Gorigami is a platformer with an emphasis on fighting large, imposing bosses. It's a game that's simple to grasp, feels good to control and provides intense and satisfying moments. A limited scope and simple art style were chosen to make the project something I as a solo developer could plausibly finish. But there wasn't a clear vision on what the game overall would be like. And worst of all, it wasn't fun.
The player character, referred to in code as Origami Man (OM), attacks by performing a directional air dash that turns him into a pinwheel-shaped saw blade. The dash automatically locks onto enemies and other specified targets. This can also stick OM to certain targets, which can then be sawed through by repeatedly tapping the attack button. This sawing mechanic was the intended way to deal with the gigantic bosses, which would be crippled by sawing through their limbs. It was designed to have these moments that felt cinematic and satisfying.
Unfortunately these moments couldn't carry the rest of the game, which wasn't shaping up to be much fun. Platforming wasn't interesting, and the homing dash attack made fighting basic enemies trivial. In an attempt to fix this, enemies were given invincibility periods after being hit and ways to counterattack, but this just made combat feel awkward. I couldn't come up with ideas for interesting levels either.
The boss fights themselves, the main highlight, weren't much better. Dodging a boss' attack relies on recognizing its tells and reacting appropriately. Eventually its weak point can be targeted, giving OM the chance to dash in and start sawing away. Initially this is a fun challenge, but once the player figures out the patterns the boss quickly turns boring. The one boss made so far, referred to as Giga Crab (GC), has 6 attacks and only one lets OM counterattack. This means if the player knew what they were doing, they still had to wait for GC to cycle through the other 5 before doing the one that lets him progress. OM has no other ways to attack so the player just has to wait.
I think these problems might have been solved by giving OM a weapon, or some alternative method of attacking that doesn't rely waiting on a weak-point to be revealed. Dealing chip-damage, even if it's not much, would have done a lot in making "waiting" more fun.
These problems could also be solved by providing a fast rate of new content throughout the game. But boss fights are exhausting to make, and I don't even have a clear idea on how other fights would play out. It would take a ton of work to make a game that would still be pretty short, and considering my doubts with the game it's just not worth it.
A lot of good came out of the development though. More than just "experience", there were several mechanics and tools developed that could carry over into future games. This includes an external program that takes a list of files and copies all those files from one directory to another, made just for this purpose. There's a custom collision system in place to make slope collision nicer, a dynamic camera system, a quick checkpoint system that allows areas to be replayed without having to reload the entire scene, and more. Gorigami in its current state is still a decent prototype with some good ideas, and I'd keep it on a portfolio.
I'm not sure what I'm doing next. For sure I'm going to experiment with ideas that don't require complex features (like boss fights) to get running at a prototype level. I.e. failing faster; Gorigami took a month or two before I started to realize it wasn't working out. I also need to establish a clearer vision of what the game should be and form a better plan.
Well, of course I still have Vision Soft Reset to finish. That's absolutely going to be completed.
Get Gorigami [cancelled]
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