Ludum Dare 32 — April 17th-20th, 2015 — Theme: An Unconventional Weapon

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Avian Days

by esayitch - Compo Entry

PLAYTHROUGH (in case game is too hard, or you just wanna see the boss/ending):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90iXR5FJr20&feature=youtu.be

2:42: First Ability.
6:55: Second Ability.
8:21: Third Ability.
9:06: Boss Fight.
10:22: Ending.


Game:
In an eerie dystopia, you play a man on a strange mission, with an even stranger skill set. Develop your bird-taming skills in this focused Metroidvania, where you can use birds to disable enemies, soak up their bullets, serve as platforms over spikes, and most importantly, as means of transportation.

Will you manage to reach the button and rewind time? Will you be able to save yourself and bring your wife back to life?

Instructions:
Arrows to move and jump, X to throw bread crumbs, C to summon birds from the sides, and C+DOWN to summon birds from below (both bird summoning abilities are gained throughout the game, you don't start with them).

About:
This is my 3rd LD, and by far the most stressful. I've never used OGMO before or made a Metroidvania game, so this is a first of sorts. This game was inspired by many talented creators, some of whom are in this community. Among the inspirations for Avian Days: locomalito's work, Robot Wants, birdsong, and Canabalt/FlappyBalt.

Tools:
HaxeFlixel
Paint.net
OGMO
sfxr
autotracker.py

Hope you like it, cheers!

Known issues:
1) I put in a bird limit, but even before that, if the screen is full of birds then the game might get slower...
2) There are a few collision issues relating to the bread crumbs, but they very rarely happen and don't affect gameplay at all.
3) Game is a bit on the hard side... it can be completed in 7-8 minutes for someone who knows where to go... my shortest run so far has been around 20 minutes due to many deaths.

Last note: The only difference between two versions is that the Old version is harder.

Downloads and Links


Ratings

Coolness100%
#46Theme4.18
#130Innovation3.79
#148Mood3.55
#177Graphics3.76
#191Overall3.61
#406Audio2.97
#488Fun3.13
#709Humor2.42

Comments

Nysten says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 2:50pm

Very difficult! I didn't finish it, as I sucked at it, but I did play enough to give a rating. This is an actual game and what a really well made game it is. I have nothing bad to say (of course there is some tweaking, but still).

Kassimkot says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 3:15pm

interesting. maybe a bit too hard for me.

Languard says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 3:16pm

Not a fan of the ultra precise platforming needed, but the concept is good.

Suese says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 4:33pm

I love the concept and the birds look really nice. Mechanically it's a bit fidgety.

stevenlr says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 4:55pm

Pretty good game, definitely a solid entry. The graphics, the mood and the audio are very coherent. The game is indeed quite hard. I like that we're not too guided but we have the necessary information to play.
Level design-wise, there are a few problems, mainly jumps that are quite difficult to achieve (sometimes when you have a wall above you).
I like the somewhat open-worldness.
I didn't get to the end unfortunately, some parts are really frustrating, but maybe I'm just bad.
Really good entry anyway! :)

DarkMeatGames says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:03pm

Really solid entry. Interesting, unique mechanic, and a really deep gameplay with the multiple abilities. As others said, controls were a bit fussy and unforgiving. Really nice job!

sawyerWeld says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 5:07pm

Very difficult, but fun.

Madball says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 6:11pm

That's interesting. It's a complete and polished game, but I still has critics to say. I love metroidvanias, and there are two things I like in them:
1) that feeling when you quickly pass through an area you was struggling with before and
2) beautiful and often obscure scenery.
Your game barely has any of this. Well there is one more thing I like: open-worldness, you wonder which way should you go to progress, and your game has it.

It felt a bit too hard, but I completed it anyway. Well, I skipped the part before you gain the ability to fly up, because you can get a bit higher with horizontal birds, which allows you to steal the power-up from the bottom. (I completed it afterwards)

I like the abilities, they are so fresh. Especially after you realise you can spam bread to gain temporary invincibility, but one mistake and it backfires. But later abilities aren't quite useful, I only used flying up to get to the boss. Also, the boss wasn't interesting for me, I kept throwing bread at him and eventually killed him.

I found some bugs. Sometimes when you hit a spike, the game stutters. Also, you can die from the bottom part of spikes - not really a bug, but doesn't make sense.
If you throw the bread way below you, birds will spawn on screen. The same thing happens if you summon birds from the left when you are by the right edge of the world.

In general, I liked the game and the story, and especially the weapon, but I'd like to see something more explorational.

