So.... does the title refer to Jack's fixation on Kathryn?
I didn't notice the subtitle, so I didn't realize it was a prequel for The Company of Myself until I read some of the reviews about halfway through the game. (goes to show, you can't trust people you meet suddenly in the sewers)
So, yeah, I thought this was a really cool game. A solid puzzle-platformer with a good art style and great music. The smoke and dust effects were fantastic.
Most of all, I thought it was an excellent evolution of the previous game. I thought that The Company of Myself felt like a really interesting experiment, and I feel like Fixation goes beyond being an experiment. You did a lot more, and more interesting things with the idea of level design as metaphor and character development; enough that I actually want to go back through the game and really pick at what you were getting at in some of the levels. The AI controlled co-op is a really cool idea, and I think it does a really good job of getting across the idea of doing things together with people. I thought it was especially strong when you had that awkward uncomfortable moment where Thomas shows up and helps you through a level, and then you contrast that with Jack.
To me, a lot of puzzle platformers feel just like taking a stroll and mulling over my thoughts, so I really enjoy the sort of every-day meandering thoughts tone that you gave to this.
The story felt a little disjointed at times, and I think you should have done something to better get across the passage of time (although at certain points it seemed like confusion over time might be what you were going for?). The character development felt a little weak in some places (and the character introductions all felt a bit too blunt except for Thomas), but at the same time, there were places where you did cool and interesting things with it. In particular I think you could have done just a little more to get across Jack's mental instability.
I think my biggest criticism is that I didn't quite feel the connection with Henry. The way the levels were set up it felt kinda like there had just been one extended conversation with him. I think I would have mixed up the levels a bit more. Introduce the "worlds" as different concepts, then throw in the different kinds of levels where they make sense. So maybe you have a few levels with Henry where you're chatting, and then a level at the house with Penelope and Thomas where yo use things you learned with Henry, followed by a level in the sewers. Then the next time we see Henry we're talking about and reflecting on something that just happened (and maybe we find a better solution to one of the puzzles we just faced), and you get more of a feeling like Kathryn has been seeing him for some time and their conversations are integrated with the rest of her life.
So... yeah, I guess that's the main suggestion I have. You have these "worlds" defined by a certain mood, bundled up all together all at once. You should mix the levels more and let the changing of the moods and mindsets from level to level tell more of the story.
Great stuff! I hope to see you guys do more stuff like this.
Yeah, I considered switching back and forth between settings inside chapters for a while, but with the settings representing different mindsets, I couldn't make it make enough sense to be worth it.
Thanks for the review!
So, umm... holy crap.
This... felt like it was trying really hard to be romantic (Especially in the drowning ending, when you see their ghosts floating together)... but it was about a guy who was shy to talk to a girl, then killed her because she wouldn't have sex with him.... I mean, that's extremely effed up, and then the sense of romance is played straight on top of that... it just feels wrong. Overall left me feeling creeped out (and not in the way a good scary/suspense story is supposed to).
Good music. Great visual effects. Good sense of mood (though I don't think it quiiite meshed with the story)
This was pretty cool. Needs a lot of work, but obviously it's just a demo...
Cool designs overall, and a really cool use of colors. I especially like the designs of the charge bar and the boss.
Every once in a while I mistook a background object for a foreground object and wasn't sure if I should dodge or shoot it. Not sure if this is intentional in the design.
The intro was really confusing. It was telling me all these controls and was thinking "Ok, when do I get that item?" I'd thought it was going to be a platformer.
Major suggestion, change the name. I understand that you're referring to standard lined notebook paper, but "College Ruled Universe" is just too confusing. I should say, the correct meaning is not the first thing that jumps to mind, even when I know what it is.
Rlght, I'm starting to consider a name change to something more catchy. Maybe...doodleverse? Notebook Adventure? Hmm, if you think of any good ones, PM me! I may just use it.
And yea, I'd like to show more in the intro, but I couldn't purely due to my lack of ability as a programmer. The final will expand immensely on that!
Nicely done. I like the implementation of this better than that one slide-puzzle game that won IGF a couple years back. (and I've been craving more of this since Skyward Sword). The black and white graphics work well. The constantly changing backgrounds were a little distracting, and I don't know that there was really any purpose behind them.
Note, it's possible to get permanently stuck. I jumped up and shifted into the h-shaped block before I got that "ceiling key" (the last key you can get that opens the heart room). The h-shaped room should have platforms so you can jump back up. (unless you want people to get permanently stuck, in which case you should make something out of the fact that they've lost at that point)
I really like this. There are some solid ideas here. You do a really nice, clear job of communicating ideas through the gameplay.
I especially like the series of difficult ladder fall-jumps you have to reach adulthood if you took the bad kid path. I think the route to reach the bad kid path should have been a little easier, though.
On my second playthrough I accidentally pushed one of the pills-blocks too far to the side and stranded myself. I hadn't even thought of that my first time. Excellent touch.
