Warp Factory is an automation puzzle game in which the player must build factories to produce various shapes and patterns, as well as to perform more dynamic tasks. It features a system of portals that allow one to cut apart and reconnect space in paradoxical - and productive - ways. Works on Windows 10 or Mac (OS 10.14 or higher)(Also, as another social link, we have a Discord server: https://discord.gg/yWgEqynPYt)
This is a neat idea - I played through once (defeating 22 enemies) and I like the mechanic of combining pairs of "cards" in a deck - particularly when that meant that I had to make decisions of which combo to use a tile in when I only had one of a tile; that mechanic feels like something to focus on in the design of the game, since it seems like a strong point.
1. I spent a lot of time just cycling through combinations of things to try to remember what they did; I'm not sure "the player remembers it" is a viable way to handle pairings. There's probably a lot of ways to handle this - even just showing the player what their options are would be a great help, but I suppose there's lots of combinations (36?) so that could be unwieldily. Other solutions might be to give a more firm character to each icon (e.g. how gift boxes are mostly about defense and trees about attack - I didn't really pick up on meaning from the others). Something needs to be improved here - as it stands, this is an obstacle holding the player back from the information they need to act strategically.
2. The playing experience is rather monotonous - something needs to break up the sequence of similar fights. Lots of ways to do that - bosses or shops might be a nice addition (thinking about how Slay the Spire does it). It could also help to add some elements of rarity (e.g. rare tiles/spells or even just weird enemies that don't do the normal things). I also felt that losing felt a lot like winning, except with a gradual net decline in health over time - it'd be more fun to set up situations from which the player might lose catastrophically rather than in some cold statistical way of "less healing than damage" - and, again, bosses or more varied enemies would help with that, as could sectioning the fights in some way (e.g. so that the question becomes "can I finish this section without dying" not "if my health keeps declining at this rate, I'll be dead in 8 fights").
I love the ambiance of this game - I feel like the graphics are quite clear in communicating what the player needs to know, but still quite classy and with lots of nice little touches. The music fits in quite nicely too.
As others have said, I agree that decreasing the difficulty after the first death is a bit harsh - it kind of felt like I didn't get a chance to really try out some levels because of that. I'd also like to see more different kinds of difficulty - it mostly seemed to do with jumping precisely, which could sometimes be a bit tricky (I think, in part, because the square has a fair bit of momentum/sliding - maybe there's some room to tighten up the controls; I'm not precisely sure what felt odd, but something did). I wouldn't mind other kinds of challenge - maybe to do more with timing (e.g. if platforms appeared/disappeared or moved), especially since that might make going fast (as the time goals want) a bit more interesting than just doing something, uh, faster.
Another thing I wonder about is if not succeeding could have a more interesting consequence - I could imagine, for instance, the mechanics of this game working really well if the levels were designed to be significantly different depending on unlocked abilities - and maybe even allowing players to progress to a different exit given enough ability. This might be a bit removed from the game as it exists, but could be an interesting way to expand it into a longer game if that's a goal.
I was a bit confused for half a second before I figured out how to move - but I was quite happy to see that this was a game where the stage rotates around me - I was expecting some sort of platformer, but this mechanic is way better and reminds me of those wooden tilting maze toys. I think to play into this strength, it'd be good to design levels thinking about momentum and making the player see the level from different angles (in a literal way, I suppose).
I'm not exactly sure what the controls are doing - it feel like movement in the game is a some combination of rotation and actual directly shifting the character around and that the direct shifts aren't consistent. My guess is that what's happening is that the stage is rotating around some fixed pivot while the player remains constant - which leads to the perception of linear motion for the player when they are far from the pivot. Likely, this could be improved by making it so that the stage always pivots around the player (or moving the player along with the stage - which is roughly equivalent). This might also let the levels work better - I wanted to try going through the spiny obstacles in the third level, but I couldn't really get myself off of the outside.
(Also, I'm not sure this is hosted how you meant it to be - the link just gave me a folder and I had to run a server on localhost to play it; not a huge deal if one is used to these things, but it'd probably be better to host it online. I'm pretty sure itch.io offers free hosting of unity games, though I've never personally used it)
Thanks for the feedback!
1. That's a good point - I certainly had noticed I spend a lot of time joining things. I'll experiment with that - the obvious thing would be to just make placed blocks join by default to their neighbors and have that behavior easily toggleable for when one needs to be precise (which is very often in the later levels). If that turns out to be too cumbersome, I could also try making blocks placed in one mouse drag join to each other (or combine these two ideas somehow)
2. Yeah, I'm trying to figure that element of design out - I definitely want to keep a fast track open for confident players, but not force others to face an impossible difficulty curve; I think I ultimately might beef up the Practicum chapter a bit and add something between the Practicum & Assembly I where the requirements of the player are something between "understands portals + welders" and "understands everything" - perhaps focusing on individual active components in the way the tutorial does, but letting the player work solutions out for themselves.
3. That might partially be improved by addressing (2) - the idea of adding documentation in wiring mode is sensible. Perhaps I can come up with some way to make the operation of electricity more visible to the player when the factory is running - having wiring running invisibly does not help the player understand.