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Phrixus & Helle - sneak peek (indepedent game)
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - C3 Museum - Summer 2016 - Phrixus & Helle - sneak peek (indepedent game)
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Phrixus & Helle is an independent, sidescrolling puzzle-platformer game coming soon for PC!

When Phrixus loses his twin sister Helle in a tragic accident, he's given the opportunity to bring her back from the underworld. By guiding the twins separated between worlds, will they be able to reunite?

It features:
-Over 200 challenging levels
-Tons of unlockable content such as concept art, character skins, minigames, and music
-4:3 and 16:9 resolution support as well as fullscreen compatibility
-Keyboard and gamepad support, including customizable controls
-Original soundtrack, art, and design
-For both PC and Mac

Update: downloadable sample.

Download link.

Play by opening the nw.js executible file.

Hold Z to run and press X to jump.

This demo eliminates pause/level complete menus and instead directly goes between levels. That, of course, will not be present in the final game. After completing the final (20th) level, the game will close.

I appreciate any suggestions, criticisms, etc. This is a project I have been working doing off and on for the last few years, so knowing if it is worth continuing (and if so, what direction it should/shouldn't go) is valuable.

Feel free to begin following the game if you're interested in social media! Expect far more updates forthcoming.


Second, this looks legit awesome. Now with happening I can't wait see what else coming from you #smw{:TUP:}

I do art commissions cheap! PM here or DM via Discord for more details.

**Layout by Erik557

Regarding gameplay: the two characters are controlled simultaneously. They run and jump together, but each has their own set of challenges, obstacles, and differences across the two worlds.
I like what I see so far. The tilesets could get some work since it looks very samey so far (I suggest making the fg pop out more from the background). The characters needs a bit of work as well since they kinda look clunky and generic. Also, to tell the truth, the names are a little too tacky. I get the significance of it from greek mythology, but I don't really see how these two are similar to their namesakes outside of being twins, much less their current situation.

Aside from that I really like that idea. Looking forward to seeing more!
Is there a video of the gameplay anywhere? I mostly just wanna check out the physics (and how the birbs work), I can guess the general concept from what we're seeing here.
I really like the tileset in those oriental/volcano levels, the background looks dank.

What I'm not a big fan of are your characters though. Helle would be a good name if it weren't for the fact that she's literally stuck in hell, which makes it feel kinda less inspired and more cheesey.
Phrixus I also don't really like as a name. Like, it's not a bad name, but your character doesn't look like a Phrixus at all. When I read that name I'm more inclined to think of something a little more fantasy or mythological, not an average height guy in jeans and a checkered shirt. Might just be me though.

While on that topic, I feel like there's some quality inconsistency in your art. Like, the birbs and the skellington hand look neato but then that fire shooting dragon dog statue looks way flat with very little detail other than the texture.
Same goes for your play sprites, I'd have to actually see them moving to judge this properly, but the body animations look pretty alright from the pictures while the faces look kinda bad. Flat and the perspective relative to the body looks off, with Phineas & Ferb-esque headshapes... and no mouth? The rest of the game tries to look more on the realistic side (as realistic as you can get with pixels at least), so the simplified faces don't really fit in all that much imo.

Hope you get what I mean.

Your layout has been removed.
I really like the foreground tilesets, but the very marked outlines in the backgrounds bother me a lot. And yeah, the characters definitely need more work.
The idea is good, hope it's executed well (and from what I heard from SNN, so far it is). Good luck with this!
Hey folks. Really appreciating the feedback and suggestions, especially in regards to issues pertaining to the design/characters/etc. In particular, the characters have gone through a lot of design iterations, and truth be told, I'm still not satisfied with them yet, so it really helps for me to pinpoint what and how might need some work.

I am also hoping to get a video uploaded, although it might not be ready until after C3. Seeing things in action would be useful as far as the physics, frames in action, etc.
Just to dispel any notion that this concept could get "boring": I was kind of worried about that as well. I've played the first 40ish levels while beta testing and I'm amazed at how varied and creative the design is. I think it'll be a really fun experience once it is out there, and I hope Supertails actually decides to release a gameplay sampler. I do think it's one of those games where the screenshots don't do it justice.

