PICOhaven 2 is a card-based tactical RPG / dungeon crawler inspired by my love of the board game Gloomhaven* (and less directly, of other 2D tactical turn-based games such as the GBA Fire Emblem and Into The Breach), and a sequel to PICOhaven from 2021.
It adopts a modified & simplified version of the mechanics from that board game, both to streamline solo play and to fit the platform constraints. It includes a campaign with 21 scenarios, 9 character levels with multiple upgrade paths, and various items that further modify gameplay and strategy.
*Note: This is just a free, solo-fan-made project and has no affiliation with Gloomhaven. If you like this type of game I recommend checking out the Gloomhaven family of board games for a lot of fun from multi-character cooperative play!
How To Play
Standard PICO8 controls: arrows/dpad, 🅾️ (z on keyboards) for most actions, and occasionally ❎ (x on keyboards) to undo/cancel. As a general UI note: the game shows your possible actions and the relevant buttons in blue at the bottom of the screen.
The game will also automatically save your progress every time you return to town, so you can close the game / browser and come back to it later on the same device.
If you've previously played PICOhaven 1, the interface and rules are similar enough that you can jump right in!
Given the tight code size constraints, I was unable to fit a detailed step by step tutorial into the game itself, so below is a brief "game manual" for someone new to the genre:
More Detailed How-To-Play / Tips
Notes for Gloomhaven players
Thanks & Source Code
- Oct 31, v1.0a: release
- Nov 8, v1.0b: fix an embarrassing crash bug that happens when you beat the final boss if you've never saved and reloaded the game (there was a 'how many times have you won the game?' variable I added late in development which only got initialized to 0 when loading a saved game, and in playtesting I always tested load/save during the campaign which masked it).
Already obsessed with the Picohaven and now we have a sequel! Your games made me realize how much Gloomhaven is similar to the NDS game Advance Wars. Amazing work, sir! The one thing I miss is the capital letters, but that could just be me. The lower case trips me up when reading too much.
@Huwans Well thank you! Advance Wars is another one of my favorites from back in the day. Also, that's reasonable feedback about the font-- I did a small font survey of some people I know during development and preferences varied... I have a few tokens left so might be able to squeeze in a quick "turn off custom font" menu option since that's just a line of code or two, I'll take a look.
Heh. I added this cycle of grindable sidequests in during development, partly based on your feedback about PICOhaven 1 on the other thread--
But since enemy stats don't scale up as the player levels up (unlike the board game inspiration), I decided to make them fairly difficult for the player level you first unlock them at-- wouldn't want to make that cycle of extra xp+gold too easy... :)
Updated game cart, fixed crash bug with final boss in certain conditions
If you're reading this and downloaded the cart to play offline/on a handheld, you should download the new version of the cart (or if not, refresh your browser), some time before you get to the final boss (I won't spoil what that is here...). Progress is saved each time you return to "town" after a level, so you should be able to Continue from where you were.
Thanks @DavidSawyer, I beat my head against the resource limits wall for a bit but I'm fairly happy with what I was able to fit in. I'll be interested to hear how you like it as a game after you've had some time to play!
I'm also interested to get feedback on the overall difficulty balancing from anyone who's played it for a while (any input, @nephilim ?) to see if it's worth tweaking the base difficulty upward or downward in the future-- during earlier playtesting it felt like people were beating most scenarios on their first try so I bumped up the difficulty of several enemies and levels... but all of those playtesters had past experience with this type of game so I don't know if I shifted the baseline too far up. Hopefully the adjustable difficulty setting lets everyone configure their own challenge...
This version does seem considerably more difficult than the first game. Still enjoyable though!
It's good to hear that the side quests are deliberately hard because I was starting to wonder if I was missing something about the strategy. I don't see how it's even possible to complete that quest at my current advancement level – even ramping down to EASY mode, I still get killed while there are still several other units on the map. I was thinking, "Jeez, if I can't even beat the pelt-collecting side quest, I must not be nearly ready to move back into the main quest!"
Part of it might be the presentation. "Pelt collecting" doesn't sound, at first blush, that it would be a deadly, dangerous mission. People do that for a living, for instance, and presumably do that in the PicoHaven world, too. Maybe if it were called something like "Survive the Night!" or "The Feral Hunt", or call them something like "challenge quests" or something, it might set expectations better.
Thanks for the feedback, that's fair, I'll look at tweaking the naming / pre-level description text in the next release (and will probably also make the "Easier" setting scale down enemies a bit more-- it just scales enemy HP by some multiplier).
If you have a minute to share a Profile screenshot, I'm curious what level/XP/deck/items you're at, to check against when I hit it in playtesting (I also have a biased view of difficulty because I know every enemy's set of possible cards and initiatives, so I know ahead of time what they might do and when-- the HOWLing enemies are tricky unless you can eliminate one type of them early). A second side job / side quest should have unlocked at the same time, also challenging but in a different way.
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