Phil Strahl says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 9:59pm

Too hard for me, but really interesting theme. The graphics are confidently stylish and the overall mood reminds me of walking through a futuristic version of Arstotzka from "Papers, Please". The music and sound effects are also fitting and the atmosphere. To players who suck (like myself), a health bar would have been nice to help you progress through the first part (I never made it to another checkpoint), because I am sure there's an interesting game waiting for me, but I'll never know because after my first 50 deaths I pretty much gave up.

furriKira says ...
Apr 20, 2015 @ 10:04pm

I never expected birds will kill you. This is an awesome game though!

talecrafter says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:16am

Wow, that game feels very complete. Good job on doing this in such a short time.
The difficulty was too high for me, but that's not saying much. ;)

esayitch says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:38am

@Nysten: Thanks for the kind words! Aye, the game is pretty hard, I should have made it easier. The Old link is harder, if you can believe it ;).
@Kassimkot: Yeah I noticed that the difficulty was an issue, so that's why I added the video, so people can still experience what the game is all about :D
@Languard: Thanks!
@Suese: Regarding the mechanics... I sort of agree, should have made the collision detection for the spikes better IMO and the player movement feel more fluid.
@stevenlr: I'm glad you liked the sound, I think it's the weakest point personally. Some parts ARE too frustrating (you can see me failing in them repeatedly during my playthrough), so I feel your pain xD
@DarkMeatGames: Thanks! I will probably revisit the controls to make them more fluid :)
@SawyerWeld: That is what I was aiming for, I hope it's not TOO difficult!
@Madball: Wow, great review :D Thanks for having the patience to finish the game! I agree with most of what you said.. some of the issues I didn't notice (like dropping down to the platform and using the birds to climb to the last Upgrade) in time to fix, and the boss was hastily made in an hour, 3 hours before submission and is pretty straightforward and boring to me too... There is also another exploit that allows you to bypass the boss fight xD. I had planned on making a complete area that required you to use the "fly up" ability to bypass the puzzles, but I decided to cut that as otherwise I wouldn't have completed the game on time.
@Phil Strahl: Glad you liked the art! The game is too difficult, so you don't suck per se :). I didn't understand the need for a healthbar though, since you always die in one hit xD.
@furriKira: Well it doesn't stay like that for long ;)
@talecrafter: Thanks! If you want to see the ending but don't have time to keep trying to get there, you can watch the playthrough video xD

Thanks for the insightful comments guys, and good luck in the compo.

Cheers!

Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:50am

Difficult innovative and fun

AdamW says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:56am

The game seems really promising and looks amazing. Sadly the oversized hit box kind of ruined it for me.

Cheshyr says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 12:42pm

bread throw mechanic was a great take on the theme. seems to be a really solid platformer; nice work!

Reccy says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 12:59pm

I really liked the concept and the game felt very polished. The controls are tight, but the game is just too difficult. Still a good game though.

Hamsternator says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 1:09pm

Really tricky to get used to the mechanics, but when you do it's a really interesting concept =)
Some areas still felt a wee bit too hard but with enough stubborness you can get past them.

Nice ending as well =)

nuprahtor says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 1:13pm

One of the greatest takes on the theme.
I would suggest to add a small delay on respawning after death.

Phil Strahl says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 3:58pm

esayitch: "I didn't understand the need for a healthbar though, since you always die in one hit xD." -- I meant that taking damage doesn't instantly kill you right away instead takes health away, hence the use of a health bar. I could have been more clear with that, sorry :)

esayitch says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 5:44pm

Ohhhh... Yeah that might have helped curb the difficulty a bit xD

Tanser says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:42pm

The concept is incredible. Best theme fit I have seen so far.

Dege says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:43pm

I really liked the idea, it's a bit difficult and it feels weird whend you get back to the checkpoint.. but really great game!

HotBoxGames says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 6:52pm

Yeah that was totally too hard for me, i really like the birds except the part where they killed you, I also kept running into death repeatedly after dying because the reset happened so fast. The graphics were pretty though.

local minimum says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:31pm

This was way way to hard. Especially as beginnings goes, but also with respect to collision detection on the spikes and such. Needs to be more forgiving towards the player. I really liked the bird feeding as weapon and I would have loved to get to play with it, but I didn't get past the introductory phase. And while I'm not a great platform-player, it's far from the first one I've played. Since I saw so little of the game, I can't give more feedback, but I did really like the birds!

esayitch says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 7:52pm

@AdamW: Yeah I hear ya, it still needs some fine-tuning :)
@Cheshyr: Thanks!
@Reccy: Yup, needs a better difficulty curve xD
@Hamsternator: Thanks!
@nuprahtor: Thanks for the feedback, I may add a delay as suggested xD
@Tanser: You are too kind :D
@Dege: Yeah there is an issue with the death sound playing a lot of times. Thanks!
@HotBoxGames: Birds stop killing you when you get the first upgrade :P Thanks for playing :)
@local minimum: Yeah, spike collision needs some fine-tuning... I played it so much during testing that I got used to that, but I need to work on it. Note that since the game is very difficult, I added a playthrough video so that you can sort of experience the game all the way to the ending if you like.

