December 16th-19th 2011 :: Theme: Alone

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FELINUS: the cat gods

by mes - Jam Entry

this game is an SRPG (like ff tactics, advance wars, etc) about cats.. er i mean an SRPG where you only have a single, _lone_ character to control. there are four different cat gods (two playable), each with unique abilities. most of them use magic that creates orbs. orbs stay on the field persistently and move around after each character's turn according to different rules for each orb type. so you can dodge or block incoming orb attacks to avoid damage. there are three levels and an original four-song blues guitar soundtrack by drew southern.

linux users: you'll have to download the .love file and install love from here:

this is a jam entry because i didn't come up with the idea until half way into the compo, but i took advantage of the allowance for outside help for the level graphics and music. the main thing i didn't have enough time to spend on was the AI; it is quite poor. i also wanted to add a level-up that brings a new ability for each character.

the controls are simple but you might end up accidentally quitting and losing your progress if you don't know them (sorry). use the arrow keys and enter to select stuff. you can back out of most menus (including the quit menu) by pressing backspace. to check an enemy's hp, you can press backspace at the move/cast/wait menu and arrow over to him and press enter. esc quits the game.

this game can be pretty hard so here's a little strategy guide. i encourage you to not read this and try to figure it out by yourself since part of the fun of a strategy game is figuring out the strategy, but if you are having trouble there are some helpful tips here. once you are familiar with the basic mechanics and how the different orbs work, it shouldn't be too hard to beat any battle with the right strategy.

ap (action points): when a cat's turn is up, it gets 4 ap (except the black cat, who gets 5). any ap that isn't spent during a turn will carry over to the next turn, but there is a max of 12 ap.

orb details: if an orb would be created/move to the point a cat is standing on, that cat will lose 1 hp. the only exception is that a cat will not be affected by its own orbs. if two orbs would both occupy the same grid space (provided there isn't a cat on it), they fizzle and are both destroyed.

playing the black cat: casting a black orb costs 2 ap. the black cat's orbs will always move one step away from her at the end of any cat's turn. the orbs can move diagonally, but only if she is standing exactly on a diagonal from the orb. if you want to get a sure hit in, end your turn with a black orb right next to the enemy cat such that it will be pushed into him immediately upon ending the turn.

playing the yellow cat: casting a yellow orb costs 1 ap per unit of distance away from your cat it is. you can read about the system the yellow orbs are based on here: at the end of any cat's turn, yellow orbs are created and destroyed based on these same rules. the main thing to keep in mind is that if there is an empty space next to exactly three yellow orbs (including diagonally adjacent ones), an orb will be created there. so to hit the enemy cat, all you have to do is cast yellow orbs such that he is touching no more or less than three of them at the end of your turn. one effective strategy here is to box the enemy into a corner and just keep putting orbs on the three cells next to him. also check out the example pattern sections on that wiki page, as they will work quite nicely in this game. in the beginning of my gameplay video you can see me shooting a glider at the black cat.

fighting the white cat: the white cat will duplicate herself if she has any ap at the end of her turn; this is pretty hard to avoid. it costs her 5 ap to cast her aoe damage spell, so you can prevent this by being far enough away that she has to spend her ap on moving within range of you. try to separate her from her duplicate and kill them one at a time. it is rarely a good idea to move toward her, just let her come to you.

fighting the purple cat: congratulations on making it this far. the purple cat has 8 hp and can be difficult to hit, but he isn't very aggressive. his orbs will take one step randomly in any of the four directions at the end of any cat's turn. if you are playing the black cat, some tricky juking may be necessary to get hits in. try turning your orbs mid-flight by walking to another side of them or to a diagonal. if you are the yellow cat, a strategy of slow advancement works well. wait until you have a lot of ap, then move in and setup a wall of orbs. if you place them well and continue to augment the wall every turn with more orbs in the right places, you can slowly advance towards your opponent and eventually corner him while preventing his orbs from reaching you.

Downloads and Links




Vogie says ...
Dec 20, 2011 @ 8:55pm

the second white cat is VERY difficult (for me at least) it would be nice if the yellow cat could eat his orbs to heal, also i quite enjoy how you used the yellow cat's orb mechanics in this brilliant game.

caranha says ...
Dec 20, 2011 @ 9:31pm

Interesting that each cat had such different mechanics. Thanks for the game.

easlern says ...
Dec 21, 2011 @ 12:06am

Whenever I used ESC to cancel a move I was shown a quit menu without the option to keep playing, so I ended up restarting the game a lot, lol. TAB didn't seem to do anything. I thought the game was too simple but the music was nice and the artwork was very cool.

bach says ...
Dec 21, 2011 @ 1:30am

As always, love your work. Nice graphics and very interesting game mechanic.

I'm a sucker for srpgs so I'd love to see this developed further, please! :)

mes says ...
Dec 21, 2011 @ 2:45am

thanks for the feedback everyone.

Vogie: interesting idea with the healing. tbh i haven't actually tried to beat the last two battles with the yellow cat yet. i'm sure it's possible, but the yellow cat is really hard to play optimally. one thing i was thinking of doing to make him a little stronger was having himself count as an orb for the purposes of the game of life calculations.

easlern: sorry about that. the ui relies on knowing that backspace can be used to back out of any menu (including the quit menu), which i guess should have been made clearer. if it was too simple for you, try playing the yellow cat.

bach: thanks! srpg is totally the best genre! i still have to finish the further development of my last LD game so i don't think i'll do anything more with this one. but i will surely make a full srpg game (or two) at some point and i will do some further exploration of these mechanics with that.

marudziik says ...
Dec 21, 2011 @ 11:36am

Very nice idea, and I LOVED the yellow cat mechanics, but it felt easier to play the black one. Either way, awesome entry. Game feels complete, with nice graphics and cool music.

23 says ...
Dec 21, 2011 @ 1:18pm

Nice! The ways the different cats worked were clever, though the yellow one was really hard to play. I'll also say I was confused by the Esc menus.

Sound effects would have been nice.

And, as you noticed, the theme is a little... weak.

mes says ...
Dec 22, 2011 @ 3:15am

anyone who was having a hard time should check out the new strategy guide! also i played through with the yellow cat and was able to beat the game without any shenanigans, whew.

marudziik: thanks. the black one is definitely simpler; picking her is sort of an easy/intro setting.

23: pfft, kittens is the true theme! good call on the sound effects.

tcstyle says ...
Dec 22, 2011 @ 8:44pm

Great soundtrack, lovely graphics, but the game mechanic is quite tedious.

summaky says ...
Dec 27, 2011 @ 8:42pm

I had some difficutly in understanding how to cast the ord and had to play quite some time to grasp the game. The guitar soundtrack is awesome and the graphics impressive. Congrats!

Rudy says ...
Dec 31, 2011 @ 1:25pm

An interesting isometric tech demo, though I would prefer to be able to use the mouse. Not much going on gameplay wise and reading the "manual" to understand controls and what to do isn't the best presentation. AI is good I guess. I didn't get very far though so I didn't get to see most of the mechanics, which without reading the manual is unfortunately quite tedious trial and error. I guess you have to be a fan of SRPGs to "get" it. Also being the "lone" character isn't central to the theme and the mood set doesn't convey the sense of alone on either player's or character's part.

royletron says ...
Jan 7, 2012 @ 9:28am

Not too sure where this fits with the theme? But really polished and innovative!

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