I plan to go into a little more detail this time with each issue, describing a way that I think would work to counteract the negative side of things. Anyway, picking up where I left off...
|Not at all like a dice game in this context.|
Another game mechanic that was unclear was how the character would react to being exposed to water. One of the first rooms has a lot of water between platforms, with enemies constantly popping up to make sure it's not too easy to get to the other side. Again, an issue solved by trial and error, when you fall into the water for the first time (probably an accident), you see that the character safely floats in water. It's nice that the learning process here happens so very quickly, but the player shouldn't have to dive in to see what happens. It's tricky to think about how it could have been explained beforehand without explicitly telling the player "you float in water", but maybe water should be introduced for the first time a bit later in the game, and there could be some handwaving before the player gets there. Something like having another character say to him "don't forget to tread water if you need to cross a lake"...that's pretty bad writing, but it just popped into my head.
Just as a note about this, to really drive home the point of not knowing what to expect from water as even a seasoned veteran of the genre, in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (which was the first Castlevania series game to use this style), water causes great harm to the player for every second he remains in it until acquiring special abilities late in the game.
|The low ceiling makes it impossible to avoid the water here. Sink or swim!|
The way I look at it, these things may not necessarily take away from the fun of the game, but they certainly don't add to it. Look, I'm not saying that these game elements don't have their charms, but it really seems like there's a little bit of game designer vs. player going on here. It's the designer's job to make sure the player is challenged, but fighting the game mechanics isn't anywhere near as fun as fighting through challenging enemies and solving challenging puzzles.
There's still more to come, so tune in next time for more insight on how to hopefully use the past as a map to the future.