Not bad at all. However, I would recommend that you not start the timer until after the player makes their first move.
I understand that she can only see the bubbles if she's looking in their direction, but since she only faces directly left or right, getting her to move straight up and down is a nightmare. Also, it's irritating that I can't seem to get her to face the opposite direction when I want, since her field of vision cannot turn gradually. Both these problems would be fixed if you would make more sprites for Derpy and let her face north and south, in addition to east and west.
Also, you must, must, MUST change the punishment for failing a level to something less extreme. Instead of being taken all the way back to the beginning of the game, maybe send her back to the start of the previous level.
For those of you smacking your head against pavement,
Trying to collect every last achievement,
HereâEUTMs some advice: Be mindful. Be wary.
Not every decision is purely binary.
For within some forks lies a third option, hidden.
Feel free to experiment; itâEUTMs not forbidden.
Now if you still struggle to find their hiding places
IâEUTMll give you another tip that may help you save faces.
Three lie in the mutantâEUTMs path, three lie in the boyâEUTMs.
The girlâEUTMs path, sadly, contains no such choice.
Does the location of these third choices still leave you vexed?
Where applicable, thereâEUTMs one right after learning your sex.
Know also, the difference between failing and not trying
Is the difference between success and prematurely dying.
ThatâEUTMs all the help IâEUTMll give. Make good use of my clue.
You may be surprised what fateâEUTMs in store for you.
Those apostrophes really ruined it though :(
At first I was going to point out how ridiculous it was that you got to keep all your points every time you died, allowing for infinitely high scores. Then around level 20 or so, I started to realize that the gold stars were generally easier to collect. And that's when it hit me: the goal of this game is actually to get as low a score as possible.
You should probably make that more clear, by making the pickups less alluring, and awarding no points for level completion, for instance.
Is this meant to be played with a stylus? I hope so, because with the mouse it becomes ridiculously frustrating. It's too easy to accidentally move your mouse over the guy while you're trying to move left and right, and the added reaction time necessary to move your mouse to the guy makes jumping too much of a hassle. The art is quirky, and the music is relaxing, but since I don't own an iPad, I don't want to play again until you add an option to jump by clicking instead.
The physics are completely out of whack. Everybody slips and slides as if they were on ice, jumping and landing on platforms below will make you bounce like you're made of rubber, and landing on platform corners and dummy heads will spring you sideways like a tennis ball. Yet, while the platforming is frustrating and unpolished, the puzzles are exceedingly simple, and the ability to lock and unlock dummies without limitation neuters any capacity for mental challenge.
Overall, all the aspects that should be easy are hard, and vice versa.
Whenever people (especially in these reviews) argue that games that aren't frustratingly hard would just be [insert some easy game here], they completely dismiss the fact that there are in fact games that span the gamut from unchallenging and boring to insane and frustrating. It is, believe it or not, possible to strike a fair balance between the two.
And Nitrome consistently fails at striking this balance.
The problem isn't that there's some element that makes the game frustrating to play, or even multiple frustrating elements. No, the real problem is that they always pick the same frustrating elements which, as so happens when these specific elements combine, turns what would be an otherwise enjoyable game into a hair-tearing, rage-inducing nightmare.
So, I will list every frustrating element in this game.
These ones are the most troublesome, and are never addressed, much to my chagrin. You can see how, when they combine, they make the game truly nasty. I will also suggest how they can be addressed (sometimes even effortlessly):
- Total score is the sole meaningful indicator of achievement. (The game could offer optional stars or time trial medals or what-have-you to collect in each level, which could then be displayed under their respective levels.)
- Top personal scores in individual levels are not saved. (For the OCD crowd, being able to get and display a perfect score in each level is an amazing experience.)
- Top personal total score is not saved. (Save the player's top personal score. Give them something that they can beat, as even the 100th high score is too much for most people.)
- High scores are not enabled on Newgrounds. (Enable them, or at least warn players that all of their efforts are going to be completely pointless at this website.)
- Only the 100 top high-scores of all-time are saved, meaning the vast majority of people can never hope to appear on it. (Include daily, weekly, and monthly high-score tables.)
- Total score resets to 0 upon dying or restarting. (Try reducing the penalty to something like 50% loss of total score, to help lessen the blow somewhat.)
It wouldn't be nearly so bad if even one or two of the issues above were addressed. Not only that, but when all of those elements above combine with:
- A steep difficulty curve
- Tons of obstacles to pay attention to
- A Score Penalty for playing too slowly (Time Bonus)
- A Score Penalty for not grabbing huge numbers of gems at once (Level Bonus)
The result is teeth-grindingly painful. Obviously, it would be a bad idea to fool around with these ones, as they are crucial to the game's challenge, but as the first set of frustrating elements meshes so poorly with these ones, it gives the first set even more reason to be addressed.
I really hope the developers at Nitrome will take the time to read this, and consider making the changes I suggest above. Their games have so much potential to be fun, and yet are constantly bogged down by these problems.
I really don't like how it doesn't save which puzzles you've already solved, or even your score. Without any indicator as to my progress, it all feels rather pointless (if you'll pardon the pun).
Not too shabby. Now, here are my suggestions.
First, fix the music and SFX levels. Whenever the music comes on, the SFX drops considerably in volume. I also don't like how each of the music tracks are separated by 1-2 minutes of ambient noise. These audio issues distract me enough to prevent me from becoming immersed in the game.
I would also suggest giving the player special abilities to help lessen the influence that luck has on the game. When you transmute a group, a bar fills up with Mana (or Energy or Ether or whatever). When the player collects enough, they can spend some for one use of a special ability. More powerful abilities cost more Mana, of course. Here's a list of example special abilities, not necessarily in order from weakest to strongest:
- Swap: Switch the position of two adjacent elements.
- Polymerize: Let the player drop a special Polymerize element. When it falls, it destroys all elements in the same row, and becomes the highest tier element that it destroyed. No points are earned for liquified elements.
- Dissolve: Let the player drop a special Dissolve element. When it falls, it destroys all elements in the same column, and becomes the highest tier element that it destroyed. No points are earned for dissolved elements.
- Implode: Let the player drop a special Implode element. When it falls, it destroys all horizontally, vertically, and diagonally adjacent elements, and becomes the highest tier element that it destroyed. No points are earned for exploded elements.
- Compress: Click any element with one directly adjacent matching element. The two elements will merge into an element one tier higher in the location you clicked. No points are earned for the elements you transmuted in this way.
- Break: Break the molecule to be dropped into two single elements. The player can then drop them in one at a time. The element on the left side or top side of the molecule is dropped first.
- Elixir: Let the player drop a special Elixir element. The Elixir element transforms into the element that it lands on.
- Heavy: The next molecule to be dropped is imbued with the Heavy property. A Heavy molecule does not split when dropped. If a Heavy molecule does not make a match when it lands, it will descend one row by swapping its position with the elements directly below it, and check for a match again. It will continue to do this until it makes a match, or hits the bottom of the field. The elements in a Heavy molecule lose their heavy properties once a match is made.
- Exchange: Switch the current molecule with the one in the Next window.
- Destroy: Destroy the current molecule, and move on to the one in the Next window.
- Chaos: All elements currently in the field are scrambled.
If I can make a suggestion: In the future, if you have incomplete flashes that you need help on, don't submit them to the portal, because you're not going to receive much in the way of assistance on them, just a blam and possibly a review denouncing it completely.
If you need help, upload it to your Dumping Grounds - go to the top of the screen, find the row of six buttons, and click the second one from the left - then go to the NG BBS, go to the Artists & Creators section, and create a thread linking to your flash file.
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