Game Analysis: Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox video game. Players live in a blocky, procedurally generated 3D world.

“Prepare for an adventure of limitless possibilities as you build, mine, battle mobs, and explore the ever-changing Minecraft landscape.”

https://www.minecraft.net/en-us/about-minecraft

Lens of Freedom

Since Minecraft is a sandbox game that has no specific goals to accomplish, you have a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game! For example, you could play to kill monsters, build cities, raise pets, automate things, explore dungeons, socialize with friends, etc.

For new players, this amount of freedom might be overwhelming. Luckily, the developers added a way to “win” the game: defeat a boss called the ender dragon, giving new players a goal to work towards.

I recall having to scour the world for resources, crafting tools and weapons to make myself stronger. At night, monsters come out to attack me, therefore I built walls to keep monsters out of my base! I had to spelunk in order to find ores to upgrade my tools and weapons, which was quite scary because the caves are very dark ☹. I also had to visit two other dimensions, the nether and the end, before fighting the ender dragon.

The boss fight was very intense because I had to make a lot of preparations before fighting it. It deals a lot of damage therefore I needed the best equipment to fight it. Also, the constant fear of dying and losing everything makes it even more frightening. Eventually, I defeated the boss, which was relieving and gave me a huge sense of accomplishment. However, it did not feel like the end, as there is still so much to do and explore!

Lens of Friendship

Minecraft also has multiplayer support, allowing me to play with my friends over the internet! This is my favorite feature because I love to play with my friends. There is a chat box which allows me to talk to them no matter how far away they are in the game.

Multiplayer also makes the gameplay very diverse because everybody is different and prefer doing different things, such as building, exploring, fighting, mining, etc. I love to build, so it is even more fun to build with my friends! It is also fun to go occasionally on adventures together. It is interesting to watch my friends doing things I’m not very good at and learning from them. I can ask my friends for help, for example to go spelunking together which makes it less scary! In fact, only with my friend’s cooperation, we defeated the ender dragon together.

There are also public Minecraft servers which anybody can join and play! There are many things you can do, such as looking at other people’s creations, play mini-games and make friends!

Lens of Story

One aspect of Minecraft that seems to be lacking is the story. Some people might find it difficult to play a game with a lack of character depth and story, as there is nothing else compelling enough to play the game. There are some things in the game that don’t make sense or are out of place, such as what is the ender dragon and why should I defeat it? However, the developers have been putting in effort to give some life to Minecraft, by creating another game called Minecraft: Story Mode.

“In Minecraft: Story Mode, players control Jesse, who sets out on a journey with his or her friends to find The Order of the Stone—four adventurers who slayed an Ender Dragon—in order to save their world.”

Lens of Technology

There are two main versions of Minecraft. Minecraft is written in Java, while Minecraft: Bedrock Edition is written in C++. Java was used for quick initial development of the game, while C++ was used for its performance benefits.

Minecraft is a video game particularly known for its adaptability for modifications, additional content for the game, known as “mods”. However, the Java edition actually does not have an official modding API, even though they announced they were making one since 2012. On a positive note, in 2016, Mojang announced their official support of mods for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, where they are known as “add-ons”.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Description

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game developed by FromSoftware, which is famously known for their difficult Dark Souls series. The game is set in the Sengoku period in Japan, and follows a shinobi known as Wolf as he attempts to take revenge on a samurai clan who attacked him and kidnapped his lord.

Links

Steam Store page – https://store.steampowered.com/app/814380/Sekiro_Shadows_Die_Twice/

Lens 7: The Elemental Tetrad

Sekiro is a very modern game that utilizes cutting edge technology in video games. Such technology provides very pleasing aesthetics and satisfying mechanics for the players to view and explore.

The mechanics are tight and tolerant to player errors. The animation transitions are smooth and provide a good aesthetic. The story is good and sets up an interesting world for the player to explore.

The harmony between aesthetics, story, mechanics and technology helps to reinforce each other and provide a cohesive and enjoyable experience to the player.

Lens 31: The Lens of Challenge

As per tradition, FromSoftware does not give the players any option to adjust the difficulty of the game. Critics will always argue for easy mode, but from the game design perspective, the challenge is the gameplay. It should be normal for a player to die repeatedly to an enemy numerous time. The player should then figure out that a head-on attack is not the best strategy, and should leverage on the game’s “sneak attack” mechanic to cut the boss health bar by half, making the boss fight much more easier.

