Necrosphere's speedrunning community is still weak. It must have something to do with the fact that the game was never really released, so no-one can play it -- which makes me the #1 best runner for this category, and owner of all records so far!
Jokes aside, this game is being tailor-made for speedrunners, as the in-game time counter is reliable, the level design is full of routes not even I knew were possible, and the overall game length (3 to 4h for first timers, and down to 20min for experienced runners) can lead to very comfortable speedrun attempts that won't consume half of your day.
Regardless, if anyone has a suggestion on how to make the game even better for speedrunners, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can't really prove anything, but here are my numbers, so far -- all values are Game Time:
OMG, that was fast! I really thought the late-Greenlight Frenzy would bury Necrosphere under a pile of other unfortunate pixelated indie carcassess, but it was greenlit in 10 days with only 800 votes! That was amazing. Thank you all for voting. Now, you can still enter the greenlight page to favorite the game, or SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter (IT’S NOT SPAM!!)
The first build of the game is up! We can call that an early alpha, but it's way past prototype. Regarding level design, it's supposed to be near feature complete. Now I have to test it over and over to get all the bugs I know are there. Plus, I need all the criticism I can get, to see if the game is pointing in the right direction.
Please play it and leave your comments to me at email@example.com, or here at this blog post. Bear in mind that Necrosphere is supposed to be hard -- a really hard niche game. Let's see what's ok about it so far, and what I should rethink for the following updates.
Once all things game design are sorted out, I can focus on the rest of it -- graphics, audio and a couple cutscenes.
I'm aiming at 2h gameplay (any%) and around 4h for 100% item collection, as there's a lot of hidden stuff and really hard collectibles. I'm currently taking near one hour to finish the game in any% (ignoring collectibles).
Below there's a snapshot of how dev is going, so far. Help me make this the best two-button mini-metroidvania there is!
Necrosphere is a pacifist, bite-sized Metroidvania game where the only inputs are the “A” and the “D” keys. Of course one can pause it using “ESC”, but all the in-game actions, such as dashing, jetpacking, and breaking blocks are commanded with only “left” and “right” inputs. The idea was to make an oldschool, hardcore platformer with 33,3% less buttons than Downwell and VVVVVV.
The level design draws heavy inspiration from frustration-based masterpieces like VVVVVV and Super Meat Boy, but packing everything into the Metroidvania formula, where progression is tied to collecting powerups that augment the hero’s functionality. In fact, the most flattering thing I heard about this project so far was my buddy and fellow game designer Marcello Lima calling it a Super-Meatbroidvvvvvvania title. Btw, I think the “-vania” part should be dropped from the genre name. This guy explains very thoroughly why.
Unlike most Metroid-likes (I’m dropping the “-vania” for real), my game has no minimap to guide the player, so the level has to be designed a bit more linear than, let’s say, Axiom Verge. This decision to drop the map was both aesthetic and technical, as the game aims for simplicity in almost every direction — and I suck at programming. The lack of map is shaping up to be a bigger challenge than I thought, though. To back my decision, I had two awesome minimap-less metroid-like titles studied: Metroid (NES, 1986) and Battle Kid 2 (NES, 2013 —REALLY). I’ll make an in-depth analysis of all things design in other post. In fact, I better rush to finish this post so I can get back to developing the game, but this topic is definitely something I’ll love to write about.
A bit on story: Necrosphere is where you go when you die, regardless of being good or bad.
You don’t see other people around there, and you don’t have anything to do except to wait eternally. Soon as the player (Agent Terry Cooper) hits the Necrosphere, he learns about the four portals that can take him back to the world of the living (also called Normalsphere), and his quest to escape the afterlife is set.
The game started as a Construct 2 prototype, until I figured I could finish the whole thing by myself. The game aims for a VVVVVV gameplay time — short yet replayable, and to be sold at a VVVVVV price. Plus, agent Terry is called so because Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV is a major influence to this project.
I guess that’s ok for the first post. I’ll revisit some of the topics on the following posts. I also plan to release web-based work-in-progress versions of the game as I make it.