C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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Neat game. Here's my play-by-play of this game.

+ Cute title screen. Minimal graphics.
+ That's a really nice on-screen tutorial. Showing, not telling.


~ Really minimal design, shown by graphics and also the "None" transitions that happen between each map.


- You could do away with those pesky autoshadows though.


+ It's good that boxes can be either pushed or pulled.


- The boxes need to be different graphics for pushable/pullable and ones that are not.


+ Still, nice puzzle design though.


- OK the puzzle with the 16 different rooms made NO sense to me.


+ Some of the puzzles are well designed, but some are just trial and error to me.


- "Souls of a hunderd midgets." should be 'hundred'


~ "Box of unplayed RPGmaker games" should be 'RPG Maker' and it was also a bit immersion-breaking that there was that fourth wall reference.


~ "Box of chairs" has no full stop at the end.


~ "Box full of puppies" somehow I just didn't like that image. Bit too grotesque.


- http://i.gyazo.com/4ad9dd0b5cafb2d2f661d2afb5ca0915.png A bit of a graphical glitch there


- So a guy just ate me.


+ Interesting and cool non-Euclidean environments... areas you return to aren't always the same.


+ Has a cool kind of Yume Nikki wandering vibe except you are progressing quite rapidly which makes it fun rather than boring


~ Friend not so cute anymore LOL


+ I like that you just read notes and that progresses the game. It makes it feel very swift.


+ Some very cool open, horizontally and vertically-looping spaces.


+ Some very cool environments


- Could be a slight trigger warning for those who have lost loved ones gone in a similar way


+ But at the end I realized it was a good message. It just seemed at the time like it was an arbitrary plot device but you expressed you're sensitive with the issues so that made it better. To be honest it seemed more like I was being stalked by a emotionally unstable killer during the game, rather than someone who has low self-esteem that you are trying to search for.
All in all, it is a good short game with a good message and it's polished in very much most respects. Well done.
 

GlitchyPSIX

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This game made me shed a tear...
Most games like this one doesn't do that...
I... Wow. Just touched me deeper than every game did...
10/10
 

C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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I think that was the intention.
Yeah, but I kind of solved that puzzle unintentionally by walking through various doors and going, "What the heck am I doing?" and then finally solving the puzzle and being like, "I have no idea how I solved that puzzle." I don't think that was the intention. But at least it wasn't a terribly difficult puzzle with no perceivable way to continue. That would be worse.
 

Maxjonathay

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Yeah, but I kind of solved that puzzle unintentionally by walking through various doors and going, "What the heck am I doing?" and then finally solving the puzzle and being like, "I have no idea how I solved that puzzle." I don't think that was the intention. But at least it wasn't a terribly difficult puzzle with no perceivable way to continue. That would be worse.
i have solved this puzzle in that way too.
 
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CzarSquid

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I am terribly sorry for responding so late! I could go into details but they are nothing special.
 
Thank you all again for the comments! I'm glad most of you are enjoying the game! I can't stress that enough. This was my first game I shared with people and I'm glad you all have enjoyed it. It's good to hear feedback and doing something well. Thank you, seriously! I recommending sharing with your friends and watching them play (I did with my 17 year old sister and it was fun to watch!).
 
@Labyrinthine - That comment means a lot to me. It is really hard to come up with fun ideas. This game, while inspired by other games out there, came out of the blue and I'm glad it work so well in the end.

@C-C-C-Cashmere Thanks for the review!