HuvaaKoodia says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 9:39pm

I strongly urge you to focus on the puzzle side of the action-puzzle-platformer genre. The bread crumb throwing and using flocks of birds as as tools are very interesting mechanics that the twitchy, slippery, imprecise movement system and extremely fast death machines do no justice.

In other words, the ratio between figuring out what to do and pulling it off is lopsided.

On a more specific note, consider making the bird nonlethal from the get-go. The speed of the projectiles and the delay it takes for enemies to recover from bird attacks are also too fast. Controlling the bread crumb tossing with mouse would come in handy as well.

bentglasstube says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 11:42pm

It seemed like a cool game but I couldn't really get very far due to the difficulty (played the old version). The spikes seemed to easy to bump into even when being careful. The graphics were great and reminded me of Canabalt

nihilaleph says ...
Apr 21, 2015 @ 11:57pm

Great job! I loved the theme, the mood and all! Like most people here, I can't beat it, too hard for me xp I'll watch the video for sure!

Apr 22, 2015 @ 12:04am

I like the idea of using birds as weapons and transportation. The sounds were super annoying at times and having a health bar would have been nice.

asobi tech says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 8:57am

Excellent work. love the art style and good use of bird related mechanics.

Apr 22, 2015 @ 9:06am

This is a very hard game, but a very clever and well designed one! Great job!

iSamurai says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 10:08am

It's a pity I don't have a windows to try out your game, but it looks nice. The birds gameplay is also creative.

Embalaje says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 11:59am

An EXCELENT game. Totally my kind of game.
It`s hard, very, and i`m still on it...need a break because need to breath, but I want to beat it.
Those birds are very thought-out, it´s fantastic...

That's the kind of game that illustrate that is not all about graphics.

As I read bellow: A solid entry

natalye says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 2:42pm

Really cool. The game was indeed very difficult, so I played a bit and then watched the playthrough, but I think I'll try playing it again at some point and getting further on my own.
It's very well done, the mechanic with the birds is original and works pretty smoothly, and I liked the graphic style very much (the Hitchcock reference really added to the mood).
Some notes:
1. You have a "tutorial" of sorts in the beginning where you see text explaining some of the basics of the game, but even at that early point it's easy to die, and that interferes with the tutorial a bit. I only realized later that the first bullet gun only shoots to a certain distance, it's a bit weird how the bullets just disappear at a certain point.
2. The text "Remember, if you run out of bread, kill yourself or switch checkpoints" - this wasn't so clear and it took a while for me to realize that getting a new checkpoint also replenished the bread.
3. When riding birds, I think it would be cool to change the character so he looks like he's actually sitting on a bird, this way they'll look less like moving platforms, and you shouldn't be able to fall off them.
4. A better visual cue for entering the boss fight (indicating that you now have unlimited bread) would help. Also, the text about the birds not being able to get through the shield confused me - makes it sound like they aren't actually doing him damage.

Loved the ending.
This feedback is on very specific things since overall I thought the game was great, very impressive!

P.S. Didn't rate on Humor since I don't think the game was supposed to be funny.

Ludonaut says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 5:54pm

Interesting concept. A bit too hard maybe, but still, well done!

fixitteam says ...
Apr 22, 2015 @ 7:51pm

Awesome game!
Really solid gameplay that comes with nice art and audio.

ehtd says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 1:32am

Nice game, we had the same, yet different idea.

phi6 says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 10:32am

I also made a Metroidvania, although not as innovative as yours. I was on the lookout to play similar games to compare and study and I am glad I found yours! Physics feels just right, graphics are lovely and the bird/bread mechanic is really innovative.

