Puppet Knights is a local multiplayer arena game where players control marionettes. Using the two analog sticks, players control the marionettes’ arms independently, leading to clumsy and unpredictable showdowns as they soar across various environments. The first player who can land 5 kills is the winner!
Featured at NYC Arcade, Practice 2014, Level Up 2015, and the NYU Game Center Student Show 2015.
The game was made in collaboration with Kailin Zhu and Brian Kang. I was the team’s game designer and project manager.
Download Link: http://puppetknights.itch.io/puppet-knights
Puppet Knights was originally conceived as a game that mixes the clumsiness of “weird physics” based games such as QWOP, with the tension of one-hit-kill fighting games like Bushido Blade. We loved the idea of moving arms independently using the sticks and how silly players looked as they flailed around, trying to figure out the controls. Originally, the game had players capable of moving left and right, with the sword turning in the direction of the movement. Our professor commented on how cool it is that sword and shield movement was 1:1 with the analog stick movement, and how elegant it is to have a fighting game that only used two sticks. That said, we were challenged to think of having a similar 1:1 way of moving players. This led to the idea of having the players fly across the map when pushing the triggers, as if the characters are being pulled in a direction when the button is pressed. This added some verticality to the movement, and while we often opposed the ability to “jump”, the new controls led to some much more interesting level design, and faster gameplay that also tied in with the theme.
Probably the best decision we’ve made is adding an artist to the team. She went with a particular style that contradicts how silly the game actually is, but people liked that a lot. It was nice to move away from the pixelated arena action games that Puppet Knights gets some inspiration from and instead have something more stylish. UI elements were also made more lively, with text now moving around, growing, shrinking, or fading in and out. Strings were added to the characters for added theme, and giving juice to sword clashes makes each battle more thrilling than the last.
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