* Yeah I'm aware of the shadows, boxes and other weird art things. Definitely on the to do list for the next game.
* Nikki Yume, while I like the idea of the game and the eerie atmosphere. I actually don't enjoy it because it's too slow for my taste.
* The notes are the heart of the game, it's natural they literally help you progress.
* I love the mix messages this game gives. I had my sister play it last week and she freaked out because she thought it was a scary game with some monster waiting to pop out and scare her. Half the fun of this game was to be misleading. The notes, the house, and everything in it. Heck, I wanted the ending to be the last thing people to expect out of such an unsettling game.
@GlitchyPSIX Yeah. Games that make people cry are hard to find. Mother 3 and To The Moon are the only ones I can think of that also make people cry. Thank you for the short review :)

Okay, since everyone enjoys talking about the door puzzle so much I figure I speak a bit more about it.
Yes, the old door puzzle was awful as the user must enter one particular door. At first I thought it would be fine and people would figure it out forgetting I had a 20 door room. As such some people experienced that they could not find the right door no matter how much they tried. Some of them have quit the game before finishing because they thought it was broken on them. That's no fun! So I made it easier by just having a variable in which it'll switch the room after a certain number of doors have been enter into. The idea was to confuse the player but not to frustrate them!
 
So with all that said, I have some very exciting news. I'm learning to 3D model! (View some of the work here!) What does this mean for Friend? Well, there is a strong possibility that I'll be able to make a 3D friend game sequel! I know it isn't a RPG maker game but could you imagine what I could do with a game engine like doom (the fps) but use the theme of Friend? I think it would be incredible! My biggest obstacle would be the programming of it (I got a decent grasp of modeling). So if anything, I'll at least be able to make some very surreal landscapes for the next friend and even have cutscenes if I do make it in RPGmaker.
 
I'm actually considering stopping making Shadows of the Past so I can make the next Friend Sequel. I'm actually getting good ideas thought out. I do not want to make any promises of how good it will be but I'll do my best. What I can promise is the game will be longer than 20 minutes and will have a save feature.
 
I hope that satisfies everyone. Flies off to a mountain of homework.
 
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Matseb2611

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I've just played through the game and have some thoughts and impressions to share.

Certainly an interesting idea. I was quite interested to keep going further and reading the notes as I was intrigued to know who was writing them. The art style is an interesting one too. The use of colours is well done. First we just see black and white, then red comes into the mix. And at times I came across rooms that were similar to those before but in a different colour, which was a nice touch too.

Have a bit of mixed feelings on the puzzles. Some were quite nice, but as someone mentioned before me, some were just simple trial and error. For example invisible buttons in the floor and trying to walk through every door in a room just to get further. Not quite what I call 'fun' really. At times I swear the game was just trolling me. I almost always had to keep going back through the door I came from just to see if it will take me to a different place. Also, what's up with those boxes? Why is it that I can push some of them but not others, even though they look identical to each other? I'd personally make them look a bit different, otherwise it's trial and error here too, going up to every box to see if I can push/pull it.

Sometimes I felt the sense of reward was very minisculine. Doing a time-consuming box-pushing puzzle only to reach a note that says something like "Why are you not happy?" or "I am sorry".

The game felt quite appropriate in its length. I think since its puzzles are quite simplistic in mechanics, anything longer would feel repetitive, so I am glad I got to the end when I did. If you're making a sequel, I'd personally like to see some new types of puzzles. So far we've only really had box-pushing and trial and error doors.

Overall impressions - don't even know what to think really. It's not a bad game, but I didn't find it to be quite as great as everyone says it is. It does well what it sets out to do and is worth playing through at least once, but I don't feel it's breaking any new ground really.

Either way, I'll keep an eye out on the sequel (assuming from your sig there'll be one).
 

CzarSquid

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@Matseb2611 - The game was severely limited to what I can and can't do in the game. I just wanted to finish the game within a day or two because that was all I was giving it. The theme of the game was to be confusing, even a bit frustrating at times, to give the sense of disorientation. Everything looks the same: the colors, the objects, the rooms. Everything. "Am I doing this right?" should be the questions going through the minds of the players.

I can look back at this game now and I can see the flaws. It is a one time experience because of how linear it is. Thank you for playing and for writing out your thoughts. I know it can't be everyone's favorite game which is why I try to get as many opinions I can with the game.

I am making a second one so I will take all the comments here and try to improve the second game. I don't have a release date but I'm learning how to use regions with events. It'll follow the basic principles of Friend but it'll also be different in a good way.

