Windows Daemon Detective Gaiden 2: The Soul of Art

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Daemon Detective Gaiden II

A Mystery Unfolds
When the latest exhibit of the New Magma City Art Museum has its grand opening, it doesn't take long until people are going missing. And new, undocumented paintings start showing up in the collection... so well made, it feels like you could get lost in those worlds forever.

When the ordinary New Magma City penguin police force can't make nor heads nor tails out of this supernatural case, the ragtag band of teenage private investigators over at Daemon Detectives, Inc. gets called in to save the day once again!


Fight Your Inner Daemons

Daemon Detective Gaiden 2 is an action platformer where you fight enemies and jump your way through obstacles, trying to not only make your way to the finish line with your hide intact, but also retrieve as many of the hidden paintings in each world as humanly possible.

Coins obtained in the levels can be spent on a variety of powerups to help even the odds, and every character has an unique ability that alters their gameplay style drastically.

As you defeat the bosses of each world, you gradually piece together not only the final boss' lair, but also the dark history behind its creation...

Jump Into Action
  • Local co-op for up to 4 players! Also comes with a VS mode!
  • 12 playable characters with unique skills! Find your favorite and put an unique spin to your platforming adventure!
  • Over 70 hand-crafted levels to explore and a dozen bosses to overcome!
  • Non-linear progression where worlds can be completed in any order and you can skip almost half of the collectibles!
  • Tons of different powerups to mess around with!
  • Quality hand-made 16-bit visuals and music!
  • Assist mode that lets you dial down various aspects of the game difficulty as you see fit for a smoother experience, or dial them up past the normal max values to turn DDG2 into a proper rage-game!
  • Fully customizable controls! Use Xinput gamepads straight outta the box, cram four players around a single keyboard, or anything in between!
  • Lots of unlockable secrets!
  • Speedrunner-friendly automatic timekeeping that bookmarks the time you first beat the game, and the time you 100%-ed it!


Itchio page:

https://yaru.itch.io/daemon-detective-gaiden-2

Screenshots:
ddg_screenshot122.png

ddg_screenshot588.png









Some random Let's Play footage because why not

(Even more below, but put it in a spoiler tag for your sanity)

 
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Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Looking forward to hearing what you think about the final world! I probably put most of the effort into the endgame, so it feels rewarding to get all the way to the end :)
 

Tsa05

Member
I'm dreadful at platformers, so I'm like... 7 portraits into is so far... ._.;;; However, it's a lot of fun and cool, and the mood is great so far, graphics are really neaterrific, and it's reasonably forgiving to my imprecise pixel positioning while still making me work for my jumps :D
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Glad to hear that! And yes, cutting down on precision platforming kinda was one of my explicit goals, I'm not particularly good at it myself and I needed to have a bit of leeway because of different characters having different physics as well. If you're struggling with a platforming section you could also switch over to Matt or Chibie, since their skills are double-jumping / using wings to slowly glide down.
 

Jeremi

Member
Looks awesome, I think I might even buy it! But I was just wondering: what is the resolution of the game? Your characters are pixelated yet they move without causing some distortion in the pixels so I was wondering what resolution it was?
 

Tsa05

Member
@Jeremi Native size appears to be 640x360, but the fame defaults to 2x screen size, unless you specifically change it in the game options.

@Yal I've managed a stupid and silly bug :D When setting keybinds, a managed to press X on the keybind for accept, and then pressed Down. Result: Had to delete my local appdata settings file, since pressing Down on the menu goes down, and accept is Down, making the game un-navigable (impossible to choose any option from the menu!) Bit of a bungling error on my part, though ideally, 2 things:
1) The problem stems from the idea that pressing Down can bind it to Accept, yet it doesn't unbind the movement action of the Down key on the menus, and those seem to override the bind. If Up/Down are hard-coded bindings, then the Keyboard Setup menu should ignore keypresses for those as bindable keys.
2) Since bindableness seems good, the better option to having a hard bind would be to have the Keyboard setup screen recognize that a bind was overridden, and to then *require* the previously corresponding bind to be rebound before accepting the edit. Attempts to leave the setup screen without properly assigning a proper bind should revert to previous bindings. "Proper binds" would need to be a list, I guess, of functionality that can't be co-bound (menu nav+menu accept, menu nav+menu cancel).

