RMMZ Monster [Touch the Stars Jam]

SmashArtist

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★Story★​

One night, Kid has a strange dream beckoning him into the forest. In the dream images flash of a large glowing star in the middle of the forbidden woods, just waiting to be found.
Will you make it to the center of the forest? Does the star really exist? What are the secrets hidden deep within the twisted trees and frightening monsters that roam there? There's only one way to find out…​

★Gameplay★​

  • Enemies will have an interest meter which will go down or up based on actions in battle. Once the interest meter hits 0, the battle ends.
  • Exploration- traverse the dangerous woods and find hidden secrets.
  • Befriend- Monsters are not all they seem, you can have them follow you and join you in battle.

★Screenshots★​

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★Extra Notes★​

  • Monster is a game with darker tones, such as frightening monsters. (there are no jumpscares or blood) It is not a game for children.
  • Monster was developed for the Touch the Stars game jam within one month.
  • This game was developed completely without the use of plugins.
  • The game is an early demo of sorts and does not contain all the planned features. (for example you will see elements of the happiness system, but it doesn’t do anything at the moment)

★Credits★​

  • Finnuval - support and amazing monster designs
  • CalmRadish - palette
  • Eeve Somepx - font

★Download Link★​

| ITCH | - Windows
 

RCXDan

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@SmashArtist I got you, King.

+ Unsettling title screen. I like how cute the little guy is, but the rest of the title is this dull gray background complete with the sound of wind over music. I dig it.
+ I really like all the art in this: the transition from the little dude sleeping in bed to him being in a dream was sick. The opening felt like a pop-up book, which is really unique and cool - bonus points for showing rather than telling since there's no dialogue at all, but you can still understand what the goal is.
+ Custom menu! It looks pretty nice.
+ Like the music. Gives me a kind of Yume 2kki vibe, which I am super down for.
+ The designs of the monsters are great! They look like something I'd draw myself. Out of all of them, the Gulfers are my favorite.
+ So combat is very interesting even if it's largely not too difficult. For starters I like how fights are triggered with tall grass and that you can befriend monsters - that's very Pokemon of you. Second, I like that you're... well, a kid. You would not know how to fight, so what do you do? Make the enemies lose interest in you. That's a neat spin I haven't seen in a while, cause you're usually blitzing monsters like it's nobody's business in other RPGs.
+ So you befriend monsters and use their abilities to progress on the overworld. That's pretty cool.
+ The Small Star idea is pretty cool, especially since it helps guide the player on where to go. Pretty essential for guiding people through the jam.
+ I like how grim it is when you actually win a fight - like it's not a celebration it's just "you survived".
+ Interesting crafting system... it's not too complicated and makes sense with how you're in the woods trying to survive.
+ Got the big old star and won the game. You went very literal with the "touch the stars" theme and not gonna lie I dig it.
+ The fact you made everything in the game without plugins of any kind is extremely impressive.
+/- The mapping is very nice, but it feels better accustomed to a diagonal movement scheme.

- I do feel five pink sparks to befriend a monster drags the fight out a bit. Why not lower it to three, especially since you're more or less repeating the same actions until you get it. Pokemon did three shakes for Pokeball captures, so why not right?

- I would remove the "[Crawk] hopped across" message and similar monster action messages altogether as it slows the game down.

- A permadeath function would have completed the atmosphere and given more incentive to play carefully. Like that would have been like OH SNAP because it would help highlight how dangerous the place you're going through is.
Am I tripping? Would that not make sense? Like let's say one of the monsters dies, you can just pick another one up to replace the one you lost if they're needed for progression. But if Kid dies, it's game over. I don't know how possible that would be without plugins, but that's what I think.

- The happiness function seems incomplete since I could just pet one of my guys without limit.

- There seems to be an error with your "stunned" status, as it goes "[monstername]undefined is unable to move" with no space between the name and undefined.

- Inspiring Howl has an "attack increase" icon, but raises defense. This means Gulfers have two defense up buffs...?

- As dire and foreboding the atmosphere is, there's not really much to go off of in terms of story. You're just A Random Kid who decides to go into the very dangerous forest one day. A text box or two at the start as well as "distant memories" scattered throughout the adventure to give our hero a more defined purpose would have done wonders for that.

Very nice and pretty looking with an interesting spin on combat. I am doubly impressed that you did all of this without plugins, as I can't imagine coding all of this manually, especially under a time limit. I enjoyed all of the monster designs and the idea that you can recruit them if you try hard enough, making it quite a bit like Pokemon.

As much as I like the largely dialogue-less storytelling, I feel a bit of clarification here and there would help better connect the player to why Kid is doing these things. As it stands he just decided to go into the "People Die Here" woods one day. Plus permadeath would have really sold the "survival" aspect lot more - you better get attached to and take care of the monsters you have, otherwise you might never see them again. Even if you get the same monster to replace them, you can't replace the original. That kinda thing.

I feel out of all the entries this one was the most "showcase"-y of what MZ can do, especially since you went full custom and did it without plugins. Like "this is what you can do when you try" kinda thing.

All in all, I was not disappointed in the slightest - you make great work and I want to see a full game out of you in the future. :LZScheeze:
 
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SmashArtist

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@RCXDan Thank you for your feedback!
Honestly a lot you said resonated with me, a lot of the suggestions were things I did think about during development.