That said, it was very difficult and I didn't manage to get to the end boss - but I enjoyed watching your walkthrough video nonetheless. Good job! And I would appreciate your feedback on my entry as well :)

yuigoto says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:16am

Nice work using a monochromatic palette, nice work with HaxeFlixel also! :3

You said you never made a metroidvania? You nailed it in a pretty neat way! The level design is really nice and using bread + birds as a weapon and other things is a good concept, really good! :P

And, last, it's hard, but it's GOOD! :3 I couldn't finish because I became frustrated with the zig-zag of cannons, but I'm sure gonna play it again until I get past this area! :P

6DownStudios says ...
Apr 23, 2015 @ 11:29pm

Very cool mechanic, and a good difficulty curve with the platforming obstacles. Bird-riding's quite cool, and the reuse/overlap of map areas when these abilities are introduced is great level design. Well done!

pistolshrimps says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 1:27pm

really good!

Apr 24, 2015 @ 1:30pm

We liked this game. Simple art and mechanics, but really hard! We liked the mood somehow. Good job!

Krunoslav says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 1:34pm

Very hard game! Nice gray graphics and movements. I liked it.

DeadFragment says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 2:53pm

A very difficult game, I felt as though the first jump was a little too hard to make and that some of the mechanics were a little hard to understand. But a very unique concept and definitely an unconventional weapon.

-Neith

runvs says ...
Apr 24, 2015 @ 7:30pm

Super nice graphic style as well as gameplay mechanics. the music is great, but sound effects are sometimes a bit too loud (and annoying).
Nevertheless a great game with nice puzzles!

Ryusui says ...
Apr 25, 2015 @ 6:32am

Unforgiving platforming but clever concept and mechanics. I hope I'm not the only one who looked at that ridiculous sequence with the back-and-forth spiked tunnels and decided to sequence break the hell out of it (I jumped down to the platform below the power-up and used the birds to climb up to it). XD

Apr 25, 2015 @ 9:43am

That level layout is great, liked the you must go down part, thought it was nicely done. The simple colour choice also worked really well. Those birds are a helpful bunch.

siryakko says ...
Apr 26, 2015 @ 8:23am

Really excellent game, the controls and precision needed can be a bit frustrating for me but ok

SaintHeiser says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 2:21am

This game is unbelievably hard. I gave up at second part where I should pass on top through another very thin coridor of canons. Game mechanics very good and weapon is really unconventional.It's pity that there isn't sound and music.

jsmars says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 7:25am

Really nice game overall but a bit too difficult, I'm all for difficult platformers but some areas were just too frustrating so sadly I couldn't finish it.

Jwatt says ...
Apr 28, 2015 @ 7:40am

I don't see a reason why the bread is a limited resource. There's no way to collect it, and the game even explicitly tells you to respawn to get more, so the pressure of bread running out feels pointless. Besides, being able to carelessly create bridges would make traversing things like those spikes less clumsy and eliminate undeserved deaths.

And a bit more about undeserved deaths. Right at the start of the game, the hectic nature of the controls becomes apparent when trying to jump over a sensor but also over the birds. You could tone it down so that you stay airborne a bit more during jumps, so you have better control over your airtime. Fidgety character physics like these are for games like Super Meat Boy, this could've done with a more relaxed and moody feel to it, starting right from the controls.

The traps quickly become overkill, with little room to utilize the birds, and so it's in this weird state where it's temporarily a hectic platformer between bits of exploration. Give yourself the permission to make this an honest artsy-fartsy exploration game - it feels like you were compelled to add the usual tricks and traps just for the sake of it being a platformer.

All in all, these are flaws that can be easily fixed. I'm resorted to pointing them out not because I hate the game, but because I want to see you fix them. I can't honestly rate this below 4/5 as it stands, taking into account some unnecessary frustration and a slight lack of focus. I appreciate how there were a few clever uses for the birds, and it's trying to be moody in a way, but the impression is damaged by the previously mentioned out-of-place platforming cliches and the obvious Autotracker music. (Yes, people *do* notice.)

To sum it up, it's a solid idea with flawed execution, and this warrants my seal of "please develop this further".

ChronusZ says ...
Apr 29, 2015 @ 2:08am

This game is so polished that I'm baffled as to how you finished. Mechanics are great, concept is amazing, art is simple but the aesthetic is very well designed and very consistent. Amazing game :-)

Tselmek says ...
Apr 29, 2015 @ 1:03pm

Pretty interesting mechanics, yet some passages are really hard and I got stuck fairly quickly. Tweaking the difficulty, level design, might make the game more enjoyable to play. The graphics are very nice and the sounds are great. Good job.