(I ran into a similar issue on the racing game, but slightly different--I bound Down to Accept over there, and overwrote menu nav with the accept key, making it so that I could *only* select Play, and not navigate the menu)

I silly, I know :D
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Looks good. The boss battles in particular seemed to have some decent patterns and set pieces.
Thanks! ^__^ I think almost half the development time was spent on making the bosses, I usually throw bosses in as an afterthought but I really wanted them to be the main stars of this game.
 
Thanks! ^__^ I think almost half the development time was spent on making the bosses, I usually throw bosses in as an afterthought but I really wanted them to be the main stars of this game.
That's interesting. Bosses seem to be a divisive aspect for some people. Personally I consider boss battles to be a staple of the action genre, and are a games highlights. Outlast (oops! Outland...if Outlast was meant to be a platformer, then they did a terrible job of it) and Aaaru's Awakening were both reasonable games when it came to the combat and platforming challenges, but it was only in the boss fights that they really excelled.

I feel the same about all the others too: Hollow Knight, The Messenger, Owl Boy, Ori etc There's usually one or more aspects that feel a little underwhelming - be it the combat, the platforming, or a lack of spectacle such as set pieces or boss battles. Get all three right, and you have a game I'll happily throw my money at. As long as its not cutesy like *yuck, ptew!* Mario - though taking a rough guess based on your avatar, I doubt that last element bothers you ;)
 
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pixeltroid

Member
I think I broke the game or something. I accidentally selected the same button for "accept" and "move down" in the keyboard customization screen and I cant go out of the options screen. o_O

I deleted the zip file and re-downloaded it, but my computer cant seem to forget my custom settings and isnt letting me play.
 

Lukan

Gay Wizard Freak
Oh my god, I can't believe I missed this being released!
I love the first game, though I'm admittedly not very good at it.
Now I'm excited to suck at this one too!
 
Hey Yal,

Good to see you're still killing it with the games! I've got myself through a few of the levels, and enjoying it a lot so far. Really polished, very cool.

One thing that is interesting is you've really stuck with a theme with your characters across your games throughout the years. That's fun!
All the best! :)
 

pixeltroid

Member
I think I broke the game or something. I accidentally selected the same button for "accept" and "move down" in the keyboard customization screen and I cant go out of the options screen. o_O

I deleted the zip file and re-downloaded it, but my computer cant seem to forget my custom settings and isnt letting me play.
@Yal

Any way I can fix this? I want to try your game!
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
@pixeltroid sorry for the delay, I don't check the GMC daily.

Navigate to this folder (note that AppData is usually hidden by default) and you'll find all the settings files:
upload_2019-9-4_0-11-55.png
(AppData is a subfolder of the YourUserName folder, the one that has Desktop, Documents, Pictures etc in it)

The files you'll want to delete are called controls_profile_<number>.yal, most likely controls_profile_0 or controls_profile_1 depending on if you used a keyboard or gamepad.



(Most menus also loop around up/downwise, and it's always possible to plug in a gamepad to control menus if you mess up the keyboard controls - I'm pretty sure managing to confirm a layout that maps "accept" and "cancel" to the same key means you need to manually delete the files, though)
 

pixeltroid

Member
@pixeltroid sorry for the delay, I don't check the GMC daily.

Navigate to this folder (note that AppData is usually hidden by default) and you'll find all the settings files:
View attachment 26517
(AppData is a subfolder of the YourUserName folder, the one that has Desktop, Documents, Pictures etc in it)

The files you'll want to delete are called controls_profile_<number>.yal, most likely controls_profile_0 or controls_profile_1 depending on if you used a keyboard or gamepad.



