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 Post subject: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:38 pm 



Joined: 31 Jan 2017
Posts: 149
Vagues Games of Cambria Sword fame have released their take on Space Invaders. It's free.

Download link:
https://www.freem.ne.jp/win/game/20679

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdsVKGU1af4

Be warned that the first time you play the game, it's treated as a tutorial. Things don't get properly heavy metal crazy until the first clear.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:53 pm 


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reckon luck wrote:
Be warned that the first time you play the game, it's treated as a tutorial. Things don't get properly heavy metal crazy until the first clear.

I first played the game without being aware of this and the experience felt almost as boring as Cambria Sword, but with this in mind I gave it another try afterwards, and it's definitely better. I really don't know why you would structure the game this way and turn off players, but oh well. If you want to ease newcomers, just put a tutorial available in the main menu.

That said, while the game is much faster paced than Cambria Sword with stages that last around two minutes instead of the duration of an entire game, I think the way its shots work really sucks the enjoyment out of the game. You can only fire one single shot at the time (by pressing "Up" by the way. WTF) and when you do, it stops your octopus in place. There is a rapid fire so you don't have to mash to fire as soon as the previous shot hit an enemy or left the screen, but if you hold the button you can't move. There are powerups dropped by each boss and you can improve your shot slightly but the 1-shot and movement constraints remain so it doesn't really improve anything.

There is a charged shot that you can have by not firing but it takes an eternity to be ready so it's not very often worth the bother. You can also protect yourself by pressing Down which allows you to cancel some bullet types but the game rewards you with points for not using it anyway.

One thing I don't understand is why in the bonus stages, enemies killed drop tons of small green items that you have to move around to grab, but the regular stages don't have this sorely needed mechanic in them. There are several instances of waves where you just stand there in the middle, hold the shot key and just let the enemies die into your shot, whereas the green items could have at least spiced up your movement strategies a bit.

The sound effects are better and I don't recall hearing the annoying Cambria Sword enemy damage SFX so there's that. Music is still metal so if that's your jam you'll be happy.

Overall I found it more enjoyable than Cambria Sword but it's still not exciting enough and it's a bit of a letdown here because the tweaks to do to improve the game feel don't seem very big.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:35 pm 


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Way more balanced than CS but also far less complex.
Lovely music and enemy designs as before.

Cave shills will call the game bad. Only real flaw is that bonus stage scoring heavily prefers wide, but then again why even play this for score.

Charged shots are not strictly better than regular fire in this one. The long charge up and different weapons mean you gotta think about when to use them. Vulcan and Wide charge shots are best used vs sponges/bosses for damage. Cannon charge shot is great vs bosses with multiple parts or enemies clustered together but does less single target damage. :idea:

Real men use cannon


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:03 pm 



Joined: 31 Jan 2017
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Protip: You can move while firing the vulcan charged laser.

Yeah the forced tutorial playthrough is a misstep. It leaves a very bad first impression.

I appreciate the bonus stage as a Galaga reference, but yeah I wouldn't mind it being axed (tightening up the game even further) and the dropped point items being moved to every level.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:37 am 


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Agree about the tutorial, I almost didn't play the game again after clearing that because I thought that was it.

Just cleared the game on Normal difficulty, or at least one of paths. I wonder how many there are? Scored 911,193 points if anyone wants to compare. Wide shot scales really well with upgrades, though the charge shot isn't great (Cannon has my favorite charge shot). I do wish the charge shot were a little faster, or that there were partial charge shots. The ones in Cambria Sword feel more worth the wait (at least with the good weapons). IMO the game could use a hard mode, even normal doesn't really heat up until the second half.

Boss designs are cool, I wonder if they're based on real creatures like they are in Cambria Sword. Backgrounds are more interesting than I expected too, even though they're pretty much all space stuff.

Fun fact: There's a 1-point bonus for clearing a stage without using the guard at all. :lol:

M.Knight wrote:
The sound effects are better and I don't recall hearing the annoying Cambria Sword enemy damage SFX so there's that.

