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Esper Girls (demo)

General Information

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itch.io page

Esper Girls is a 2D action platformer game inspired by the many Japanese retro, actiony, and arcadey types of games that populated consoles like the Sega Genesis and Playstation, and a little bit of GBA as well.

I hope you like it, and thanks for playing!!

Note: a gamepad is highly recommended!!

-Default controls-

Keyboard



Gamepad (Xinput)



-Debug mode controls (unlocks after clearing the four stages)-

  • Debug menu activate - ESC or right thumbstick button
  • Unlock all health ups, ESP ups, and ESP abilities - numpad + key or left thumbstick button

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Latest reviews

Just played Millennium Museum, half of Library Labyrinth, and a bit of Volcanic Peak. I actually think this game is really sick so far! It definitely is rough around the edges and the controls take some getting used to, but the aesthetic is fun, the character designs are cute, and the level and boss design is SUPER creative. The game almost gives me an early PS1/Saturn vibe? Like when a lot of SNES/Genesis era developers were making the jump to 32-bit and still had those 16-bit design principles, figuring out what to do with the new tech.

I guess for some feedback:
  • Maybe make it more clear there's more than one option on the title screen? I didn't even realize there was an options menu until I got ingame and paused. Might also be nice since "start demo" as the default option deletes your saved data.
  • Keyboard/Controller remapping would be VERY appreciated. The default keyboard controls are a bit weird for me, so I did just switch to gamepad.
  • You can get kinda stuck if you're sticking to a wall and then hit a spring
  • In general it can feel weird just how easily you stick to walls?
  • It can also be hard trying to stop once you enter your dash state
  • I did get a crash in Library Labyrinth 2 when trying to grab one of the shields, but I forgot to screenshot the error message :<
In general though, really looking forward to what you do with this, and it's honestly super impressive given that you're (apparently) still learning Game Maker. Once I got used to how it feels, so much of the game had me going "oooooohh that's sick"
munchroom
munchroom
Thank you so much for your review!! I must apologize for weird glitches and bugs here and there, as admittedly I am a fledgling programmer, but I hope to iron these bugs out as I improve! I also do want to add a controller config/key remapping option too, but I haven't learned how to do that yet, but it is planned for the future. I am also aware of a crash in Library Labyrinth area 2, but I haven't been able replicate it yet so I do want to investigate that crash further. But overall, I'm glad that you enjoyed my little project, and thank you for your kind words!!
First impressions:
  • Collision is spotty. For example, ducking while standing next to a wall will make you clip through things
    • This comes to a head in the Volcano stage, where I clipped through the bottom floor and as a result was falling infinitely until I chose to restart the stage. I would imagine this can also happen anywhere else in a level where you're near the bottom
  • Combat isn't as smooth as I would like or expect
    • Slashing makes you commit to whatever momentum you have with no way of stopping or adjusting yourself, causing you to crash into oncoming enemies/attacks
  • Decent level theme variety
  • Bosses in general take way more damage than I would expect
  • Serious issues with what's considered a background element and an interactable object
  • Levels last longer than they should, clocking in at 5-8 minutes when around 3-4 would suffice
  • Being able to buy more than one of each item from a vending machine would be nice, especially the smaller restorative items
    • I would suggest either giving the player finite inventory space or an upper limit on how much of an item they can buy
  • The humor in the boss dialogue was cringe and/or not for me
Alright so I will first and foremost preface that I am not an avid player of Mega Man or any of its platforming brethren, so take my own experience and what I say with a grain of salt.

I'll start with the levels themselves. While I do appreciate the variety presented I also noticed some glaring flaws with how they're designed and how they look. Firstly, I've been confused by what I can interact with and what is only a background element in a fair few stages, namely Millennium Museum and Neon Garden.

In Millennium Garden I was not aware that the colored switches could be pressed to change up the level designs as their coloration and lack of sound effect upon touching them led me to believe they were just background props. There also seems to be an inconsistency with how long each TNT monitor takes to count down before exploding? Sometimes they count down normally, other times they count down quickly or slowly. Whether intentional or not it was odd to see. I also noticed some missing collision in one of the slopes.

In Neon Garden, the bright neon lights contrasted heavily with the generally darker platforms and made me think they were dangerous to touch, only to learn they are only background elements. The rails you grind on also don't look very rail-like? I did not know they were rails until I had to land on one to progress. On top of that, the rails feel awkward to use. The rest of the level's features such as water, the wind, and dandelion seed riding were fine however.

Library Labyrinth I do like conceptually and did not find too much issue with, and Volcanic Peaks could do without the harsh solid yellow background sections in the bottom half of the stages as that actively hurt my eyes as I was trying to navigate out of them.