(Most menus also loop around up/downwise, and it's always possible to plug in a gamepad to control menus if you mess up the keyboard controls - I'm pretty sure managing to confirm a layout that maps "accept" and "cancel" to the same key means you need to manually delete the files, though)
Awesome. Thanks!
 

Samuel Venable

Time Killer
That purple dragon girl is very close to being hentai. It gives me feeling ansiety that, feeling it on this way, a feeling I like to feel...
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
Awesome. Thanks!
Great, glad you got those issues sorted out at last!

That purple dragon girl is very close to being hentai. It gives me feeling ansiety that, feeling it on this way, a feeling I like to feel...
Nitpick / context:
it's only called "hentai" if there's depictions of intercourse, characters dressing scantily is "ecchi" (which is how you pronounce "h" in japanese, the first letter of "hentai"). The terms are a lot more loosely defined in actual japanese, I suppose because of cultural differences we westerners want to have a clearer divide between pornographic material and everything else. (The Japanese age of consent is lower than most western countries... I think it's 13, but don't quote me on that, and on top of that the mentality is that people can be into whatever they want as long as they're acting dignified in public, nobody's gonna care about what's behind the facade)

Glad you like it, though! That dragon suit is a powerup that anyone can wear, the guys included, so you can try it on as much as you like ;)
 

Samuel Venable

Time Killer
Glad you like it, though! That dragon suit is a powerup that anyone can wear, the guys included, so you can try it on as much as you like ;)
It actually kinda scares me to be honest, the idea of sexualizing cartoons. I just couldn't pass down the opportunity to quote our most memorable community member (whose name we don't speak of).

Other than that one little thing, this game must've been a lot of work and looks fun. A lot of boss battles which is huge plus, not enough indie titles have variety because they lack bosses depending on the genre of choice. Congrats on all of your hard work!
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
I would guess that the reason people do it is more for having a blank slate to project stuff on using your imagination, while it also has the benefit of being easier to produce since there's less people whose limitations as people (awkwardness, unhot looks, etc) can get in the way of your creative vision. And that's also what's so fun with indie projects in general :p

And yeah, lots of otherwise competent games I've seen are held back by a lack of variety. Looking back retrospectively on DDG2, I feel like I should've done a lot more with the world maps, especially after seeing the genius overworld in Yooka-Laylee 2. Even if no two levels in DDG2 are the same, you still get a bit fatigued doing a whole bunch of them in a row. I guess I'll keep that in mind for the third game, making more involved overworlds with puzzles and ways to affect levels for a different experience.
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
playing it now. Excellent work! I love the SNES like 3D effects. Great visuals and music!
Glad you like it! ^__^
And I'm pleasantly surprised you like the music, it's definitely the field I'm the least confident in... x3
 

pixeltroid

Member
This game is awesome! I completed it yesterday and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it, perhaps write a little "review".

1. Controls: The controls are very fluid and easy to master. The basic controls are similar to that of Super Mario, i.e., you can jump, run, attack, interact, crouch and move while crouching. But certain power-ups give you special movement abilities (more on this later). Also, depending on the character you're playing as, you can perform double jumps and even hurt enemies while running.

2. Level design: Level layouts are very well done. There is a good balance between combat and platforming. You'll often have to fight enemies while also watching out for hazards, and things can get tricky. For example, you'll defeat a bunch of enemies, only to miss a platform and fall to your death. Or you will successfully jump past a series of hazards and make it to a safe area, only to have an enemy knock you back into the hazards you just escaped. Similar to the Megaman games, there is this cool "interplay" between enemies and the environment. But while things might get tough once in a while, there are plenty of save points along the way, so things are balanced out. The levels aren't easy, but they aren't punishingly difficult either.

