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Christmas SAGE 2023 B.U.D.D. (Christmas 2.0 Update)

Overview

A Retro-Inspired Adventure Across the Stars!
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B.U.D.D.
is a cute sci-fi adventure platformer heavily inspired by games and anime from the late 80's.


Bounty Hunter for Hire: Eris Altair

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Step into the boots of Eris, a bounty hunter-in-training who crash lands on the mysterious alien planet of Verdeo. To make her way home, she'll find one of many B.U.D.D. units, versatile helper drones that aid in combat and traversal. After escaping Verdeo, Eris will uncover the secrets of not only her crash, but the colony that hired her, and the entire Lumina System.
A Helping Hand in Battle

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During combat, Eris can use her BUDD units to attack the enemy, extend a combo, or open up opportunities for extra damage. With each new level earned, Eris becomes more skilled and powerful, unlocking new abilities to overcome the Lumina System's many challenges.

Christmas SAGE Demo Version

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This update doesn't change the gameplay all too much, but I'm hoping the music and new modifier settings will be a nice Christmas present for everyone that enjoyed the game so far.​

  • As with the September Demo 1.1 build, this contains planet Verdeo, the hub MARI-XIII, an early portion of planet Mizuli, and two hidden satellite missions accessible after the demo is clear.
  • New original music has been added, courtesy of Ivelischpfuli!
  • Added Christmas mode! This gives the game a Christmas skin, and can be toggled from the new EX Settings menu. Specifically for Eris, Rhea, Verdeo, and decorations in MARI-XIII and the Mizuli outpost.
  • Added Mirror mode, also accessible from the EX Settings menu.
  • Added Nightmare Mode where various enemies and hazards move twice as fast! (With some exceptions)
  • Added a damage scale setting. You can make the game easier or harder by changing how much damage Eris takes from each hit.
WARNING: This Christmas demo uses a different save directory from the 1.1 version. I've included instructions for how to transfer save files between versions, but I strongly recommend using a fresh save.

Full patchnotes in the updates section.

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Updates

Released Demo version 2.0!

Be sure to check out the 1.1 patch notes if you missed them! A lot of things have changed since the 1.0 release version during September.

Highlights for Demo 2 include: Christmas Mode, Mirror Mode, Nightmare Mode, and the first Original Music tracks composed for the game!

EX Settings
  • Added a new "EX Settings" submenu in Extras! These let you change things that would otherwise break the intended experience of the game, but I thought were fun to add. Some of these settings include:
  • Christmas Mode - which redecorates the game for the holidays! It affects Eris, Rhea, the interface, Verdeo, MARI-XIII, and the Mizuli outpost.
  • Mirror Mode - The world is flipped, including the map!
  • Nightmare Mode - Enemies move at twice the speed! (With some... exceptions where it would've been literally impossible without taking damage.)
Audio
  • Added several new original BGM tracks, courtesy of Ivelischpfuli!
    • The remaining placeholder tracks are now marked with a ! in the sound test.
  • Getting an item will no longer force the current BGM to restart after the item jingle, it will now fade back in from where it left off.
  • The BGM will also resume after certain doors and teleporters (i.e. the MARI-XIII shop)
  • The BGM is now only briefly paused after falling into a pit.
Options
  • Added a Damage Modifier setting. If you're struggling with an area and want help, you can reduce the amount of damage Eris takes. You can also Increasethe amount of damage Eris takes, if you're feeling up to the challenge.
    • ...1HKO Nightmare mode is uh... theoretically possible. I beat the demo, and there's no reason you shouldn't be able to beat Habitat or Ludicrous World, but it's up to you if you want to inflict that on yourself.
  • Added an option to disable the screen curve effect in MARI-XIII.
  • Added some new palette cycling colors, just for fun 🏳️‍🌈
Interface
  • If you're playing in November or December, you'll be prompted if you want to enable Christmas Mode on a first boot of the game.
  • The HP and BUDD Energy sprites on the UI bar were given a redesign.
  • Shrunk Switch, Playstation 5, and Playstation 4 button icons to fit inside textboxes better.
  • Added unlock notifications that appear when returning to the title screen. Art Gallery and Sound Test notifications are merged into one, so thankfully you won't get 20 notifications in a row.
  • Replaced wobbling text with waving text, hopefully that should be a bit easier to read.
  • The Sound test is now listed in order of appearance in the game.
  • NPCs with multiple dialogue boxes will play their dialogue in sequential order instead of randomly
Gameplay
  • Eris now starts with 4 HP.
  • You now properly accelerate to your dash speed when you're in the air.
Level Design
  • Made it more obvious you can't enter the Mizuli teleporter in the demo
  • Made the platform in Habitat's tunnel slightly wider
  • The slimes in Habitat were moved slightly
  • Various tweaks to make sure Nightmare Mode is actually possible without affecting the base game.
Bugfixes
  • Fixed Boxer occasionally being invisible when you reload a save in the same room as Eris' ship.
  • You can no longer jump as you use a save station.
  • Reworked garbage collection to be more frequent, especially in nightmare mode.
  • Cracker Barrels in Ludicrous World are now properly deleted when they leave the room.
  • Fixed falling into a pit not resetting the camera start position.

Credits

Latest reviews

Well dang, this might be one of if not the best game of this year's SAGE, even if it's not complete I can tell a lot of effort, sweat, and blood and it shows, it is no wonder why it is so highly regarded, I was left impressed.

