Welcome back to the Orchid of Redemption devlog! This week we’re going to dive into some of the design philosophies and gameplay functions behind the many wonderous creatures that help and hinder your journey through the magical world of Mage Drops!
The magical, fantasy setting for Mage Drops provides a broad canvas from which to draw inspiration in creating magical lifeforms that breathe both fun and character into the world. Creatures serve multiple roles as you travel through the world courses, from providing additional challenges to subtly teaching the player about the passive elements of the level design.
The Magical Bush is one of the earliest critters you will come across in your journey through World 1. We had a lot of fun creating a sentient obstruction that not only fits the world of Mage Drops but also represents a logical obstruction for real world golf!
Magical Bushes will watch your shots from afar and scurry to conceal the ball when it falls within its territory. This not only helps define non-ideal paths for level completion also but builds a sense of urgency. Magical Bushes also help communicate that the non-sentient bushes seen around future levels will impair shot velocity if the orb lands in one.
Flying Fish and Giant Starfish
The local fauna of World 2 waste no time in getting players to change how they think about usable surfaces. The predictable motions of the Flying Fish not only create unique landing zones but condition the player to be more aware of the timing of their shots.
Giant Starfishes provide a similar focus on timing and surreal surfaces to take your shot from but also the importance of flat surfaces. Landing on a Giant Starfish is easy, staying on one is another matter entirely!
While not technically a critter, the Gun Ships faced in World 3 teach a very important lesson that will be critical for players to learn in order to complete some of the more arduous levels seen later in Mage Drops or to collect those sweet gold medals.
The bombs dropped by pirates can be remotely detonated via your magical powers and it is only through willingly inflicting damage on your orb that you will be able to complete these levels. With this function, health management and recovery become integral to goal completion. Within the world of Mage Drops, you must balance risk with reward.
A fan-favourite for any magical world, the Giant Spider. Both deeply ingrained in fantasy world building and immensely suitable for cave habitats, the Giant Spider was a no-brainer addition to the cavernous depths of World 4.
Via silken stands Giant Spiders can rise and fall to obstruct shots.. Contact with a Giant Spider is painful and will launch the orb in the other direction, which may be exactly what you need…
Giant Spiders aren’t the only threat deep in the dark caves of World 4, Enchanted Skulls take on two forms to impact your journey. The Giant Crystal Skulls serve to block critical passages but can be lured out of the way by activating magical totems. Be careful with your timing however as just one touch will end your run!
The smaller Enchanted Skulls dwell in the background shadows, and although they lack the lethality of their larger cousins, their forceful glare will fling you from their domain, but it can be used to your advantage!
As with all things Mage Drops balance is key. While the Enchanted Skulls and Giant Spiders of the caves threaten your journey, the playful Cave Jellyfish only wants to have fun.
Aim your orb near a Cave Jellyfish and they will playfully volley the orb back towards you or whatever angle the shot came from.
The newest critter to impede your journey will be arriving in Mage Drops on August 31 with the launch of World 6: Trickster World! The Cat is not only magical in nature but in function, throwing arcane projectiles and teleporting around level to hound you on your journey.
While a cowardly foe that will flee if approached, The Cat presents a new persistent and chaotic challenge that synergises well with the madness of Trickster World. The Cat is a key character in the narrative of Mage Drops but we will have more on that as we approach the full launch.
Well that’s all for this chapter of the unofficial Mage Drops Bestiary! We’ll have more magical creatures to feature on the road to launch so keep an eye out!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our previous devlogs on difficulty tuning, and procedurally generated level design:
Mage Drops is available now in Early Access on Steam and Itch or Wishlist for our (tentative) late 2021 launch:
August 31 marks the launch of World 6: Trickster World, adding 12 new levels, abilities and challenges. If you have any feedback or questions, be sure to drop by our official Discord found via the link below:
Until next time,
Orchid of Redemption.