I'm not about to critique the graphics - I'll leave that to other people who are more adept than I am.
Hey there. I always liked your hack stuff, and it is nice to see you working with actual games now.

Since i migrated from smwhacking to game creation, i started to study a lot what makes an enjoyable game, so i can try give you some advice on how to improve what you already have, not only for this game, but for any future projects you may have.

Well, the general concept, from what i'm seeing based on screenshots, it's a mirror like platforming, where you control both characters at once. It's a very widely used concept already, not a bad thing though, just that if you want your game to stand out you have to offer something others didn't. I Can't say you have something unique in place without a video or any other info, but i thought i would point it out.

About the graphics, i agree with leod. But adding to that, it's not that your graphics don't have a style, it's that they lack more polishment.
Even if artists have different styles, they follow a set of rules to achieve something most would enjoy, and by that i don't mean style or theme, but how there is some rules on how to use shapes, sizes and color in your desing so people feel naturally atrracted to it.
For instance, your ground texture is a bit overdetailed, and that in pixel art in most cases don't look very good. it's contrast should be tone down a bit as well, so it don't get too distracting. Also, there are a lot of empty spaces, it makes everything feel empty, a good way to fix that is to take the camera closer to the characters, and only make it far when it is really needed.
There are a lot of other things i could point out about the graphics, but i recomend you to take a look at some tutorials, not only pixel art, but design altogether. Take a look at other artists work and try to question yourself why it was done that way. What i'm saying is, don't change your style if you don't want to, but try to improve it.

And finally, one of the most important things in games is how much polishment it have, and from what i'm seeing, the game is still pretty rough on it's edges. and by polish i mean all the details, from the sound a button you press in the main menu to the physics of your game. Everything the player do and can interact with and how the ambient reacts to him have to be carefully adjusted to it's core, the player needs to dive into your game and you have to take any little thing that can take him out of the experience, basically.
As a example, if you ever played the new Tomb Raider, everything she can hang to have some white tint to it. It's a little detail, but it adds a lot. It makes clear where the player needs to jump to progress, and if you missed a jump, it's not the games fault, it's the player's fault. Where if there was no such thing, in fast segments, the player would feel cheated because the game didn't make it clear that there was a platform where he could jump, reducing the game to trial and error and not skill, removing him out of the experience. Not that trial and error is a bad thing, no, Limbo is highly focused on trial and error, but it's contest, mechanics, everything is designed to make that a part of the experience.
So, try to add as much as visual and audio responses, make it clear what is harmfull to the player, what is neutral, and what is collectible stuff, try to make it so without a need to show it with tutorials, show the player new mechanics in non harmfull ways. Another important thing: take a brief look at ergonomy applyed to games, cant stress enough how usefull it is.

About physics gameplay and desing, i can't tell much without more content, but once again i advice you to search some content regarding that on the internet. Your work is never good enough you can't improve =)

Also, please don't take what i said as anything harsh, i really love your smw work and am happy you moved to indie games, as in for hobby or professionaly. Anyways, i wish you the best of luck. Feel free to contact me if you ever need any specific advice on your work.

EDIT: sorry for that wall of text <_<

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It's not running for me. I downloaded that whole file, I there weren't any "nw.js" anywhere but I saw a bunch of other types of files with that name including a .exe which I assumed was good enough. I tried to open it, got that whole "unknown publisher, are you sure you want to open this?" box, clicked yes, but it didn't open after that. I tried it a few times, and nothing. I went into Task manager and looked at the processes I had open but it wasn't there.

Am I being stupid again and doing something wrong, or did you accidentally forget to include a file..?

The handomest people in the world are ones who follow my Twitch
Point 1: make your menus try to guess what option the player would want, for example: When creating a new file, make the menu start on YES, rather than NO. Similarly, if there are no files found, the selected option on the menu by default should be create new file, and the "continue game" option should be hidden.

Point 2: after I finished the first level the "end of level" dialog was unresponsive, but jump sounds still played upon pressing X, and I had to close the game via task manager.

I can't comment on the gameplay since issue #2 prevented me from playing any of the later levels.
Hey folks. I am not sure why that menu issue is popping up, but I'm looking into it. I will reply with a new download link once that issue is resolved.
Originally posted by K.T.B.
Am I being stupid again and doing something wrong, or did you accidentally forget to include a file..?

