DECAY [Free Lives jam game]

Hey everyone!

A couple of months ago some Free Livers worked on this 2.5D platformer. We're pretty excited about the atmosphere, and the potential for interesting environmental puzzles, but first we need some feedback!

We'd love it if you could play Decay and let us know what you think. Is this something you'd like to play more of?

You'll need an Xbox controller, and the controls are:

Left analogue stick - move
LT - run
RT - arm control
X - shoot

You can find the build here:



  • edited
    Alright, I've given this a go. As I usually do, I've made notes of my impressions as I play the game, to try and give an idea of my experience as I learn what's going on. I have been extremely blunt in places. Don't worry - I totally understand that this is a jam game, and that a degree of jank is to be expected as a result, but I feel it's important to be aware of your players' frustrations to help you make the call on what you should change (or to inform your future projects!). :)

    Without further ado:

    - Is this called "Decay" or "Descent"? Seems like the project still uses the old name.

    - Oooooh. Shiny intro. If nothing else, the game is very pretty. I really enjoy the weird stop motion aesthetic and the character designs, and the music can be pretty atmospheric. The "pano2vr trial" logo is pretty obvious in the background skybox, though, as is an obvious green seam, which both detract from the appearance a little.

    - Not sure why DoF effect keeps locking into foreground objects when my character is behind them. Should I be paying attention to them? DoF jibbles around a lot, actually. Is this a stylistic choice, because I find it rather distracting and confusing.

    - This desperately needs some sort of tutorialization. You give controls in this thread, but damned if I know when they're meant to be used. I mash X but nothing happens, and I can't seem to jump over the monster I will hereafter refer to as the Potato Shoggoth, so based on its animation I assume I'm supposed to use the "arm controls" to high-five it or shake its hand or something?

    - No idea. I'm clearly doing something wrong because it keeps killing me and sending me back to the intro all the time. You needn't be brazen with the control instructions, but SOME sort of hint to help newcomers learn the controls and mechanics would be greatly appreciated.

    - *Please* let us skip the spawning animation at the beginning. It takes 16 seconds to complete. Every time the Potato Shoggoths kill me I have to sit through it again. The shoggoths kill me a LOT.

    - Okay. After seven or eight deaths I've discovered that I *can* jump over the shoggoths, it's just a matter of timing and being sure to miss their enormous hitboxes. Now we're getting somewheres.

    - Right, thanks to the arm controls you mentioned here and some lateral thinking, I've managed to complete the statue puzzle and I've become some sort of xenomorph thingy! I enjoyed working the solution to that puzzle out, although without knowledge of the arm movement mechanics I would never have known how to solve it. Now I can try the X key, and lo and behold, I have acid spit! Neat!

    - Despite trying to aim it with the thumbsticks, the acid spit's arc lands it at (or beyond) the EDGE of the screen, so I can't always see what I'm shooting or if I'm hitting it. Sometimes my target is behind something in the foreground, so I can't see it. Sometimes it's all blurred because DoF thinks the rocks in the foreground are more important than the target I'm trying to kill. And I can't seem to aim at or hit anything that isn't at screen edge, meaning I have to run away to get to the range I need to kill it. I hope people aren't playing on aspect ratios less than 16:9, or they'll never be able to see or hit their targets.

    - Camera drift sometimes shifts the platforms I'm trying to jump on out of frame, so that I can't see where I'm jumping. Not sure why that's happening, but it makes platforming really tricky at times.

    - I just slowly sank into a crack in the rocks and died, unable to escape. It started me at the beginning of the game again. I'm really starting to wish you had some checkpointing handy.

    - I just missed a jump on the staircase up to the upgrade statue and ended up stuck between the last pillar and the cliff terrain. I cannot get out. DoF feels it's very important to focus on a tiny rock in the foreground. Gonna Alt-F4 and restart.

    - Alright. Got a little further than before, until I ran off a cliff into a bunch of shoggoths I couldn't see in advance, couldn't kill with acid (because they have to be at the edge of the screen to be hit), and couldn't jump over because they were so tightly clustered. Now I'm dead again, and starting from the beginning to be treated to the now-familiar 16-second respawn animation.

    - Nope. I'm done.

    - Very pretty, great aesthetic, skybox needs cleanup.
    - Camera movement and weird DoF shifting is distracting and confusing.
    - Interesting mechanics, but minimal tutorialization is needed. You needn't show players how to solve the challenges you present, but prompting to use certain buttons as a hint would help players work out your mechanics and controls themselves.
    - Platforming is alright, really enjoyed solving the statue puzzle.
    - Combat is probably the weakest part of this right now. Enemy hitboxes and states are difficult to discern and time, the acid spit can't be aimed and lands across the screen where it doesn't do any good. Instadeath is extremely frustrating, especially with no checkpointing.

    So would I play this? Sure. I think your visual aesthetic has a lot going for it, and if you intend to add more cool movement or logic puzzles I think you'd have something compelling. As it stands it can be a frustrating experience, but fortunately it's nothing a few tweaks and a dab of mechanical polish can't fix at this stage. :D
    Decay stuck.png
    960 x 540 - 928K
    DoF waaaat.png
    960 x 540 - 588K
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