Tower of Bullets is a short bullet hell game made for Bullet Hell Jam 2021. Beware, this game is very difficult, like Bullet Hell tradition stipulates.

About the game:

You are a lone wanderer seeking power. Have you bitten off more than you could chew?

Controls:

Move: Arrow keys or WASD
Dash: Z or space

Attribution:

Music from freesound.org:
Electrobeep track loop.8 Bits music by frankum licensed under CC0 1.0
Industrial Wack1.wav by visual licensed under CC0 1.0

Sound effects created using as3sfxr and jfxr.

The font was created by Jerom at OpenGameArt.org:
https://opengameart.org/content/small-blocky-font


StatusReleased
PlatformsHTML5
Rating
Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars
(4)
AuthorDonitz
GenreAction
Tags2D, Bullet Hell, Difficult, Pixel Art, Retro, Short

Comments

Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.

(+1)

So, this one is nice and right onto the 2022 jam theme, “CONFINED”. Wait, this was made for the 2021 jam, on theme “10 SECONDS”? Well, congratulations, you managed to match both themes without knowing it in advance!

In principle, the up/down progression allows you to take a break to an easier level after a failure, but it can be frustrating when you chain failures on “levels you’re supposed to know”. In fact, I think it’s good for the “campaign” as you don’t even need checkpoints: if you come back to the game later, with everything you’ve learned, you’ll be able to come back where you were as each level is 10 seconds. But that doesn’t take random levels (and small mistakes) into account, so I’ll have to come back another day and see if it’s easy to get back where you were indeed.

And when it comes to “training”, I think a simple “repeat level indefinitely” would be better. But I understand that a jam game rarely has multiple modes…

Bullets are big and the character hurtbox not super small either, so you must really pay attention to navigate between small bullets, and in dash right in front of big bullets if you want to get to the other side.

My biggest complain is the dash input, which only works when dash button is pressed on the same frame as, or after holding directional input. Often, you want to stand still then dash at the last moment. With this setup, you need to either start moving forward a little bit in advance, or move back a little first (assuming you have that leeway) then move forward again and dash.

Sin & Punishment 2, for instance, takes your Dash input into account no matter what, and starts a Dodge maneuver. Then if it detects late directional input, it will apply it to the dash. Of course, S&P 2 is more complex as it allows partial & dynamic dash, where you can change direction mid-dash and even use the opposite direction to decelerate quickly and perform a half-dash. But without going to those lengths, supporting Dash -> Move would help a lot as I died many times simply missing a dash and running into a bullet, even in levels I consider “easy”.

The only place where Dash is not my main issue is random levels, where sometimes I barely have to move, and sometimes the warp zone happens to be filled with bullets when it appears, and if I dash a little bit off it, I’ll fall right into it.

But well, I realized this game was made for the 2021 jam while writing this comment, so it’s less likely to receive an update now. I played Surgevania before and kinda like your concepts, I’ll have to check your more recent games now!

(1 edit)

Thank you for your in-depth review of the game :D. Yeah it was made for last year's jam, and I agree I kinda messed up the dash mechanic a bit. It never occurred to me that dash should also work when you're not holding a directional key.

Hmm, maybe a game with curved dashes could be a cool concept...

I was working on a game this year too, but time constraints made it unfeasible to finish without stressing it for way too much. Here's an image of the game:

 

Okay, that IS confined! Reminds me of Rayman 1 last boss where you must dodge projectiles while walking between moving columns of magic fire!

Dash hitbox is broken af

i think the game could do well with a checkpoint every 2-3 levels, just to allow you to breathe, because sometimes things feel like bullshit, and one bad minute can ruin your entire playthrough

nice luck based game lol

LITERALLY

i've died so many times because a bullet spawned where i was standing, that is not fair

the first level is exclusivly luck based which is annoying as hell

Hey Donitz! I was wondering if we could get in touch because I am interested in adding tower of bullets to my website!

enter the gungeon

(1 edit)

no? enter the gungeon isnt the only bullet hell game

Very fun game! Would be great to get controller support in the future

(+1)

The patterns aren't hard in any way, at least to me as an arcade player, the game is just clunky, I felt like I was fighting the engine, the graphics are good but the dashes feel horrible, also, I think I feel inertia, bullet hells should not have inertia.

This may feel like an harsh review but I'm not trying to appear as an harsh person.

If you have a day where you're gaming and ran out of podcasts, I really recommend this one about shmup design in general: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij5trBPbJPw

This game is in no way a shmup but judging by the bullet hell maybe you would be interested in watching this.

Thank for you the detailed feedback. You are right, there is inertia added to the game. I usually add just a tiny bit of inertia + reactivity to make players feel ever so slightly smoother. When there is 0 inertia, the controls can feel very stiff and rigid, like you're moving a tank.

I agree that the dashes feel kinda bad. It's due to a combination of factors other people have also pointed out.

- There is no grace time after landing
- You won't dash if you release the key too early
- And in my opinion, the dash is maybe a bit too long

(+1)

Yep, it's hard. But also, perhaps, a bit too much is left to chance so that it relies more on luck than on skill. It's also a pity that if you died, you drop down to level 1. Just my two cents :-) 

Game too hard