Mushroom Men - Developer's Diary: Part 2
Posted by Darren Calvert
Even spore thoughts from the ‘Mushroom Men’ developer’s diary
It was only a few days ago that we posted the first part of the Mushroom Men developer’s diary which led to a series of dreadful fungi related puns. There won’t be mushroom for that sort of thing today as we learn more about the combat variety in Mushroom Men – The Spore Wars (Wii) from none other than Kain Shin, the Lead Programmer.
Developer's Diary part 2
Input Variety with Combat:
Variety was another core aim of the combat system. Melee combat by itself would eventually feel repetitive and tiresome if the game offered nothing else to the user throughout the game. The combat design of Mushroom Men emphasizes variety in the form of motion (melee), pointing (Spore Punisher), and a combination of the two (Telekinesis-Throw). Telekinesis-Throw allows the player to use the environment to make fights end quicker. It provides an opportunity for a gratifying tactile sensation related to picking something up and throwing it at an enemy. The physics objects in each level have been tuned to apply just enough damage to make medium-sized enemies bleed. Bleeding is an important part of the feedback in the game because it indicates the availability of the third and most lethal attack method in the game: Spore Punisher. Spore Punisher not only destroys the victim completely, but it also has an area of effect that damages nearby enemies. Because it is so powerful, it has to be presented as a finishing move available only after the enemy has been "softened up".
Strategic Weapon Choices:
In addition to three actions for use in combat, weapon variety also adds a reason for having four types of weapons in the game. Not all weapons are good for all situations and that will become apparent in specific situations:
The player starts out with Bashing weapons, which have a vertical arc but can be a handicap when facing multiple opponents.
Eventually, the player gets Slashing weapons, which do less damage, but can be useful against multiple opponents with its wide horizontal arc.
Piercing weapons happen to be my favorite weapon category. The emphasis with piercing weapons is auto-aiming precision against a single enemy, but a master player can really feel like a ninja with its flying thrust. The piercing jump attack is especially useful against flying enemies.
The Radical Weapons use ammo and can run out, but the amount of damage they cause can be the difference between life and death when facing a gang of aggressive enemies.
Miscellaneous Combat Features:
There are three features in the game that are never taught to the user for various reasons and will probably be discovered by the more core players. These three features deserve more than just a mere mention in the instruction manual.
The first unmentioned feature is the passive co-op mode where anyone can pick up the second Wii remote and help out the first player by using reticle actions or mashing the A button to regenerate health on the hero. We call this the roommate feature.
The second unmentioned feature is batting non-physical projectiles back at the shooter. This is a fun thing to do against enemy sage characters that shoot unblockable projectiles at Pax.
The third unmentioned feature is the ability to flick the nunchuck to switch to the last equipped weapon. Switching back and forth between radical weapons and melee weapons can be very convenient in tight situations.
Mushroom Men – The Spore Wars (Wii) and Mushroom Men – Rise of the Fungi (DS) are both out on the 27th of March in Europe. Watch out for our review which will be coming your way faster than a speeding toadstool.