With a developer’s first endeavor, it’s hard to promote a game that you’re so passionate about, but with a small audience listening. By having a demo, it’s easier to make an impression, and with Junkdogs that’s certainly what you get.
The first entry into the video game community of developer Sudobeats comes in the form of Junkdogs, an RPG puzzle-adventure experience that thrusts the player into the world of a space scavenger on the run. The game is Sudobeats’ submission into the itch.io Indie Game-Making Contest 2018, one of the 333 entries into the competition.
The player takes on the character of Joe, one of the outlaw scavengers who make ends meet through exploring ships abandoned in space. The Junkdogs think they’ve reached a jackpot score from an abandoned ship, but found that their luck is getting worse and worse as they unknowingly steal from the big guys.
The demo ends with the three scavengers finally escaping from the enemy, hiding out in a dingy bar with an encrypted stolen good. It isn’t until a stranger approaches them with a chance to decode the good that things move forward.
What You See Is What You Get
The demo sets this story up, focused mostly on Joe’s trip to the abandoned ship. Here the player can get a taste of what the puzzles and controls are like. To progress to different parts of the ship, you need to keep your wits about you as you solve puzzles. There is even a little extra task in the demo of trying to unlock all the soundtracks.
Another part of the demo is introducing the player to the combat system of fighting ships in space. In a typical RPG turn-based style, the player uses skills, overdrives, barriers, and repair kits to fight against opponent ships.
Getting To Know You! …Or Them!
Despite the fact that you play as Joe, there are two other characters involved in the whole of Junkdogs: Otto, the aggressive one of the group, Fiona, the wise one out of the three, and Archie…an actual dog.
The player doesn’t spend a lot of time with these other characters, but through short but brief dialogue, we get a sense of what these characters bring to the game. Their unique characteristics stand out from one another that it doesn’t feel like we’re talking to two similar NPCs. The demo could have benefitted from including these characters more into the gameplay.
Red to Green…Green to Red
On Junkdogs’ itch.io page, one of their selling points for the game is the puzzle-solving aspect of it. My first impressions of this feature were that itencouraged you to explore every corner of the room, and had different and unique ways of solving puzzles tailored to its environment.
However, when I got used to the puzzle-solving and object finding, it became easy to follow with the mindset that there’s an easy way out of the situations and a lack of consequences if you get anything wrong. This might change when the full game is developed and more puzzles come into play.
Turn-Based Space Battles
The next important section of the demo for Junkdogs is its demonstration of the game’s battle mode that takes place between ships in space. The layout of the battles and the different skills/tricks that you could use was unique and well-thought out, however, one of my critiques is that there could be more happening on screen.
The screen is structured with your ship on one side, and the opponents on the other, with a black backdrop and stars. The ships could be more spread out across the screen so that everything is not pushed to the top, and that there could be more happening in the backdrop.
It takes a lot of hard work to pack a lot of punch into a Demo, and I believe that Junkdogs managed to succeed in this. When I reached the ‘Thank You For Playing The Demo’ point, I almost forgot that I was playing a demo and not an actual game. There is a lot to explore in terms of what Junkdogs offer to players in terms of the story, and every other feature brings its benefits as well.
It’s been a while where I’ve come across a game that incorporates the soundtrack into the gameplay, and Junkdogs appears to appreciate the work done on it, as well as the puzzles and the battle sequences.
As someone who has had the pleasure in reviewing Junkdogs, I wish Sudobeats the best of luck in the competition and hope that they continue to work on this game with the same amount of dedication and creativity that they put into the demo.
You can click here to find out more about Junkdogs and follow Sudobeat’s progress.