esayitch says ...
Apr 29, 2015 @ 9:40pm

@bentglasstube: Yeah, graphics were inspired by Canabalt :) Spikes are too "wide" currently, something that was improved in the post-compo version, but they are still pretty hard to bypass xD. Thanks!
@nihilaleph: Thanks! Yeah it needs fine-tuning :) Cheers!
@rectangular Tim: Yeah I think sounds are the weakest aspect of the game :(. I've 0 talent in that department.
@asobi tech: Cheers!
@RobotHoboDanceParty: Glad you liked it :D
@iSamurai: Yeah, it was supposed to be a flash game but it was too slow in flash :(
@Embalaje: Thanks for your kind words :D
@natalye: Heya, first of all thanks a lot for the time you took to write that out, I really appreciate that input. The tutorial is WAY too difficult, I agree... I sort of became used to the mechanics that for me it is trivial but for someone unfamiliar with them, it can prove to be very hard... same goes for most of the game actually. Agreed about a bird riding mechanic, but falling off of them is part of the difficulty xD I was originally planning on creating puzzles involving bird movement that the player would have to leap between the birds to stay alive, and could tumble and fall as well, but I didn't get around to that.
Thanks a lot for the input again, I'm glad you liked it xD
@Ludonaut: Thanks!
@fixitteam: Cheers :)
@ehtd: Haha, birds rock >.>
@phi6: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) (played your game btw, really liked it xD)
@yuigoto: Haha, you are too kind :D I still need to work on a difficulty curve that is sane and normal, not one that starts off hard and ends up being very hard xD
@6DownStudios: Cheers :D!
@pistolshrimps: Thanks!
@Midnight Creators: Thanks :)
@Krunoslav: Yup, need to tone down the difficulty.
@DeadFragment: Yeah, I need to make it more accessible. Tutorial area was done a few hours before the deadline, so it is difficult and rushed.
@runvs: Thanks a bunch :D Yeah sound effects are annoying, and imo music is pretty bad as well :S
@Ryusui: Haha xD No you're not the only one, you're the third who told me about it :D
@Franklin's Ghost: :)
@siryakko: Yeah, need to make the controls less fussy.
@SaintHeiser: Sure there is no sound? There is supposed to be xD But maybe it's good you didn't hear it since it sucks :X
@jsmars: Yeah I understand, I appreciate you putting the effort though xD
@Jwatt: First off thanks for taking the time, I really appreciate this much detail in the feedback :P... regarding bread limitation... it was a performance consideration (too many birds made the game slow down)... and the areas are designed so that between two subsequent CPs you only need 25 crumbs anyways xD. Agreed about the controls and general gameplay "style" though. I preferred to go for a difficult platformer over a moody/artsy game with relaxed platforming but wide expanses to explore simply because I had never done a game like this before, and preferred to complete it... creating difficult puzzles with tight controls is something I know how to do, drawing up different environments and adding a more nuanced tone might have been something I wouldn't have finished on time... if I go back to it more extensively, I will probably combine both xD Sections of exploration/mystery/environment and smaller, tighter, more difficult sections (that will still be easier than the game currently is). And yeah autotracker is pretty obvious xD... I wanted to toy with musagi but I got reallllly stressed towards the deadline... sound is probably the weakest area of the game IMO... and thanks again for the valuable feedback! Cheers :D
@ChronusZ: I almost didn't (finish) :P thanks a lot for the kind words :)
@Tselmek: Yeah agreed about the difficulty, needs toning down :(

May 6, 2015 @ 7:15pm

Very difficult from the get go, but at least it always felt like it was my fault like I was dying, and it was clear what I had to do, which is really nice. I didn't manage to finish it, but definitely enjoyed this one.

sputnik says ...
May 7, 2015 @ 4:43pm

Awesome use of the theme, but, man, it's hard! :)

Catwheel says ...
May 7, 2015 @ 6:10pm

Most of the times I got stuck was because I was very carefully placing crumbs, trying not to place too many because I did not know how long until the next check point it was. Might I suggest you have a slow slow regen on bread crumbs, or alternatively, have bread crumbs pickups, just so players , at least early on, get a sense that they can spend them liberally.

Jasonsumm says ...
May 7, 2015 @ 9:16pm

Really cool, interesting concept. Great style! :)

duck says ...
May 8, 2015 @ 9:08pm

Really good, but as others have said... hard!! Great use of the theme though, and it is fun. I played it for quite a while but couldn't finish it. But I enjoyed it so I'll keep it and try again :)

reiknight says ...
May 10, 2015 @ 8:56am

Wow this game is so hard but fun!

May 10, 2015 @ 4:02pm

Solid idea and overall package, a bit too hard for me though

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