Kaichou


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Rating: 3.7/5 (53 votes)
| Comments (38) | Views (5)

PatrickKaichouA great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition (CGDC4), Kaichou is an elegant and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.

The screen starts blank with only a grey dot in the middle — this dot is your turret. Click the left-mouse-button to fire a bullet in the direction of your mouse cursor. When these bullets hit the black, bouncing balls that enter the screen, those balls are broken up, asteroids-style, and flowers remain. You can hit multiple balls in quick succession to create multiple flowers, complete with vines drawn between them, which amplifies your score. Another side effect of hitting a ball is that the ball's velocity changes, which also happens when balls bounce into each other. Your goal is to keep the dream alive for as long as possible, trying to propagate flowers with successful hits and avoid having a black ball collide with your grey dot.

Analysis: Ali strikes again with an abstract concept that feels oddly familiar. The procedurally drawn lines and randomly pruned flower patterns make the game feel both polished and more deeply interactive than you'd expect from your typical shmup. The gameplay of tracking ball physics becomes more or less impossible as the screen fills up with balls, unless you're some kind of savant that can count cards and juggle the trajectories of dozens of objects simultaneously. If you are, you'll have a lot of fun climbing the high score board, but if not, you'll enjoy this game for it's distinct presentation and feel.

If you sneeze, I will say Kaichou!

Play Kaichou

38 Comments

I like the musicness when you kill enemies. Overall, a very pretty game.

Took me a while to realize that there was a point to charging your shots - it destroys bigger enemies quicker.

Very impressive.

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ali, i love this, great work man :D

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littlebum2002 Author Profile Page October 5, 2007 12:43 PM

I have to say this is the first time an enemy I killed turned into a flower, but it seems like it's just another point-and-shoot game.

However, I did like the way you make multiples, I think that was well-done.

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the_Corruptor October 5, 2007 12:47 PM

Ghesunteit.

But seriously, best game yet; by a fair margin. I really liked it. Clean, fun, nice sound, good instructions. The font was fairly hard to read, but once I got past that it was an excellent game. No bugs that I cound find anywhere!

Solid!

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My five year old daughter loves this! Now she's going to pester me to play it all weekend. :-(

Scored 60000 on my first try... is that good?

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I likes it very much. It's sort of relaxing to see enemies explode into flowers. Physics are good...relatively good implementation of the theme. It may not seem obvious but I definitely think that using circles or 'balls' was the best choice because it makes everything feel very fluid.

My only gripe is that my little circle is the same color as the little EQ that shows up in the background when I destroy an enemy, so on long combos my little circle will disappear in the fray.

Other than that, a great little diversion!

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Wow, and I didn't even know you could charge your shot (I may not have read carefully). Once I realized that the game moved much more quickly. Do the number of enemies and their size depend on your score or the number you have destroyed? Who knows, but it sure is pretty.

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I don't get what the physics part is. Collision detection of bullet with enemy?

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Very nice game. Good music effects and colourful, soothing graphics. The game gets a bit repetitive but its still relaxing to play

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Great visuals and I love the that the sound effects and music are one in the same. Somewhat reminiscent of Mono: http://jayisgames.com/archives/2006/03/mono.php

I have one suggestion, which may be a bit of a spolier:

I would make the playing field round so that you can't safely camp in a corner. It seems that if you camp in a corner and shoot out at the field, you could play indefinitely. This kills the replay value for me.

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It's OK, but the ball physics are baseline (shots bounce off the walls-nothing innovative there) and I don't see any way to influence where a shot will go once you hit an enemy.

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The Good: I really liked a lot of aspects of this one. the enemies changing into flowers (as said above) and the colourful flowexplosions when they do; the "you make the music", especially the wave-bar animation across the middle; and especially the added glow effect around the player when you pass over a flower-little touches like that really improve my impression of a game :-)

The Less Good: I found the gameplay could have been better, imho, as I wasn't really able to get into the game. Within a minute, I was "hiding" in the corner staffing the field as fast as a could click, and nothing came along to challenge this strategy.

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Yeah, it's an exceptionally well-designed game in terms of sound and visuals, and the flowers are gorgeous and a really nice touch, but it's much too easy, even for someone who doesn't play shooters like me. :/

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I guess the Hall of fame doesn't work right? unless I'm the only one to save my score...