Here's a sneak peak of the next game. I will get a development thread for the game when it's about 70-80% done

w32xKqn.gif
 

Matseb2611

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No problem. I didn't think the eventing was badly done or anything. In fact I didn't come across any bugs or errors. The use of colours was good too. Just that puzzles could certainly use a more inventive design, I think. You could even use the theme of colour in your puzzles. For example differently coloured boxes might behave differently when the player interacts with them, and so on.
 

C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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I can look back at this game now and I can see the flaws. It is a one time experience because of how linear it is. Thank you for playing and for writing out your thoughts. I know it can't be everyone's favorite game which is why I try to get as many opinions I can with the game.
It's good to be able to make a game where you don't have to answer to anyone and you can just create the project you want to make without the weight of certain expectations. Sometimes people receive a game but don't play it with the right intent. That may sound arrogant, but I don't mean they're playing games wrong. It's just that sometimes people judge forms of entertainment with an erroneous type of mindset, building it up with certain expectations and when they are not met, complaining because the project didn't turn out how they thought in their mind it should. In that light, I think it's good to aim to create a project that one is proud to have made. If others enjoy it, that's a bonus, but I think it's better be proud in your own project and have people dislike it, than to try and make a project that pleases everyone, but ends up pleasing no-one, not even the author. And that's a slight tragedy. I think the idea that if it resonates with you, it'd do an author good to trust that it will resonate with others, is a good idea. I think that making a game that you yourself can be proud of, despite how unconventional the project may seem, is the essence of artistic expression and fosters all sorts of good innovation. I like this game because of its identity and its willingness to differ from convention. That doesn't mean it's a perfect game. It just means it's just a little bit progressive and that may be a cool thing.
 
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Matseb2611

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I wouldn't really say it's that progressive and unconventional. Games that go for unique art style are pretty common, especially in the indie theme, and yes, this also includes simplistic art styles. Have you ever played an indie game called Antichamber? That is a lot like this game, except in 3D. Non-Eucludian environments, a lot of puzzles, and also various sayings and phrases being plastered on the walls. Sure, it differs from all those games that go for realistic-looking environments, but that does not necessarily make it one of a kind.
 

C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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Yes I've played Antichamber and it's exceptional. I'm saying it's unconventional for an RPG Maker game because it doesn't deal with huge sweeping epic storylines and worry about whether they should use Celianna or Mack. And yeah, Antichamber is definitely one of a kind, I haven't seen any game like it. Now Friend is not an Antichamber, not by a long shot, but at least it's different and if we start thinking in different ways and making small games like this that either succeed or fail, then we can start to branch out into truly innovative games. That's my opinion anyway.

Edit: Also I'm a huge fan of minimalism because I think games should strip away all that's unnecessary. Not just in art style, though. I don't give Friend huge credit for its art style, although it does make things a lot easier to discern. I mean I'm not looking at it as the second coming of games, if I was to give Friend a rating it'd be maybe 6/10 (which in my rating book is probably around average, not bad nor exceptional), but I'd rather have more games like this than perhaps other types. It certainly shows a lot of promise in the developer to create games that aren't your norm, and to kind of experiment with different things.
 
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Matseb2611

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Yes, I'd agree that Friend is one of those games that gets things just right without adding too much unnecessary stuff.

And of course innovation and originality should be encouraged. Just that devs should be careful. Different does not always mean good. Some conventions are there for a reason, and if one is to break them, they need to know HOW to break them properly. I personally didn't like Antichamber that much. I enjoyed it for the first half hour or so, and then it started to annoy me due to not making much logical sense and no rewarding the player enough. I'd actually say I've had a lot more fun playing Friend, since this has a much better pace and doesn't drag itself out for more than it needs to be. And this is what I mean. Antichamber is one of a kind, but I wouldn't call it fun. As a player I was left trolled, frustrated, and bored out of my mind.

But anyways, I'm not going to go off topic too much. I'd personally rate Friend about 6 or 7 out of 10 as well, since it is exactly what it promises to be and does so reasonably well.
 
