Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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Getting shifty

by Ithildin - Compo Entry


Your objective is to get the highest score possible and survive for as long as you can.

To score points you need to destroy creeps, by shooting them while in a different shape than theirs.

Every enemy can hit you, but you can absorb bullets shot by enemies with the same shape as your current one and refill some energy for your helpful blaster.

Controls: Mouse/Keyboard
>> WASD/Cursors: Movement (depending on time, I will try to support gamepads and non-QWERTY layouts)

>> Move mouse around: Aim

>> Left click: Shoot

>> Right click: Blaster

>> Q/Wheel down: Previous shape

>> E/Wheel up/Right click: Next shape

>> P: Pause/unpause

>> M: Mute/unmute (but it's currently glitchy, I need to check why that's happening :/)

>> R: Hard reset

>> Language + engine: Haxe + flixel.
>> Art: Photoshop CS6
>> Audio: LabChirp, Audacity.
>> Music (well...sort of): Bosca Ceoil
>> Fonts: IBM Logo, Press Start by codeman38.

Post-compo updates (check's link)
-Replaced assets with clearer shapes (still not final)
-Partially improved UI feedback.
-Replaced music track and added feedback sounds.
-Fixed mouse glitch on Windows.
-(Internal) Paved way to data-driven approach. Second pass on progression and potentially more content intended for the next build :)

-Added support (and selection screens) for gamepads and AZERTY layouts. I've only tested it on an Xbox One controller.
-Replaced cursor graphics.
-Enemies now pause for around half a second when they spawn.
-Now it's possible to restart the game from the game over menu.
-Started work on rebalancing. At the moment I've established the concept of a difficulty level and defined 4 levels for testing purposes, increasing by every minute. The game may have got harder now, but it should have improved slightly in terms of pacing.

Updated original compo web link because Dropbox. Windows links will follow suit.

Downloads and Links




Danman9914 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:50am

Cool particle effects!

ViliX64 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:53am

Nice flowing gameplay and amazing visuals.

FaeDine says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:57am

Really dig the aesthetic. The sounds work well with things not being too abrasive. It's simple but I'd say it's perfectly executed for what it is and incredibly polished.

DieWithDustin says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:57am

Great looking game!

ogre says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 5:01am

Nice look. Wish it was harder, or got harder faster.

AlmightyTuna says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 5:23am

Awesome game, like Geometry Wars meets Ikaruga

Reisen says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 5:38am

Good game, but the shapeshifting aspect is somewhat negligible. Just pick a shape (purple, because purple bullets are harder to see), shoot others, absorb bullets, blaster, repeat.

sirtetris says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 7:16am

Simple but quite fun game. Managed to survive for 5 minutes first try. :)

XAND says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 2:12pm

Very nice effects, great feeling gameplay. Awesome job.

01101101 says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 3:53pm

Nice looking game, cool concept and special effects. Good job :)

Hyoga-3D says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 4:21pm

Very nice game, good gameplay and use of the theme.

deepnight says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 6:20pm

Very fun! The difficulty was not raising enough though and I was stuck in a very stable situation (so I gave up short after). Anyway, that's a great entry! Good job.

Apr 18, 2016 @ 6:59pm

Nice idea, it works well :)

dylanwolf says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 11:25pm

A great twist on shoot-'em-ups, and nice effects. I like that there are different strategies--either shift quickly to keep the board clear, or risk saving up energy to do a large attack.

Ithildin says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:16am

Thank you all for your feedback! This time I tried to go with a simple concept, and I'd been wanting to make a shoot-em-up for ages.

@AlmightyTuna You spotted two of the three main references I was inspired by :D The third one was Waves.

@deepnight You're right about that. I barely, and by barely I mean "10 minutes before the 48h deadline", managed to hack a slight rise in difficulty once the player has been around for 180s, but didn't get to test that properly and it's still insufficient.

I'm currently working on a post-compo version and having a decent progression is one of my top priorities, otherwise it does become monotonous after a while.

rnlf says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 2:45pm

Neat game! The controls worked better than most other games with many shapes you had to manually select did. The Blaster was unexpectedly powerful (and made the game lag a bit on Linux with Firefox and Flash 11.2).

Algerator says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 4:02pm

Such a fun game!