The levels in general feel rather empty. The enemies that do happen to appear don't really pose much of a threat and are easily sidestepped, and I'd frankly chalk that up to levels being large and having more open space than necessary. I'd suggest compressing level sizes down or redesigning levels/enemies in a way where they can pose more challenge than they currently do. This would also help speed up pacing of the game as I personally didn't find much fun platforming/moving forward with very little else to do until I find the miniboss or boss.

Speaking of bosses, there's a strange discrepancy in difficulty with some of the bosses, and it's generally by poor design. Simply put, the minibosses posed almost no threat and were easy to defeat with little to no thought involved, only how quickly you can mash the attack/shoot key. As for the bosses, I could not sit through the ones for Library Labyrinth and Volcanic Peak as they both share the problem of having almost no telegraphing for their attacks, and their attacks fire off very quickly almost to the point of spamming. This was also an issue with some of the Millennium Museum and Neon Garden bosses' attacks, but their attacks were more straightforward, easy to spot, and manageable. Volcanic Peak's boss in particular gets a special mention because I could not understand why she suddenly disappears then drops a rock on you, and I'm led to believe it's a movement bug because of how instant it is. It doesn't help that your slash attack is clunky and your shot attack is quick to deplete so it was a frustrating experience fighting her.

Overall, there are a few glaring quirks that muddy it and in its current state I can't say I found what was presented to be more than a middling experience. Given that it's your first proper effort using GameMaker I wish you luck and hope to see some adjustments and improvements made on this and future projects as your experience grows.
munchroom
munchroom
Thank you for your review! This is my first major game project, so yeah, I'll have to apologize for some weird coding and bugs here and there, but I hope to iron out said issues as I improve as a programmer. As for the bosses, I'll see what I can do to make them more straightforward, and also, I'm aware of a bug with Volcanic Peak area 2's boss where sometimes her patterns can go awry, but I wasn't sure how to fix it, but I do intend to investigate that further and fix that properly! And also thank you for your words of encouragement! I'm sorry it wasn't that enjoyable to you, but I do want to improve as a developer and make this a far better experience in the future.
I always itch for some Mega Man Zero action and honestly this does actually cut it, it was a decent playing experience overall.

The graphical style is very good and the sprite quality is amazing, each stage looks unique from each other with their own visual flare and I love how it all looks.

The gameplay is quite good and fluid, while having a dash button in the right trigger is not ideal, I could adapt and honestly it speeds up the pace a lot, being manoureable at all times, while not as nice as Zero, it was still a good experience to control my character, and when I defeated that first boss and got that air dash the game was made even better now that I could slide around everywhere, same when I got my first ranged special weapon considering the default one is pathethic.

The music is decent, it's not my style but at least I could enjoy it for what it is, though the ones i definitively enjoy are the Hawaii stage and the Boss theme, those are great ones, but otherwise the soundtrack is good enough.

While the game takes the Zero series as inspiration, the dialog and story are as corny as a Touhou game and I love it all, the bosses are equally as entertaining as well, and their fights are fun on their own.

Of course the game is not perfect, it has its caviats, most of them I've bugged the creator enough with them, but to make a TL;DR: The camera has some weirdness, you can get shunted whatever the game desires, the sliding can be jank and the game can freeze or crash when you least expect it.

In spite of the negative aspects, however, I think the game is good and can build up for even further potential, it got more levels than me in two years for sure lmao, so good job, Munch!
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munchroom
munchroom
Thank you so much for your review!! And yeah, I'll have to apologize for the jank here and there, as I'm still learning the ins and outs of game maker, but I'm improving as this project goes on, and I hope to iron out the bugs and jank as time goes on!

Comments

I'm aware of an issue with freezing and I'm currently investigating and working on it!
 
Its been really really cool to watch this game grow and improve as you've worked on it! Its really fun and I really enjoy this vibe it has that is all its own.

Probably obvious jank you're probably aware of already: sometimes you cut it a bit close to the camera vertically in areas where that's kinda rough and some jank around rail grinding but otherwise everything here seems super solid and im excited to see you improve upon this more and more as development goes on
 
Its been really really cool to watch this game grow and improve as you've worked on it! Its really fun and I really enjoy this vibe it has that is all its own.

Probably obvious jank you're probably aware of already: sometimes you cut it a bit close to the camera vertically in areas where that's kinda rough and some jank around rail grinding but otherwise everything here seems super solid and im excited to see you improve upon this more and more as development goes on
Thank you very much!! Yeah, this is my first game project that's got this far in development, so I'll have to apologize for some jank here and there, but I'm working on it!! I've been improving as a developer as this project goes on, so I should hopefully be able to iron out the jank and make this a much more solid experience. But yeah I'll see what I can do with the grind rails and camera.

Anyways, thank you for the kind words!!
 

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munchroom
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