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C-C-C-Cashmere (old)

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Ah, well I guess that's where we differ because I love when games innovate, and when they do things that no game has done before. I generally don't play games just to have fun, I have a huge passion to see games become a more expressive medium of art and to be taken seriously as a valid medium of art, just as valid as music and movies. So when a game that challenges all the rules of gaming comes along, then I welcome it with open arms. In my eyes, 1 Antichamber is worth 100 other games, in terms of progressing the art of gaming forward, and exploring new design principles that others can work off. The reason why RPGs were invented as a genre was because someone bothered to experiment with porting a strange interaction-based genre of board games to the electronic format. It may not have worked wonders the first time, but at least the first pioneer could be iterated upon to clean up the rough edges, and it became its own genre that people love and enjoy now. Antichamber is a rough piece of work, but it's rough gem, and if people smooth its edges, the idea of a non-linear puzzle game could become a real genre.


So with respect to Friend, I admire the audacity to push away from the norm more than its proficiency with which it does it. It certainly does bring promise for Friend 2, which the developer seems to be putting more effort into, and it could be a real hit. I'm highly anticipating the sequel, to see what it brings.
 

Matseb2611

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That's fair enough. I personally do enjoy innovation as well. In fact I encourage it. Just that I prefer it when this innovation is also a fun experience and not just innovation for the sake of being different.

And yes, I too am curious to see what Friend 2 will be like. We'll wait and see, I guess.
 

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I didn't even know Antichamber existed. I'm gonna put that on my steam wishlist now.

One of my main goals with Friend was "What is the absolute minimum of time, gameplay, story, art and music that I can put into a game?" Friend's mechanics wasn't based on anything revolutionary. What I did do differently is how it was executed. I understand enough about games there is reasons why developers choose certain mechanics in their games. I could of easily just thrown a player into a white void area and explore the game like Yume Nikki. That wasn't really fun for me because I asked "Why am I here?" Nothing came up in this prototype and I got bored and assumed there needed to be more. The puzzles were added because it needed to break up the game just a little bit more. I figured box puzzles like the Legend of Zelda series was simple enough to understand without being too difficult to solve. The notes should of acted as the reward and doubled as the story. This one is tough because depending on the player it could mean an incredible experience or a 'meh' if no connection is made. All these features have been done by someone before. However I feel that I did a decent job trying to put that all together. Which results in the experience players feel which is the most important part.

I never planned a second game for Friend while making the first game. I didn't want to even think about it then. As time passed on I started to get ideas of what I could do in the next game. I wasn't pleased with them because they were pretty similar to the first. Just like the first game I want to work on a solid goal and expand on it. I want it to be it's own game and not rely so much on the first game's name. So I'm reluctant to even call it a sequel because I don't want it to be restricted to the rules of the first game or even compared to the first game. However I believe that it will fit nicely as the sequel to this game. It might even answer some questions about the first game's story.

Here's a sample of goals I've decided:

  1.  I'm gonna take my time and work on this game for months.
  2.  Adding more choices. In the first game the player was forced to linear gameplay. I want to give the player the ability to explore, to piece the together the story, to choose what they want to do when they want to do it.
  3.  It will share similarities to the first but I'm not afraid to make changes in order to enrich the game experience (like the color green).
  4.  Just like the first game I don't like talking about the game itself. It's a secret to everybody.
 

Marquise*

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I'm wondering sometimes if being on a community can be wonderful or horrific when learning that something just created has been done somewhere before and we were totally unaware of it while making it.  ^^;

Not trying to be ironic here.  Just pointing out if I'd work on something like that and discovered it looked like something else, I might feel crushed a bit for a while.
 

mayorswaim

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I just played this and it was really great, great ending and made me tear up. I started this so confused, really random and then the ending ripped my heart out!! Thank you for the experience!
 

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What i meant by groundbreaking was that a concept like this could possibly be used in a same way as fliers.

This game deals with suicide, but it could be expanded to other similar things as well, such as addictions, bullying, etc. I could see games like this working in a flash format (if it's possible)
 
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