Oh, it's still there, pretty noticeable when using wide shot. :P
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:25 am 



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I like the 1 point guard bonus, true flying pancake pros will be aiming for scores ending in 5 (I think that's the max guard bonus?). I think scores will also need the route taken, but I don't think they're recorded in game. Maybe the dev can fix that too.

Has anyone found the track from the trailer in game? I hear a very similar drum beat on some stages, but it's not the same song.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 6:15 am 


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Try ripping the game files.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:57 pm 


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I used the cannon shot (so that's why I didn't notice that annoying SFX's comeback) and its charge shot seems more useful against groups of enemies or big enemies which makes its long charge duration even more of a missed opportunity. By the time I realize I am facing a wave that can be taken out efficiently with the charge shot, it can be too late.
Shepardus wrote:
Fun fact: There's a 1-point bonus for clearing a stage without using the guard at all. :lol:

Wait, it's just one point? That's genius. :lol:
I thought it was the same kind of hatred CAVE scoring has against its own defensive tools but this is both funny and convenient.

I just checked my highscores and my top entry is at 365,902. I just picked Normal and then almost always went with the more difficult stage. At least that's what I assume is indicated by the colored progress bar underneath each of them when you can choose a stage. I must have cleared 3 stages (+a bonus) very easily and I then faced a boss that killed all of my lives in stage 4. Not sure I like that kind of difficulty progression.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 7:01 pm 


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This is a really pleasant surprise. I will have to download this and give it a shot. It's probably made in STGBuilder like Cambria Sword was, so it's probably a low-resource thing, which is good for the currently laptop-restricted Ing. :x

Normal Space Invader games are hard to get in to for me - unless they spice things up like Akkanvader... or this, hopefully. Thanks for the heads-up on the tutorial thing.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:25 pm 


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There are some notes on the game's development here: https://ci-en.net/creator/3608/article/85089
I can only read it through machine translation but it's still interesting.

There's a v1.01 now. No idea what's changed - I didn't notice anything obvious in the brief time I spent with it, aside from some text changes to the readme files and the config dialog.

M.Knight wrote:
Wait, it's just one point? That's genius. :lol:
I thought it was the same kind of hatred CAVE scoring has against its own defensive tools but this is both funny and convenient.

I had to check, but yes, it's exactly 1 point. The hidden bonus items in Cambria Sword are similar, there's one of them per stage and each of those are worth 1 point.

EmperorIng wrote:
This is a really pleasant surprise. I will have to download this and give it a shot. It's probably made in STGBuilder like Cambria Sword was, so it's probably a low-resource thing, which is good for the currently laptop-restricted Ing. :x

Yup, it's an STGBuilder game.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 12:14 am 


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Played more. Despite the warning, I am pretty surprised at how extensive the 'practice' round is. A whole 4 stages!

Getting past that... man, I'm impressed. I know Shep's sung praises about Cambria Sword, but with this being my first play experience with this group, they tick off a lot of nice boxes for me. The mix of cutesy player sprites with some weird epic/surreal adventure with nasty-looking bosses is straight-up my jam. :mrgreen: I got right up to the primitive doll-statue when I could figure out how to hurt it enough to kill it. Reminds me a lot of the final boss of Akkanvader.

This one's pretty fun. I'll probably make a score thread later to encourage some more play.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:21 am 


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Shepardus wrote:
I had to check, but yes, it's exactly 1 point. The hidden bonus items in Cambria Sword are similar, there's one of them per stage and each of those are worth 1 point.


Collecting a certain amount of points unlocks the true final stage in CS. Having spare credits also counts towards this, but iirc even if you have no credits left, collecting all the points is enough for the stage.

I've yet to find out if going full no-guard has any benefit. Busy clearing all the paths first.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:20 am 


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PerishedFraud ឵឵ wrote:
Shepardus wrote:
I had to check, but yes, it's exactly 1 point. The hidden bonus items in Cambria Sword are similar, there's one of them per stage and each of those are worth 1 point.