I'm very happy you enjoyed the art and mechanics! Those were subjects I felt most comfortable developing so it's good to know I did a decent job. :D

As for mapping, I did get a couple of comments about those. Mapping is something I struggle with, so I will take your feedback to help me improve. It did have a good amount of diagonal and narrow paths which I hope to make easier to traverse in the future.

Now to your comments on cons:
  • Having less sparks is a good idea, I'll make a note of it!
  • I wanted to make sure you knew which monster was helping you with different areas, but I agree the message is a bit much. Having your sprite change to the monster itself is sufficient enough.
  • I did really want to include permadeath and game overs for when the Kid is defeated. Unfortunately by the time I had sorted out the primary mechanics, there was no time to add perma death in. I hope to include it in the future! (there were also extra mechanics for when you abandon a monster that didn't make it in either.)
  • The happiness mechanic is an incomplete feature that I didn't have the time to take out. So yes right now you can pet your monsters infinitely. XD
  • I did notice the stunned error before, however I haven't been able to figure out what is causing it just yet. Apologies for that.
  • The inspiring howl icon is a mistake on my part it should be defense. I now realize I didn't mention how the two abilities differ. "Inspiring Howl" raises all party members' defenses slightly, while "Tough Fur" only raises the Gulfer's defense, but more drastically. (if you have any feedback on abilities, I would love to hear them!)
  • I had a planned a deeper story at first, but in the end didn't have time to properly plan and implement it. In the future I will definitely want to give it something more substantial.

I'm really happy you enjoyed the game, it means a lot to me! I was worried for a while I wouldn't finish it on time, and knowing that people are enjoying it really makes me happy I pushed through.
Your feedback is really helpful, thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts and suggestions out!
 

RCXDan

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I'm really happy you enjoyed the game, it means a lot to me! I was worried for a while I wouldn't finish it on time, and knowing that people are enjoying it really makes me happy I pushed through.
Your feedback is really helpful, thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts and suggestions out!
Of course, no problem :kaopride:

I mean, the fact you even made a competent game for a game jam is a miracle of the highest order. So it's understandable that not everything got in... but you have a strong foundation for a good game in the future after the jam is done.

Like if you ever go back and revisit this so it's properly fleshed out, that'd be badass.

* Kid doesn't gain levels, right? Does the counter move he have redirect all physical damage? If so, I would give that move maximum priority (aka. always goes first) so he can survive against monsters that would eventually oneshot him given how the enemies scaled. I feel it would be quite useful as a survivability tool so even if he gets hit, he's not instantly dead.

I don't see it as being particularly overpowered because he can't keep doing it forever and eventually he'll run out of AP... not to mention the other things he has to do in battle. I would also signpost this as one of his critical abilities for survival.

* I would change Inspiring Howl to be an attack buff instead of a defense one. It feels like it would help give Gulfers an edge in combat and make them more valuable as a team player if you decided to keep them around. I'm a nut for inflicting high damage numbers since it generally makes combat go faster.

It would also make it more crushing if you ever lost one.

* The healing move the centipede monster had was pretty abusable due to how strong it was. I'll admit if I didn't get rid of mine to test another monster out I'd be spamming it, so I'd nerf it a little bit so it doesn't restore 10 HP to the entire party but only like... uh, 5 instead.

-

> A lore explanation for what the stars are would be cool, even if it's something as simple as "this is the soul of a dead monster in crystallized form" or something like that. It is the currency in the game and something you pick up off the ground in monster infested areas, so...

... If you don't take this idea I will, so. :rheh:
 

SmashArtist

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Thanks for the extra suggestions, I will keep them in mind when developing the game further. :D
 

Mikachip

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I saw Drifty on Youtube play your game the other day! It honestly looks so good and polished, especially considering this was for a jam. Great job :kaopride:
 

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It's been a while since I've talked about Monster, so here is an update:

After the jam, the winners were announced! Unfortunately Monster didn't win any prizes, however I am most happy for the winners and everyone who participated. It was a big learning experience and a wonderful opportunity!

I really do want to give the game a more polished version, however I am uncertain at what time this will be due to a couple of setbacks. The update would include things like bug fixes, improvements to tutorials, adjustments to make the game more enjoyable, new features, further maps, and the highly requested story. (if I expand it further maybe some new monster designs could be added too!)

If anyone is interested I am always accepting feedback and any ideas that you might have!
Thank you for everyone's support for Monster, it has really blown me away at the positive response my little jam entry has gotten.
 

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Still alive! Totally did not finish in time for the Jam (boy that's late) but tl;dr of the last half a year is Work term -> Covid Lockdown -> Sick... again -> Full time Employment. Game stuff has been on hiatus but got a new graphics tablet so hopefully updates again soon. =D
Going on hiatus. Won't be back until mid October.:LZSoops:
Just read the English lyrics for Despacito. Ramen aint innocent no more! :kaodes:
Well today was blown away with nothing to show for it. I made a new character to my game who I was going to have a protection mechanic where he protects my main character randomly unless it's a critical, and no matter what, to check if an attack received will be critical, means checking the apply method. This means rewriting the entire method and I refused to do that.

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