About this project
Please try out the pre-alpha demo! Click here to download the game from itch.io.
Mable & The Wood is a 2D action/exploration game set in a land where the overuse of magic is draining the world of its colour.
You play the part of a shape-shifting girl who can take the form of the beasts that she slays, but whose power is slowly destroying the world she is trying to save.
Explore the world to find the source of the darkness before the forest dies. Will you banish the darkness from the world, or will you become it?
- Combat is movement: Use different attacks as a means of traversal, and uncover the secrets of a world you thought you knew.
- Choose your own path: Imagine a dying world that you explore via an overworld map, picking the levels you want to tackle and in what order.
- Grow in power: Improve and develop Mable's abilities by exploring more areas, but beware you do not linger. As the colour fades your journey becomes ever more perilous.
- Kill bosses to take their form: Choose to attack boss monsters or avoid them altogether. These beasts are the last of their kind and slaying them unlocks new shapes for you to transform into.
I've brought the game to Kickstarter to ask you to help me raise the funds I need to get this finished and be the best game that it can be.
Scroll down to find out more, or head on over to the rewards table to the right and see what takes your fancy!
Mable is a mimic. She is able to take on the abilities from the creatures she has killed when they are the last of their kind to live.
Some of the shapes you can unlock are listed below:
Fairy form: Armed with a sword that cannot be lifted, you must drop it to fly away in fairy form and re-summon it to destroy anything in its path. Flying uses magic, which drains colour from the world and can only be restored by slaying the creatures of the wood.
This is the only shape that you will have available to you when you start the game.
Spider form: The sword is fired outwards on a web and embeds itself in the scenery. You then pull yourself towards it, catapulting yourself forward through the level.
This shape is unlocked by hunting down and slaying the Spider Queen.
Stone form: A variation on the fairy form, but instead of killing enemies, the sword turns them to stone to create platforms for you to travel through the level. Your magic is restored when you land on these creatures/platforms.
This shape is unlocked by hunting down and slaying the Stone Giant.
You'll have to experiment to find out the different ways that your abilities can interact with the world.
I'll cover off some of the other shapes in a future update, and there are some more game changing shapes that will make up stretch goals (should I be lucky enough to reach my funding goal).
Mable & The Wood will be coming to PC and Linux initially, although if the funding goal is exceeded this will allow for the game to be published on more platforms including Mac and potentially even consoles. It would be really cool to get this on console.
We have been Greenlit, so you will get a Steam key alongside your DRM free copy (and console copy if we can get that sorted).
Mable & The Wood is set in a dying world, where the overuse of magic has started to drain the world of its colour.
Your shape-shifting power is playing a part in this slow, painful death of the world – but it might be the only way to save it.
It is a world that you will explore via an overworld map. There will be multiple routes to allow you to choose your path through the world, exploring more levels to gather the resources required to upgrade your abilities or avoiding some areas entirely. You can even avoid fighting the boss monsters, who are the last creatures of their kind, but killing them is the only way to gain new shapes to transform into.
The world will change and react to your actions. The longer you explore, and the more creatures you destroy, the more perilous the world becomes. Certain areas of the map will suddenly become accessible, but other areas may disappear entirely.
I am aiming for an average completion time of 3-6 hours, depending on if you rush through or explore and hunt down more of the bosses. Due to the nature of the levels and the layout of the overworld map, any levels that you have beaten will be replaced by an alternative version if you replay the game (although there will be an option to reset the world, for the speedrunners among you).
You'll also be hunting down 7-10 bosses (and corresponding alternative forms) initially, with some randomisation as to which you'll meet on each playthrough.
Depending on the level of funding, this may increase. I really hope it does, because I've got some really cool alternative forms that I'm keeping secret for now (and I'm really struggling not to spill the beans).
There are many creatures in the world. Here are just a few of those you'll bump into:
The slothmole is the first creature you'll meet. They may appear slow and harmless, but looks can be deceiving.
The bat can be found in many dark corners of the world. They like the taste of blood. A lot.
The hornetto burps out smaller versions of herself, so watch out that you don't become overwhelmed.
The monkey likes your sword and wants to take it home. If it goes missing, at least you know where it's gone.
