Ludum Dare 31 — December 5th-8th, 2014 — Theme: Entire Game on One Screen

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The Harrowing

by K.Chplr - Compo Entry

A bullet hell game heavily influenced by classic japanese danmaku games.

Try to get the best highscore by shooting the enemy while avoiding its endless rain of bullets.

How to play :

Arrows or WASD to move.
SPACE OR X to shoot.
SHIFT, CTRL or V to focus (slow down and show your hitbox to help navigating dense bullet patterns).

Compatibility :

The game was only tested on Chrome so far and it should run fine on Firefox to, albeit slower.

Technologies : html, javascript, shaders.
Development tools : phpstorm, node, npm, browserify.
Sound : Mammut, FL Studio, several VSTs.
Visual assets : GIMP.

Several features did not make it into the game : sprites for the player and the enemy (completely forgot), music (the drone was only supposed to be used in the menu), reactive audio, fullscreen mode, procedural generation of patterns and twitter sharing of highscores.

Downloads and Links




andysolace says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 1:23pm

Really want to play! I loved Touhou Youyoumu, but only the bottom half of the window appears in the browser. :(

A few moments later:
Game works on Chrome (as stated) but not IE or FF.

On to review:

Mechanically very sound game though - Was impressed :D Had to mute though after a little while. Controls are standard and responsive, and the difficulty is up where it should be, though it might be an idea to "work up" to hell-mode over the course of the first minute or so, to stop people from being killed by the first wave and quitting lmao!

Really nice. I hope this does well :)

K.Chplr says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 8:18pm

Glad you like it. Indeed in my opinion the game is slightly too difficult (one pattern in particular), it might hurt a lot of people's feelings...

Thanks for the head up about the firefox compatibility issue, it turned out to be an issue with the css of the page containing the game. I had to triple check the compo rules to make sure fixing it was allowed, but the game should now be displayed correctly on Firefox.

PS : As for Touhou, my favorite was Eiyashou ;)

Wezley says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 9:34pm

Incredibly hard, but pretty awesome game. Good job!

Nardom says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 9:46pm

I liked it, and the mechanic I loved most of all is such a simple thing, it's the target indicator on the bottom. I think it's genius! It shines in this basic environment with its basic style.

In these type of games it's easy to lose track of a unit, and the basic indicator on the bottom helps navigate the mass of projectiles being thrown at you. Certainly something interesting in battles with 1 specific unit on screen.

The game feels like a traditional bullethell game, but with a more simplistic art style. I enjoyed playing this for quite a bit.

tmpxyz says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 11:06pm

If not given multi-life, at least give some bombs~

gamedevBear says ...
Dec 8, 2014 @ 11:13pm

Extremely difficult :(
I had significant frame-skipping issues on firefox, but Chrome was smoother.

Trixton says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 4:43am

Bullethell is one of my favorite genres, you definitely nailed it! Very impressive!

ianh says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 9:35am

Nice bullet patterns! I'm not sure what the standard hitbox size for these games is, but it feels too big to me here…

andysolace says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:14pm

@K.Chplr - I've actually never played 8, but I still have Perfect Cherry Blossom on my desktop lol. I love the music and the visuals, and the gameplay is fiendishly addictive lol.

I've wanted to produce a game like this ever since - now I'm definately inspired to actually get on with it!

syawqy says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 2:50pm

I love shmup

dusho says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:15pm

high score of 12900, but just because shooting patterns were easy.. some patterns are almost impossible to survive
really hard game, but nice one

feizenbara says ...
Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:33pm

Too hard for me, but well done.

Dec 9, 2014 @ 6:37pm

so the point of the game is to get highscore ?
maybe i'm a noob player, but i don't see how i can avoid so many attacks at once o_O

interesting game nevertheless :)

gre says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 10:32am

I wish this was not "random" but based on an initial seed. Because difficulty can be very hard at the start, maybe it need more progressive pace.
Very cool spawners.
I think it needs some graphical polish and gameplay "juice" to be more enjoyable.

K.Chplr says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:29pm

Thanks for the feedbacks, it is really motivating. I'll make sure to take all of these into accounts for the post-jam version of the game.

@Nardom - About the enemy indicator : to be fair this is just a feature I replicated from other games of this particular genre. Imo, the feature could also works in games with multiple units on screen with small or low contrast indicators for the minor enemies and big or high contrast indicators for the stronger enemies.

@tmpxyz, @ianh and @gre - Multiples lives, bombs, smaller hitboxes and progressive difficulty are all valid solutions for the balancing issue, I'll definitely investigate them, but the main problem may be with how random some patterns are. Most of the patterns requires too much moving around and none of them allow 'streaming' (which is one of the things which gives immediate gratification to the player in this kind of game).