The player character about to stealth attack the enemy

Lens 26: The Lens of Rules

To continue on from the previous lens, part of the challenge is to figure out the rules of the games. Despite the complexity of the game, Sekiro runs on a strict set of rules. For example, if the player performs a perfect parry, the player will never be staggered by the enemy attacks. These rules are fun for novice players to discover, and entertaining for the more advanced players to repeatedly exploit.

Lens 68: The Lens of the Hero’s Journey

Maybe part of what makes Sekiro a great game is also in its story. FromSoftware’s storytelling has always been indirect, told through the world around the main character, and perhaps that was what made it great. In Sekiro, Wolf’s story is akin to Vogler’s Synopsis of the Hero’s Journey. Wolf heeds the call to adventure (2), and is immediately struck down by the second boss encounter of the game (8). Wolf recovers and gains a prosthetic limb, which offers extra options to combat (9). Finally, Wolf embarks on a journey full of perils in order to save his lord (10-12).

Hallelujah.

Bioshock Infinite. This is a mind-blowing FPS that strongly interweave narrative and A.I. together in this shooter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSDDE3ICLhA This link provides an in-depth behind the scenes which are skippable to get a gauge on what features are available.

It might seem like this game is a tiringly long escort mission. But the way that this game provides the lens of experience seeks to redefine this genre. The AI can help and stay out of the way seamlessly, which is surprisingly refreshing for escort missions. For example, the AI can help find ammo or toss us health packs during different stages of the battle, which is helpful and provide a sense of relief in the middle of the battle. This makes me appreciate the AI more rather than find it to be a burden. Furthermore, one can also observe that the AI also interacts with the environment when I am idling. This further immerses me in the experience of being in the world and making the AI more humane, which is a sign of a masterful complex AI.

It also provides the lens of surprise and fun. The game is designed with a lot of twists and turns in its narrative, and it carefully builds it up this way and set it up. Therefore, for the uninitiated, it might be worth to check out this game without getting spoiled.

The game also indulges in the lens of curiosity. Being a very imaginative and creative world led by the game’s creative director, it brings much curiosity into the life and culture of living in a different world. The premise is based on a city in the skies, and its colourful nature and hidden political themes bring a lot of depth to the game and make me want to explore more. The answers provided by the narrative rewards our curiosity and make me appreciate the story better,

Combat dynamics brought by environment

This game fulfills the lens of elemental tetrad best by fulfilling almost all requirements. It has a compelling story that is matched with wonderful aesthetics (being cartoony-styled is timeless). The technology is high as well and it explores various fun mechanics of battling in a city in the sky while being futuristic as well. The game mechanics might be a bit straightforward as a shooter, but the rest of the elements more than makeup for this game.

Analysis — BABA IS YOU

Link: https://hempuli.com/baba/

Description:

As described in its official website, Baba Is You is a puzzle game where the rules players have to follow are present as physical objects in the game world.

Baba Is You mainly has two kinds of objects which are text object and real object. The text can be a name, a logic word or a property word. The rules in the game are formalised using three texts. For example, in the sentence BABA IS YOU, [BABA] is a name text which refers to the main character, [IS] is a logic word which means having the property, and [YOU] means the referenced object has the property “controlled by player”. A rule can also be stated as “something is something” or “something has something”.

The winning condition:

The winning condition, of course, is also stated using text objects in the game. Basically, we need to let the place where exists the object, which has the property YOU, also exists an object, which has the property WIN, i.e., YOU IS WIN.

What I’m doing and my feelings:

As a player, I just randomly try different combination of words in the beginning stages. Those tutorial stages are quite friendly. I not only can clear the stage with a limited number of attempts but also get the basic ideas of the game. In the following stages, the difficulty of the game increase quite smoothly. The following stages continually introduce new logic and property words which makes the gameplay very interesting.

Elemental tetrad:

  1. Mechanics : The game is a 2D single-player game with dynamic rules. The rules are determined by how the words objects are arranged.
  2. Story: The game doesn’t really have a story.
  3. Aesthetics: The graphics and music are quite comfortable and dreamlike.
  4. Technology: The basic rules are from Sokoban, but the dynamic rule in the game is very creative.

