One of the reasons for developing TRANSIRUBY is that I wanted to create a exploration-type action game that has a low level of difficulty and is a lot of fun to play. By the way, my experience as a youth with exploration-type action games were THE MAZE OF GALIOUS MSX and DRAGON SLAYER IV: DRASLE FAMILY, so its unclear why the genre is named metrovania. I prefer to call it an exploration-type action game in this text.
This is my first time diligently making a side-view action game, so this time there is a more logical approach, and I'm thinking about various things while making it. In this case, the first thing I wanted to eliminate solve was the factor that seems to be "difficulty" in exploration-type action games. However, what is considered "difficult" varies from each person, so even if its not difficult for people that are good at action games, it could be extremely difficult for people that are not. Furthermore, there is a sense of accomplishment when clearing a difficult game so "difficult = no good" is not necessarily the reason. For those who find a game's barrier "difficult" to progress due to boss battles will be excited. But, I don't want it to be disliked for being too difficult to proceed...right ? So, what is considered difficult to people like me who aren't good at action games ?
One of the factors of exploration-type games is "a continuation of high degree action that demands terrain" .Cliff edge jump→ wall clinging→ mid-aerial dash → Continous cliff edge jumping on vanshing platform...etc. Poorly skilled people will reach their limit here. Also, when I thought I had passed through a difficult level route, it was actually half and I was required to make full use of the LR button and stick…I definitely reached my limit. And, another pattern is that "the terrain is not difficult, but there is a time limit due to forced sidescrolling". The thing is...the terrain becomes a little more complicated, as the walls and flames appear from behind along with the forced scrolling. The draining part is the "little puzzle-like terrain" + "starting the game from the begining after dying", as far as the"little puzzle-like terrain" is concerned, its mainly there to test your memory and understand the feeling of taking the correct route. I can't focus on concentrating so I gave up.
In TRANSIRUBY, we decided to seperate the high difficulty level routes from the main route that is required to clear the game. If you just want to see the ending, it's OK not to play the high difficulty route. Regardless of gaming skills, you can playthrough the main route to the ending just to enjoy a common experience. For those who want to clear the game with 100%, we have adjusted the level design so that you can take on the challenge of the high difficulty route and collect items.
In TRANSIRUBY, "approaching barrier" doesn't exist however...there isn't a large scale thing either. TRANSIRUBY's map is not a room unit...which is one of the reasons why 1 area 1 area's extent is no more than 200 images is seamlessly tide together, as the result it was difficult to insert the forced scrolling and gimmicks that take up a whole screen. Well, this is not a big thing but there's a rotating saw that was placed between a vertical passage as the elevator slowly rises...that's like a gimmick. It feels like experiencing a theme park attraction in a safe place but dangerous atmosphere. "It looks very dangerous, but its totally safe" is often in production of games that nowadays put emphasis on atmosphere.
Although I said that the high difficulty level route will be seperated from the main route, it would be a boring game if there wasn't modulation in the route, as mentioned above "mostly" it's called a short high difficulty route that's easy to recover and is occasionally inserted. Also, it appears that the route looks difficult but is actually easy and
achieves a visual sense of accomplishment like the rotating saw mentioned above. What I think about in terms of level design is that if you can clear even the most difficult route in one shot, it's an easy route for that person and sure enough the difficulty level has been lowered so its a lot of fun. Difficult !
As I wrote in the begining, this doesn't mean that "difficult = no good. Interesting games are also difficult. However, since the game is a luxury item, there is always a case that it doesn't suit the player's taste, especially in indie games, the creator's taste is strongly reflected rather than content that is generally accepted, which makes that's much more appealing. And if that taste is received by the general public, it feels like a huge praise. No, really. So, TRANSIRUBY was made according to my recent taste, along with "difficult scraps " that have been connected to it.... This went on too long, so I'll continue next time.
《To be continued》