Apr 7, 2015

To Live, or not to Live

Babbling at the Counter #83 – Video Games

To Live, or not to Live

Playing Meowgical Tower, I found myself in a strange position. It happened on Full Moon Rising, too. Sometimes, I wanted to kill my character. Not metaphorically, no. It's just that, after dying, you just pop back in the same screen and with full health. So, tactically speaking, why would I try to kill enemies without taking damage?

It was far easier to just let them hit me, as there were never enough of them to kill me before I killed them all. And that took away all the challenge from the experience.

Quick aside: The final boss is fun and challenging, so play the game at least to fight him.

And talking about the boss, why was he so good? Well, because he could kill you in a single screen, thus stalling your progress.

So, in conclusion, what I wanted to say to everyone working on their own games: Make sure dying is something we DON'T want to do. Make us restart a few screens behind (so we have to be careful as we replay), use checkpoints, make every screen potentially deadly, or just punish us in some way.

I know the rationale is “players are going to keep replaying until they get it right anyway”. Yes, but make sure “getting it right” is a challenge. If not, your “game” is more or less a sight seeing tour of the levels. And that's pretty boring.

- The Storeman


  1. Hi this is Anthony from Neon Deity! Thanks for playing and writing about Meowgical Tower!

    Originally the game was much more difficult. Death reset you to the beginning of the floor, puzzles undone, and the boss battle put you back at the beginning of the fight. The team was good with this during development as it rewarded skill, but playtesting with other people proved the challenge was too great and our fun little adventure became a frustrating experience.

    Normally we'd take the time to tweak the difficulty while keeping things challenging, but since this was an entry in a 9-day game jam, we only had a limited amount of time to find a solution. We decided that people finishing the game was more important to us so we made it so death just reset the room you're in. Probably not the best for those looking for a challenge (though the finishing the game with a 0 in the death counter is a challenge in its own right).

    If we decide to do an expanded or full version of the game in the future, we'll be conscious about the difficulty. Your feedback is in line with how we feel about the game, so it's validating from our end to see.

    (I think my original comment was eaten? If not please delete one of them. If you beautiful readers only see one, now you know why!)

    1. Ok, that makes sense =D. I didn't know about the deadline, so yeah, I see where you come from. Tweaking the "reset" was a better choice than changing everything else.

      I hope the article wasn't too harsh, though. I used the game as example for my point on death, but as I say, a game has to actually be enjoyable to be featured in the Warehouse. So if it's here, we really liked it.

      Thanks for reaching out to us. And thanks for Meowgical Tower!

    2. Nah, you weren't too harsh, But I don't mind harsh so long as it's honest. Glad you liked the game! Hopefully our future projects illicit a similar response :)