TETRA (working title) - top-down action-adventure work in progress [DEMO]



Hi, everyone!

My name is Giannis, and I'm an artist, lately getting into game making as a hobby.

Just wanted to share the game I've been working on as I try to learn how these things are made. I'm calling it TETRA for the time being, and it's an action-adventure game, with obvious inspiration from HLD and old 2D Zelda.

I have a small, proof-of-concept type demo on itch.io, if that's OK to post a link to.

Here's what the game looks like, and I've also put up a playthrough of the demo, if you're interested but unable to play.

If you feel like checking it out, please let me know your thoughts and feedback. This is the first real game I've worked on, so even problems that might be obvious to you, I may not be aware of. I hope it's at least kind of fun to play through!

Thanks for looking!


Very impressive for a first real game, the visuals and sounds are nice but there's a lots of butts.
- it looks, sounds and plays too much like HLD
- the shadows seem buggy, not moving with the camera properly. some of the backround art does that too.
- having to pull out the gun to shoot seems weird
- the control layout is horrible
- some of the art seems stretched out or painted in different artstyle (some stuff has black outlines, some stuff seems higher res etc)
- having to load the game after dying feels pretty bad. checkpoints and respawns would fit better here.
- dashing seems buggy, dashing through solid objects etc.

You have a nice project here, try to make it different from HLD.
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I just don't really get why people with good skills like you decide to make it almost exactly as HLD. What is your end goal with this?
If I was you I would really take a second look at design, try to make it your own. You have a good thing here but everyone will see it as the game that is just not Hyper Light Drifter at the moment.

Impressive work though, especially for your first game. Keep it up.
Great looking stuff! Great art and I love that Zelda style music. This shows a lot of competence, some clever bits of level design in there that I liked as well. In my personal opinion, there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing something this similar to an already existing well-designed game to use as a learning experience. In fact that's probably one of the best ways to learn, by taking notes and understanding what makes a good game a good game.

If I were you I wouldn't really fundamentally change what you have here yet. I say make this a very short game, polish up the gameplay, programming, level-designing, and everything else that comes with making a game. THEN start over and put your effort towards something that plays on your personal talents and creativity more. If you like your story/characters/art you can bring any of that over from this to a future project.

And credit where it's due, there's already stuff I see that is plenty different from HLD (level design based on the items/abilities you have or don't have, designated save points, a nice moment of environmental puzzle solving with the enemies needing to shoot the boxes for you, stealth enemies). But obviously, the game is very similar to HLD visually, which often times unfortunately makes folks call it a clone immediately. And then the combat/movement design is identical especially with the inclusion of the gun (which again, I think is a fantastic way to learn so you have a side-by-side comparison!). Overall, playing this demo, there are plenty of ideas that separate this from its inspirations, they're just a bit too subtle.

So keep at it, my man. Again, shows competence and a lot of potential!

And here's a couple things I noted from the few minutes I was playing.
  • Normal movement is pretty fast! I think the walking speed could stand to be a bit slower, since we have the dash to speed up, it'd be really helpful in combat situations to have a more easily controllable walking speed.
  • Very long dash! I noticed the vertical and horizontal dashes have a very far reach, and the diagonal dashes have a significantly shorter reach. I can tell this is for the purposes of level design, and the programming is much easier this way, but like the fast walking speed it makes planning in combat situations a bit harder and more unpredictable. So I would say shorter distance on the dash, and equal distance 360 degrees (so the player has a consistent idea where they'll end up). This will be a bit harder programming wise when it comes to dashing between platforms of different distances, but that would be a rad learning situation.
  • Goofy control mapping on the keyboard, but easily changeable. This is also probably a good point to start accounting for a gamepad since you have a lot of your systems in place.
  • And lastly a big one is the player's direction when moving. I noticed vertical movement/direction always trumps horizontal direction. If moving up-right or up-left the player's sprite always changes to the upward facing sprite no mater what the previous direction was. Obviously, the issue with this is - if I'm running to the left and an enemy is slightly above/below me and I tap that direction to scoot up and then attack at them, suddenly I'm attacking directly above me instead of to my left where the enemy now is. So a directional system where if I go from running left to running up-left or down-left, I keep facing left. All ARPGs have this so just pay attention to how Link faces in Alttp (or the drifter in HLD) when you start moving diagonal.
Sorry for the long post but I dig what I'm seeing!