The graphics are very well done, very Sega genesis style and very pleasant to the eye, special effects are used to great effect too, there's a few visual gags here and there and each background looks different from one another, having variety and making them look immersive.

The writing is serviceable, not the deepest plot but I can get into what the characters are doing, and I found the jokes quite funny myself, and I found the characters perfectly likeable. Maybe in some future we're going to get more lore but what we have now is good.

But the crem de la crem, the gameplay, it is extremely solid and very fun, apart from the typical moveset that you have the game boasts a jrpg-like system where you level up and gain new abilities, this does encourage to keep playing the game more as you discover new skills and more BUDDs, oh yeah, and those, they help you on your journey and they are fun to use, I am a sucker for Popful Mail, and this game ticks all those boxes, so the gameplay here is very solid. Level design is not too shabby either, far from it, the aforementioned gameplay benefits from it, as you use your manouvers, you discover new areas, fighting a fun and diverse enemy roster, the boss was though but fair and so are the levels.
That Super Freaks level tho, that got me REALLY on my toes, I can't be too angry because I knew I was getting into, but just you so you know, be cautious
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The music I can't say anything, since it's taken from other Sega Genesis,
However, those Super Freaks tracks remixed are extremely good and breathtaking, I should congratulate Philraco for this one.



Overall, I am impressed, I have no complains about this game, very good job.
As a more formal statement on my thoughts about the game, the pre-SAGE playtest was the version I played, and it was captivating and charming enough for me to say "I absolutely want to see more of this." Let that be my disclosure as to where I'm coming from and how my view of it should be treated.

The combat is simple but intuitive, and the feedback from each hit is both visually and audibly satisfying, and gaining moves and stats as you level up is a nice way of easing the player into the system.The BUDDs that are in the game right now feel very snappy and never feel like keys to doors or an all-dominating weapon. They always have a combat presence that makes certain enemies easier, but require you to use them smartly. I didn't experience any major issues in my playthrough, but I have seen others encounter a few, and the creator has been addressing them as they're brought up to her.
The spritework is charming and effective, managing to capture the vibe of two most immediate inspirations very nicely in a way that still feels visually unique despite seeming at odds on paper. Everything feels consistent, and you get a nice sense of what the scale would be past the super-deformed art style of the main game vs the cutscenes.

Sound design is a very faithful yet idealized take on what the Genesis was capable of, and while the game has few unique pieces of music at the time i'm writing this, what's there is an excellent foundation, and the placeholder track choices are used excellently and have their instruments fine-tuned to fit with eachother.
The writing genuinely endears me to what's going on, both in the plot and just the smaller details around the playable area hinting at something menacing on the horizon. You get the sense that this isn't the start of a big journey, but a journey in progress that's about to hit it's crescendo. But at the same time, there's a levity to it all that doesn't make it feel overbearing, with just the right hint of goofballs and freaks to keep things lighthearted.

All of it combines together into an experience that I'm excited to see flourish.
Eris budd stabbed me in irl

Comments

This is such a fun game!
I really loved the art and combat, and especially how snappy all of it looks and feels.
I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this project from here on out!
 
I got to playtest this game, and it was one of the most cohesive demos i've played in a while. Character writing was endearing, the artwork was extravagant, and the gameplay itself was solid and ripe for expanding upon in a full release.
 
I can't really put my finger on it, but I think this dev might like old Sega games. Cute character design, I think this game draws from the best of this style of action-adventure games. Wouldn't look out of place on a Genesis aside from the resolution.
 
The tutorial signs at the very start are a bit too plentiful for my tastes, but after that the text settles down to being just infrequent enough and just quick enough to be endearing rather than grating. The graphics and character designs are cute. Combat is a bit punishing with the short sword range and the high knockback, but savepoints are placed generously and it never felt like getting better was outside my power. I don't think I have any complaints, it never got exactly thrilling but it's doing what it sets out to do.
 
This is a video game. A video game is often described as a game that requires a screen to display graphics and input devices to control it, but some video games have aimed to push the boundaries of what defines the term. In BUDD, a video game, you must complete objectives by pressing buttons to do things. Actions in the game are met with visual and audio feedback in order to clarify a positive or negative response intended to steer the player psychologically into playing the game by its intended rules. In order to immerse the player, BUDD contains graphics and sound.

BUDD meets all of the rules of being a video game. Because of this, when one plays BUDD, one’s brain will react to it positively and produce dopamine to improve their mood. BUDD has been proven to induce a positive response by many people.
 
I had to log in to say I absolutely love what you're doing with this game. The graphics are colorful enough to seem like a Mega Drive game, but the color palette greatly resembles Master System games. The BUDDs are very blatantly inspired by Opa-Opa, and there's even the game over theme from the Fantasy Zone 2 remake at the end!
As a person that grew up a lot with Master System games, this game made me feel nice in a way I never did before. And the gameplay is pretty good, too! It was very disappointing to return to the Master System games from my childhood just to find out most of them... honestly really suck. So it's amazing that now I can play a game that evokes the same feelings as those old games, but with some gameplay that's actually competent and fun.
 
Absolutely goated game and a cute update too. The snow theming just makes everything look so inviting and comfy. Hits all the right notes. Keep the amazing work up, I love this project!
 

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