It took several weeks of discussion with John, our contact from Kongregate, for us to settle on a game direction that we could all celebrate! From the beginning, John was very into the concept of a restaurant collecting ingredients for its meals from various monsters that lurked in a medieval dungeon beneath the shop. The narrative was our hook that held us firmly together while we hammered out the mechanics and details.
Our original “drop-claw” mechanic was interesting but was such a niche genre it would not likely get a lot of traction with Kongregate’s online audience. After proposing a few alternatives, we eventually decided to move forward with a more traditional dungeon crawling feel. So instead we began to look for ways to synchronize the narrative with the new game that was taking form.
There is now a greater focus on inventory management and top down combat! Between dungeon runs, however, the player returns to the kitchen to sell the ingredients gathered, purchase upgrades, learn new recipes, and find out the Daily Special. (The Daily Special identifies an ingredient or combination of ingredients that is worth extra gold!) The Daily Special incentive ensures the player make thoughtful decisions about what food they want to return to the surface. Collected food can act as a projectile in the dungeon. The addition of this mechanic forces the player to make some strategic decisions and introduces an intrinsic risk/reward element.
After everything was said and done here was the final agreed upon list of deliverables. - Story Hook: You play as the Apprentice to a great chef who gets all the ingredients for his food from the dungeon beneath his restaurant. - Genre: Topdown Arcade Slash-Em-Up akin to Legend of Zelda, Binding of Isaac, Hyper Light Drifter - Controls: Players can melee attack, use ingredients found in the dungeon as limited projectiles, roll/dodge, and interact with in-game objects to fight monsters/avoid traps. - Quests: Each time the player descends into the dungeon, they must gather a few essential ingredients, and then make it to the exit of the dungeon. Any extra ingredients gathered grants the player some extra gold. Missing essential ingredients will reduce the reward for the mission. - Inventory Management: The apprentice can only carry a select number of items meaning that they'll need to make meaningful decisions about what they bring into the dungeons, what treasures the player collects, and what ingredients they bring back. (Over time the backpack size can increase with upgrades.) - Procedural Generation: Each time the player descends into a dungeon, the dungeon is generated from a collection of dungeon pieces. (Each entry into the dungeon has a different layout of secrets, monsters, and traps.) Rare monsters and secrets are collected for additional rewards! Dungeon Generation is comparable to level generation in Spelunky if you are familiar. - Upgrades: Gold earned from Quests can be used to buy new weapons, magic items, and consumables to improve their performance in dungeons. As new gear is unlocked and different milestones are unlocked, players can unlock doors to allow themselves to delve deeper into the dungeons for greater rewards. - Art Style: Pixel Art!