Neither, it seems. Node-Webkit was condensed into NW.js in later versions of Construct 2, but for some reason the preview browser on P&H was still set to the old version. This caused a multitude of problems, including yours + the levels/menus crashing at the end.

Should be fixed now - he'll be uploading a new version soon.
I know SNN showed you the logs but I still think I should post my feedback. Obviously, I'll only talk about the only part I have some knowledge of (spoilers: it's graphics).

Your first mistake was posting screenshots that aren't in full resolution, and one of them was even a jpeg. It's hard to judge pixel art when the pixels, which are obviously the most imporant part, can't be seen clearly.

The palettes are really bad; they have this uninteresting, desaturated aspect to them (though, depending on the mood of your game, this could be intentional and even recommended). There's low contrast between colors which makes things such as the cave tileset look terrible.

Speaking of tilesets, the worlds are really barren. The cave areas are part of the "Crystalline Basin" world, but there's nothing crystalline about them. There's only a few crystals decorating the area and those look weird, shriveled, and not like crystals at all. They also look like they're pillow-shaded (but I'm not really sure because the screenshot doesn't let me see the pixels clearly). The oriental area tileset is really boring too; it's just layers upon layers of bricks repeated over and over, with some green and cracked bricks (whose cracks also don't look that good) popping up occasionally. Like Frost said, everything looks samey.
Oh, I checked the screenshots again and JUST noticed there are crystals embedded in the ground. I guess that goes to show how samey everything looks.

About the way the worlds look still, I think you're not experimenting enough with their aesthetic. The cave world (sorry about bringing it up again but it really is the worst one out of the two you've shown lol) is way too bland. It's just blue for Phrixus and red for Helle (and the latter seems to carry on to other worlds). It's ok to have a dominant color, but you should have complementary colors too, otherwise you'll end up with a boring monochromatic setting (which is what happened here). Just because you have blue doesn't mean you can't have some purple or some yellow; and just because you have red doesn't mean you can't have some pink or some green. Having more colors in this area would make even more sense because it's a crystalline cave. Now, bringing up Helle's world, it looks repetitive. It looks like her alternative to Phrixus' world is always "red world with fire and blood (+bones)" and that's gonna get really tedious really quickly... though... I guess there's only so much you can do with a place that's supposed to be hell. Maybe you could throw in other concepts into your hell, though, like, maybe you could do destroyed cities? Dark and spooky non-fiery places? I think you could look into things related to sadness and suffering and build your own, more interesting, version of hell, because red world with fire and blood (+bones) is a tired cliché and it'll only get worse if it's used through the course of an entire game.

There's other stuff to talk about but I'll edit this post later. Oh, and Medic's advice about the UI is important too.

I hope this helps you out #tb{:]}

I have been working on an updated sample which I am confident should function correctly. You can find it below:

Download link.

Play by opening the nw.js executible file.

Controls: Hold Z to run, and press X to jump.

This demo eliminates pause/level complete menus and instead directly goes between levels. That, of course, will not be present in the final game. After completing the final (20th) level, the game will close.

I appreciate any suggestions, criticisms, etc. This is a project I have been working doing off and on for the last few years, so knowing if it is worth continuing (and if so, what direction it should/shouldn't go) is valuable.

I do apologize for the issues in the first download and the roughness of this current demo. I've been at work a consistent 8-10 hours a day over the last several days, so there's been very little downtime.
Played through it and actually enjoyed it, there's a lot more ideas you put in there than I would've expected from such a simple concept.
It's nothing amazingly deep and complex, but a fun timewaster anyway.

Controls are nice (other than using Z and X, please don't use Z, it's the single letter german keyboards switch around) and the physics aren't too floaty or too stiff.
I hope coming worlds use different gimmicks, cause I think the grabby hands + rocks is going to get boring at SOME point, but right now you don't get bored of them that much. I guess the birbs are a sign that worlds are going to have themes.

Your layout has been removed.
You had me with my butt cheeks tight halfway through and on. That was super fun.

I did find a bug, though, I was panicking so hard because I didn't wanna get eaten by the plants that I just started jumping right and then she got stuck there.
It was a huge relief.
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