Kill Them With Cuteness was my first commercially released game, solo developed and self-published.
Contributions: Game Design, Art, Programming (Unity, C#)
In Kill Them With Cuteness, you play as an unlikely hero, sent on a mission by your Grandpa to save the island from invading Aliens! The only way to defeat them? By Throwing cute animals at them of course!!! The game features 5 levels for the player to explore and complete quests for the locals, along with 4 unique animals to find and destroy the 2 types of Aliens with along the way. As the player explores each level, they will collect Pet Food, which can be through various vendors throughout the world which provide helpful tools for the player, from an Ammo Box that replenishes the player's pet stock, to a Skateboard which helps the player traverse the world in a speedy new way. The game was inspired by retro 3D Platformers such as Spyro the Dragon (PS1) and Jak and Daxter (PS2)
The game was originally conceived as a small game where you must save your cat from a burning building by throwing it across gaps and then finding a way to get across, but when I started working in-engine the project quickly grew in scope to a 3D platformer, as the controller ended up being better suited for it. I went back to the drawing board and started writing ideas for levels, the story, and new pets the player could use along their journey. As I was developing this game during my study at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), I decided to give myself a harsh deadline of just over 4 months, with the project to be completed and released on Steam during August, before our End Of Year final project. Being the biggest game I had worked on so far, and still being new to the Unity game engine and the C# programming language, it was quite a challenge, but I managed to release the game to a somewhat polished extent on the 28th of August, 2021 for $7.50 AUD.
While there were originally planned to be 5 animals instead of the current 4, I had to cut the 5th due to time constraints. The final animal would have been a crab, which when thrown, would home-in and chase a single Alien.
Working on Kill Them With Cuteness was always intended to be a learning experience for me, first of all to sharpen up my Unity and general game dev skills, but also to learn the ins-and-outs of independent publishing, how the Steam developer ecosystem works, and how to speak about my game in ways so the public can understand what it's all about.
The Cat is the first animal a player will collect, they can't leave Grampa's house without it. This cute lil' orange bugger, along with having unlimited uses, will fly straight and true when thrown, and can even piece multiple Aliens at once, but it's range is limited and doesn't have an Area of Effect explosion when landing, making it a good all-round pet.
Found in the caves, the Mice are likely to be the second pet a player will collect, this will be the first introduction to a pet with limited uses (before having to find an Ammo Box to replenish). They are a very effective close-range pet, throwing them releases 4 Mice at various arcs that land right in front of the player, which causes a small Area of Effect cloud to puff up and kill any Alien caught up in it.
Once rescued along the city's beaches, the Dog is a faithful and useful companion. Once thrown, it will take a very high arc, and soar slowly through the air, making it useful for reaching Aliens above the player's view. When the Dog lands, it creates a huge explosion, killing any Alien unlucky enough to be near it.
Gifted to the player by an Oracle by offer of Pet Food, the Turtle is a trap the player can set for any unsuspecting Alien to waltz into, Any Alien gullible enough to do so will find themselves quickly engulfed in an explosion, taking out any of it's buddies nearby. The turtle can stick to any surface, and is a great tool to round out the player's arsenal.
The Green Alien is the most common type of Alien, when it sees the player it will take straight path towards them at a slow pace, while easy to defeat on their own, they use small platforms to their advantage, using the player's inability to adjust their aim up/down to make it tricky for the player to get footing.
The Red Alien, while acting very similarly to the green alien, is much faster, and while still easily defeated, is dangerous in large groups, where they often find themselves.
Area 1 - Beachside
The Beachside is where the player begins their journey, and learns the ropes of slaying Aliens with cute explosive animals. It features a range of quests, along with platforming challenges and combat. The player's main objective, which will repeat itself in future areas, is to complete tasks for the locals, including destroying Anti-Alien signs for Three Aliens in a Trench Coat, collecting the missing Wheat for the Baker, and saving a citizen from the Aliens surrounding their house, in order to collect enough batteries to slot in the generator and open the door to the next area.
Area 2 - The Cave
Used as a connecting piece to the larger town in Area 3, The Cave is where the player will find the Mouse pet. In this area, the player must search and collect all the Gold in the cave for the Miner they meet at the beginning. The Three Aliens in a Trench Coat return once again, asking you to destroy all the signs in the area, along with the Mice Oracle, echoing the tribute from the Cat Oracle in the previous area, asking for an offer of 100 Pet Food, to which they'll bestow upon the player a stack of Gold for the Miner. Once the player collects all the Gold, they'll be given the Lever to blow their way through the rubble that was obstructing the next area!
Area 3 - The Alcove
The Alcove is the main hub space for the townsfolk of the island, and was hit hard by the Alien invasion. It features some cool platforming and combat challenges in the town and along the beach, as well as a cliffside climb to meet the Dog Oracle. This area also introduces the Skateboard, purchasable for a cool 100 Pet Food, which lets the player speed around explore the world in a new way.
Fun fact, this area was once twice it's current size with a few extra quests, however it was decided that even with the addition of the Skateboard, it was just too big, and not fun to traverse or explore. I cut it down to just the interesting parts of the level, with vastly reduced empty space between the fun stuff.
Area 4 - The Temple
The Temple shows the implied history between the animals you collect and the island they reside on, with statues inside the temple depicting humans worshipping the animals, and providing cool platforming opportunities. The Trench Three Aliens in a Trench Coat appear for their fourth and final request, destroying more signs. The player also encounters a military soldier, who has evacuated the town in the area, as it's swarmed with Aliens, defeating all the Aliens in the town will reward the player the a Battery to move on to the next and final area.
Area 5 - The Finale
The fifth and final area, the player starts near a camp filled with black-suited agents, who inform the player of their task: Destroy the generators powering the Alien Mothership at the end of all three paths. Destroying a generator will cause it to fall, letting the player walk across and onto a teleporter which will bring them back to the three paths, letting them chose the next one. Upon destroying all three generators, the game plays a final cutscene and the game is over.
Fun fact: This is the largest area in the game, with each of the three paths the size of the first area!