Sunset Witch Demo Coming October 17th!


Greetings!

I'm happy to announce that Sunset Witch will finally return on October 17th 2020 with a Demo! This will feature the first stage of the game, and will mark the first time the game has been publicly playable! Many things have changed with the game since it was last seen, in this Devlog I'll be going over what the Demo will include, followed by the Development of the game so far.





Story

Sunset Witch works at a local Botanic Garden. One day She hears an explosion and finds the Garden has been invaded by Demonic Rabbit Cultists. Equipped with Her Elemental Blade, you go on a journey to take down the Cult!

Gameplay

The game is a Bullet Hell Platformer, you'll travel through the Botanic Garden fighting Demonic Rabbit Cultists and avoiding swarms of Bullets. There are crates to slash open and hidden doors to unlock.

You're equipped with the Elemental Blade, capable of close ranged attacks and shooting bullets. The combat is dynamic while being easy-to-learn.


Move List

Image 
Description 

Elemental Blade: BulletsShoot enemies from a distance with bullets.

Elemental Blade: Slash AttackDo a Slash Attack for massive damage on close up enemies.

Spirit Charge
A screen clearing lazer which can pass through walls.

Aiming
Aim in one direction while walking in he opposite direction.


Demonic Rabbit Cultists

On your adventure you'll encounter many of the evil beings, though they look similar they all have different attributes. Some throw bombs, some carry shields, all fire bullets!

Enemy List

ImageNameDescription
Demonic Rabbit Cultist: NormalCultists are equipped with their own Elemental Blades, capable of firing one-way or three-way projectiles. Some even jump!
Demonic Rabbit Cultist: BomberThrowing bombs is never a good thing. These enemies can destroy the ground you walk on if you're not careful!

Demonic Rabbit Cultist: Wooden ShieldThese enemies hold shields so not all of your attacks will make it through. However the shield can be destroyed!
Demonic Rabbit Cultist: Metal ShieldThese shielded enemies are far more dangerous! Their shields are invincible, so you have to attack their back or wait until their guard is down!
Demonic Rabbit OrbA small creature made of pure bullets. They can fire in up to eight directions! The good news is they go down in a few hits and they never move.



Collectables

There are Cards hidden throughout the Stage which show an illustrated story. You'll learn about the Witches of the past and some gameplay tips. You can access the cards at any time in the Pause Menu.

Items

Image NameDescription 
Cauldron
If you're low on health you'll be given an extra Health Point, otherwise you'll be given crystals.
Skeleton KeyFind keys to unlock special doors, some of them require multiple keys and have treasures waiting behind!
CrystalsCrystals can be found throughout the levels or by defeating enemies. Collect them to power up your spirit charge meter.
Health PointRefill your health meter by one heart. These can only be found in cauldrons.
Collectable CardCollectable cards are hidden throughout the stage. Each one contains an illustrated story.
Time TrialOnce you beat the Demo once you'll unlock Time Trial Mode! Collect the clock to start the timer, and all Checkpoints will be disabled! Clear the best time to earn an award!



Presentation

The game features endless amounts of pixel art and animations, in this Demo alone there are multiple Parallax Backgrounds with varying designs. The Demo features music by William Burroughs, which adapts throughout the stage to match the tone of the room! 



Sunset Witch Classic (2017)

In 2017 I made a game for the Low Rez Game Jam called Sunset Witch Classic, a shoot 'em up game where you play as a Witch blasting an endless supply of enemies by the seaside. That game was made in around three weeks.

In 2018 I started work on a follow up, originally titled Sunset Witch X but now just called Sunset Witch. The original plan was for it to be a Summer project, it was going to be a shmup with multiple stages. However the scope and concepts had drastically changed over time. 

Originally I did Monthly Devlog Videos from April 2018- January 2019, detailing what I was working on in that month of development. After the January video I quietly stopped sharing updates on the game. I felt making videos was taking time away from the game itself. I personally prefer to present things in a polished state, so I thought I'd continue work on the game at my own pace, updating only when there was significant news. 

Sunset Witch (September 2019 Build)

Behind the scenes everything was changing with the game. Feedback and personal thoughts were telling me the game wasn't working out the way I had hoped. Some of the issues included;

  • Screen size and player size was too small. 
  •  Gameplay was lacking a grip
  • The theme and story became unfocused and was moving away from the Witch theme.

In September 2019 I decided to take a break from making the game itself. I was working on other projects, but in the meantime I was coming up with ideas on how to re-invent the game. At this point the game would switch between a flying shoot 'em up and a platformer; I found the platforming was more fun to work on so I decided to focus on that for the next major build.

Sunset Witch (December 2019 Build)

In December 2019, I returned to the project and started making changes. Sunset Witch got a new sprite set and the screen size was doubled. There were many gameplay tweaks being made built around the idea of being a full on Platformer. This was when the game turned a new leaf for me and would look take this form from here onwards.

Before creating a single stage in this new build, I wanted to add things that were fun to play with on their own. Wooden Crates were added in the game, which could be destroyed and platformed on. They became the building blocks of the new levels.

In older builds I noticed that you'd often hold down the shoot button while playing, which over time made gameplay feel repetitive. So I added a Slash Attack to make combat feel more head-on. The Demonic Rabbit Cultists were created hand in hand with the new combat-oriented approach.

Sunset Witch Demo (October 2020)

It was in the last two months before October 1st things really started to shape up into what you'll see in the Demo. Many of the environmental details didn't get their final coat of polish until then, several items and the Rabbit Orb enemies weren't added until very recently! 

Overall I'm happy with how things shaped up.  After this Demo releases, I will be taking a break from the game to work on smaller scale projects. I'll be taking in feedback on this Demo when it releases, so that I know how to go forward with the game next.


The Sunset Witch Demo will release October 17th 2020. Hope to see you then!

-Angus Beer

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