Collecting a certain amount of points unlocks the true final stage in CS. Having spare credits also counts towards this, but iirc even if you have no credits left, collecting all the points is enough for the stage.

I've yet to find out if going full no-guard has any benefit. Busy clearing all the paths first.

The "points" used to get to stage 10 in Cambria Sword are based on the stages you've cleared (each stage has a certain value) and the number of spare credits. The hidden bonus items are used to unlock Easy mode.

I've cleared all the routes except the topmost stage 6, which is the one with the highest difficulty rating. I think I just barely failed it on my last run. :cry: Looks like "Easy" actually operates on the same branching stages map as "Normal" - the "Easy"/"Normal" selection is actually a choice of which stage 1 you want. "Practice," on the other hand, replays the tutorial, and actually operates on its own four-stage branching map, so if you're really feeling like it you can go for all the routes there too.

With max level Vulcan it seems that sometimes the charge shot is more powerful than others. It's usually a wide beam with two small lasers on the sides, but sometimes it's a wider beam pulsing with additional large shots in the middle. I don't know what causes the difference, knowing how some of the weapons in Cambria Sword work it could depend on a button combination or it could just be random.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:17 am 


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Shepardus wrote:
With max level Vulcan it seems that sometimes the charge shot is more powerful than others. It's usually a wide beam with two small lasers on the sides, but sometimes it's a wider beam pulsing with additional large shots in the middle. I don't know what causes the difference, knowing how some of the weapons in Cambria Sword work it could depend on a button combination or it could just be random.


I believe it's random. The max level wide also fires homing missiles sometimes. Haven't seen anything special about max cannon other than it being STRONK


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 10:02 am 


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PerishedFraud ឵឵ wrote:
Shepardus wrote:
With max level Vulcan it seems that sometimes the charge shot is more powerful than others. It's usually a wide beam with two small lasers on the sides, but sometimes it's a wider beam pulsing with additional large shots in the middle. I don't know what causes the difference, knowing how some of the weapons in Cambria Sword work it could depend on a button combination or it could just be random.


I believe it's random. The max level wide also fires homing missiles sometimes. Haven't seen anything special about max cannon other than it being STRONK

Ah cool, didn't notice that with wide. I never used its charge shot much.

Managed to clear all the routes now (every stage, not every combination of those stages). The final boss of the topmost route on the map is pretty cool, took me by surprise.

By the way, here's a completed map (you have to clear the stages, not just reach them, to get them to appear on the map). It glows like a constellation when you've completed it.
Spoiler: show
Image Image

I completed the map for practice mode too. I like the constellation. :D
Spoiler: show
Image Image
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:33 pm 


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That training constellation is just lovely 8)


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:59 pm 


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Do you only have one weapon per run, or do capsules let you change your shot type? On Practice you get to switch 2-3 stages in I believe.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:31 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
Do you only have one weapon per run, or do capsules let you change your shot type? On Practice you get to switch 2-3 stages in I believe.

Only one, sadly. Your starter weapon is a lower level vulcan btw (you get the standard vulcan if you upgrade it)


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:52 am 


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By the way, I thought I'd point this out because it took me far too long to realize (probably because I keep greeedily going for no-guard bonuses): the red homing bullets that some bosses fire can be guarded, the purple ones cannot.

The creator tweeted about the update, sounds like it's just typo fixes.

EmperorIng wrote:
This one's pretty fun. I'll probably make a score thread later to encourage some more play.

Please do if you're willing, I'd probably be too lazy to maintain one myself, as evidenced by the lack of a Cambria Sword thread to this day. :P I would recommend splitting by weapon type, even though the in-game score table doesn't record which one you used. Not sure how we should handle the different routes, maybe just leave it as optional info. I don't really have easy-to-remember names for the different routes like Darius's letters, which is part of the reason why I wanted to get the whole map charted out (I should have recorded the location names and thumbnail images...). Maybe just a series of left/right choices, I think the left/right choices correspond to left/right turns on the map (the lower difficulty rating is not always on the left).
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:08 pm 


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It's coming! Give me one more good run to get a feel for the game, so I can at least pretend to be an expert on it (like my other empty scoreboards, ha).

