Back from the Grave! (v20230919-02)
The "Turn Based" Update
As I mentioned in the prior update, I wanted to investigate restructuring the game into a more strategic turn-based affair. This narrows the difficulty gradient quite a bit because if you were fast with the mouse, the game became trivial. Now that things are managed by turns, it's more about growing your power via statistics rather than just "getting good" at motor skills.
The game feels very different now. While I loved the frantic scramble in the dirt for enough bones to make a skeleton, it didn't feel sustainable as a game you'd play more than once or twice.
That being said, games like this thrive on their depth of content. The end goal is to create an ecosystem that is flexible enough to add lots of new things. Creating monsters, spells, relics, enemies, and everything else should easily snap into place. The UI and flow of the game could use more refinement, but at least the general idea is functional now. I would consider this a proper demo of the original idea, even if it could use more polish.
- Battles are now turn based.
- You have 4 matches to make per turn and then all the monsters that were summoned fight
- See how many monsters the opponent necromancer is going to summon over their health bar
- If only one "side" of monsters remains, the game speeds up to resolve combat to get back to matching
- Monsters only hit players/opponents once, but do proportional damage based on how much health they have left (basically, the way it was, but faster)
- Spells are now automatically triggered when you collect the appropriate amount of mana
- Dig site events have been added to the game. These give you free changes to the composition of your puzzle grid (and a discount for paid ones)
- Added relics
- Earn relics by beating hard battles (horned skulls on the map)
- You can view your relics on your crypt page by clicking the skull in the top-right corner
- Relics can be empowered, granting extra bonuses or unlocking powerful spells
- You have a limited number of empower gems. Powerful relics take more gems to empower.
- Enemy necromancers have spells too! They can draw power from various gameplay actions (passively every turn, you making matches, monsters dying, etc).
- Lots of pixel art and visual changes to the game. It's not perfect, but it's "good enough" for now. I'm still learning.
- Reworked background "fog" to be less resolution dependent. Should look nicer on large monitors.
One of the big things I want to focus on next is the evolution and transmutation of your tile types. I want to allow dirt to evolve into coins (to summon mercenaries), or changing flesh tiles to fur tiles (to summon werewolves with a whole different set of powers). The current interface isn't up to the task.
I also need to rework all the numbers in the game. Right now, things feel fairly balanced, but once you start getting relics, you get powerful WAY too fast. Not a bad thing, but it definitely needs to be tuned.
Last big update I want is multiple maps. Once you defeat the boss of the map, you should be rewarded with a choice (another empower gem, another puzzle match column, or another turn during puzzle matches), then sent to the next map where harder enemies await.
There is a lot more I'd like to do, but I want to pace myself and not get burnt out like I did the past few months. Also, with all the uncertainty with the Unity platform lately, I am not sure how deep I want to dig into the game. That's a whole different story though.
I hope you enjoy the updates! Would love to know what you think!
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