Lenses:

  1. Essential Experience: The players get pleasure by solving the puzzles.
  2. Surprise, fun: There is a large number of possible combination of words which enables players to have many possible rules. There are a lot of them surprising and fun.
  3. Curiosity: This game inspires players to discover new rules.
  4. Problem Solving: This is a puzzle game.
  5. Holographic Design: All the elements of the game are consistent.
  6. Unification Theme: Every thing in the game reinforce the theme – solve the puzzle by manipulate the rules.

Dead Cells: Analysis through Lenses

Dead Cells is a roguelike, Castlevania-inspired action-platformer, allowing you to explore a sprawling, ever-changing castle… assuming you’re able to fight your way past its keepers. To beat the game you’ll have to master 2D souls-like combat with the ever present threat of permadeath looming. No checkpoints. Kill, die, learn, repeat.

From the dead cells wiki

Elemental Tetrad:

Mechanics:

Dead Cells’ core mechanics are simple, move around the level and kill enemies, while dodging or parrying enemy attacks. The diversity of level layouts, environmental hazards, enemy types and equipment combinations make full use of the core mechanics to create a large variety of challenges and situations for the player to overcome. 

At its core, Dead Cells is a rogue-like. Players are expected to be defeated often, each time starting anew, but with more knowledge of the game and access to persistent upgrades that helps the player progress further through the game. At every corner lurks a new mechanic for the player to master, the game never feels dull.

Story:

The story in Dead Cells is rather light, the player plays as the Beheaded, whose goal is to travel through the levels to hunt the King. The player is not given any prologue or direction at the beginning of the game. Pieces of story and lore are drip fed to the player as they progress through the game, via short cutscenes from interacting with points of interests, or when the player defeats a major boss.

Aesthetics:

The game features grim 2D pixel art graphics and grungy level and enemy design that accurately signals to the user: this game won’t be sunshine and rainbows. 

Technology:

While this game is available on both PC and consoles, it is clear that the game is meant to be played with a controller. 

Lens of Problem Solving: 

A key component of performing well in the game is designing the right build (combination of equipment and skills). Newer players will often find their runs ending very soon due to a lack of damage output or survivability. Seeking out equipment and selecting skills that synergise with each other is a key problem that players will need to solve in order to beat the game, especially at higher difficulties. This game demonstrates good game design, by balancing the skills and equipment such that there are many viable builds. This encourages players who beat the game using a specific build to try out different builds, which lead to refreshing new experiences.

The Lens of Fun:

The core gameplay loop is simple – traverse each level and kill enemies along the way. Killing enemies is not a simple activity of mashing buttons, certain enemies have a special attack to watch out for and the player must dodge or parry at the right time to avoid taking damage. The controls were very well polished, which is essential for an action platformer title. The graphical and aural feedback were well polished as well, the enemies would explode with a satisfying sound when killed, and send bits of enemies flying across the floor. Important gameplay events such as boss fights and leveling up were accompanied with sound effects that gave the player a feeling of strength.

The Lens of Surprise:

The game employs a procedural level generation technique that randomizes the layout of the levels each time. No two runs will be the same. Players will be blessed with good RNG in some runs and encounter tough levels in other runs. 

The Lens of Curiosity:

The game has a minor story component, provided as points of interest scattered across the levels. Interacting with them rewards the player with interesting lore and tidbits about the world they are in. However, the story/lore is not very compelling and almost feels as if it were added as an afterthought and does not contribute very much to the appeal of the game.

Fortunately, the game is still able to intrigue the player’s curiosity. The game features a non-linear level progression, allowing players to explore different biomes on the way to the final boss. The different biomes feature different enemy types as well as a variety of environmental hazards. Furthermore, the game features a large variety of equipment, categorized into melee and ranged weapons, shields, traps, turrets, grenades and powers. Each piece of equipment has a unique effect that synergizes well with certain builds. The player starts out with only the most basic of equipment unlocked. The others are unlocked through a variety of means, including exploration of the game (think secret areas), feats/challenges, killing bosses, random drops etc. Personally, I found this to be the best quality of the game. During my first dozen or so runs, I would experiment with different combinations of equipment, and be excited to test out a newly unlocked equipment.