Anyway. It was quite colorful and pleasant to play, simple graphics and physics, but it just didn't have any real feel of excitement for a shooter. I didn't even move for the first game I played, not for lack of knowing how, but I didn't see the point. then, with the ball physics, sitting in a corner became a rather simple task as the balls hardly ever make it there.

Also, the Multi can only be a max of 5. Probably on purpose, but I just wanted to complain about it :P.

Anyway, well made, but just doesn't appeal to me.

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It's good the idea of the music combined with the score system, I'd like to see something else in that area.

I've to say that the control system is not efficient at all: you give me five buttons and I can only move around and shoot. You should try to accomplish the same amount of actions only with the mouse (2 buttons).

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Thanks for your comments guys.

In response to the lack of ball physics - um.. the enemies are balls, they bounce around off each other as do your bullets, obeying the laws of momentum/conservation of energy and circular collision/reaction. I don't see any way in which my game doesn't fit the theme.

As for staying in the corner, it might make it easier, but I don't think it makes you unbeatable; it also limits what you can shoot. The point of the game is to balance staying alive with pulling off daring combo and multi shots.

And yes, the game is supposed to be relaxing, not a hardcore shooter like some of my other games, so if you felt that then that's a good thing =).

Thanks for all the positive things said. Getting feedback is the best part of developing games for me. I really appreciate the comments.

By the way, the name 'Kaichou' is Japanese for 'Harmony' in case anyone was interested.

Ali

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Have to agree with jwanders here, it doesn't take too long to realize the best strategy is to hole up in a corner and just sit there and shoot. The larger ball sizes even help as they can't touch you in the corner and that allows you to power up.

The obvious counter to that is to allow the balls to wrap around the playing field but with that many balls and how large they are, the game would be very hard. Lessening the number/size of the balls would help, but then you'd lose a bit of the flavor it has now... I guess in the end it still is just a nice looking Asteroids where the astroids bounce off each other.

oh, and losing because something randomly spawns on top of you is *never* fun.

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Fun, relaxing little shooter. I like the dichotomy between charge-up firing and spamming rapid shots - one way leads to more combos, and the other to longer multi chains. I settled into a pattern of one charged shot followed by lots of rapid spam, to try to get both as high as possible.

The one complaint I have is that the player character is a sort of tiny nondescript gray circle; gets hard to distinguish when the action heats up.

Oh and to the people wondering about ball physics: did you not notice all the targets are balls and they're all colliding amongst themselves? It's pretty simple, but it's definitely a major part of the gameplay.

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I'm not a big fan of first-person shooters, but I really liked this game. It was simple to work out, beautiful graphics, and a great concept.

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kellyhalia October 5, 2007 6:37 PM

Love the graphics! And when you destroy an enemy, everything is awesome.
I just personally don't go as much for games that require both the keyboard and mouse at the same time. I'm not that coordinated. :-) But that's not a flaw with the game - just with me!

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Am I missing something? Are the enemies supposed to be the same color as the background? The only way I can see enemies is to kill some and then they appear against the flowers that the dead ones turned into. ???

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This is a very beautiful game - I absolutely LOVE the visuals - but a couple of whinges:

- Do we really need that EQ when the sound is on? It is ugly and contributes nothing.

- It's a bit boring. Shoot things, get a high score. Perhaps it will be less boring when the high score table is recording people's real scores (which I assume would be impractical for the competition), but I'm not really motivated by it. Even the combos are not that major. Perhaps the combos could be more rewarding? Ie much cooler flower chains. You obviously have the artistic talent so surely it wouldn't be too hard :)

- also, the green lines created by combos made me think you were supposed to create a shape with them... maybe something to think about for Kaichou II?

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Extremely elegant game - I found it immensely relaxing. I did encounter a bug, though - after dying and restarting, my dot would make a beeline for the lower left corner and stay there, as though the keyboard were miscalibrated. (I'm using Firefox on OSX 10.3.9.)

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I'm having the same problem as Alex - the background is all black. (If this is the actual game then I guess I'm being dumb, but judging by the screenshots, it's a glitch).

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It certainly is a nice relaxing shooter. Really beautifull.

I do however agree that the gameplay doesnt hold your attention for long. Maybe with more complex combos and chains, with more effects as you score more.