This looks very cool.
I love the art and aesthetic.

I do think, however, that you need to do something to differentiate it from HLD, both in art style and, more importantly, in gameplay. It looks like a reskin of HLD.

BTW, completely unrelated to this, μήπως τυχαίνει να είσαι Έλληνας ;


Hey, everyone! Thanks for checking the game out. I've updated and simplified the controls, which were an issue for most people. I've also added gamepad support, so if you get a chance, feel free to check that out.

I'm aware of the similarities to HLD, and apologies if I wasn't clear about the goal with this project -- this is entirely a personal project, trying to learn as much about making games as I can. If I get to a point where the gameplay differentiates itself from HLD enough to stand on its own, the art is easy to update later so the visuals aren't my main concern right now.

@Fiskyfisko: Thanks for the feedback -- I'll look into the lights and shadows issues, and I'm actually trying to get respawning to work for the next update.

@Kyon: The original decision I made on this project was to clone the first Zelda, and it eventually mutated into this! I'm sure it'll mutate further as I learn more. I appreciate your concern!

@Peyton Burnham: Thanks for the detailed feedback -- it's much appreciated! I've started messing with the dash distances, player speed and will be getting to the direction issue after. That's a great note that I hadn't realized, so thanks for that one and for the general advice!

@Toque @Morendral: Trying out either removing it entirely or toning it down -- thanks!

@Deadly Serious Media: Thanks for checking it out!

@CLilios: Thanks, like I said, I'll be adding/changing this up as I learn. Και ναι, συμπατριώτης!
This looks like another Hyper Light Drifter clone, which I'm not knocking at all. Looks really good, especially if you just started using GM. Will this be as cryptic and confusing as HLD though? I had to put that game down because I eventually got lost and didn't want to start over or look at a guide. The style and music is very similar to HLD, I hope you will differentiate your game from it a bit.


This looks like another Hyper Light Drifter clone, which I'm not knocking at all. Looks really good, especially if you just started using GM. Will this be as cryptic and confusing as HLD though? I had to put that game down because I eventually got lost and didn't want to start over or look at a guide. The style and music is very similar to HLD, I hope you will differentiate your game from it a bit.
I don´t want to digress from Tetra, but really I think this is the elephant in the room when it comes to HLD: the game is confusing as ****. It deserves all the praise in the world, of course, but If you decide to explore a little bit or if you spend a long time without playing, it is very energy consuming to get yourself back on track.
As I understand it, there is heavy influence of Shadow of the Colossus in the work of many indie developers in the last years. Shadow of Colossus would also be confusing without the sword to guide you.

As for the actual topic here, congratulations, Giannis! You are tackling a huge endeavor and you seem to be pulling it off. Best of luck.


@TheNegroShoddy: Thanks for looking! The game might look like HLD but I'm hoping for a more 2D Zelda gameplay -- more puzzles and hints on where to go, ideally with optional stuff that's harder to find. And noted on the style front!

@Ankokushin: I respect their choice to make it really inscrutable but I can see how it might've been a deal-breaker for a lot of people! Like I said, it's not something I'm aiming to do with this, so hopefully I can get a more clear objective and path in place for people to not get lost. And thanks for the encouraging words!


The game looks great. Keep on going.
HLD is a great game, but not a perfect one. So if someone will take the best out of it and improve it, I will be happy.

And how did you make that beatiful red trail? Can you give me a hint?
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@Arashi: Thanks, I'll keep working on this! The trail is a free marketplace asset by "Killer", it should be the first result when searching for it. Hope that helps!

@YanBG: Thanks!