New game is Cellsweeper.xlsm, a dungeon crawling RPG. The link below contains two files – the Excel itself and the “Cellsweeper” font. You could play the game without it, but it would depend on your tolerance for fighting alphanumeric characters instead of monsters. 🙂
- Fixed the assassin bug that hurts you for every cell opened if you mis-backstab on a wide open space
- Emphasized that backstab only works on monsters of the *exact* same level
The game is inspired by Mamono Sweeper, and attempts to improve some design elements in Mamono I didn’t like:
- The game is a bit too abstract.
- I felt that the game didn’t fully embrace the “RPG” aspect, and could easily be an abstract minesweeper version with multiple mine levels.
- The difficulty curve is reversed.
- Since there are many more low level monsters than high level ones, it starts off hard and becomes easier at the end, not the other way around.
- There’s no point to the level 1 monsters.
- It’s obvious that the player can immediately click on any cell adjacent to a “1”, and it just costs the player additional clicks.
- The game becomes rote at player level 5 (and to an extent, 4).
- At high levels, it becomes clear which cells are clickable, giving the last part of the game less tension. The game ends on a low note by having to click all remaining cells.
- The “Second click” problem
- The first cell is always free, but the player can frequently get a huge damage hit on the second click.
- Also, players usually play by jumping around for the first few clicks to try to open a large space.
- A cell with a monster also has a helper number “underneath” that monster.
- It’s frustrating to keep switching between the “number view” and the “monster view”, since the cell can’t represent both at the same time.
- The player has to keep referring to the legend to remember the monster levels.
- There’s little replayability once you’ve figured out the optimal strategy.
For Cellsweeper, I tried to tie my solutions to a strong “dungeon crawling” theme. I find the result much more fun to play (hopefully you do too!):
- Difficulty curve:
- When the hero levels up, there’s a 50% chance for weaker hidden monsters to level up as well. The difficulty curve is now balanced – the player first explores an “easy” area, with the areas becoming more difficult as he becomes stronger.
- Little point to level 1 and level 5 monsters
- Introduced a win condition: The player wins by defeating the necromancer, not by clearing out the board.
- Fighting an enemy of the same level also damages the hero. This means that bats (LV1) pose a threat at the start, and wraiths (LV5) are still a threat at max level.
- The hero gains XP from exploring the dungeon.
- “Second click” problem:
- The player can only explore cells adjacent to open ones, like a hero navigating an actual dungeon. This also prevents information overload, as the player only concentrates on small parts of the map at a time.
- The first cell is automatically selected for the hero and is always a “1”. This prevents him from cavorting off and getting killed immediately.
- Changed borders to look like the player is “carving out” the dungeon.
- Helper number underneath the monster
- Removed this feature.
- Need to keep referring to the legend
- Monsters are color coded with increasing color warmth; the legend is still needed, but it’s a bit more intuitive.
- Originally, I thought of adding a subscript to the monster showing its level, but was worried that players might confuse this for a helper number.
- Added high scores.
- Added multiple character classes with different abilities – three basic characters (fighter wizard rogue), and three “advanced” classes (barbarian monk assassin).
- Significantly tweaked the difficulty of the classes – now people of different skill levels can play.