It’s been about a month since the release of my free browser game Overrwyrld, and since the launch in July I’ve passed it by a few different groups of family, friends, and other developers. I was really excited to see what people thought, although it’s funny how certain things can get past you when you get too close to a project.
“I tried playing it, wandered around for a bit, and couldn’t figure out how to do anything” – Stephen Lavelle (Creator of PuzzleScript)
Feedback was mixed from the start, but the general message was that while the game had some good ideas (and the influence of Michael Brough’s Corrypt was happily being noticed), it was all a bit confusing as far as what’s going on. Couple that with my novice level knowledge of the PuzzleScript language and you have things that happen without really allowing the player time to comprehend the events on screen.
The great news is that I’ve taken a lot of the constructive feedback and have worked out various ways to make the game even better; not only to make the game a bit more user-friendly, but to expand on the game itself! In fact, with so many changes since July 1st, it’s practically a new game!
Overrwyrld Version 1.53 includes the following updates since launch:
- A new hint system
- Faster walking speed
- Revised power tutorial areas featuring forced encounters
- New animations for burning and swimming
- Visible indicators for burned and burnable trees to eliminate guessing
- A brand new ending sequence with all powers active
- Story! There’s a story now! (a small one)
- Many many more little adjustments and fixes
- NOTHING IS RANDOM
Old (Left) vs New (Right) – Random rock and tree interactions were removed; everything now serves a purpose.
Old (Left) vs. New (Right): Trees now contain a visual puzzle element instead of blind guessing.
Old (Left) vs. New (Right): Hints are available and tutorials were revised to force players into encountering the mechanics on purpose.
I was initially against the idea of making the game more accessible with text hints. Truth be told, this project started out as a game with no words at all; I’d hoped the player would make their way through the world relying on context clues with colors, sounds, and terrain to guide them. That may be a project for another day, as I’ve already moved past my own “kill your darlings” moment and have come to love the little hint signs I’ve left across the map. Instead of relaying where the player is supposed to go, I’ve used my hints to not only provide some needed context behind the mechanics, but to also inject a little humor into the experience making the game a little more lighthearted.
I’m also really proud of how the new ending sequence came out, as through various tweaks and changes (move this tree here, put another wall there, etc…) the entire map is now imbued with a collective sense of purpose. There’s a purpose behind every panel; a purpose behind every rock; a purpose behind every tree! With thanks to the various mechanics at play, there is eventually a puzzle that spans the entire Overrwyrld!
If you’ve given the original Overrwyrld a try, I’d say this new update is worth a go even if you’ve made it to the end in the past. And if you haven’t yet played Overrwyrld, there’s never been a better time!