Author Topic: Monk Tower - a mobile friendly coffee break roguelike - feedback appreciated  (Read 2115 times)

maciek

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Hello good people of Exilian,

I have been currently developing a small scale roguelike game, that aims at short gameplays (I'd say around 15mins). It has been recently made available on Itch.io and just yesterday I have pushed a small update fixing some usability issues. So I though it might be a perfect time to share it :)
There is not too much story to the game. You simply climb the monastery tower avoiding dangers, in hope to retrieve the lost manuscript (internally in the game code it's called 'The second book of poetics' ;)

The main challenge of the game is resource management, as every weapon has a durability parameter and can be quickly destroyed. So, the player has to decide whether it is beneficial to waste precious durability points or maybe it is better to take some damage :)
Some weapons are also meant to be used in a combination - eg. stun a strong npc for a couple of turns, so you can safely kill him with a weak sword :)

The game surely needs some more touches and development so any feedback is the most welcome.
It can be played on desktop via web build or downloaded for Windows and Linux. On mobile it works via web for now, Google Play is planned soon - after I develop it a bit more.

https://maciekglowka.itch.io/monk-tower


Spritelady

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Ooh! I don't see many games intended for short playthrough (I'm sure many exist, I just haven't seen them) so this sounds perfect for when my brain needs a bit of a break from adulting! I shall check it out 😊
Rogue-likes aren't usually my forte, but I played Hades a while back and enjoyed it immensely so I'm open to making more of a dent in the genre. I'll let you know if I have any feedback!

Spritelady

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Quick update: in the 20 minutes since I said the words "new small scale roguelike" to my fiance, he has only managed to tear his attention away from the game once, for just long enough to tell me that it's "pretty good". So I think he's enjoying it!

maciek

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Oh thank! So happy to hear that he found it enjoyable :)
If you do not like roguelikes because they involve lots of in depth stats analysis and require you to read encyclopedia on them - this one is not like that.
If you do not like dying often and starting over...that's another story :D
Hope you give it a try as well anyway ;)

Jubal

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I shall try and have a go sometime in the coming days! Currently running around the UK seeing friends but I'm sure I'll have a slot next week at the latest :)
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Jubal

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Finally got a complete run after quite a few attempts!



Overall I really like this game, it reminds me of a lighter version of something like Pixel Dungeon. I think the main thing that finally went right was me working out how to use the stun wands properly, they're hugely important for the middle levels. The weapon range seems good though the spear, axe, and hammer bonuses are rarely useful, it's quite uncommon to get swamped if you get your footwork right, and the biggest challenge in most later levels is dancing around avoiding the ranged enemies. The spear bonus I've never worked out - am I right in thinking it attacks two squares in a line, but only if you have an adjacent enemy in the first? It would suddenly become a much more solid tier weapon if you could stab a square away regardless of whether there was an intervening enemy.

In terms of thoughts for development:
  • It'd be good if there was a UI option for seeing the potions you've found, to help you know when it's worth fighting forward for one.
  • The kill list at the end seems to spill off the page which looks a bit awkward.
  • I'd maybe like the flavour leaned into a bit harder. I don't think that necessarily means developing more narrative, but a few extra details about the monastery as you go might be nice, maybe a starting setup that informs you better what you're doing and a more developed endgame screen.
  • Similarly maybe vary the underlying tile colour scheme a bit as you go up levels? It might make it feel more climactic & that you're getting somewhere with the game to have that kind of visual cue.
  • Similarly with the potion UI, it would be really nice to have a bestiary/foe index that built up as you killed each one.
  • A shield weapon (does zero damage, loses a regen point when you get hit by a ranged attack (but not a CC attack)) might be fun, though it might also make life overly easy.
  • I was generally very much doing a level-clear strategy, but occasionally doing dashes for the stairs - I wonder what a pure-dash strategy focused on hammers and simply trying to keep enemies away to let you race to the stairs each time could do. I expect it'd falter due to lack of potions & pileons but it could be interesting.
  • Sometimes enemies seemed to take damage before I was in a room, possibly from each other, and I never worked out why this might occur or if it was exploitable.
  • The heal poison potion doesn't help a lot, because there are very few situations where you already killed an enemy and have several poison turns left, and taking a turn to drink it often isn't something you can afford as the player. It might need to give an extra turn of poison immunity after drinking it to become more viable.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2024, 10:36:41 AM by Jubal »
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

maciek

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Many, many thanks for taking your time to play and such a detailed feedback!
I think most of your points are definitely valid :) Obviously the first noticeable issue is the font on the end screen....and I've thought that it has been checked through the platforms :/

I agree that the spear and the axe abilities became not so useful in the end (less so with the hammers as I actually like to use them quite often myself ;). They probably should be changed / removed for a tighter gameplay. The spear hitting only a distant unit seems very useful, however it would need some extra UI handling. Simple directional UI was one of my main goals in the game, so not sure how to bring those two work together.
It is interesting what you say about the ranged units being the biggest challenge at some point. It makes me now think that there should be a specific type of weapon / action that would counter those attacks (like eg. the shield you mention later). That is actually something that could substantially improve the game.

As for the issues mentioned in the bullet points:
  • The potion atlas - great idea, definitely something to add. (Have to figure menu layout accommodating extra positions.)
  • I have to re-check the font sizes again. And I think last time I checked the kill list there were fewer enemy types ;)
  • I am not too much myself into the story / narrative in the games myself. That is probably why it is lacking here. For sure I wanted to add some more furnishings on the map (even without a defined gameplay function) to make it more lively, more monaster-ish and less empty :) I was also thinking about some special level to break the monotony - but that's not even started yet. The colour / material change when you go up is also a neat idea, maybe it could mimic tower being started as a romanesque structure, finished in gothic or smth :)
  • As for the bestiary, do you think it should persist through the runs? The monsters are not randomized at all actually.
  • Yes, definitely there should be something aimed at countering ranged units. I have no idea what at the moment, but I have to give it a serious thought
  • Havn't actually tested this kind of running strategy myself either. I am afraid that the game is not too well balanced yet and the outcome might vary greatly between gameplays
  • Enemy hitting each other is kind of a side of effect of how their logic is coded. It was not done on purpose and can be easily changed, but decided to keep it for now. If the npc has no free space to move, it will attack one of the surrounding units (regardless of who they are). I thought that might mean panicking of the crowded unit. But maybe it just adds too much confusion? (definitely does not add much to the gameplay exp.)
  • I think the poison heal might be useful eg. against the ranged golden snake - if you get hit, but manage to get out of its sight. But yeah, the extra turn of protection might make more sense. Actually there is no potion protecting from poison (like 'shield' one, protecting from hits). Now I think there should be :)

So, a lot to think about now, which I am sure will push the game into a better direction :) Thanks again, it will be very helpful in further development. Have to update my Asana tasks  :D

Jubal

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Glad to be helpful! :)

My most common death situation at this point seems to be when I'm dropped into a room that's very full of enemies including either a) basilisks, because even when I kill them the freeze hits and allows other enemies to pile on or b) ranged enemies, who can take pot shots at me as I'm dealing with other enemies. The other certain death is situations where there's no option but to advance under fire. If you get dropped into a room with no cover and a ranged enemy at the other end, the amount of damage they can do is usually death-level or close to it, unless you've got an invulnerability or teleport in the bag.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...