What Is An Island Without Water?

What Is An Island Without Water?

  • Fachewachewa
  • 2 months ago
  • 26th

0
What Is An Island Without Water?
Problably just... ground, right?
1
But What is this game?
It's a puzzle game inspired by Tiny Islands, but with Sokoban mechanics, and two phases: planning and scoring. So you'll have to push stuff around to redirect water to create islands. And make sure to put interesting features on your islands, because that's what makes the score go up.
2
How to play
Push stuff. Some things will redirect water, while other will get destroyed by it. Play around and figure stuff out.
The first 6 levels (so the first line) are "tutorials" that present the game's main mechanics. You can pay attention to what happens there and you'll probably understand what makes better scores, you don't need to read anything! But if you're curious I'll detail how everything works below.
Try getting gold medals on those levels on you own before going futher. If you need help, check the 3rd and 4th sections!

Controls: Move - WASD, ZQSD or Arrow keys
Undo - R
Faster scoring phase - Spacebar Restart level - Backspace
Next level - Enter Exit to level select - Escape
Selecting levels - Mouse
Mute/Unmute - M

3
Scoring
To get the best score on each level, you'll need to understand how each element impacts the score.
Getting a gold means you got the same score I did while making & playtesting levels. But this isn't the best medal. And I can confirm that you can get a better score on at least 2 levels!

Now, the details rules:

  • First, each island tile is worth 1 point, so try making bigger islands. And making multiple islands will multiply you whole score!
  • "Rocks" are useful for redirecting water, but they'll cost you -2 points
  • A single Tree gives +1 point, but it also add +1 for each tree around it. That's right, it's exponential¹!
  • Huts are worth between +1 and +5 points. To get the best score, bring them near water and trees.
  • If you have a Cliff it'll add +3 to your island. But don't get too many of those, each new one is -3 pts!
  • Finally, those last 3 items are good on islands, but you'll get a bigger and bigger points reduction for each one oustise of your islands, starting at -5.
4
Advanced tips
You might want to avoid reading this for now. I'll go into things you can discover on your own.

So, first off, your character can also be an interesting feature on islands. First, it'll redirect water. But it's also a multiplicator. Read futher for more details on that.
You probably noticed good items get destroyed by water, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Cliffs will actually turn into beaches, which are also multiplicators!
So, how does the multiplicator works? It's island-dependant: First, the game counts how many points an island is worth. Then, each multiplicator is added, and used to multiply that island's score. Only after that are others islands added to your overall score.
The strategy here is thus to get as many of those on big islands, and then to try and get smaller islands to multiply the overall score.
Also note that a tile use by a multiplicator won't be worth it's usual point.

5
The End
I think that's it. I tried to make as many levels while still looking for interesting ideas², so I sacrified some potential polish and other effects, but I think there's still space to explore here. Designing levels for this was really fun.
Also, less than 2h before the deadline, I got a bug that counted multiple islands instead of one. It's fixed now, and the game is entirely bug free³, but that was scary.
Allright, thanks.

¹ May not be exponential
² Okay, the last two levels are more "sandboxes"
³ AFAIK

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  • Megan
    • Level 11
    1mo ago

    Love the title! Really cool, clever puzzle game, I don't think I've seen this concept anywhere. Very brain-intensive game haha my mind was whirring trying to calculate the path the water was going to take. It's definitely a hard game, I wonder if there's a way to design the levels to guide the player a bit more. I haven't done all the levels yet but I'm definitely coming back to this to get those golds. Great job!

  • Fajpaj

    Is this the most beatiful or polished game? No. However, I think this is one of the most creative games I've seen in this jam. The theme of island is difficult because its mostly aesthetic -- any game set on an island could match the theme. This game goes deeper than that and ties the idea of "island" into the gameplay itself, which is what a jam theme should really do IMO. Great job!

    That being said, less is more in terms of levels, especially for a game jam. I'd stick to maybe just 10 levels, and in each develop a single idea. It's great that there is so much here, but I think just a handful of levels that guide the player through the game's ideas could be easier to digest.

  • Argot Bertha

    This is a really interesting idea, and I spent quite a bit of time with it. Admittedly, I'm not familiar with Tiny Islands, so I don't know what elements are similar, but the main thing I liked was the process of learning the way in which the water flows out and behaves in conjunction with different objects that can be placed in its path. Once you have that figured out, creating islands in the way you plan is very satisying. It's entirely possible that there are aspects I'm using the wrong way, but it was alot of fun figuring things out.

    I think a tutorial would be helpful in lowering the uninitiated player into the game, and I think there's scope for a graphical overhaul, but there's something pretty cool going on here. I could see myself playing this on the morning commute and missing my stop...

  • Reaktori

    Very clever use of the theme! I like the somewhat weird aesthetic.

  • Kyon
    • Level 22
    1mo ago

    Whoa really liked it! It was fun to experiment with the system en try to make as many islands as possible. Wasn't a bit fan of the looping background art though haha.