Kudos for figuring out such a simple but fun game that matches the theme perfectly!
Sound and aesthetics fit perfectly, without either being annoying (hate those repetitive 8-bit background musics!).

As to what to improve, in addition to tuning the difficulty a little bit, I'd say having some better feedback on Health/Energy/Lives/Multiplier (i.e. bars/hearts).

Congratz! ;-)

MrBoxBox says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 4:20pm

This game is great.

Garazbolg says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:17pm

Cool concept, mechanics are simple enough and graphics are great. I just missed one thing : a sign before enemy spawns. Some thing like an exclamation mark, maybe ? Anyway i had fun. Good game !

esayitch says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:20pm

I really liked the Ikaruga-like mechanic, and the absorption mechanic. Graphics were simplistic and pretty and the effects were really good. Gameplay was fun and fast paced.

To be honest I can't think of anything off the top of my head that I would improve, except maybe to introduce new mechanics the more time passes as it got stale a bit xD

Otherwise beautiful entry, good luck!

sndr says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:01pm

Great entry! It was enjoyable and not as hardcore as other shooting games. The difficulty curve still would need some adjustment, but I think that it is in a very good spot!

dj_pale says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:10am

Nice and vibrant visuals, gets a little hard fast

Ayawaska says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:43am

Nice game. Reminds me Pewpew.

samlo says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 12:45am

Hey, that was a lot of fun! A tri-color version of ikaruga's main mechanic seems to work pretty nicely.

Only thing I might add is that the spawns feel a little unfair at times (I got spawned on top of a little too often) and you could easily fix that by adding indicators for incoming spawns at the spawn locations.

Also, since you seem to like Ikargua, you should play my game :) I think we're sharing some similar ideas

RockNRedPanda says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:01am

Excellent! Had a lot of fun with this game. Will play it occasionally!

wg_phancock says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:02am

Pretty fun game, we discussed doing something similar. Makes me happy to see another entry using HaxeFlixel :)

The enemy projectiles are a bit too difficult to see, though.

Red_Fan games says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:03am

Its all about that A E S T H E T I C.

Ithildin says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:34am

Another wave of great and solid feedback, cool!

@algerator Thanks!! ^_^ I already have a list of pending UI improvements (increasing the multiplier or difficulty level, a visual health bar or, as you say, icons, and things like that), and any other feedback on top of that is reaally appreciated (especially from people who know what they're talking about ;DD)

@samlo @Garazbolg You're right about the "new wave" indication. In fact, on the first pass of the post-compo version, I added a small delay and fade in when a new wave is created, to give the player a bit more time to react and decide on if she wants to change shapes.
I think it already helps a lot, but I'd like to make it more obvious eventually. If you can test those newer versions and leave a note here or on Itch to see if it works I'll be really thankful! (And I'm on my way to playing both your games!)

@wg_phancock it's a really cool engine, isn't it?. From time to time I need to refresh my memory to remember some things that they do differently compared to other engines, but after that it's a blast. As for the projectiles, yup, I need to redo those assets and have sharper ones.

zzapp says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 2:22am

Nice game, it played smoothly and the mechanics of changing shape worked well. The difficulty could use some adjustment as at times it was a little slow.

usonchen says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 3:53am

Good game, makes me recall the Geometry War~, looking forward to face a boss battle with this mechanic!

pythong says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 3:30pm

Geometry wars :) ?

Goutye says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 4:32pm

Nice little particles! Concept simple but effective! Do the difficulty get higher with the time? Good job!

nihilaleph says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:25pm

Great game! Cool mechanics and nice graphics! The BGM was a bit low though, I actually didn't hear it at first, only knew that there was one because I read your postmortem...

I hope you don't mind that my game is very similar to yours ^^; (though it's not a shoot 'em up) At first I kept pressing the wrong buttons to shapeshift xp

Anyways great entry! I shall leave a comment about the post-compo version at!

sP0CkEr2 says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 3:43am

tight control - really nice effects - simple concept - aweseome job!

Apr 21, 2016 @ 7:39am

Nice i loved the solid gameplay reminded me of geometry wars, but it felt little easy :P for me no doubt a great entry :D kudos keep improving

vctr_seleucos says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 10:35am

Wow, good job with the game! Simple concept nicely done!

