Very good game, enjoyed it alot :]
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The concept of this game is wonderful in my opinion. And I did enjoy the execution, as well. There are some things that I do feel could improve, however: primarily one of the characters (and some of the writing). If I'm honest, it's Anita who ruined a teeny bit of the experience of this game for me. I didn't think she was funny in any way. I feel that she's based on stereotypes and while making her obnoxious was clearly your intention, she just feels so incredibly, incredibly bland. Of course, what small part of the game I played through only makes up a fraction of the finished product, so I can only hope that things change up a little for her.
Besides that, I have to say, for the one character with a dark(er) skintone to be dressed the most revealing (like, near nude revealing, especially in contrast to the meek, almost prudish, milk-white female protagonist)... it's not a surprise at this point for WOC to be portrayed as promiscuous, but still. While it is something you probably did not think about, and while it is probably not your intention to offend anyone, I would suggest reading up on the fetishization of women and men of color in games.
Moving on from my least favorite character, the writing, to be clear, was not bad. At all. I did enjoy the narrator (especially the overworked one's) comments, I thought he was relatable and in short, one of the funniest bits of the game. However, the at one point overdone references to a quest and the characters being members of a party annoyed me to no extent.
In short, Hellevator I would say has great potential. Great potential. It has its strong sides, its weaker ones (as does every game). I do have to praiseJack! He's a demonic child whom I love for some reason, but then again I do tend to root for the weird (if not somewhat evil) characters. As such, I like Mary, too, because she is most definitely a cultist. (Not even her last name, Goodman, can convince me she isn't.) I am (perhaps a little impatiently) looking forward to any updates to come for this game. I'm curious as to how the story will continue and how the characters will develop (if they do so).
That being said, please stay healthy and safe, and finally, thank you for making this demo (aaaaand for making Jack... pls don't let him die)!
Feralnymph, thank you for your feedback! We are very glad that you enjoyed reading Jack and Mary and a bit sad about Anita - we really had fun writing her. :(
We'd like to challenge you to replay the game again and pick different choices, you might run into something neat (or not...)!
Also, small clarification, Anita is tanned (too much time spent on the solarium/tanning bed).
Hi again! No problem.
Thank you for your (incredibly polite, wow!) response. Please don't feel sad :( Discouraging you was most definitely not my intention. It is, I have to say, very, very relieving though to know that Anita is merely very, very tanned. I'm glad. And I will be replaying the game!
Thank you again for your kind response!
Thank you for the demo! I played through it several times during a livestream. The game mechanics intrigue me, I really enjoyed the voice acting (it was really great hearing Chintarmanya and Mike in this!), and I had fun playing this.
I made a VOD recording of my playthrough: Twitch
Thank you for making this demo!
Thank you very much for playing through the game, Katy!
We've watched the VOD quite a few times and it's fascinating to see you and the chat trying to piece everything together! So, thank YOU for this awesome experience! :D
If you have any suggestions or criticism about the game, do tell--we would love to hear them!
(Demo spoilers ahead.) I think, after mulling it over in my mind, my suggestion would be making it clearer what causes the alternate timelines to change. I'm still not sure what triggers different events, though I have theories (dialogue choices, narrator setting, randomiser, or a combination). Thanks again for making this demo!
I couldn't get through this game. Normally I'm all about cheesey pseudo-horror games like this, but there were a couple of issues here that really turned me off to this.
Firstly, the UI is... not great. The art style of the characters and the environments doesn't match the strange elevator button style of the menu. It seems to use far more assets when hand-drawing it would not only look neater, but would also prevent that sort of disconnect that comes from seeing it next to a completely different art style. There's also no reason for the buttons to take up the entire start menu. It forces the user to look around the screen for no reason, when the buttons could be shoved off to the side and the majority of the screen could be dedicated to showing off the characters before you get to meet them. The wheel choice selector was also not incredible, and seemed very out of place from the rest of the game. It certainly looked interesting on its own, but tonaly it didn't seem to fit the game.