The Lens of Endogenous Value:

The pickups in the game all provide endogenous value – gold is used to purchase or upgrade equipment, cells are used to unlock new equipment and enhance drop rates of better equipment. Equipment drops are always a welcome sight, as they are scaled to the level and are usually superior to the equipment from a previous level. It is rare that a player will find collecting items to be pointless or a waste of time.

Preferences for VR/AR HMD

For VR HMD I prefer to choose the Oculus Quest all-in-one VR gaming headset. This one sells $399 on Amazon.

All-in-one VR: Simply set up the device with your Oculus mobile app and Oculus Quest has everything you need to explore VR, right out of the box

Insight tracking: Oculus Insight tracking system instantly reflects your movements in VR without the need for any external accessories

Touch controllers: Oculus Touch controllers precisely recreate your hands, their gestures and interactions, so every game is real enough to reach out and touch

Beyond room-scale: Oculus Quest works with your environment, so you can play standing or sitting, in spaces big or small

For AR/MR I prefer HoloLens 2.

HoloLens 2 offers the most comfortable and immersive mixed reality experience available, with industry-leading solutions that deliver value in minutes—all enhanced by the reliability, security, and scalability of cloud and AI services from Microsoft.

Immersive: See more holograms at once through the greatly increased field of view. Read text and see intricate details on 3D images more easily and comfortably with industry-leading resolution.

Ergonomic: Wear HoloLens 2 longer and more comfortably with a dial-in fit system designed for extended use. And keep your glasses on—the headset slides right over them. When it’s time to switch tasks, flip the visor up to step out of mixed reality.

Instinctual: Touch, grasp, and move holograms in ways that feel natural—they respond a lot like real objects. Log in to HoloLens 2 instantly and securely using just your eyes with Windows Hello. And voice commands work even in noisy industrial environments through smart microphones and natural language speech processing.

Untethered: Move freely, with no wires or external packs to get in your way. The HoloLens 2 headset is a self-contained computer with Wi-Fi connectivity, which means that everything you need goes with you while you work.

A woman wearing hololens glass and feels it experience

(I passed the due because I didn’t get this module before 20 Jan. This is a make up homework.)

Songbird Symphony

Game Summary

Website: https://joysteak.com/
Demo: https://joysteak.itch.io/songbird-symphony-v02
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3vmzG3kKbY

Songbird Symphony is a 2D platformer with a rhythmic twist.
Follow an orphaned chick, “Birb”, in his heart-warming journey of discovery, as he sets off to find his true origins. Follow this cheerful little bouncing bird who revels in singing, and guide him through this magical journey of stunning pixel art and gorgeous animation that shapes itself to your musical interactions!Chirp to activate platforms, and sing to the residents of the forest, learning new notes to aid you in captivating rhythm battles against the creatures of this sprawling, enchanting world.

Features

Aesthetics

One might say the biggest draw of this game is its aesthetics. Its beautiful, colorful and cute pixel graphics with adorable characters draw many players in to try the game.

Not only are the visual aesthetics excellent, the game also comes with its own original soundtrack, handcrafted to go hand in hand with the pixel art. The superimposed lyrics are rather meaningful and helps blend the soundtrack into the story.

Story

Songbird Symphony has a heartwarming story which definitely engages the audience’s mood in one way or another.

Birb travels through the forest, exploring and learning new notes from other birds to help him in his quest to find his parents.

Gameplay

While exploring in the magical world of Songbird Symphony, we come across platforming puzzles that we have to solve to progress further. The player also engages in rhythm battles with other birds to either learn new notes or gain progress in their quest.

Songbird Symphony is a platformer with no death but instead focuses on adventure and solving not-so-hard puzzles. Even the rhythmic element was designed specifically to not have a lose condition.

Technology

Songbird symphony is developed in Unity, is very lightweight and has been released on multiple platforms.

