First a question, what were those side quests you were referring to? I never noticed any side quests, unless you mean just generally converting people on the street?
This game, is a great speedgame entry, especially when considering that you actually made that engine yourself and didnt use existing one like i did with RPGmaker.
It clearly isnt polished to the end, there are small things here and there, but nothing critical. I think you did great job even in deciding what needs to be polished to what point, instead of perhaps polishing just one thing to the top and leaving rest too unpolsihed, or not polishing something enough. Personally I cant figure a single place where I could pinpoint in way of "You should have polished that part more first". They were all polished enough to make the game thoroughly enjoyable. Even if you think about the movement thing. Yes, in deed the screen stutters many times, but that is because you can walk in any angle instead of for example to just 8 directions. And walking is speedy, nice looking etc. So if screen perhaps stutters sometimes, its not a big deal after all the good stuff that have been got in exchange of you using your time to fix the stuttering, instead of using it where you actually did use it.
Very good calls on which to polish and which not, and how much. So far it seems like you had made the best choices in using your limited speedgame time on exactly right places. Very good job on prioritising things.
I liked the graphics. Considering that you took them from various artists, you have made a good picks on styles, that they dont stick to eye as being made by different artists. I could have easily believed they were all made by same guy.
When considering that musics are perhaps weakest spot in your game, is not really a complaint, but rather tells about what a quality product you have been able to made in such a short time, for after all, although I would think the musics arent as good as rest of the stuff, they are still just fine. Nothing really to complain, just that they didnt really stick out as something special either.
But then to the story and message part.
I very much liked the story and your approach on the message. It was very direct, but it actualyl worked for it well. There was no tricking of the player. I also liked the idea that everyones dead before they get to christ, and although i first thought that oh, so by going to church you can become alive, i was quite disappointed that you didnt come up with something better, until i reached the church and noticed there were bunch of people who were all dead! Ah, so it wasnt such a naive approach after all.
It was also good idea that there was even a boss demon in front of church to avoid you from getting inside there.
I remember when you in your dev blog mentioned about full armor of god and the target of getting it wondering how close our games were going to be, since I was thinking the same. There is lot of similarity, but approach is somewhat different. I liked how those demons were going around the street keeping people in their hold, and when you went to preach to people, you had to fight those demons first.
I also liked that when you were on your way to church, those people made you questions that were both good and typical ones, and when you were coming back from church back to your home, you would get answers to those questions while you were preaching yourself. It was also sort of interesting that while those people made those questions, your character would just simply take the approach of, "I have no idea how to answer that, but Im going to church anyway, i trust there is something there.".
However, I have to say that most of the answers werent very satisfying. I can easily see that when someone with those questions would play this game, and they would see the answers, if they wouldnt be positive in advance, while they would be satisfied to some of the answers, they would in some answers still be unsatisfied.
But that brings me to one thing. I think this game would be great game for christian youths. Not kids, but teens. Teens who already understand something and are able to make critical thoughts etc. Someone whos been going to church because hes family have been going there, or have just become beleiver etc. and dont really have deep answers yet. I think for someone like that, this game would be great. I can even see this game could critically impact hes life, since he would both get some answers to some tought questions, as well, as it would call him to closer relationship with Jesus. I think this would be perfect game for those church youths. I would really like to see them get this game in their hands. I believe it would be helpful to them.
If answers to those questions had been better, i could have seen even potential in some non believers playing this and feeling happy about it.
One thing that especially stick in my eye in positive way was that you were able to take very typical game plot into this religious game and made it in such way that it felt completely game natural.
What I am referring is the Princess is kidnapped you have to rescue her, Double Dragons girlfriend is kidnapped, you have to save her...
In this case your wife is being kidnapped at church and you have to save her. This also gave very good excuse to get this game into two parts.
However, in last battle there was one slight disappointment sort of, i cant really decide wether it was good or bad thing. But by purpose I bought all the armor but one piece, and I was still able to win.
I sort of had hoped that you would have reguired the full armor of God to complete the game. Although, on the other hand it is good you didnt, that you can beat devil even without being perfect. I think best possible had been if the end battle had somehow been so, that the boss had been making attacks that had specifically been hit to your weak spots, that had ben weak spots only if you didnt have that certain piece of equipment.