Thanks for the map posts too. I was debating whether or not it'd be worth it to split weapon types, but I might as well.

I think, looking at the map, I'd probably put short-hand in front of the stages, assigning each a number or letter, e.g. 2a, 2b. I'd probably have to make a little example chart to help out people. And myself, because damn that map is confusing!
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:30 am 


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Cool :D

I suggested splitting by weapon type because I feel like wide shot in particular has an advantage in destroying all the enemies, and potentially milking certain bosses. The difficulty with that, though, is that the game doesn't record which weapon type you used, so you could forget what type you used. Routes are probably most easily remembered as a series of left/right choices, especially if you don't have the full map pictured, but I've already forgotten even that for everything but my top score and only remember the last stage.

Maybe none of this will even matter, ha.

Edit:

I ran the same route with all three weapons to perform a (totally unscientific) comparison between them. Scored 893,993 points with Wide, 852,874 with Vulcan, and 814,130 with Cannon. (This is also the same route on which I scored my PB 911,193 with Wide.) Wide does have an easier time catching all the enemy waves on the last stage (on the far left of the map), while Cannon struggles with that, relatively speaking, but does well on bosses. Maybe it's not quite as much difference as I had thought, though.

PerishedFraud ឵឵ wrote:
Shepardus wrote:
With max level Vulcan it seems that sometimes the charge shot is more powerful than others. It's usually a wide beam with two small lasers on the sides, but sometimes it's a wider beam pulsing with additional large shots in the middle. I don't know what causes the difference, knowing how some of the weapons in Cambria Sword work it could depend on a button combination or it could just be random.


I believe it's random. The max level wide also fires homing missiles sometimes. Haven't seen anything special about max cannon other than it being STRONK

I think the max cannon charge has a chance to cancel bullets. Not entirely sure that that's not just me destroying boss parts though.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:24 am 


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Very nice! Seen a few players stream this, looks cool but didn't know it was free Thanks for the link :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 6:18 am 



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Just did a vulcan clear, I think I went left every time (or maybe one right?) - I ended at the western point and only got 712362. Did I really miss 150k+ worth of enemies? Hmmmmm.

I'm really hoping the dev is open to further tweaking, because the first three stages aren't nearly as fun as the final 3.


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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:50 am 


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reckon luck wrote:
Just did a vulcan clear, I think I went left every time (or maybe one right?) - I ended at the western point and only got 712362. Did I really miss 150k+ worth of enemies? Hmmmmm.

I'm really hoping the dev is open to further tweaking, because the first three stages aren't nearly as fun as the final 3.

The route I took for my post above was Normal start, then left every stage except for stage 2 -> 3, ending at west. A significant portion of the score comes from the final stage alone with all its enemies and wave clear bonuses.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:59 pm 


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One more attempt and the scoreboard will be made... I definitely will be using those maps in the score thread for reference (I haven't cleared the game yet, does it show you your route?), so thanks for screen-grabbing them.

I played this during the late hours of my vacation trip inna woods (on my lappy, so none of my progress was saved ;-; ) and am just really floored at how content-rich and exciting this release is. The final spread shot upgrade is a beauty to behold.

It's making me think of that upcoming Space Invaders collection (with still no news of Akkanvader or Infinity Gene included), and how much more fun this little freebie is than 95% of all Space Invaders games.
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 Post subject: Re: The Flying Pancake Octopus in the Black Hole
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:18 pm 


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EmperorIng wrote:
One more attempt and the scoreboard will be made... I definitely will be using those maps in the score thread for reference (I haven't cleared the game yet, does it show you your route?), so thanks for screen-grabbing them.

Unfortunately, it does not. The only thing it records is your score and name entry.
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