Shrinkoban

Shrinkoban

  • Fachewachewa
  • 1 month ago
  • 37th

Description

Shrinkoban

A small block-pushing puzzle game, inspired by Sokoban and a few others.
Each level will get smaller and smaller while keeping the same overall layout.


Features

  • A bunch of levels!
  • Unlimited (unless you're very bored) rewinds!
  • Boxes!
  • Spikes!
  • Slimes!
  • Blue tumbleweeds...?
  • An ending!

Controls

Arrow keys / WASD / ZQSD - Move
R - Rewind
T - Restart the level
Escape - Quit the game
M - Mute, unmute
J & K - Scale down & up


Screenshots

This is the first level. In this, I use what I call "the Zelda": that line of 3 pushable blocks that you need to push in a specific pattern to get through. Notice all the empty space. a

The second version of the level is more of less the same, but to reflect the reduction of space, goals are moved around. The "Zelda" is still there, but the available options are reduced. a

In the tiny version of this level, almost every space is used and important, and there's no room for mistake. a


Misc.

I decided to make a Sokoban game to get some training in level design. That's something I usually don't do/like much during jams.
Sadly, I struggled for a while with a GMS bug, and I spent some time making a cleaner movement system (which was pretty cool and let me do some fun stuff), so I didn't get to do as much level design as I wanted.
But as a jam game, there's still enough content for me to be satisfied with this project.

I tried as much as possible to keep the same idea in each version of each level, so designing the rooms in a 5*5 square was pretty hard. But finding a way to get a satisfying puzzle in such a small space was really satisfying. Pretty similar to completing a puzzle, in fact. Except for this I didn't know if there was a solution.
There's only one level I don't really like, but it's not that big of an issue.

Also I used bfxr & beepbox for the sounds.

Feedback
14

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  • 89o
    89o 89o Level 18

    Really, really cool! The puzzles were actually very tricky and clever, which is something rarely seen in jam games (I also often fail at it). What I didn't like:

    • The horrid color scheme. Seriously. Learn something about color theory. Even go to a page like coolors.co to generate color schemes. You could even have every block identifiable by just its color - that's something I once did for an 8x8 platformer.
    • The utter silence and lack of music. I actually really liked the finishing jingle, if you could've done an extension of that that would be great.
    • Having to sometimes mash keys. In my programming game, I spent a bit of time implementing a timer which starts when you hit a key, and then decreases as you hold it down. Then, after it runs out, it does the action, and then resets but to a slightly lower value than before.

    I understand that this is a jam game, but still. Constructive-criticism-giving is my duty.

  • Veralos
    Veralos Veralos Level 33

    Very nice game. Block pushing isn't the most original concept but it's certainly executed well here. The level design is good and requires you to think around the mechanics, plus there's some nice touches like the undo button. Minor nitpick: The undo and restart buttons could be a bit further apart (perhaps R=restart and Z=undo). I had to be careful not to restart the whole level when trying to undo. The graphics and sound aren't amazing but they do the job and are still quite likeable. I definitely enjoyed the animation/jingle for transitioning between levels.

  • MintyPython
    MintyPython MintyPython Level 7

    I think in terms of level design, you've done the best this jam. Took a small amount of mechanics and even used a small playing area but still managed to make a lot of unique and clever puzzles.

    Not only that but the inclusion of some very neat additions like the rewind tool and the fly-away animation when you beat a level makes this very enjoyable. I don't really have anything to complain about.

  • TobyMoby
    TobyMoby TobyMoby Level 15

    Great game! It started simple enough but grew pretty hard later on. The game is quite long, which is great! Puzzles are awesome, even tho I'm not really the puzzle game kind of guy. But just game design wise, how it teaches you to solve the puzzles, how the levels and the screen with them shrinks...just an awesome concept! Graphics are not awesome but do the job and are easy to read. I liked it a lot!

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Thanks!

      It can be quite long yeah, honestly I hoped it was shorter, but it's really hard to gauge how long puzzle will last. And the few playtest I did (last minute) went pretty fast but stopped towards the end, which is of course the hardest part ^^'

  • havik
    havik havik Level 15

    This was a cool idea! Hilariously I got stuck on the second 'zelda' level. I didn't realise it was just the same puzzle... had a complete mind blank haha. Then I checked the description and saw it right there and was like, oh, shit! After that I did alright (I think..)

    But yeah, cool idea! I like the constricting world with the repeating puzzles. Felt pretty balanced too in terms of difficulty curve. Was very much a 'pick up and play' game, which is great!

    Well done!

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Thanks :D

      It pretty easy to miss a "simple" move / focus on the wrong thing in this kind of game. It definitely happens to me!

  • Eva
    Eva Eva Level 8

    I enjoyed these puzzles, and some of them were really tough! Great job constructing these with a small amount of different objects - having fewer mechanics and simple controls really helped it to not feel cheesy like some puzzle games do. These mechanics were also introduced well over time and without needing tutorial text. The twist at the end was brilliant.

  • Nick
    Nick Nick Level 4

    Great puzzle design – very addictive! I didn't really notice that each puzzle within a set was a smaller version of the last – interesting concept though.

  • Megan
    Megan Megan Level 4

    Wow this was great! Levels were thought out really well. I was stumped for the longest time on 7a so when I realised the level expanded it was really satisfying. Since the game is a bit long (good job!) it would be nice to have a save screen.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Thanks!