The squirrel giant is a secret – we'll have to get the game funded to find out what that's all about!
The music is in the very capable hands of Fat Bard Music, as you can hear from the sample below.
There has been a recent glut of retro inspired games using modern design techniques and advances in the way that we think about games to come up with something new: games like Hyper Light Drifter, Undertale, Wildfire, Moon Hunters and (hopefully) Mable & The Wood.
From a gameplay perspective, Mable & The Wood takes inspiration from games such as Guacamelee and Noitu Love 2 (seriously, check it out - nowhere near enough people have played this). Both of these games take the basic framework of action platformers and turn it into something else entirely. They do this by changing how you control your character and traverse the levels.
Mable & The Wood has also been heavily inspired by bigger, open world games and what they get wrong. In many of these games, there is a beautifully realised world that you can explore, but it is rare that you can have any meaningful impact on that world. Sure, you can blow some cars up and get chased by the cops but, apart from occasional (and often temporary) changes triggered at a point in the narrative, the world itself remains the same. You may as well not be there at all.
I think games can do more than this.
I've been making Mable in my spare time for the past 11 months since it came into being during the Ludum Dare game jam in April 2015. Since then I've been exploring a number of variations on the basic themes of combat as movement, your powers destroying the world and killing bosses to unlock new ways to play.
I'm being realistic in that this is a relatively small project and I fully expect that game development will remain something that I do in my spare time. However, there are costs associated with a commercial release that I need your help with. Hopefully the game is something that you're as excited about as I am, so we both get something out of the arrangement!
These are the expected costs of completing the project, as it stands:
If the project exceeds my expectations to the level that I will be working on Mable full time then the target release date for the game will not change. It will allow me add a significant amount of content to the game, which I would otherwise not be able to.
This is something that I'll cover more in the stretch goals if it looks likely that the initial goal will be exceeded.
Thinking of backing the game? Wait, why are you still thinking about it!? Anyway, here are some of the things you'll get in return for your lovely pledge:
*No, my boss actually looks nothing like that...
I said I'd start announcing these at 25% backed and here we are!
*UNLOCKED* £7,750 - Mac Release *UNLOCKED*
If we hit this goal then I'll have the money to buy a Mac and port the game over! This doesn't seem to be too difficult in GameMaker, but there'll be extra testing involved - I plan to release the Mac version at the same time as the Windows and Linux versions.
£10,000 - PS Vita Release
If we can hit this stretch goal, then the game will also be released on Vita! There are quite a few costs I hadn't taken into account (certification and official age ratings for example) but I hope we can hit this as it'd be really cool to play this on a Vita!
NEW STRETCH GOALS!
£12,500 - 2 New Bosses & Forms!
Hydra: If you're able to kill the Hydra, you'll unlock a form that allows you leave versions of yourself around the world that you will return to should you die.
Pan-Dimensional Time Leech: This giant, slug like creature eats time for breakfast. If you take this boss's form, you'll unlock the ability to control the flow of time. Perhaps this will come in handy later in the story...
£15,000 - New Form That Unlocks Co-Op!
It wouldn't be Mable & The Wood if co-op mode was as simple as selecting it in the menu. This stretch goal will unlock another mimic as a boss, who will copy the forms you have already unlocked and use them against you.
Once you defeat them, you will unlock a form that allows you to drop a 2nd player in and out of the game, to help you with your challenges.
This stretch goal requires quite a bit of extra work, so it will be released as an update following the game's completion!
Risks and challenges
After almost a year of planning, designing, testing, redesigning, testing and redesigning (you can probably repeat that last bit a few more times), I'm at a stage now with the game that I know the direction it is going in. The vision is there and, let me tell you, it's a beautiful thing.
I'm ready to share what I have with the world, and here you are! I can't honestly tell you how nerve-racking these last few months have been, trying to get everything together for this campaign. Now it's here, that anxiety is only increasing...
It's going to be hard work to get this thing done, but the funds that I hope to raise from this campaign will allow me to bring talented professionals on board to help make Mable & The Wood the best game that it can be. I need your help too! Without people to support the game it simply can't exists. It's going to be a tough journey, but everything is packed and ready.
There's still a long way to go and I'd love it if you'd do me the honour of accompanying me on that journey.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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