels of spells that do more damage. So 2 commands = level 1 ice spell, deals 1 damage, 3 commands (first two ice commands + one more) = level 2 ice spell, deals two damage, etc. Then add new commands and spell levels as you go through the game, so you have to constantly check your spellbook when you level up your magic. But that's a much more complex design, and may not be what you're going for here.
I really like to concept of this game.
I too would show available command sequences as a permanent overlay.
Sometimes one has to press a key more than once for it to register.
Great idea. Looking forward to an updated version.
Whoa, I totally missed out on these comments! Thank you so much for your feedback!
I definitely agree that the score should show on the death screen. I'll add that in the next version for sure. And if I can figure out the Lua IO stuff with Pico-8, I'll definitely add a high score function, too. The only problem is that this wouldn't work with this web version and could be unreliable if you load the cart from a different folder within the console...
Thanks! That's not a bad idea. The problem is that the wand control is completely kinetic and sensing its direction is entirely position/coordinate-based. It'd probably be easier to make it a 1:1 press-to-direction input, but part of me feels like the physical movement of the wand adds to the tension/difficulty. It probably should input a bit faster though.
I don't think having the spell cast when it returns to the center is a good idea because you need to return to the center in order to register double directions (i.e. down, down, right, right).
I like your idea, and that's kind of where the idea was heading. If I extend the game, I think I'll use your idea for leveling up spells so all spells start with 2 directions and you can earn stronger levels. That'd be fun!
Thanks! I don't think the command sequences should be a permanent overlay, but I like the idea above for starting with easy sequences and building upon them. I think that'll help make it a little bit easier to remember.
The key press more than once is due to the fact that it's based on the wand actually moving to an acceptable position rather than just inputting a direction. I think making the wand move faster will help this.
Thanks again for your input! I'll probably start working on another update pretty soon, so I guess just keep an eye out for this post's updates!
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