      Yeah I had a "cheat" to skip levels that I deactivated, but I should have left it on a less obvious key for people who wanted to start over :( would have been better than nothing

  • Tero Hannula

    There were surprisingly many and difficult puzzles, well done with them. And undo system is important in games like this, it's good that you implemented one. I got stuck in level 7a, I got down where are lot spikes, I just didn't get what to do ^^" It was nice idea of shrinking world, but keeping the same puzzle element intact.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Aaaahhh! you were really close to the end! (but that also mean you saw almost everything)

      Thank you! I know undo systems are a must have, so I implemented it as soon as I could push blocks :D

      • Tero Hannula Tero Hannula

        I thought so, but I just couldn't get it right, maybe I was playing it too late for my brains click what I was missing ^^

  • Nyveon

    The level design was AMAZING! This achieved what all good puzzle games should achieve: Simples rules, the feeling of knowing what you have to do in the level, the realization that you don't actually know, thinking outside the box to actually know, finishing the level. This brings these steps a level further by shrinking the level, and having to figure out what that change implies. Also nothing ever really had to be explained in the game, which is a plus.

    My main feedback is that, especially in the later levels I would have liked to be able to press down a key and have it repeat the actions (keep walking, keep rewinding ,etc) in some levels i had to spam a button to do/get what/where I wanted. I think some music would have done the game nicely too.

    SPOILER ALERT FOR THIS FEEDBACK:

    I feel like in the last level there could have been some audio or visual cue when 
    the map expanded, because at first I had thought maybe the scaling had 
    bugged out and wasn't sure if it was supposed to be like that. The ending screen 
    was also a bit underwhelming, but that's not a big deal to be honest, just a 
    detail.

    SPOILERS OVER

    This game had so much content, at least for me who has never played this type of puzzle game before. I spent about an hour and a half to finish it. Really well done, congratulations! :D

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      First off, thank you! The fact that you liked it this much and took the time to finish it even if that's not a type of game you're familiar with means a lot! I knew most people aren't really used to this kind of puzzles so I tried to make it a good enough introduction, I'm glad it's working ^^'

      As for the two main changes you're talking about, it's definitely stuff I considered. I had to rework the movement system to get the multiple push/pull to work, and I didn't have to time to get it to work with held down key.

      Same thing for the sound feedback you're talking about, but this I think I just forgot :'D I did all the sound stuff at the last time so I'm not surprised I missed a few things ahah.

      Anyways, thanks again!

      And I'll continue with a random recommendation if anyone's interested in this type of puzzle game (but created by really talented designers) : check out Enigmash by Jack Lance, it's free and playable on browser. It might be a little hard, but it mixes up different puzzle game that all have their own rules in a really creative way!

  • baku
    baku baku Level 40 Patron

    Nice game! I haven't played that many Sokoban-style games (does Baba count? 🤔), but I'm enjoying this. The idea of the same levels shrinking and shrinking, while keeping the same "spirit" of the puzzle but having to rethink the solution was pretty cool. More often that not the smaller puzzles got easier, but some were definitely harder.

    Unfortunately I'm stuck on 6a haha, I'll come back with fresh eyes to finish it later on :D

    (Also the name reminded me of a musician I love named Linkoban. R.I.P.)

    EDIT: BEAT IT! Damn dude, that was fucking great.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Baba is definitely a sokoban! Its puzzles are just a little less focused on the "pushing blocks the right way" side of the spectrum :D

      I agree that the difficulty curve is all over the place, mostly because for some levels I had a really hard time finding a way to fit them in the 5*5 space :D But level 6 is a big spike in difficulty, I think that's where most people tend to get stuck. (If it helps, it's almost the end, 7 is the last!)

      I do need to make a save / level select screen though.

  • Ivar
    Ivar Ivar Level 25

    Wow this was very much content for a game jam. I can see that the artstyle is inspired by baba is you. The mechanics, well, they are all just from sokoban. The level design, however is really great! I love pussle game that manage to create hard pussles out of frustratingly simple mechanics - Something you managed to do again, and again, and again. I'm impressed. I enjoyed the difficulty of the last level, especially the first part.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Thanks a lot :) Most of my efforts went into the level design so I'm glad you liked it! That also explains the baba art, I had just blocks at first and didn't have much time to do something better, so I just made them wobbly! :D

      If you (or anyone) is curious of what can be done in this genre with simple mechanics, check out games made in PuzzleScrips. There are some incredible games made in this small "engine"!

  • mediyaz
    mediyaz mediyaz Level 9

    This is a collection of very nicely designed puzzles- I like the concept of the shrinking levels as a way of testing what the player has learned in a sequence of increasingly tighter and less forgiving challenges. The familiarity between the a,b,c levels gives the player a clue about the approach they might take but usually the smaller space brings about more challenges as they now have to not push blocks into unretreivable locations. This is the first I've encounted of Sokoban and I am not nearly smart enough to get to the end of this game! Well done for creating such a mentally stimulating experience.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Thanks for your feedback!

      The way previous versions of the levels give clues for the smaller ones is definitely something I wanted, I'm glad it worked, even for people that aren't familiar with sokoban games :) It's clearly not an easy genre to get into!

  • Henry Haak
    Henry Haak Henry Haak Level 22

    I'm not a huge fan of Sokoban, but I enjoyed this game. I like the way you tied it in with the theme, but I don't think I would have caught on that the levels were smaller variations of the previous level without having been told so. I have no idea how you would better communicate that in a better way though. Knowing the "gimmick" of the game, it was a relaxing and enjoyable puzzle game.

    • Fachewachewa Fachewachewa
      Level 49
      Coder

      Hey thanks, I'm not a huge that of Sokoban either, but I like them from time to time, or if there's a really good idea.

      So I'm glad you found mine enjoyable :D

      I wondered about a way to communicate that the levels get smaller too, but without advanced transitions where things get repositioned or with more varied visuals, I have no idea how :D

Post-mortem

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