Kage (Kah-Geh) is a fast-paced 2D platformer game with simple combat mechanics that places a strong emphasis on fast, fluid movement. In Kage, players must use their slashes, dashes, and jumps to avoid gruesome death and annihilate any enemies in the way of their revenge against the Corporation Zyx. Kage was developed by a team of 4, over ther course of 3 months, and as the level designer, I:
- Collaborated with team to create original concept, core mechanics, and design philosophy, and maintaining clear and consistent documentation.
- Designed and implemented 9 levels from paper plans to final iteration as well as art passes.
- Tuned movement variables to ensure fast, fluid gameplay experience in line with design pillars.
- Monitored playtest feedback to ensure gameplay experience was in line with design intentions.
- Created additional art assets such as particles and terrain tilesets.
In Kage, fast paced movement and quick timing are key. They game was designed from the outset to cater to hardcore players - especially speedrunners. This posed a challenge for me from a level design standpoint, because I had to design levels that allowed newcomers to grasp the mechanics of the game quickly, but also remained challenging for players of action platformers in the same style (like Super Meat Boy). In the end, the design of the levels became about introducing progressively more deadly traps to require more accurate timing, or more complicated strings of button presses to succeed. For example, in the early stages of the first 3 levels, players are only required to press one or two buttons to overcome a sequence of traps or enemies. At the end of each level, a new way of using the mechanics is introduced. In the next 3 levels, players must press a longer string of buttons, and be much more careful about their movement in order to not die. In the final 3 levels, this string of buttons is essentially uninterrupted from start to finish. Since the number of button presses and precision of movement needed to succeed ramps over the 9 levels, and is a large part of how the game is paced.
In addition to creating all the levels for Kage in a 3 month period, I also wrote the majority of our Game Design Document. You can download it here.