Lens #81: The Lens of Character Transformation

  • Birb’s character
    • Starts of as a weak little chick thinking he is a peacock but just different
    • Finds out that Uncle Pea, the peacock, is not actually his parent and becomes extremely emotional
    • Figures out that he is a songbird
    • Becomes empowered by his mother after knowing what had happened to his mother which caused him to be initially abandoned
  • Owl’s character
    • Begins as a mentor to birb
    • Turns out to be the antagonist which wants all songbirds dead
  • The magpies
    • Is the initial obstacle in Birb’s quest to help Owl
    • Turns out to be helping Birb’s mother in attempting to stop Owl’s plans

Lens #68: The Lens of the Hero’s Journey

Birb’s story is certainly one of a Hero’s journey. Starting as an outcast from the peacocks, he journeys through the magical world and slowly figures out his origins, helping other birds along the way. Eventually, he rises up to take out the big bad Owl who caused his initial plight.

Lens #48: The Lens of Accessibility

The game was designed to have accessibility in mind.
Firstly, all the rhythmic elements in the game do not have a fail state, allowing the player to not frustrate over not being able to ace a level in order to progress.
Secondly, all platforming puzzle elements are of increasing difficulty where a puzzle always builds upon previous knowledge.
Lastly, the puzzles are designed not to be difficult as to encourage the player to focus on the story and adventure part of the story.

Lens #49: The Lens of Visible Progress

The player gains more notes as they progress through the game. These notes also increases the difficulty of the rhythmic element of the game. Additionally, optional objects appear throughout the platforming elements of the game in the form of feathers. Players can see that their collection of feathers slowly increase while they progress through the game, each giving the player a small bit of lore into this magical world.

Lens #58: The Lens of Juiciness

The game employs juice as one of its main ways to maintain player engagement. For example, in some sections of the game, the player is required to sync out key presses with the rhythm. The game rewards the player with ripples on the screen and on some occasions, screen shake. This is only one of the myriad of ways the developers of this wonderful game have juiced up the game.

VR/MR review

Mixed Reality

The Hololens 2 allows user to experience what it is like to live in a space where reality and virtuality amalgamate. The Hololens is designed to fit over the user’s spectacle which is something conventional VR/MR headset do not really cater to. The design of the Hololens, in my opinion, is extremely well-done. It looks sleek and expensive, it’s aesthetic is something that one would associate with futuristic technology. It is designed to feel light and comfortable such that it can be worn over long period of time. This feature is essential as it is targeted at enterprises and businesses would look for tools that provide such wearability. One that attracts me the most about the Hololens is the use of the eye tracking and hand tracking. The Hololens does not use controllers to track the movements of the user’s hand. But rather the movement of both the user’s eyes and hands is tracked by the special lens. This feature is extremely unique in the VR/MR market and can serve many functions. As well as provide more user freedom when using it. It makes the navigation more intuitive and the experience more immersive as the user explores the world created by the Hololens. The user can use his hands to interact with virtual 3D objects. This provides the perfect way of teaching someone through an immersive experience. The Hololens aspires to render more complicated 3D objects in the future. I do see this tool being employed in the near-future by businesses in their practices

Virtual reality

7 years ago, Oculus VR is a pioneer in consumer grade virtual reality. They introduced to the world the Oculus Rift which revolutionised many domains in the world. They then introduced their improved version of the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Quest. This is the first wireless VR headset that could fully manipulate the virtual world and provide three degree of freedom (or as commonly known as 3 DOF). The user could fully move in the virtual world as he would in reality. He could crotch, walk or spin in the VR world. And this provides a fully immersive experience for the user. However, instead of a powerful graphic card, the Oculus quest uses a SnapDragon 835 processor which is merely a cellphone CPU. This limits severely the graphic quality provided by this headset. However, the wireless ability of this headset more than makes up for it. 


Analysis of Don’t Starve

Don’t Starve is a survival game where the player aims to survive as many days as they can by managing three conditions: Hunger, Health and Sanity. The player is able to choose from several characters, who each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Game play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9-Wjz_Gn-8
Game’s website: https://www.klei.com/games/dont-starve

Lens #7: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics

  • Rules: If the hunger bar or the health bar reaches 0, the character will die and unless the character had activated a resurrection item, the player must restart the game from Day 1.
    Apart from maintaining the health and hunger bar, there are many other dangers that the player needs to avoid or be prepared for in order to survive.
  • Player actions: Players are able to craft items from a menu and collect items from the map in order to prepare themselves.
  • Goals: The primary goal of the game is to set the highest personal record for the number of days survived. There are also several other goals, like exploring the entire map and solving the puzzles scattered around the map.