While the level design utilizes tried & tested elements such as breakable blocks, moving platforms, collapsing platforms, conveyor belts, spikes, lava etc. it also includes special objects that change the pace of the game every once in a while. For example, you'll come across puzzle switches (in red, green and purple). Switching them off or on will hide or manifest blocks of the corresponding color. Solving these puzzles give you access to new areas. Another special object that occasionally appears in the game are exploding blocks. These blow up after being stepped on. In some levels they are hazards that you are better off avoiding. And in others, you need to set the off intentionally so the ensuing blast will clear up a path.

Levels also contain secret/semi-hidden areas holding collectible items. You'll need to explore the levels thoroughly to be able to find all of them. So that gives the game a LOT of replay value.

My only (minor) complaint is that in some levels you sometimes need to make blind jumps. And if there happens to be a hazard beneath, you'll die and will have to restart from the last checkpoint.

3. Enemies: You'll have to face a wide variety of enemies. Some are stationary, others patrol their area in a fixed path, yet others chase after you. Enemies shoot projectiles horizontally, in an arc, at an angle or in sprays. Some of the weaker enemies hang out in clusters. But generally, the enemies are well spaced out. You generally wont feel overwhelmed by the number of enemies and projectiles on the screen. Boss fights are challenging but fun. Bosses have multiple modes of attack. Sometimes they spam the screen with projectiles, creating the illusion that there's no way to dodge them. But it becomes relatively easy once you learn by observing how the projectiles are coded to move and then react accordingly.

4. Items and powerups: Found on levels or purchased from shops, items give you attack powers and special movement abilities. Attacks include melee type (swords, whips etc) and projectile type (fireballs, bullets etc). Special movement abilities (at least the ones I've discovered) are wall-crawling, sailing, flying and teleportation over a short distance. Those abilities let you access otherwise unreachable areas, avoid enemies and slow your fall. You can also purchase shields or collect them from areas on the world map. Shields protect you from specific hazards.

5. Story and writing: While the game has a detailed backstory (involving a paranormal entity operating from a cursed painting), it doesn't force you to sit through long cutscenes and dialogues. Talking to NPC's is purely optional. And when you do talk to them, their dialogues either offer clues or some comic relief. With regard to the story, I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I'll say this: the story takes a wild turn towards the end, and it's reflected in the level design. It was completely unexpected. And is IMO the highlight of the game.

6. Graphics: The game has some pretty nice old-school pixel graphics and use of colors. Everything stands out clearly. Some areas (the level select rooms, not the levels) have a strange 3-Dish look to it (similar to the old Doom games). I thought it was a neat effect and I wonder if it could have been implemented in the actual levels.

7. Music and Sound: There are several tracks in the gam OST is fantastic. The SFX felt a little lo-fi but is still good enough.

Overall, I just want to say that Daemon Detective Gaiden 2 is an excellent in terms of gameplay. It's given me several hours of fun gameplay (as well as tips from a game design perspective). I highly recommend it to anyone that's interested in platformers or even just games reminiscent of the 16 bit era, whether as a player or a game developer.
 
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Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
This game is awesome! I completed it yesterday and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it, perhaps write a little "review".

1. Controls: The controls are very fluid and easy to master. The basic controls are similar to that of Super Mario, i.e., you can jump, run, attack, interact, crouch and move while crouching. But certain power-ups give you special movement abilities (more on this later). Also, depending on the character you're playing as, you can perform double jumps and even hurt enemies while running.

2. Level design: Level layouts are very well done. There is a good balance between combat and platforming. You'll often have to fight enemies while also watching out for hazards, and things can get tricky. For example, you'll defeat a bunch of enemies, only to miss a platform and fall to your death. Or you will successfully jump past a series of hazards and make it to a safe area, only to have an enemy knock you back into the hazards you just escaped. Similar to the Megaman games, there is this cool "interplay" between enemies and the environment. But while things might get tough once in a while, there are plenty of save points along the way, so things are balanced out. The levels aren't easy, but they aren't punishingly difficult either.