Second, the constant interruptions from the Narrator were cute at first, but by the time that the narrator began to talk about high-fantasy and Arthurian legend the gag had gotten old and was doing more to detract from the atmosphere than anything else. In completely honesty here, I kind of cringed when I heard it. It seemed a lot like the "lol so random" humor that can be extremely detrimental to games like these, rather than the narrator being caught up in a sweeping sense of romanticism - which is what I think you were aiming for with those comments. This was an issue outside of the narrator as well, with the characters seemingly more focused on making quips back and forth to eachother rather than having actual conversations or working to find a way out of the broken elevator. The constant interruptions aren't the only issue with the narrator though. Having his VA cut in and out is a great way to break a player's focus on the story. I thought my game was bugging out at first and took a full five minutes closing and restarting the game attempting to get the VA back before I realized that it was an intentional thing. And just as a side note here, it's not cute to brag about how you overworked and underpaid a voice actor. It doesn't make you seem relatable, or like you understand the struggle of the people you hired - it makes you seem like you don't care about them. I know this probably isn't the case, and like most people creating a publishing games you're likely very thankful for the vocal talent, but its just something to be wary of in the future.
Finally, there are a lot of sound-design choices that don't make much sense. Why does so much of the voice work switch from being full lines to just grunts or catchphrases? Some of the voice work doesn't even match up with the words on the screen. Why is it that a scene that takes minutes to get through is layered on top of a sound effect that loops every few seconds? Being able to pinpoint where the track loops makes the action feel longer than it actually is, and can make gameplay a chore rather than a treat. Why does the elevator muzak continue so loudly even after the characters and the narrator have mentioned that it's bad and annoying? If you know the music is annoying, don't force your players to sit through it. Put it low into the background, or better yet have it cut out with the flickering lights - replace the "That's what mommy calls daddy" thing with a short line about the music finally going away. Not only does that give you a chance to build atmosphere and to really begin to dig into the horror aspect of the game early on, but it also means that your players don't have to grow annoyed and bored with the game as they sit there having to listen to the music in order to progress the story.
Overall, you have all the bones of a decent game. There's a good base of voice work, a clear direction for the plot, and unique characters who all have their own sense of charm to them. You just need to take time to really put some polish into your work - from cleaning up the dialogue so it doesnt feel like a game of quiplash, to getting the rest of your narration voiced. But because of the issue I've mentioned above, I couldn't get past Anita making fun of Hugh for flirting. The game itself was annoying, rather than just the characters.
Please don't be too disheartened by my criticism though. With some more work you should be able to take this game and make it something genuinely enjoyable. You just need to take the time to iron out all the wrinkles. Good luck.
Berserkered, thank you very much for your honesty and detailed feedback!
We're not disheartened at all and you've given us some points we can improve on.
If you don't mind, we would like to clarify a point or two:
* This project was developed in a game jam, in cooperation with several individuals. The different assets and the clashing between them are a few evils to be expected: we had a limited amount of time and different types of artist (with different backgrounds and experiences) working on it.
While this doesn't excuse the problem, it's a fact we have to accept;
* Regarding the Narrator and narrative, perhaps the problem is on how we advertise the game. The game is meant to be silly and not to be taken seriously: it's not about a bunch of characters trying to survive, it's about a bunch of idiots who won't cooperate and will most surely end up dead by the end of the game (Narrator included...maybe). There's no romanticism here, just comedy (or a failed attempt at it XD);
* One important thing that we really need to clarify, there's no bragging about underpaying any of the voice actors. The character known as Narrator is an underpaid and overworked employee at some company in the game, but that in no way means that his or her VA is in the same position as the Narrator (we didn't overpay Anita's VA so she could brag that she's rich, either!).
Do note that no one was paid on this project.
* Characters' opinions don't reflect the team's opinion. Anita doesn't like the elevator track, but we couldn't disagree more with her (and many other things she says);
* Regarding the voice acting, in a script as large as 50k, there's no way we could request the VAs to voice every single line. We asked for a few of them to be voiced, and requested a few blurbs and catchphrases to fill in the voids.
This however, is a criticism we can work on and we'll definitely look into it (have very limited lines be voiced VS the actual situation).
Once again, super duper thanks for your feedback! We hope you'll give the game a second chance (if not this demo build, at least the full version) :D
Ah, thanks for the clarification. Perhaps the game just isn't for me then. I found it through the horror tag and was expecting something just a bit more serious, I suppose.
Best of luck to you on your future projects!
Man, such a wacky cast of characters! I enjoyed their interactions plenty and please, for anyone reading, replay and see what the other choices do! Every part of the game, be it, writing, art, coding, voice acting, music, ect. made the characters and the story much more alive. I'm looking forward how you will develop this further, as you got me to love characters who are the worst.... In the best and entertaining way possible.