[Ludum Dare] Loki - a minimalist roguelike

Hey guys,

I'm a bit of a lurker but, I figured a Ludum Dare game warrants a post.
@francoisvn, @riocide and I entered a minimalist roguelike in the Ludum Dare game jam, and I'd like to hear your opinions on it.
But first, be warned: Turn down your volume a bit, if shooting doesn't deafen you it's turned down enough ;).

You might want to play it first, but the mechanics are as follows:
It's a topdown shooter with 5 stats (health, damage, regen, speed, range), and each room you clear offers four "upgrades" to choose from. The upgrades are either a new weapon (of which there are only three at the moment), or they increase one of your stats by two while decreasing another by one.

We'd greatly appreciate feedback.
Also, some people have had trouble running it, but we haven't been able to reproduce it (on more than 10 pc/os combinations). So if you can't run it and have any idea why not, that would be even better.

Thanks :D


  • Hey well done on overcoming your lurklihood! :P

    I really enjoyed this. The art is what you would expect from a minimalist game, but the way you used visual aspects as part of the UI was really awesome :). I loved the sprites changing as an indicator of health. Plus,the background showing the level and your stats was subtle and effective - although perhaps it could be slightly less transparent.

    The gameplay is tough and tricky, which ticks the 'hard' part of a roguelike i guess :). The gameplay was fun, but I felt the regenerating health of the enemies got unfair at points, perhaps it was the speed of the regeneration I fould tough. For example, the shape with the machine gun was often pretty hard (to the point of ridiculous) to kill because its health regenerated so fast, and its weapon was so strong. :/

    It might be cool if before each playthrough you have a little bit of 'shape customisation' where you can colour your shape and choose what stats you start with. It would just endear you a little bit more to your shape, which would make it all the more painful when you die :). In addition, I feel tweaking the difficulty curve might make the game more enjoyable. More levels = more character endearment = more emotion when you die :).

    Awesome job on this! :D

  • Hey, I'm one of the other developers. Thanx for the feedback

    I like the idea of shape customization. We could have that followed by a level pickup drop (the stat changes) before the enemies of the first room spawn.

    Also, one thing we wanted to add, but ran out of time, was making the enemies only appear first after a certain level number. So at the beginning only the green enemies, then later the blues, and finally the oranges.
  • And more enemies in between actually. The difference between the melee enemies and orange septagons with assault rifles is a bit drastic :(
  • edited
    Got to about level 49 (after a few tries). Eventually I lost focus to the window, and then teleported offscreen when the focus returned, and then died. Found it pretty addictive/stressful trying to balance my stats and grow stronger.

    I liked the sudden risk at the start of each round. While it's kind of a random way to die (by being ganked from nowhere at the start of a round) it keeps the tension up.

    I felt like I spent a lot of time finishing enemies off. Maybe the enemies could get weaker once you've kill most of them.

    I didn't really like the rifle.

    The shotgun seemed the best, certainly once I had enough speed to strafe kill the orange guys. It did the most damage and allowed me to progress quicker.

    The framerate wasn't great on my pc, which would be my biggest complaint. I can play most games fine, but my computer is by
    no means a beast.

    If you took this a bit further I'd think more enemy types would be good. Obviously.

    I also think that the weapons could be more interesting. Once you've got the shotgun the weapon drops are moot for me.

    If perhaps the weapons grew more powerful. e.g. trading a level 1 shotgun for a level 2 nail gun. Or if the weapons were craftable in some way. e.g. picking up two shotguns gives you a super shotgun.

    And maybe there could be other pickups. e.g. in the same round you could choose between a shield (that gives you a single save from death), a diffusion field (that decreases enemy range by 1 and decreases your speed by 2), a ion accelerator (that makes your bullets knocks enemies back, but decreases your range by 2) and a mutagen cell (that decreases your health by 2 now, but increases your health by one for each of the next 4 rounds).

    More really hard decisions is really what I want between the levels. You've captured the Rogue-like meaningful decision making well, in an appropriately minimal way. Binding of Isaac has a ton of this kind of thing (choosing different advantages, weighing costs, balancing resources).

    There were a couple glitches with the enemy placement, sometimes they would be in a room with only a tiny gap connecting it, through which they couldn't pass and which was nearly impossible to shoot through.

    Anyway. Enjoyed the game :)
  • Thanks for the feedback
    So many things to comment on :O, so I'll try to keep it short.

    We will most likely try it take it further, but only after the Ludum Dare judging period is over.

    The performance things - low framerate, losing focus from stray mouseclicks and enemies spawning in bad places - we just didn't have time to fix, and we will probably look at that first.

    After that, more content in the form of more enemies/guns/pickups is what we'll probably look at.