Story

  • Back story: Maxwell, the ‘king’ of the The Constant (the playable world), has dragged the player into his world and has forced them to survive within it.
  • The story is not told throughout the game. The player knows the back story and will only know the next part of the story if they manage to complete the game. Hence, players are kept in suspense as they try to survive and complete the game to find out what has happened to their character.

Aesthetics

  • The game has a whimsical, dark look.
  • The animals, environment and music of the game becomes creepier as the Sanity of the character drops.
  • At night, the game heightens the player’s fear of darkness throughout suspenseful music and complete darkness.
The representation of rabbits when sanity is high (left) and when sanity is low (right).
The screen goes completely dark at night. The character is equipped with a torch in this picture.

Technology

  • The character can be controlled fully through mouse and/or keyboard inputs.

Overall, I believe that the game has managed to use each aspect of the Elemental Tetrad to build upon one another and improve the player experience. The technology of the game is simple, which reflects upon the simple goal of the game. The story and aesthetics build suspense and desire for the player to complete the goal of the game. The mechanics and aesthetics works together to strengthen the player’s fear. For example, the rule of the game is that if the player does not find a light source at night in a certain amount of time, a monster that cannot be killed will be spawned and the character will likely die. The light sources that the players must equip will also run out over time. This creates suspense and a real consequence which, paired with the atmospheric tension, heightens the fear that the player experiences when night comes.

Lens #4: The Lens of Curiosity

The player is able to develop many different strategies for each challenge and character in order to survive the game. After each iteration of the game, the player will often wonder how they can tweak their current strategy to survive longer and be more efficient in the next game. Leaving out a tutorial also makes the player more curious as to what comes beyond the current day. The map also has many mysterious items which hint towards a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Lens #31: The Lens of Challenge

The game does not provide a tutorial on how to survive in the world. The player has to experiment and probably die several times in order to gain some experience and survive past the first month. The environment of the game is also constantly changing over time, bringing new challenges to the player. For example, the game has 4 seasons that they cycle through. In Winter, the main challenge is in staying warm and surviving the winter boss. In each iteration of the game, the map also changes. Hence, the game is ever changing and the players will have to figure out how to survive in each iteration. The player also has to figure out by themselves how they can progress forward from the current map. This challenge inspires the players to continue playing and break their own record.

Lens #41: The Lens of Punishment

The game often punishes the players if they do irrational actions. For example, if the player randomly attacks animals or monsters, they will often find themselves dead and having to restart the game. If the player carelessly uses their torch to burn an item near their camp, their entire camp will go up in flames and all the items built will turn to ashes, resetting the progress that they have made. This constant punishment manifests a sense of caution and tension in every action that the player makes. This tension adds to the suspenseful element of the game and makes the game feel thrilling.

Lens #49: The Lens of Visible Progress

The game has a ‘Morgue’ tab that keeps note of the amount of days survived for each iteration of the game. The player will be motivated to continue playing and break their record as they can see the improvement in the number of days survived. The progress of the game can also be observed from the player’s ‘camp’, (the place where they have built most of their items), as the players can see their camp growing and looking more organised as time passes. The number of days that they have survived in this iteration can also be seen easily from the screen, giving the player satisfaction and motivating them to continue playing. All these factors allow the players to see how much they have improved over time and encourages them to continue playing and improving to beat their record and complete the game.

The player is able to view their progress from the current state of their camp, and from the current day counter on the top right of the screen.

Streets of Rogue

Streets of Rogue is an action rogue-lite game. You play as a disgruntled citizen making his/her way through randomly generated levels in a city in order to confront a corrupt Mayor. This game emphasises on player choice; you are given complete freedom on how you will approach completing the missions in the game. Will you go in a restricted area guns blazing to get to someone? Or will you poison the air vents to make him come to you? You can also choose from a variety of characters, each with their own perks which drastically change the way you play the game.

Here is a video of how the gameplay looks like.