    But yeah this was a really unique game and I love that so much. I like how the controls were you actually walking and pushing things. It increases the immersion a lot for me compared to doing puzzle games like this with the mouse and just dragging objects. Impressed by the amount of levels too, I did them all but mostly got bronze eventhough I redid a couple of a levels

    I.S.Land
    Submitted

    I.S.Land

  • Tydecon Games

    I think this is a clever idea for a puzzle game with a lot more depth than it initially appears, you've got an interesting piece here that requires a lot of thinking, good job! :)

  • Allison James

    Really neat idea for a puzzle game - I'm not sure I've ever seen mechanics like this before, which isn't common for a puzzle game. And it was a really unique, clear take on the theme, too.

    I also appreciated that you didn't need to "perfectly" solve every level, there was always room to go back and improve my levels or simply move on if stuck.

    Great work!

  • dreamcastgh0st

    Huh, really unique mechanic for a sokoban-like! Normally, these types of games make 2 mistakes: Using overdone mechanics, or not having enough levels. You don't have either of these issues, and what's there is pretty polished, interesting, and fun!

    As for the stuff that could be improved-- It's not really clear how the scoring works without experimenting with it a lot, and the cutoffs for good rankings in all the levels is also not obvious at first glance. I'd love to experiment with the mechanics and try and do a good job, but that's hard when the game doesn't tell me what a good job consists of.

    Overall, a really unique idea, and that gets you a lot of bonus points from me, especially considering the timeframe. Nice work!

  • Ethan Wake

    Nice puzzler with a really clever concept! I get how it works, but I'm terrible at strategizing what items need to be moved to the optimal places to create good islands, so I scored pretty poorly in every stage (even after making heavy use of the Undo button). XD

    I like the Windows 95-esque graphics style (reminds me of your other jam game, Worldwide Remote Access Network), and the eerie tribal music works well. Nice work!

  • Luke No Further

    This game has so much quiet vibrant personality. I love the crusty, almost aggressively developer-y art, and the weird lilting ancient-sounding spooky almost ceremonial-sounding music. And of course the cryptic game mechanics that feel like they're based on a logic that I'm too sane to fully appreciate. I mean this in the best possible way - it's like this is a game that comes bundled with TempleOS.

  • Hokori
    • Level 11
    2mos ago

    Wow, what a nice idea! It's like a mixture of Sokoban and some City Building board games I have played before where get positive and negative points based on the buildings in your area. I felt the game quite challenging for me, but I was able to get Gold on several levels. I feel like a lot of puzzle games you see are focused on clicking a switch and opening a door to escape, and while they can promote creativity from the player they tend to have optimal solutions that are easier to see. I'm not saying your game doesn't have optimal solutions, but while playing it I had this feeling that the game was completely open to my experimentation and creativity. Overall, a great take on the theme!

    • Fachewachewa

      Thank you! That's an interesting point about optimal solutions, I mostly built levels with an idea or trick behind it, and I scrapped one of two that didn't work because there was a trivial solution that gave more points, or because that would have restricted the level too much. I also made sure there was always an "easy" way to make at least an island.
      But the gold scores are just my scores, and baku actually got a few scores better than mine, sooo maybe she broke my designs, but at least the levels are open! :D

      Anyways, this was build with the idea of letting players play around levels and figure stuff out, not necessarily beat every score, so I'm glad you liked it that way :)

  • Junction Games

    Cool idea! It was still a little ethereal for me, but it was well executed. I had a hard time wrapping my brain around it, but that's probably just me.

    • Fachewachewa

      Thanks :) I'm definitely not the best at making stuff clear, and even if I wanted people to figure stuff out, there should also be more explanations somewhere in the game!

  • singleshot

    I played your game on stream, heres the link https://www.twitch.tv/videos/1091776398?t=51m46s

    its an neat puzzle game, but I kept skiping levels when I didn't mean to.

    Ruin Rise
    Submitted

    Ruin Rise

    • Fachewachewa

      Thanks for playing it on stream!

      Yeah I didn't really want to make a menu pop up at the end, so every key works the same way all the time (mainly for the more natural rewind), but that also isn't really explained anywhere :(

      I should have put a confirmation or a small timer for skipping / exiting levels during gameplay

  • Jaspo
    • Level 8
    2mos ago

    Though the graphics aren't particularly great, I do enjoy a good puzzle. I'll have to play this one again when I'm not so tired and short on time, so I can appreciate the puzzles more. PS. the rocks certainly look like gravestones, is this intentional?

    • Fachewachewa

      Thanks for the feedback! Yup, the rocks are gravestones. There's no "real" reason for it, but my WIP rocks looked a little like gravestones, and I though that it also worked with the scoring system.

  • baku

    Love this game. It's like if sokoban and those old area clearing games like jezzball had a weird baby. I am into it. Well, it's also frustrating and makes me feel like an absolute idiot, but that's sokoban for ya!

    As suggested I started playing without reading sections 3 and 4. Trying to figure out scoring made for some interesting trial and error. Having read those now it turns out I figured out everything correctly! Except from the quirk about multiplier tiles not counting for normal points—after I read that I just managed to get gold on another level lol.

