Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Official Demo Release!

Today is a good day!

It's a day late (due to lighting issues), but I present to you, the official demo for Soul Balance!


just unzip the file and launch the Windows Executable!


  1. So it's mostly unplayable. Overall, it's a game. There is competency in the layout of the world and the core gameplay mechanics--to a degree--that make the game actually game-like, but there is obvious lack of understanding about what makes a game fun.

    First things first, in a turn based RPG, why am I missing against the first enemy I come across? The first battle is arguably the most important to determine if the rest of the game is even going to be accessible. I missed 3 times against the first two Goblins I fought. That felt awful.

    It was so bad that I stopped to realize how slow the turns were for each round of battle. The kicker is that they aren't any slower than maybe an old Final Fantasy game, but the issue is my character was so weak the battle took 4-5 rounds. Missing is a seriously abused mechanic that in many cases these days does not exist because it is a weak way to imply your lack of strength.

    Alongside missing on your normal attack, your main special ability is absolutely trash. It already costs SP (which you only have 3 of, just the right amount to use the attack 1 (one) time), thus it shouldn't have a detriment; it's a *special attack*. Special as in *not worse than your normal attack*. Just as a by the way, if you have an attack that you can only use once that does 2x damage and misses twice as often, you'll get more damage per battle NOT USING IT.

    Outside of combat, the inventory is large and defeats the purpose of screen space. Trim it down, use scrolling vertical lists. Entire screen spaces could be replaced with a list that shows the item, its description, and its potential effects if equipped to your character. I mean... play literally any published RPG from the SNES days to now and you'll see why your menu system is archaic.

    I get that it's a demo, but in an RPG the most important things are the combat system and the menu. The interface into the world needs to be seamless if you want people to be able to enjoy it.

    I ended up making it to the Boss Goblin, but got tired of using herbs that heal 30, then being hit for 19 health a round, when my attacks only did 7 of his 60+ hp. A fight I couldn't win? That early into the game? Sure, I ran away from a few battles, but they were boring and you gave me a 100% chance to run away with a non-100% chance to hit the first enemy in the game... What did you expect me to do? Fight?

    There's a lot to work on, even as simple as interacting with the objects in the world; I just walked up to the chest, I didn't have to click it... clicking it would have felt like I was doing something, at least. But it's something. It's better than the other games I've had the pleasure of testing for people, but it's got a long, long way to go before it feels polished.

    Thankfully, it would be very easy to make it playable:

    1. Increase the complexity of the accuracy system. A weapon doesn't determine an accuracy, the dexterity of the hero and the speed of the enemy does: The first enemy shouldn't be upsetting me.

    2. Decrease the time spent in the first battles of the game. These rounds are important. They help determine the pacing of the game. If these easy, shouldn't-be-losable fights are taking 4-5 rounds, I can only hope I die before the boss fights.

    3. Compress and streamline the menus to show more information on less screens. This is a no-brainer. There is tons of screen space being completely wasted. Just don't waste it.

    If these things were fixed, I honestly would have kept playing. If you took this and made it play more like Quest64, it could be pretty darn good.

    The visuals were okay, also. I didn't really care for them, but they wren't intrusive. I could look past them.

    1. Hey man, thanks for the input! Will definitely be working on that during the next round of iteration. Balancing/ 'fun tuning' has been an ongoing practice on this game, and it's quite eviden't it's not where it should be yet.

      Thank you for taking the time to offer critique!