Cinco Paus Discussion (June 15 - July 15 GDBC game)

#1
let's discuss Cinco Paus! i've already played a little, so i'll start with my first impression:

Honesty, i'm not really liking it so far, and i think it comes down to 3 reasons:

1. the loss condition feels too... "fragile" or "sensitive", i guess. it seems like you can go from "doing really well" to "dead" at a faster rate than i'm comfortable with. there are lots of games where you may think you're doing well, but you actually aren't, and that's fine, those cases are just failures of valuation on the player's part, but here it feels like you can be actually doing well and then die from some bad luck or a single mistake, which i don't like.

2. it feels like artifacts are a big part of the game, but you need to be somewhat decent at the game to actually interact with them, and they don't exist in the early game, which i think is problematic. like, if they're important, then don't you want them present all the time for every player? it felt like i wasn't playing the "full game" as a result (since i'm bad right now).

3. common randomness problems. this kinda relates to the first point, but it feels like RNG can completely screw you over quite a bit. not much else to say here.

also, although this isn't a problem for me right now, the "match" structure (AKA run structure) seems really bad (with playing 50 "jogos"). it seems like it would result in a highly variable length that means the match length could be way too short and not give the game-state enough time to develop, or go way too long to the point it's not engaging to the player.

is there any reason i'm wrong about these things or they're not as big of an issue as i think? any tips to mitigate my problems? i want to like this game, but i can't right now, so i'd love to be proven wrong. (also, feel free to post your own thoughts, even if they aren't related to my problems. i don't want to risk taking over the discussion!)
 
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keithburgun

Administrator
Staff member
#2
I got a chance to play. Basically, it's a rogue-like, just a very stylish and simplified one. It has all of the strengths and weaknesses of rogue-likes. It is good that Michael Brough knows, consciously or otherwise, that a lot of the difficulty in rogue-likes comes from simply not knowing what the rules are, and while I originally hated that the game was in Portuguese, I now understand that basically the game is just supposed to work with no tutorial or tooltip information at all. The old rogue-like thing of "die now to learn what this thing even does" is embraced here by having no tutorial or tooltips.

As is the case for all rogue-likes, there isn't much in the way of long arcs. The "new screens" concept kind of sucks because you get almost a complete state reset once every 20 turns or so, in terms of the grid. So I think overall the grid is somewhat under-utilized. I do like how new random information is introduced into the game via the monsters coming in.

The wand discovery thing doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Why can't the game just start with all of the wands entirely discovered already? It seems like they get discovered pretty quickly. Seems like this makes the first few rooms a little more random than is necessary.

Reading Viva's guide, some of the powers feel really like... managerial or something. Like this power:
"If you have a gem (the treasures that show up in your inventory) and your wand hits an enemy with at least 2 hp, you lose a gem and kill the enemy. "

Like... sorry but isn't that just exactly the way game rules shouldn't look? Like this long list of conditionals and an arbitrary list of unrelated effects that happen if they're true? I also understand why they are that way though - the system itself isn't very complex: 5x5 isn't a very big grid and the kinds of interactions and things that can happen are very limited so you end up needing these kinds of rules just to make there be something that's hard to figure out.

The art and music are cool. I think that the portuguese also helps with the overall aesthetic which is quite strong.

The biggest issue I have is just that it's high-score based. Viva says that you should just go for completion (some number of levels), but that also feels like it's going to be high score based since at least for my first several dozens of matches I won't get close to actually completing it.

Overall it's fine. It's a rogue-like, and definitely one of the better ones, just for having cleaned stuff up and system-ized some of the old rogue-like baggage tropes. I'm not terribly excited by it but I do think it's a pretty good single player strategy-ish thing, and we don't have a ton of those, so I definitely appreciate its existence. And I'm kinda curious to play more and see what I'm wrong about in this initial analysis.

(I think that also like rogue-likes, the game becomes something different once you get to a certain very high level of skill, but I don't usually like judging games based on that "high skill game", and certainly not only on that, since the vast majority of players will never access that thing. I think we should judge games based on what it's like at all skill levels.)