Narcissus was an idea inspired by AlexVsCoding watching his brother jumping between stepping-stones on the river Don near his home on a bright Autumn’s day. He noticed that he could see his brothers reflection in the water doing the same as the brother was and thought “it’d be a neat mechanic to build on”. Unfortunately at the time, Alex had no idea what he was doing programming-wise.
In 2011 Alex attended Eurogamer and met Alistair Aitchenson, a gamedev in the Independent stands. A really awesome bloke who empowered Alex to start making his own stuff. He even pointed him towards software such as Stencylworks, Flashpunk and Flixel.
The reall work for Alex started during his second year at University and with this simple idea he had conceived for Narcissus, slowly, he began to put a prototype together. After a plethora of playtesting and visual tangents for the project, the end for Narcissus was finally in sight for Alex.
The basic premise for the game is you have two characters that you control separately. Each must reach the end of the level to proceed. This is achieved by coordinating jumps between the two players. Whilst the controls are simple, the level design is not.
Alex wanted to build a game that encouraged interaction, as he loves the “social atmosphere that comes from going to arcades”. Most cabinets were by default built with multiple players in mind. For one reason or another, this seems to be degrading, with fewer platforms providing split screen support and many phone games being primarily designed for single player. With Narcissus, you have a choice to make – you can either play the game with a friend and make it easier, or step up to the challenge and play alone.
To give you an idea of the difficulty you’d be facing; so far, the game has 50 levels finished, all hand crafted to be ruthless but fair. On normal, each level takes approximately 16 seconds IF completed in one go. You can die as many times as you like, but each time you return to the start of the level. The average playthrough with 2 people is around 150 minutes. The developer, himself has been playing Narcissus for around 3 years and even he still manages to slip up whilst playing (Yet to complete Narcissus without dying at least 20 times).
The level design for Narcissus had been considered to be done though randomly generating levels, but Alex’s competence as a programmer at this time restricted this. Instead, each level is designed by hand. This adds that extra level of satisfaction for Alex when players eventually solve the level he created, even more-so when something completely unpredictable occurs.
Since Narcissus is a mechanic-heavy game, it’s impossible to judge the quality of the game for Greenlight without giving it a go. If you’re reading this on Greenlight, PLEASE give the flash version a try OR download the 10 level windows demo before voting. I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve down-voted without trying the game – please don’t be one of those as I guarantee you’ll have a blast. I did!
The game is split into the seasons, so the characters seasons contrast one another not only in their colour but also the environment they’re in. The colours also correspond to what platforms they can jump upon based on which coloured trail they have. Each side of the platform has a selection of vibrant flora that matches their inverted counterpart in structure, but not in colour. Alex stated that “I really enjoy drawing trees and am constantly trying to add in more that I spot growing along rivers”.
The music of Narcissus is produced by Luke Smith and provides a mix of electronic tunes to bring back those memories of the arcade era. So far, the game has 5 tracks with the potential to expand these to a full album. You can listen to the tracks on Soundcloud now (can even lifehack it and play the music on there and mute the in-game music so you can hear what the final soundtrack will be like!) The soundtrack will be available for download with release. He really has done a cracking job on the project and you can follow him and the work he does at the link below.
The tale is quite brief and is intertwined with the myth – Narcissus fell in love with a reflection of himself, spending the rest of his days pining to embrace his mirror image. The two main characters are unable to interact with one another yet are connected by their dependency on one another to survive. Keep pushing forwards in the hope that finally you may be at peace.
- 50 vibrant levels
- 5 intense soundtracks
- 2 games for the price of 1 – A single player multitasking epic and a co-operative experience to treasure
- Ramps, speed boosts, direction switchers, bridges and a slew of other mechanics.
- 3 different speeds to make sure nobody gets left out!
- 4 seasons of colour and 30 different pixelated flora.
- Timer to challenge your friends with, or disable to enjoy the game at your own pace.
- Quick to learn, eternity to master.
Want to play this yourself?