That Pray function was brilliant. What a great way to having shop included in christian RPG. You just pray and receive all the stuff. That was fantastic idea!, I think that was the best idea in whole game. simply brilliant!
Completely natural way of having shop in christian RPG game. Also saved you the trouble of walking to the shop each time you wanted something new. Now I just wonder if you can still figure out a way to sell your stuff.
It was also very nice you had save game feature. However, I would have hoped there to having been manual save, or at least that there had been clear "savegame" file in your folder that i could have made a copy of.
For it happened to me that first time i had went to church and got out, that i died and that textbar comes partially to same area as that "new game" button, and i accidentally double clicked with mouse, and started a new game. Even i instantly quit the game, it was too late... I had to start from beginning.
But that also brings one good thing again. It was such a blessing i could skip all the text and animation just by clicking a mouse. Such a relief that seems to be missing from other speedgames i have tested so far. That really saved me a lot of time.
Your battle system was very good too. In sense that it felt speedy and natural. It was also nice that you were playing with small numbers, making it much easier to follow things. While I liked you had made those fruits of the spirit as stats, I however had difficulty in figuring out which does what. There was the readme file, but in the end, you cant really remember much of it. It was especailyl when thinking which equipment to buy, or to wait for more "money" first to buy something better, where it was very difficult in figuring out what would be best thing to do.
I guess some sort of tutorial kind of thing had been needed there, or perhaps by moving mouse to one fo the fruits of the spirit, it would tell me what it means in practice. Now my boughts were pretty random.
Same was also with gaining levels, I didnt quite get what exactly what was happening statswise to my guy. I just trusted he got better. Great system, but too hard to grasp without some nice leading to it.
Also, I had been hoping there had been some more specific battle system based upon fruits of the spirits. That now the system was basically just changing the names of HP, Attack power etc. to fruits of the spirit names, which was already a good idea, but I had wished them to have some more specific spiritual things happen. Say that the demons had been attacking you with anxiety, and you could have resitsted it with patience.
It was very good that enemies were very clear to figure out which one was stronger which one not. That they had three different colors, and three different weapons. Making 9 different enemies in total, which were all very easy to figure out which ones the strongest and hence decide your attack strategy on battles.
Toughness curve was also very suitable. You would walk to church and have received the first set. You would walk back home, and pretty much got the second set of armor. And if you would hurry too much, it would get too hard. Actually the game was pretty hard, but thanks to autosave and starting from before defeat battle, it compensated the difficulty very nicely.
However, the big boss battles were all too easy. Last four boss demons you would just use the light of truth or whatever it was, and then beat them. First one you would simply just attack with those some pieces of armor you had got yourself and it was piece of cake. I would say it had been more fun had those bosses had stronger attacks perhaps. Now I didnt even sweat beating them all.
I liked there was end and end demo, and one where you would actively yourself participiate, although just by walking. I also liked how in the end, you didnt quite know was it real or dream all that before. And end was sort of nicely piaceful and wacky ending. It was also good that you gave a spiritual warning there when the defeated boss demon tells you that he will come back, when you are weak. It is important lesson to learn and remember, and good to have reminder about it too.
All in all, a great game. I think best speedgame entry so far from the games I have tested (I have tested exactly half, and have another half still to go).
Nice graphics, good speed, good choices on what to polish, good difficulty curve, good way of conveying the message, easy to see target audience that would both actually enjoy as well as benefit playing this, and most brilliant shop system. Sure, there are lots of small things, bugs etc. but who cares. You have done amazing hob in both writing an engine and such a working game as well. There might not be much beef, but its enough for this. Couldnt have been much longer wihtout more meat on bones. Very balanced game. I enjoyed a lot playing this one through.
Almopst forgot to mention, I liked that the character had a wife, instead of a girl friend like in games usually. And that their marriage was sort of challenged thansk to the plot of the game.
And anotehr thing i forgot to comment. Although i felt battle 1 of 3 as sort of interesting system, I didnt quite get why such a system?
Oh, and to my great disappointment last autosave was to end credits, now I missed seeing my guy in full armor as i didnt buy that last piece yet.