Elemental Tetrad

Mechanics
Controls:
– Zoomed out overview, WASD controls.
– Mouse is used to orientate the player, mainly for aiming with projectile items/ weapons.
Environment:
– Levels are randomly generated. Every third level, there will be an additional challenge on that level (e.g. Killer Robot Is After You!).
– As the game progresses, levels become harder. Players encounter new levels with their unique structures and NPCs (e.g. During the Downtown levels, there will also be many mafia NPCs walking around which will try to extort money from the player.)
Interactions:
– Players have freedom to talk to, attack, hire, or help any of the NPCs that are walking around.
– Depending on the character being played, more options might be open(e.g. threatening, bribing, gifting, etc).
– NPCs will remember their encounter with the player for the rest of the level; hostile NPCs will try to attack you or call the cops, while friendly or aligned NPCs will come to your aid.
Leveling:
– As this game is a rogue-lite, players will always start a game at level one.
– Players can get experience from almost any action performed, with the largest bulk of experience being gained from completing the main missions.
– On level up, players can choose a new perk at the end of the level.
Multiplayer:
– Up to four players can play together locally or online.
– For local play, players have to share the same screen view (meaning players cannot walk too far away from each other)

Story
– Story of Streets of Rogue is shallow, serving mainly to give the setting for the player. During the tutorial, players are shown to be recruited into the Resistance. However, after the tutorial, as the player makes their way through the city, there is no longer any mention of the Resistance.
– Rather than use a main storyline, the game stands out for its quirkyness and randomness. Example: character selection. Players can choose from a multitude of characters, each having a short backstory and their “Big Quest” to achieve along way to overthrow the mayor (e.g. Doctor wants to spread peace, big quest is not being allowed to kill people). Some characters would make sense such as a Soldier or Policeman, but there are characters that seemingly make no sense introduced like the Vampire and Zombie.
– Some storytelling is done as the player progresses through the levels: starting from the Suburbs, the player will eventually reach the Downtown and Uptown areas where there is greater security and more tension shown where the player is denied access or privileges due to not being an “authorised citizen”.
– There are no story-specific events that unfold, until the player finally wins the game.

Aesthetics
– Game looks simple with its pixel artstyle. Since the gameplay is fast paced, this is not a game where you stop to look at the design.
– Minimalist approach is taken to focus on gameplay; NPCs dialogue is simple, when you interact with an object you will see a simple dropdown list of what you can do, similar to using an object there are no unique animations, status effects will be displayed in text on the corner of the screen (e.g. Weak)

Technology
– PC game, standard controls. There are options to use controllers which would be more suited since this is similar to arcade games.

Lens of Surprise

Wow, this game is full of surprises.
– Random events happen throughout the levels, with some events base on the demographic of certain areas (e.g. Ongoing war on the level, so there will be soldiers and cannibals constantly spawning and fighting).
– Similarly, randomly encounters with NPCs (e.g. thieves coming up to steal your items, gorillas attacking you on sight because you are a scientist, a cannibal popping out of a manhole to eat you).
– Note that the element of surprise is so overwhelming at times that it is not uncommon for you to suddenly die and lose the game, which might detract from fun – or, provide an element of challenge (e.g. being caught in the crossfire of a random battle between mafia and the police).

Lens of Time

Wow, this game takes a long time to play.
– Normally for rogue-lites, you would expect gameplay to be short, but one game of Streets of Rogue can easily take an hour.
– This is partly due to the large level size, and the complexity of mission that usually have the objective nested inside a large complicated building.
– Additionally, due to the unpredictability of the game, players would want to navigate the level in a cautious manner versus just rushing through.

Lens of Problem Solving

Basically the essence of the game.
– This is one of the key selling points of the game: being able to complete the missions any way you want.
– To the point where you can complete the whole game indirectly; i.e using circumstances, hiring people, inciting conflicts, and the missions will complete themselves for you.
– This high variability can make the game too easy sometimes, though. Example: The final mission, get the Mayor’s hat. Mayor is accompanied by guard detail, I completed the mission within 15 seconds by giving the guards poison to make them enraged, the resulting shootout killed the mayor.

Lens of Endogenous Value

Wow, this has some amazing rewards.
– The missions that the player has to complete before completing the level, will yield random items of highly variable utility, giving players a lot of options to approach future missions (e.g. Resurrection shampoo, cyanide pill, necronomicon, hacking tool, friend phone, etc).
– Although some items have powerful effects, they are not game-breaking as the items are not able to be used constantly through the game, so it is balanced.