WeirdMind says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 6:46pm

Very nice game, cool concept and nice work

Soron says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 6:17am

Awesome! Nice visuals, fun gameplay, solid controls. Very well-made. Just needs some difficulty scaling (which I see that you're already addressing, in the post-compo version).

Alphish says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 5:18pm

Neat visuals and sound, though the gameplay got stale for me rather quickly. I guess some variety in enemies behaviour could help, or something similar, instead of just the plain "follow the player". In such case, I guess making the map bigger (or player/enemies smaller) would help, too.

Ithildin says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 2:00am

@Alphish yeah, I didn't have enough time to add different enemy behaviours and all the difficulty adjustments in the compo version are merely a couple of "if (playtime > 3m) {change this or that var}" put together in the last 10m before submission.

If by chance you've tried the post-compo version I've started to address that. It's still not final, I changed the system to some proper logic and tested it by adding a few more levels, but I think it's improved a bit if I may say so myself. The next build will probably focus on pace balancing and hopefully some new enemies and/or pickups.

As for map size...hmmm, that's an interesting one. I wanted to retain the fixed Petri dish-like structure, but at some point I entertained the idea of the circle being just the visible portion of a larger map, which would move around with the player. However, that could be problematic because the player ship might be hit by critters far away from its view, which is not completely fair.

Some easier possibilities, as you say, could be increasing the playable area (by changing the unit sizes or replacing the circle with a larger shape). Perhaps it might be worth a try.

Once again, thank you all for your feedback! :)

luquio says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 5:42am

yeahh great work! love that kind of spaceshooters, like ikaruga! A++!

markusfisch says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 12:51pm

Nice action game! Liked it!

iceburg7 says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 9:27pm

Wow, this game feels so good to play, and it visually it is amazing! Great work!

JoseArias says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 10:06am

Muy buen juego!

Very fun, the fact that you have to change the form for certain enemies adds complexity. Very well done.

Alphish says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 10:45am

Upon checking the post-Jam version, it seems qutie livelier, probably due to animation and audio. It might or might not have better difficulty curve, too (i.e. it didn't feel overly easy for too long now).

I'm not quite fond of the UI bars, though, especially the healthbar with that white background behind it; plus, it'd be nice to add some full bar background, or other indicator of what's the maximum value of a bar.

Oh, also, I think I pinpointed some annoyance of mine; namely, moving along the walls of arena is anything but smooth. I think it'd feel better if the character nicely slided along the circular wall rather than get kinda blocked on that. I wonder if the game would work better if it used polar coordinate system (up/down for radius, left/right for angle) rather than Cartesian one (up/down for y axis, left/right for x axis), since the area seems suited better for that system. Dunno if it'd work, but if you have time and will to experiment a little, then maybe...

AnaGF says ...
Apr 26, 2016 @ 8:36pm

Great game. It is addictive! Good job!

torcado says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 7:01pm

nice game! i love the visuals, very fun to play

abuzreq says ...
May 3, 2016 @ 9:10pm

So colorful, so Particles-Full!!
I loved the arcade-ness in the game :)
playing it in the browser suffered from some lags especially when blasting.
Great Work !

May 4, 2016 @ 4:07am

nice! movement kept locking up and i kept trying to wheel the mouse wheel and it moved my screen. lolz. fun game! :D

TheCain says ...
May 5, 2016 @ 7:19pm

It was fun, but pretty easy.

Tanton-H2X says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 4:02pm

wow! this game! i have seen it at homepage just at these days that jam just over~also see the video you recommend haha!palyed the post version justnow, very great experient and this really a game sooo juicy, the soundeffect let me so chill out,and the music also keep a good balance with these sound effect(also these pew pew sound),they are mix very harmony,not too loud too hard,have psychedelic feeling but also clear to not lost! i think this is very uneasy to built,well done!
btw, the orange color enemy very cute and let me love!i think if the background have more subtle change(twist),the experience of this game may could be more cool,but i also love it as it is. oh,just forgot to say,that use mouse to change shape let me feel so smooth and exciting.

ocarson says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 8:13pm

Pretty cool, I like the play field being circle, felt like looking in to a tiny world.

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