[SA GAME JAM 2019] Buddy Shop

72 hours
Not eligible for prizes because one half of our team works at Free Lives, but would love feedback nonetheless
Team: @mmillions_ and @blacksheepZA

'Welcome to the Buddy Shop. We make custom shells, while you wait.'

Buddy Shop is a dress up game. Wisps visit your workshop in search of a corporeal shell. They'll tell you what they like or what they're doing, and it's up to you to make them a snazzy, durable new buddy body to live in.


We had so much fun this weekend. There's a bit of inconsistency with the visual style, and we were hoping to add more progression and crafting elements. On the whole, though, we're pretty happy with what we made. There are three customers for you to interact with, and we'll be adding more soon.

You can play it here: https://nothingexploded.itch.io/buddy-shop

Have fun, and please let us know what you think.

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  • edited
    Very cute game :) I liked the style and everything felt polished/nice.

    Some features that would definitely have me playing this every now and then (when I just want to chill and be jealous, because all my buddy bodies look much cooler than I do):
    - Endless customer mode
    - Being able to earn points and order more stock
    - Keep track of my previous creations (gallery), so I can compare with my friends (and prove that I have the best style, once and for all).

    The premise was also interesting and fit the style well. First time I've been able to peek into the life of a wisp.
    Thanked by 2blacksheepZA watman
  • I really like the narrative intro to each customer setting an objective but felt quite unsatisfying that the result didn't impact the customer's happiness with his/her shell. I feel like the game could move into the direction of Papers Please with the premise of serving customers and an underlying narrative unfolding based on your decisions with a day to day result.
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
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    I enjoyed the game, particularly it's charming art style and relaxing design. I do think it felt as though the gameplay loop could've been a bit less linear, you're kind of imposing a style onto the wisps. It'd be quite fun if the process of choosing a shell was more of a back and forth conversation between the customer and you. In a sense you already have a bit of it in the intro section, but I think this experience would be even stronger if the wisp could react to the outfit you're picking out.
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • This is suuppper cuuute!
    The anime-style final outfit animation is great. This is great. I can imagine this as a minigame in a game called "afterlife manager" or something. where you organize bingo nights for the ghosts, etc. Anyway...

    The game broke for me after completing the 3 outfits. Is it supposed to loop? It would be cool to see some reactions, or them doing their thing afterward, but yeah it's still great.
    Adding a quit on escape to the game would be nice. Not a biggie but it definitely helps something feel like a complete package.
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • Totally agree with @NickCuthbert and @Ross, this felt super cute and charming. Loved the design of the main character.

    I feel like parts of Buddy Shop were quite similar to the game I jammed on (Midnight Auto)... they both have a similar shop layout, both present clients which have needs and they both give the player a chance to enjoy their creation. To me, one place where Buddy Shop feels way less static is the dialogue with the clients. Just a few lines of conversation gives me so much more agency as a player and allows the client personality to shine through. Speaking of personalities, it really felt like each client had their own... which made it so much more satisfying to try understand them and craft them an outfit.

    I personally liked the UI design, it struck me as bold, playful and still grounded in the game's world. I also liked how the game's world wasn't spelled out to me as a player. I find that many games try to explicitly explain and "teach" me about the game world which makes me feel like the game is speaking down to me. Buddy Shop didn't do that. I felt I was respected enough to understand the world on my own terms.

    It was really interesting for me to play though this with a few friends and notice how some of them immediately ask "how do I know if I won?" after each client while others were happy to just enjoy the process of selecting and seeing their outfits.

    If there's anything I'd like to see from this it's just more! More clients, more dialogue depth, more outfit choices, more flourish when seeing my creations and more consequences to my choices!
    Thanked by 2blacksheepZA watman
  • edited
    Thanks for the Mac build! <3

    - The game is so cute! Immediately the cuteness was a big win :)
    - Good music, wasn't annoying. Always difficult to hit that in a short jam.
    - The incongruity you mentioned in the art style wasn't so bad, but I imagine could be easily overcome with a shader tweak on the 3D models.
    - Initially, there was a moment of confusion when I really thought I was looking for a fuchsia shell for a hermit crab and was annoyed that there were no shells at all. I got over that.
    - I'm *all* for puns but *maybe* this pun hole got a bit too deep, I was expecting buddies, I thought I was looking for shells, afterwards realised OH BODY SHOP. So the whole "story" of the game probably could be expressed in a more logical thread so that the landing is easier for players.
    - I really thought that I was creating a character for myself when I started playing. That my name was given to me. The trope of picking out cosmetic player bits took over very strongly.
    - The "assembly" animation, while cute, felt a bit long to stare at without anything else happening, I think it would have been a great place to put feedback from your client about what you've picked out for them.
    - The lack of feedback on what you picked meant there weren't much to aim for and that detracted from the "gameness" of it all.

    Cute concept and exceptional execution in a short jam! <3
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • I feel like I'm repeating a lot of what's already been said but the aesthetics of this game is cute, the wisps are really cool and the dialogue is quite nice to read. my only real issue is sometimes the dialogue doesn't match up with the available options( like the one guy asking for skulls on his t-shirt but no design has skulls) otherwise a fun little designer game
    Thanked by 1blacksheepZA
  • Thanks so much for the kind words everyone! Glad you enjoyed playing our game :)

    There is some really good feedback here. I agree that the lack of customer feedback is quite a big issue and we will definitely work on that if we take this further.

    @GiGGa - I really like the gallery idea, I think it would definitely add to the game!

    @NickCuthbert - I like the idea of your choices being more of a back and forth with the customer. Will definitely think about how that could be integrated into the game.

    @Ross - Haha, yeah the end of the game is quite sudden. There isn't really much feedback of you actually completing the game and you are right an escape button should have been in there :P

    @ashashza - Yeah it's amazing that we had such similar game systems though themed differently. I think that 'soft' style games like the one Adoné and I made get the benefit of not necessarily needing overt goals or feedback. In this case, I do think a bit more feedback like a customer response would add to the experience but they can just as easily get away without having them.

    @Tuism - Yeah, I had some bigger ideas for the assembly animation but time got away from me, unfortunately :(. I will definitely be sprucing it up if we take this forward a bit more.

    @Dudewholikespie - Yeah dialogue/choices not lining up will definitely be sorted out on future iterations :)
    Thanked by 2Ross ashashza
  • There's not much I can add that hasn't already been said except for the fact that the builds seem very male and perhaps you should add a separate category for skin colour (red/blue/green/pink/brown/yellow/?).

    As Ash said, I found it very interesting when you demoed it at the meetup that it was so similar to our game. Clearly we all think alike. It was fascinating to see how different the visual result is though. I really like the aesthetic.

    I hope you'll continue with this, add lots of content, and provide a feedback system to indicate if we made good choices for the characters and their needs/desires. It feels as if it should also work towards some sort of ending but I don't know what that might be.

    Skull T-shirt, please!
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