@MurderSantaTeam - Yes, pure unforgiving arcade gameplay from hell ! Yes, too much hell in my bullet hell...

@dusho - My personal highscore is 62,000 ;)

Fnkee says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:50pm

Bullet Hells are so hard. Loved this one though! The bullet combinations seemed very well planned and reminds me of the traditional Japanese bullet hells. I only wish I was able to see my score after I died, as it reset to 0 right after one died. I think my record was 29000 at most! Oh, and the atmospheric music was really oool.
Good job on this! (;

zanenga says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 6:25pm

Bullet Hell! First time I've seen one it a Ludum Dare. I like the bullet patterns.

Dec 10, 2014 @ 8:39pm

Really hard bullet hell. Well done. I Included it in part 6 of my Ludum Dare 31 compilation video series, if you would like to check it out :)

hypnoticbytes says ...
Dec 10, 2014 @ 8:50pm

Really, really hard but I loved it!!! Thank you!!!

taviandir says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:46am

good game but never quite understood the purpose of "focus" ?

victorafael says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:47am

I never did a great score on those kind of games on NES... here was not different at all... 17000 was my best after kind of 20 tries! :P

You made a big help putting a boss position indicator on the bottom of the screen... helped a lot!

The hitbox was a bit cunfusing... Sometimes bullets crossed my squareship and didn't hurt anything and other times a little touch on a minimum section of an edge took my life! :(

but this is a nice game! :)

grid96 says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:50am

So ultra hard. Huge matter of luck which bullet formation spawns. I got no change against that random blue/red thing...

p1x3lruckus says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:52am

It was very very very hard. I would say too hard but I get the feeling that was what you where intending. The music was incredible, I would of probably rage quit much earlier if it was't for how calming the music was. I'm still not sure if such high difficulty was good, but I still enjoyed the game a lot.

Dec 11, 2014 @ 11:58am

Yay, bullet hell! This game was a lot of fun, and the background effects were really interesting. The sound effects were good too, despite the annoying hum.

One thing that did come up while I was playing was that the enemy seemed to have a weird obsession with the left side of the screen, often going to wait in the corner. I don't think I ever saw him more all the way to the right. This caused some problems with some of his attacks, mainly the ones that cycle clockwise, so perhaps look at your RNG to see if there's something going on there.

K.Chplr says ...
Dec 11, 2014 @ 7:13pm

@Fnkee - Displaying the highscore in game sounds like a good idea :)

@taviandir - The purpose of the focus mode is to slow down and display the actual hitbox of the player (which is smaller than its sprite). I'll add a note about this feature in the game description.

@victorafael - The hitbox of the player is smaller than its sprite, but all the hitboxes are square, even those of the bullets. Maybe the confusions comes from there, I'll have to test using round hitboxes in the postjam.

@RockhopperGames - Yes, there's definitely something going on with the enemy glueing itself to the sides of the screen at times. The issue is likely with how the enemy movement is limited to the inside the screen.

Dietrich Epp says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 12:36am

You're right, this is hard! I love the background drone though, and the patterns are hypnotic even if they seem a bit unfair at times. I noticed that the enemy would stick to the very right edge of the screen sometimes.

ChuiGum says ...
Dec 13, 2014 @ 11:04pm

It was very difficult, but it was fun! Good job

Dec 14, 2014 @ 11:50am

I've always been pretty horrible at bullet hells and this is no different. I can't seem to last very long but still couldn't help but keep trying to make it further, which is a definite sign you've achieved making a bullet hell. Liked the way you could use the focus to see your hitbox, was a nice touch.

6DownStudios says ...
Dec 16, 2014 @ 10:48pm

Crazy hard but very fun! Projectile patterns make for some really close calls, which is great. Really nice ambient track and the graphical effect in the background is awesome!

cxsquared says ...
Dec 22, 2014 @ 10:08pm

Crazy hard but really fun. the graphic style is really cool. Good work.

Bemmu says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 1:06pm

Really hard, but fun.

Sh1rogane says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 2:20pm

Extremely hard but it was fun. I do think that either the hit box was a bit too big or some of the patterns was too hard (at least sometimes when it switches)

KK says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 2:38pm

Overall this is a fun game, but there's some problem with keyboard input. It got stuck when I press both up and right.

Linkigi says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 3:07pm

Lots of fun. Works perfectly on firefox for me. You got me replaying quite a few times until I hit 29900.

nassi says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 6:17pm

Quite barebones, but still pretty cool. Most of those patterns were too hard for me though.

XTremEive says ...
Dec 23, 2014 @ 10:20pm

So many bullets.

redoxkun says ...
Dec 29, 2014 @ 12:02pm

Nice game, quite hard. The music is quite a pain...

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