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If you're seeing a black background then yes there is a problem. I'm guessing you don't have flash player 9? I've never seen or heard of that bug so I don't think its a problem with the game.

jere7my - Hmm, I'm not sure why that is. To make sure no keys are being detected, press the keys in the direction it's moving and then release them. That should reset the key detection. Sorry about that.

Ms .45 - I really like the EQ and feel it adds to the style of the game, sorry you don't like it, but it was part of my design choice =).
Yes the high scores were kept offline because I was running out of time and setting up online scores that would work with the comp may have been a problem, Ill probably release an update after the comp with online scores and a couple of fixes.
As for the combos, definitely something for Kaichou II =)

Ali

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Really rather lovely indeed - ok so not entirely 'game' challenge but beautiful deign and it had me for about 15 mins so again, something is working here! - would love to have a bit more progression in the sounds as it develops equally it's a shame that the sound of 'baddies' hitting you is one of the nicest ones!

Oh, I also forgot you could move and it was possibly more satisfying staying in the middle listening and watching. I'm glad I've got great speakers too as the bass sounds are ace!

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There's nothing remarkable about gameplay here; it's a typical shoot-and avoid-the-bouncing-balls game. The stand out factor is the visual and auditory experience :) That's a difference that will keep people coming back.

@ali: I hope I don't upset you by saying this, but there's not much point to arguing with people's opinions. Just take it for what it is. We already know that it's your design choice. That's why you did it.

Looking forward to a high score table :)

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No you don't upset me at all charmander =). Don't get me wrong, I appreciate criticism, it helps make me a better game designer. Everyone is welcome to their opinions. I realise not everyone is going to like everything in my game and I wouldn't expect them to.

I was just responding to Ms .45's suggestions (which I appreciate). If my response came across as defensive or argumentative then I apologise =).

Thanks again for the comments everyone.

Ali

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killthebeat October 6, 2007 10:35 AM

Does my vote count? My favorite so far and right to the point of the balls!
10/10

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That's a good game!
Ball physics is there as all the enemies bounce around.
The gameplay is simple (learning curve grows fast), what is good for a casual game. The control is accessible for anyone to play (no everyone plays well enough when controlling depends on the position of the mouse). There are good and creative ideas, like the fact that as you shoot your life decreases, or the charged shots. Even for shooters, charging is not the most usual approach (the usual is power-upping).
The enemies turning into flowers is cool. Reminds of Sonic CD (well, that wasn't really a good game!).

No complains, two thumbs up!

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oh yes - I like this one immensely.
bright pretty flowers, nice colors, good music, all in all - fun.

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If I had to summarize this game in one word it would be "beautiful". I feel like I'm in the sixties with flowers and musical notes appearing all around. The visuals are perfect and I really like the way that music is generated as you play. A small gripe is that the musical notes sound quite lonely, if you decide to build on this game I would love to see a gentle backing track added as I think it would really add to the atmosphere. Other than that I can't fault it - keep up the great work!

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Thanks to everyone who has played kaichou and thanks to everyone who has commented =).

The game has now been updated to fix some of the issues brought up here.

- Balls don't get so big making it easier to get big combos and also makes the hiding in the corner tactic a bit less effective.
- Adjusted the risk/reward balance, making charging up your shots and getting multi's more worth while.
- Fixed the minor keyboard problem.
- Changed the code that prevented balls from spawning on top of the player to make it more effective.

Enjoy!

Ali

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This "game" is not very fun to play on a laptop. In fact, I'm not sure how much fun can be had out of this, but I'll give it another shot when I have the proper mouse.

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It's not fair for me to single out this entry but I have to ask: why exactly are we going through the competition entries again?

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Chris - this comes up on virtually every competition review we post.

This is the way it works: During each of the competitions, we roll out the entries with a simple introduction, nothing more. We do not review them until after the competition is over. That's what we're doing now.

If you've already played the game before and offered your feedback, great! Thank you kindly for your visits and for your participation. :)

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Camping in the corner definitely works. In fact, you don't even have to aim. Move to the corner, aim at the other corner, and just fire as fast as you can. You are basically unbeatable and pull off ridiculous combos, like x13 and such.

I very easily got the score up to 179K points this way before I gave up on it.

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