    Otherwise, I like your pickup suggestions... making them more interesting would be cool, but I'm wondering what the balance between the interesting ones and the basic "stat++ stat-" ones should be, in terms of power and rarity. Maybe the pickups should be a little bit more structured, like always one weapon option, three stat options and one interesting option? The "more really hard decisions" I definitely agree with.

    Finally, most people find the shotgun to be the best, but quite a few people actually liked the rifle more. I'm guessing it's because of the shotgun's short range. The spray on the rifle should probably be toned down a little bit, but in general balancing weapons is going to be a real pain with the core mechanic of altering your stats. I want to play around with making certain stats scale differently, like making regen (which seems to be too weak at the moment) scale exponentially, or with your health stat. Also making range scale logarithmically would probably tone down the strength of the shotgun too, and make the glass cannon build a little less effective.

    Finally, since you're the first other person that I know of that got so far, what do you think of the scaling in terms of difficulty? Does the increase in enemies per level seem reasonable? Both when taking the amount of upgrades you got up to that point, and not.

    And thanks again. :)
  • edited
    By level 20 I was pretty much unstoppable, provided I dodged well.

    Even at level 49, a single rifle burst from an orange guy was enough to take me down to low health, so I did have one or two close calls, but the game does get distinctly easier once you have enough speed to strafe around an orange guy and enough health to take a couple bullets without bleeding all over the place.

    So the game never exactly gets easy. So I'd say for what it is the difficulty scaling is working pretty well.

    Though the randomness in the first few levels (with the player hoping they don't get a 5 orange enemy combo) doesn't scale. Near the beginning an unlucky combination of enemies could see you dead, but later on the sheer number of enemies makes the randomness much less meaningful (with 10 orange 12 green and 9 blue or whatever). Once you've got more enemy types hopefully you can get that feeling of dread as to what might come next extended a little farther (e.g. Getting 10 orange might be survivable, but 6 orange and 2 red might see you balancing on a knife's edge).
  • Cool thanks.
    Yeah, I had the same feeling at the later levels... You feel all powerful and capable of dealing with anything, but a slip up could still (almost if you have high health) kill you. I guess I'm not sure if "don't screw up" is still difficult enough as opposed to earlier play where it's something like: "don't screw up" plus "try to kill orange guys with 'only 4 speed'" :P.

    The randomness is something we tried to cope with by making the enemies have weights. For example, a maximum of one orange one can spawn on the first level, but (I think) 3 green ones can spawn. One problem is that an orange one can still spawn even if the "difficulty budget" only has room for a green one.

    We're considering instead limiting the first couple of levels only to spawn green ones, and to introduce new enemy types slowly every few levels, though retaining the (fixed) weight system currently in place on top of that.
  • I think I only got hurt by a green guy once... when I was pushing up against it trying to get hurt.

    I'm not sure that the orange guys are too tough for level 1. But if you do delay them I'd suggest filling that gap (of an enemy who makes players starting out shit themselves) with another enemy that's just a bit toned down. Like a pistol firing enemy that can be strafed around easier than the orange guys.

    Just having green and little melee enemies at the start would make the first couple levels kind of trivial. Which runs the risk of diminishing the feeling of reward when you do do well. You want players to KNOW that the game is hard, so when they succeed it gives them a big chemical high.

    Though I don't mean to minimize how tricky it is finding the sweet spot between unfairly difficult and trivially easy. Just I think, as your game stands, it's fairly close (for rogue-like difficulty).
  • [Disclaimer: not the biggest fan of roguelikes]

    Really liked the style and enjoyed the feel of the game. Health on the shapes really nice. Also really like the concept of leveling up after each round. Though my natural inclination is to make this a shump with roguelike elements (aka the leveling up). So everything would start off at "eleven" and then go from there. More range and more speed more enemies more EVERYTHING for a faster game. Don't know, maybe it gets there eventually.

    Also, yes, the orange guys are a bit ridiculous :) .
  • I got stuck in one of my plays at lvl 4, couldn't kill the orange and green that I had left (3 damage). Also took me a while to figure out what was going on with the noises in the background - those are your "ammo" regenerating, right? I was confused as to why that kept coinciding with my fire timing...

    Hmm. I dunno if I'd call this a roguelike. It's very definitely an action game, but it's lacking the element of discovery that I feel is important to the "rogue-ness" of a game. I feel if you added different abilities or weapon drops (or ability upgrade choices at certain thresholds for stats) you'd get a minimalist Action RPG, which would be really awesome :)
  • Hi,

    I found the game to be quite fun, although I didn't get far, I played a more snipery type.

    Never got attached though. I don't think the stats are enough for me to feel a sense of loss when I inevitably died.

    The health indicators are brilliant, the enemies are easy to recognize. I also think there should be more enemies types, maybe one or two shapes to really dread.

    Overall I liked it a lot.
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