    I only have minor complaints. Being able to speed up scoring is great, but it'd be cool if you could hold that button down at any time to also speed up movement and rewinding. Often I'd start rewinding to go back to some state, be annoyed the speed, and instead just rage-restart entirely even if that is probably technically slower lol.

    I did find what I assume is a bug, where cliffs sometimes spawn their beaches in the wrong direction, see this gif. Time for a footnote 3.1 🤓

    This is what my scores look like at the moment. I will come back to attempt to get gold on the remaining 4 levels later. My baby brain has hit a wall and needs rest.

    Update: Level 7 and 8 now upgraded from silver to blue

    Update: Level 11 at 345, level 12 at 690, still both silver. Jesus I don't understand these levels XD

    • Fachewachewa

      Noooooo I though I got rid of this one... Too bad there isn't any space left for a new footnote 😏

      And congrats on those scores, if I'm not mistaken that now at least 5 levels where it's possible to get over gold.

      I'm glad you're enjoying it! (and that it's possible to figure out the rules :D) I also agree about the speed.. well, pressing rewind and speed up would probably be weird, but the rewind should get faster after a few moves, I totally forgot about that (I tend to press the key multiple times in a row so it's faster but that shouldn't be required)

  • Panda-K
    • Level 18
    2mos ago

    Given the complexity of the rules, it was pretty easy to start learning and improving on scores through trial and error :) I would have added a score popup for everything that is scored, though, as it took me quite a while to figure out that island size mattered too. Maybe just a popup at the end of the red squares filling in that totals the size score?

    Really unique and fun idea, I hope you keep working on it!

    • Fachewachewa

      Thanks! I really want to continue working on it, but I often say that I never really do 😅

      The island totals should definitely be something I added, or maybe something like base score + bonus * multiplier that you could see while hovering islands at the end.

      The whole scoring thing should be better explained in the actual game somewhere, instead of just the game's page here ahah

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous
    2mos ago

    Love the puzzle concept, took me a few tries to understand what to do though. The "star" background is pretty brutal on the eyes though.

  • Happysquared

    This game is so fantastic!

    I love the concept of it so much. Fits beautifully with the theme. Very interesting interpretation of it. The mechanics reminded me very positively of trying to figure out Minecraft water physics. It was a lot of fun to see how each object interacted and what they gave. I decided to play it a little blind first before checking out the description so figuring out what happens when each item breaks was cool. Particularly the cliff turning into beaches.

    I know it's hard to put everything you need in a limited amount of time but as always, you prioritising the level design over the polish really ups the addictiveness of the game. Really loved going through the levels.

    Some quality of life stuff I think I'd have liked is maybe a way to mark out where you plan to put an item on the score screen. When the level resets, I think my brain shuts down a little on the memory portion on what I'd like to try next. And sometimes I end up placing an item a square off. I find it hard to estimate/remember where I want them once the island resets so things sometimes were a square off. I guess that could be part of the gameplay so fair enough. Maybe if you could turn a visible grid on and off it'd have helped with placement too. I found myself having to calculate where the water was going to go from the beginning again because I couldn't remember one change I would like to try out.

    Maybe a way to see the islands immediately rather than watching them fill up at the score screen would make me feel better too. I want to know the score and quickly jump in to try get my score better rather than waiting too long.

    I think the sokoban puzzle aspect of it was very interesting as well. I was going to suggest a way to drag obstacles to be in certain places to speed up placement when I've repeated a level lots of times but then realised you'd miss out on the really cool puzzle that some items just can't be dragged up and down as they're on an edge.... maybe a way to limit where they're dragged depending where they're placed but at that point it seems overcomplicating it. Just noticed sometimes I wander around the map a lot and forget what I need to do. Though that's a personal problem. Haha.... my memory D: Think markers I can place down on the score screen I can refer back to would be helpful.

    The sandboxy experimental nature of this coupled with some clever level design really made this so fun and unique for me.

    Absolutely fantastic job!

    • Fachewachewa

      Thanks a lot for the kind words and the detailed feedback!

      You pointed out some really interesting things. Showing the grid is definitely something I've seen a few games do and I should have though of that, especially since I also messed up while testing levels 😅 As for visual markers I don't think I've ever seen that, and would never have though of it, but that's a great idea. Even during gameplay, being able to put markers with the mouse probably wouldn't hurt the game, and it would help visualize solutions. I definitely need to try building this.

      But yeah, dragging things around wouldn't really work (at least, that would make a pretty different game), that being said it makes sense to want that because I didn't put that much sokoban type puzzles in there. There's a few limitations per levels, but no specific moves of things like that. At the start I definitely wanted it to be a mix of both, but in the end it's way more open-ended. So it works, but there's also a lot of block pushing without a lot of reasons for it.

      Also, I don't know if that was clear enough, but you can use rewind even on the end screen, to cancel the last move. Mainly for when you're one tile off. But that's definitely something that should be better indicated in the game, so sorry if you didn't know and used the restart instead, my bad 😬

      • Happysquared

        Oh no yeah sorry I completely missed the undo button. Totally my bad haha. I love your puzzle games so much like your small world entry so happy I got to play this one too :D