Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
It's that time again when we dive into one of my past games and see what worked and what didn't work. This time we'll be looking at my most recent game, Hide The Body.
So, as you can probably guess, Hide The Body is a game about hiding bodies. Specifically about doing so in a short space of time before the cops kick in the door and pin the crime on you. Hide The Body was born from a similar concept I had already made. A stupid game I made in a short space of time called Hide The Porn. I'll leave it up to you to figure out what that was about. While Hide The Porn was very rough around the edges, it did have a solid gameplay loop. One that would fit very well with Hide The Body. Now, with Hide The Body, I wanted to create a game that implemented that core gameplay loop and improved upon the games mechanics.
While the theme of Hide The Body is quite grim on the surface, it was important that the game not take itself seriously. The idea was the game been very difficult yet amusing and down right goofy. Visually, I went with a low poly style as it was the most disempowering to the grim theme. I gave it a noir black and white style. This served two purposes. One, it was visually a style I found very appealing and two, it acted as a game design element to keep visual gameplay uniform.
As for the gameplay loop itself, it was simple. Hide all traces of a crime within a short amount of time. The actual time duration from level to level was unknown to the player. The only cue was the rising tension in the audio. This served to stress the player even more. If you hid everything in time, you won. If you didn't, you lost and time was always very tight. Balancing this was very difficult as there is a fine line between hard yet fun and just purely frustrating. It was also important that replying a level was fast as if you were stuck on a hard level and you kept having to wait a minute to reply the same thirty seconds of gameplay, you'd soon become frustrated at the waiting.
So, let's look at what worked. The gameply loop was much tighter and refined from what it was in Hide The Porn. It felt a more polished game overall. The game struck the balance between difficult and fun very well providing that real sense of satisfaction upon beating a level. Visually the game felt like it was its own thing. It felt very cohesive and very much suited to the theme of the game itself. The game was also my first game to be published on the Steam store which in itself was a success to me. This brought a new market to the game along with new reviews and feedback I wouldn't have gotten elsewhere.
The game had a successful launch and was met with largely positive reviews. While the game is quite niche, it found an audience that enjoyed it and provided feedback that led to patch updates that greatly improved the game.
So, what didn't work? Well, this is not so much something that didn't work as it's just a wish. I would have liked to have had more levels at launch but time simply didn't allow for that. But, given the difficulty of the game, having 20 levels at launch was still a good number. I would also have liked to have had more animations in the game but the drawback in that was being a game that focused on fast time sensitive gameplay, adding in animations for every action would have been counter intuitive to that process.
While the game had a decent market launch, it didn't break any sales records. On the upside, the analytics gained from the launch and maintenance of Hide The Body has provided fantastic information for future releases and marketing. Overall, this game is one I'm very proud of. It's a game that has a solid gameplay loop with good visuals that doesn't take itself seriously. It's a game that knows who it is and it's one I still enjoy playing.
Until next time!