While the level design utilizes tried & tested elements such as breakable blocks, moving platforms, collapsing platforms, conveyor belts, spikes, lava etc. it also includes special objects that change the pace of the game every once in a while. For example, you'll come across puzzle switches (in red, green and purple). Switching them off or on will hide or manifest blocks of the corresponding color. Solving these puzzles give you access to new areas. Another special object that occasionally appears in the game are exploding blocks. These blow up after being stepped on. In some levels they are hazards that you are better off avoiding. And in others, you need to set the off intentionally so the ensuing blast will clear up a path.

Levels also contain secret/semi-hidden areas holding collectible items. You'll need to explore the levels thoroughly to be able to find all of them. So that gives the game a LOT of replay value.

My only (minor) complaint is that in some levels you sometimes need to make blind jumps. And if there happens to be a hazard beneath, you'll die and will have to restart from the last checkpoint.

3. Enemies: You'll have to face a wide variety of enemies. Some are stationary, others patrol their area in a fixed path, yet others chase after you. Enemies shoot projectiles horizontally, in an arc, at an angle or in sprays. Some of the weaker enemies hang out in clusters. But generally, the enemies are well spaced out. You generally wont feel overwhelmed by the number of enemies and projectiles on the screen. Boss fights are challenging but fun. Bosses have multiple modes of attack. Sometimes they spam the screen with projectiles, creating the illusion that there's no way to dodge them. But it becomes relatively easy once you learn by observing how the projectiles are coded to move and then react accordingly.

4. Items and powerups: Found on levels or purchased from shops, items give you attack powers and special movement abilities. Attacks include melee type (swords, whips etc) and projectile type (fireballs, bullets etc). Special movement abilities (at least the ones I've discovered) are wall-crawling, sailing, flying and teleportation over a short distance. Those abilities let you access otherwise unreachable areas, avoid enemies and slow your fall. You can also purchase shields or collect them from areas on the world map. Shields protect you from specific hazards.

5. Story and writing: While the game has a detailed backstory (involving a paranormal entity operating from a cursed painting), it doesn't force you to sit through long cutscenes and dialogues. Talking to NPC's is purely optional. And when you do talk to them, their dialogues either offer clues or some comic relief. With regard to the story, I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I'll say this: the story takes a wild turn towards the end, and it's reflected in the level design. It was completely unexpected. And is IMO the highlight of the game.

6. Graphics: The game has some pretty nice old-school pixel graphics and use of colors. Everything stands out clearly. Some areas (the level select rooms, not the levels) have a strange 3-Dish look to it (similar to the old Doom games). I thought it was a neat effect and I wonder if it could have been implemented in the actual levels.

7. Music and Sound: There are several tracks in the gam OST is fantastic. The SFX felt a little lo-fi but is still good enough.

Overall, I just want to say that Daemon Detective Gaiden 2 is an excellent in terms of gameplay. It's given me several hours of fun gameplay (as well as tips from a game design perspective). I highly recommend it to anyone that's interested in platformers or even just games reminiscent of the 16 bit era, whether as a player or a game developer.
Thanks for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed the game! ^__^

@ Blind jumps: You can hold up/down to move the camera in that direction, this helps you check where you're going before you jump. I've tried always having a bunch of coins to guide you when doing a huge vertical leap, but I probably missed a bunch of spots.

@ Plot twist: Glad you enjoyed it! I was inspired by how A Hat In Time and Hatoful Boyfriend both have a surprise horror section near the end when you're more invested in the characters, instead of being open about the darker themes from the start... it's way more effective if you don't see it coming, and if you're already invested you want to keep going because you've already come so far... sunken cost fallacy, the mother of any great horror game :p

@ Map 3D effects: I could've made the game itself 2½D, I just intentionally chose not to. There's a lot of issues with pixel art in a 3D environment (graphics stop being pixel-perfect if there's any angle between the sprite and the camera) and I had to go to pretty great lengths to hide some of the graphical issues on the map screen. But I kinda like the effect, and I definitely wouldn't mind messing around with it more in the future... we'll see~
 
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