There are times when I find that I have to concisely explain Turtles all the Way to someone, but I almost always end up being unable to come up with an explanation that both gets the idea across well and does so without needing the wall of text I posted before.
This is no small problem – I need to be able to explain the game sufficiently in a paragraph at most, or people will have no idea what the game is until I reach a point what allows me to show gameplay videos. I’m sure most people would be averse to reading a wall of text.
So I ask myself that important first question:
What, exactly, are the major components of the game?
If I had to pick them out, it would probably be the mix of beat ’em up and platformer gameplay styles, as well as the sync points idea that forces you to manage your use of two characters. Another big point would be the story’s main plot, as well as the absurd character designs that go against the seriousness that the plot would theoretically have, then mix in my brand of humour.
But that would go far beyond a single paragraph, were I to expand my explanations. I need a simpler way to summarize how the gameplay would work.
So… how could I get the idea behind Sync Points across easily? I could say that it and the stamina bar mean that the player has to handle several layers of time and skill management, but that’s easily mis-interpretable. I could say that these things give it a rhythmic gameplay style, but that implies something completely different, too.
But what if I said this?:
Turtles all the Way: A Shell Game is a 3D platformer that requires the careful management of both time and stamina between two characters while fighting off swarms of enemies, giving the game a somewhat rhythmic gameplay style. All the while, the game’s absurd character designs (i.e. the main character being a turtle with retractable wings and wheels who makes things implode) and emphasis on humour being at odds with its somewhat serious storyline further contribute to making the game feel unlike most other games on the market.
It… may or may not work. I’d need outside opinions on that one. That said, “careful management of both time and skill use between two characters while fighting off swarms of enemies” does not sound anywhere close to standard platformer fare as far as I’m aware. From what I can remember, most platformers have the goal of… making it to the goal through various methods to traverse platforms. While there are generally enemies around, most platformers do not put emphasis on killing swarms of enemies to proceed – that’s what you’d expect of a beat ’em up. In addition, the whole sync points thing is nowhere close to a standard feature in any genre.
Could the game be a genre launcher? I mean, it’s certainly possible, given the difficulty describing the game and the unusual combination of core mechanics within. But that would only make things harder – I lack the resources to capitalize on a new genre. And, even worse, it would mean that there’s no way to know who’d like the game, and thereby who to market to, until the game’s launch.
Well, no way on knowing until further into development. For now, I can only hope that the simple description I came up with is decent enough at getting the point across.