Super Slime Slasher Ultra
April 2018, 72 Hours
Super Slime Slasher Ultra is a combination of the genres Match 3 and Action. It was made in 72 hours for Ludum Dare 41.
The theme of Ludum Dare 41 was "Combine two incompatible genres". Our team chose to combine Match 3 with Action.
You must stab slimes with your sword in order to defeat them. If you defeat 3 or more of the same color slimes in a row, you can cash them in to earn points. Longer chains produce more points, but have certain risks as well.
While overall it was a team effort, I lead the design of the gameplay systems including the match 3 mechanics, the enemy behaviors and the combat. The goal was to make systems that interacted with synergy that you wouldn't expect to find from a game designed with the goal of combining two incompatible genres.
I programmed nearly everything in game, including gameplay, UI, enemy AI, and audio implementation. It was all done in Unity with C#.
The dialogue system is a version of Fungus that I'd modified from an earlier project, and tweening animations were done with the assistance of iTween and the iTween Native Extension.
Combining the Incompatible
Our design goal for Super Slime Slasher Ultra was to seamlessly combine the two incompatible genres. The goal was to make the match 3 mechanics feel natural in the action gameplay.
To do this, we tore apart what the defining traits of each genre were and took the best from both to make our design.
Here's what we decided we needed to include from both genres:
- Getting 3 or more things in a row.
- Exponential scoring.
- Combining colors or types.
- Free movement.
- Real time combat and player interactions.
- Death fail states.
By taking all these elements from the two genres, we managed to make the game you see today. Slimes run around like traditional action enemies with various subtle AI behaviors, and attack you when you collide with them. The fail state of the game is also dying from being attacked by slimes, as it would be in an action game. The match 3 mechanics are more subtle, requiring the player to kill 3 or more of the same slime color in a row to earn points. Killing slimes still plays like action, but in order to get points you need to think about the game like a match 3 game.
Although the game may look 2D, it all takes place in 3D space. This was primarily done in order to use NavMesh with Unity, instead of having to make custom pathfinding. This lead to some unexpected challenges.
The largest challenge was making the controls feel good with a slightly awkward perspective. The solution for that ended up being treating it as though it was a top down game.
Another challenge we encountered was creating good collisions and hitboxes for the characters. Because of the perspective, the boxes needed to be thicker than expected in order to work. While this solution is not perfect, it worked well and quickly during the jam time to produce a playable and enjoyable experience.