I like the button-mashey swimming for saving up for big purchases, but I think the actual swimming segments were way too short. You've got a tiny little one for buying the family car, why not a more difficult and maze-like one for buying a house?
My one major complaint is the music... It feels like a mournful trudge for the whole thing. Maybe that's what you were going for? But personally, I think it would do well to have a few changes in tone to match the overall feeling of the different stages of life.
So, yeah, all in all, I think this is pretty cool. I'd love to see these ideas expanded upon and integrated into a larger game.
Man, I had plans for tonight. Things to do, games to play...
Then I logged on to Newgrounds and saw there was a new Bubble Tanks.
This game is so addictive. Have you guys seen about releasing this on XBLA? I don't know if making your games free is just part of your philosophy or whatever, but this is a seriously well-made, well-polished, addictive series, and you could make good money selling it.
I see you integrated the tank editor from arenas into the main mode, allowing me to make my impossible-to-hit pile of guns. ..
Well, I gotta go waste another couple hours on this!
That dark-self battle at the end was a stroke of genius.
Seriously, that was just awesome.
All in all a really well-put-together game. Nicely polished mechanics, and really well-done level design. I wish the shadow had played a little more with your trust. There was only one part where she decided to tell you the truth, right? There wasn't really any point at which I wasn't really sure if I should be trusting her or not.
This was a really cool, fun mechanic, and a really striking, awesome art style. You obviously took the time to really polish the mechanic well, and I think you did a really good job exploring lots of different ways to use it.
Now, I've got a few criticisms.
First of all, I found the most basic enemy type (the dudes with the dual laser arms that slowly sweep inwards) to be the most frustrating of all the enemies to fight. Seriously, these guys drove me nuts, and they were everywhere, in groups. I almost stopped playing the second time I encountered a group of them (Quick note, if this was something I'd downloaded, or payed any money at all to play, I wouldn't have thought twice of barreling through them, but as something I just dropped by Newgrounds to toy around with, I considered just dropping it and going elsewhere)
I feel like there's a certain dissonance between the mechanic, and the atmosphere of the story you're creating here. The mechanic is, in a very literal sense, light and bouncy. Then you have this somber meditative atmosphere and this theme of solitary adventure and self sacrifice... I feel like that sort of story would go better with a mechanic that feels more tense. The mechanic is so light. You're always in motion, and launching into the air, and lends itself more to themes of... you know, freedom... throwing your weight around... stuff like that. It feels more like... figuring out how to fly than it does sacrificing myself to save the world from a bomb.
Now... on the note of freedom and bounciness. Maybe this is just me, but I love exploring. I love going around the world of my games and seeing what I can find. This game makes it so tempting to go beyond the bounds (head left at the beginning of a level. Try to jump over the portal, etc.), so entertaining to try to get beyond the bounds, and so easy, really, to do so, that I was disapointed that there was consistently nothing over there. A achievement or something would have been cool. A funny house, another character, some interesting ruins, or just a unique alien plant hiding just beyond the bounds would have been a decent reward for that exploration/boundary-pushing urge. Instead all there is is just a rock wall. Hell, one time I was even punished for my exploration urge. I jumped over the exit gate and fell into a pit of spikes, and was forced to fight enemies all over again!
I feel like... if there's going to be nothing for me but a wall of rock beyond that hill to my left at the start of every level... then don't even bother with the hill. Just put the wall of rock there. Otherwise I feel kinda cheated to climb the hill and find nothing.
So, yeah. Take those as you will. Certainly don't take my criticisms to mean I didn't like the game. It was a lot of fun.
This game satisfies my exploration urges rather nicely. I think this is my favorite among all the things you've posted here on Newgrounds.
I love the super-retro graphics that callback to things like old Mac games. I had to laugh when I saw open featureless plane and thought of old DOS games I played on my dad's computer. There's a really great sense of atmosphere, and there's a cool sense of.. I guess I'd say a morbid but positive mythology. I have to say, I feel like a Seecha, utterly unable to look upwards and see the sky that September describes as so beautiful.
I'm wondering, is this all a reference to a land of older computer games that now lies barren?
I've seen some good criticisms in here. I don't necessarily agree with them, but my tastes a bit peculiar. My one major criticism is that I wish the main character's animations had more... well... character to them. Perhaps it's an aesthetic choice, but I think your games generally suffer for lack of animation. Well... it reads much more as a fitting aesthetic choice for, say, Majesty of Colors, or How to Raise a Dragon, but here the animation just felt lacking.
More than anything else, I want to know more about the Oarboar.
And how did his bones get scattered all over the place like that?
FREAKING BERSERKERS AND CANONS STEALING MY POWER SMASHES!!!
Awesome game you've got here, guys. Very nice, very polished, and I think the Power Smashes were a brilliant addition. I get so freaking addicted to trying to get 7 in a row.
It's a little bit of a pain in the ass to have to start from scratch with every character. I mean, yeah, it doesn't take too long to get to level 10 and 100,000 feet, but it gets a little monotonous. Maybe some character specific items would spice things up?
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