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  Mechanic #185 - Jelly Snake
Posted: Jan 21, 2014

Play as a snake made out of a variety of different colored slimes and try to escape the dungeon.

  Jelly Snake



Fig 185.1 - Snakes of Jelly.

This is a puzzle game in which you play as a snake of differently colored slimes trying to escape a dungeon. Each colored slime has a different ability, whether it be elemental damage (like ice) or the ability to break down doors or create a bridge for the other slimes. You can cycle the slimes in the snake, so that you can change what slime is at the head.

The enemies do not move around or chase you. Instead, they represent roadblocks that you must defeat to move past them. Each slime has a number of hitpoints and a set damage value. All similar colored slimes do the same amount of damage. When you attack an enemy, the slime is damaged and the enemy is damaged. If the slime is destroyed, the next slime in line moves up to take its place. If the enemy is defeated, then the head slime still loses the damage, so it is possible for both the slime and the enemy to be defeated in one attack.

You can find additional slimes in the dungeon and add them to your snake.



Fig 185.2 - Combine the slimes.

You can combine neighboring slimes of the same color into a single slime. This combines the hitpoint value of the slimes, creating a single slime with more hitpoints. You can also split a slime into two, creating two adjacent slimes of the same color, each with half the hitpoints. Since slimes hit just as hard regardless of hitpoints, you can split a slime and sacrifice half of it to damage an enemy. However, hitpoints are rounded down when splitting, so you could ultimately be hurting yourself with rounding errors.

You can also swap two neighboring slimes. The slimes do not have to be neighboring within the snake itself. They can be on two different parts of the snake that have been situated next to each other. So you can bring a slime from the tail up to the head by making a circle with the snake (see Fig 185.2).

Finally, you don't need to worry about running into your own tail. This is because the slimes will go right through each other. You can use this to mix new slime types. For instance, run a yellow and blue slime across each other and you can choose to mix them, replacing them with two green slimes in their place with hitpoints equal to the two slimes added together, divided by two, round down. Also, mixed slimes can not be unmixed.



Fig 185.3 - Bridging the gap.

The final piece of the puzzle is that some slimes perform services, like bridging a gap. If you have a red slime at the head of the snake and run towards a chasm, it will stretch itself out to create a bridge that the other slimes can cross. This uses up the slime, who will remain as a bridge, allowing you to recross it later. Different obstacles require different hitpoint strengths, so a single tile wide chasm would require a weaker red slime than a double tile wide chasm.

  Conceptual Notes

- This idea began with a snake of adventurers, not unlike [#098 - Line of Guys]. Though there were unique elements to that idea, I felt it was too similar to that previous idea. When I had the idea of using colored slimes, the idea became more interesting because I could combine, split, and mix them. Also, because of their shape changing ability, it became more puzzle based, with collecting/combining/strengthening slimes in order to overcome obstacles.

- There needs to be some sort of balancing mechanism for splitting slimes, or else the player will just split the slimes for combat every time. Rounding down the split wouldn't be enough to deter this activity, but doing anything more substantial would make splitting something to avoid. Maybe a splitting weakness, where recently split slimes do less damage or something.



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.