Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.

Nathan

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Shredded Secrets


 With the end of the year approaching I wanted to share two of the contract games I helped ship this year. They are not the normal "Mommy's Best" insane action games, but still very cool on their own. 

Both games were made for Girls Make Games, an organization that works with young girls to encourage them to get into game development. These two games were made based on very popular Kickstarter campaigns to fund their development. (No I didn't get paid all that money, lol.) I charged a fairly low, Midwestern rate for the very nice GMG team! Today I'll talk about the first game we finished.

Shredded Secrets is a story-based platformer with 4 interconnected stories about 3 students and a teacher living their lives and struggling in school. Each character has their own troubles, and some of the stories even intertwine. The original girl team came up with the concept and the characters and Girls Make Games people produced the game. I helped form the gameplay for each characters. I'm proud that we created some new gameplay--new action moves for a platformer! 


 The first character Isabella is being bullied by the other kids in school. This is shown by visible insults flying through the air at her. The art was created by Katie Longua and it is adorable. 

 

Isabella can "block insults" by holding the action button. And she can even "reflect insults" back at the bullies if you tap the button just before being hit. I came up with that one. Isabella can jump and explore through each school level, and it plays like a platformer, but feels a little different, as you interact with the school kids some. You also find lost items that relate to your character. As you find new items, and visit checkpoints more of the story is revealed, and most of it is fully voice-acted!

The sounds, music, and voice acting is by Team Audio and is well done and helps elevate the game.

There are 4 levels for each of the 4 characters. 

The next character is Oakley the bully who is meanest to Isabella! You get to discover his secret, and some of the reasons he feels compelled to be so mean. His action is to shoot insults at other kids! I helped push that idea. It's fun, in a cruel way, because you can make regular non-bullies cry. But you can also attack bullies with insults. 


The big twist with Oakley is you can eventually evolve into getting to pick between insults or compliments! Eventually you learn you can tame your demons by actually helping, not hurting.

 

 

Next up is Taylor, a smart kid tortured by less than perfect grades. He's obsessed with grades and tests, and eventually his mind distorts his perception of the school, so he sees evil grades attacking him! His ability is to throw a school book like a boomerang. I borrowed this gameplay from Ninja Gaiden, the yellow boomerang powerup. It's very fun. You can even jump over the book and keep it swinging around you, attacking the evil grades. 

 

The final and fourth character is a teacher, named London. She is feeling overwhelmed at work, and has some troubles at home. Her interesting ability is to offer praise and help on people in the form of flying, arcing happy projectiles. But if you overdo it, and give too much of yourself, she gets tired and you have to calm down for a bit.


I did the level design and most of the code for the game. The level layouts is basic platforming stuff, pretty fun, and has some nice secrets. There are even some bosses in the game, and the team managed to sneak a shoot-em up level in there! (Taylor, level 3).


 It was a short project, but it is pretty good as a story-platformer, as you keep wanting to read more and find out how all the characters turn out. And if you play to the end, I finished with a final level that references the "Zombies Ate My Neighbors" credits level (if you remember that one!)
 

Check it out on Steam. I don't make any more money from it (I was paid to work on it at the time, no royalties). But it good to see an example of story used in a platformer, giving some fun retro gameplay, not too hard, but challenging enough, that is connected by interested characters.

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