I’m not a fan at the moment. :/ Though for reasons that can be fixed. Seems WAY too dark to me. Not sure if that’s an attempt to try and make it more mysterious or something, but the overwhelming majority of my time was spent going in circles trying to figure out which way to go. If that’s the purpose of the game, bravo. If not, and the purpose is to solve the maze-puzzle, then I couldn’t get that far.
The corridors also seem way too small and cramped. I realize that if they’re too big then people will expect there to be things to fill them, but the fact that I couldn’t see where I was half the time, combined (again) with the whole can’t see my hand in front of my face thing, only made it worse. At the very least there needs to be more space around the “braziers”. They take up what little space there is, just making it more difficult overall.
Draw distance seemed to be extremely short as well. Not a good thing.
The flame effects were very nicely done. Wall textures were pretty okay in most places, but some were terribly stretched for malformed. Only one I remember off-hand was right where I spawn.
EDIT: By stretched, I mean there were points where the texture actually looked like a barcode. One vertical bar had been strrreeetched to create these horizontal lines that ruined the effect.
Implementing a compass that’s always on screen would very an extremely nice addition as well. If not, perhaps making the rooms not only bigger but slightly themed might also facilitate. People generally like categorizing things. Doing so allows them to process confusing or unusual things, so adding little touches like a room with an open view of the night sky and a room with pillars and a room a fountain, et al. would allow there to be a bit more distinction and flair.
The upside to technology these days is that it allows game designers to provide more and more detail than ever before. The downside to technology these days is that now players expect more and more detail than ever before. Ignoring all else that’s been said, a series of rock tunnels just doesn’t excite. Look at classic Thief or Thief 2. The polygons are simple. The decorations are minimal. The textures are basic… but locations are still distinct and rife with little whozits and whatzits. Casks of ale. Butchers’ blocks. Windows. I know your game world is a labyrinth, but if anything that should be a license to go nuts, not a ceiling to trap you.
Not really digging the F1 details screen. It seems very much like a lazy last-minute add-on. How about a nice, simple, clean introductory slideshow, each slide paired with some doodles to illustrate the concepts. Here’s your mage. He made this other guy mad. Oops, in the maze. Time’s running out! Here’s what you do… A little bit of narrative goes a long way.
I also really don’t like that the counter keeps running down while that screen is open. Doesn’t at all seem like a design feature. Again, just seems like it was easier for you to let that part be, no matter the inconvenience.
I think something that would really step up the gameplay is higher stakes. The story as it exists now is pretty flat. Our character dies when this mysterious and inexplicable counter run down? It kind of begs a resounding “so what?”
Raise the stakes. What about this: turn the “stamina” counter into an actual minutes and seconds timer. Why? Maybe it’s the time the mage’s enemy has given him before a monster is released!!! This monster is the reason we die.
Now bear with me. I’m not saying introduce a monster just for the sake of introducing a monster. That’s stupid. I’m saying introduce a monster to raise the stakes. What really amps up gameplay and gets people going is suspense. It’s not being attacked. It’s the fear of being attacked. So, after X amount of minutes, a gong goes off, and the monster enter the labyrinth as well, beginning the hunt. How would I implement it? After the monster has been loosed, everytime my character changes rooms the game converts the positive time—the number of seconds that have elapsed since the monster was loosed i.e. when the time stopped counting down and began counting UP—into a probability. Whatever the probability is, the game “rolls” a die. If the result is outside of that probability, the return is “false” and I enter the room safe. If the result is within that probability, the return is “true” and the monster is spawned in the same room I’m travelling to and I die.
EDIT 2: I should have proofed this before I posted, sorry. The advantage to this is that it can give someone those extra few seconds, however, after enough time has passed it’s guaranteed that the next room change will kill the person. Yes, they could hide in their current room til kingdom come, but they also can’t win, so it’s not to their advantage to do so.
The upside to methods like this is that it introduce chance and seeming randomness, which takes some of the control out of the players’ hands, something that’s necessary for good games. This also makes speed that much more essential. That way it’s still technically possible to win with the monster loose, which makes those people who are “so close” to beating it absolutely nuts. Should they run from room to room in a last ditch effort, or take a pause of ten or fifteen seconds to crunch out the problem.
You don’t have to actually model and rig a monster, of course, though that would add a bit more to the game. You just need ways to raise the stakes and make things more personal. Dying from running out of stamina is not something people generally have experience with or fear. Being eaten by a monster is.
I know you also have your magic system tied into this game, but that could easily be translated by making a time cost for the magic. Make magic not cost stamina. Instead, it simply requires time to cast, which is then deducted from the available time.
So, yeah. Those are just the ideas off the top of my head. Lemme know if you have any questions for me.