RE:PAIRN'T Post-GGJ Feelings


The anime-of-the-season prefix, the ______n't meme, plus the repair and parent puns. I still giggle every time I see our game's title.

For those of you that don’t know, we made RE:PAIRN’T for GGJ2020 under the theme Repair. It was a tricky theme to work with, but we knew from the start that we wanted to make a nonviolent, but still actiony, experience. 

When thinking of references for our game, we had a difficult time pinpointing one that we could draw ideas from, and that’s when it really sunk in— most mainstream action games use violence and destruction as their default language. Sure, there are games like Harvest Moon and other simulator games, but they generally revolve around management as a core mechanic.

One idea we had put you in the shoes of the World’s Last Repairman, and he had to repair robots, which later devolved into feeling like a bootleg version of Fix-It Felix of Wreck-It Ralph fame. Our other idea was playing as a healer in a town in a typical MMORPG, where people would be begging you to heal them (and then harass you if you didn’t), but the mechanics seemed too abstract for us at the time... Buuuuuut maybe we’ll revisit that one someday.

Repairing implies that a previously functioning object had broken. Looking back at our two concepts, we asked ourselves… “What if being broken wasn’t literal or physical?” Following the theme of our last GGJ entry, Sheltered, we wanted to do something more personal. We thought about how relationships can be broken and fixed, and how our upbringing can affect us emotionally.

Putting together all the pieces, we ended up with our concept: an actiony nonviolent feelings game about robots and making amends. A father must repair the broken relationships he has with his children. We wanted to take an angle showcasing how parents, even with the best intentions, can make mistakes and affect the development of their children.

To help us flesh out our design, we made sure each child had an affliction related to what they do and how their father is related to it.

Our first robot controls the weather, a huge task for a smol robot. Pressure from all that responsibility locked her in a state of sadness and isolation

The second robot panics and runs frantically at the sight of its parent.  It's anxious that it might make another mistake and be scolded for damaging the city’s power grid again.

Sick of the strict rules imposed on him to control his flames, our third robot left in anger and settled in an empty area in town. There, he can finally could do whatever he wants without hurting anyone.

We wanted a protagonist who was remorseful and was ready to say sorry to his children, to be understanding, and to be there for them.He chooses to stay to console them and show how much he cares, even if they could hurt him with how they lash out. He responds to harm with healing.

Interestingly, because of how abstract our concept was, we finished making our game design last. It was part practice, part learning to let go of perfection. Showing a parent cares through game mechanics was challenging. 

Over the course of the jam, we asked ourselves a few questions:

How do you beat a boss?
Does their health just go up over time?
Do you have an aura that defeats them over time as you get closer? 

It was getting overly symbolic and a bit too clunky, so we stuck with simple platformer mechanics like Megaman. But instead of depleting the enemy's HP, we wanted an experience where you had to build something up, so projectiles healed the boss instead of damaging them, and the goal was to fill up their HP. In hindsight, I really like this subversion because it uses the same mechanical language, while being fundamentally different.

Overall, we’re really proud of our work, and we hope you enjoy it too! If there’s anything I really appreciate about this GGJ, it’s that I got the chance to practice making actiony boss patterns and varied boss designs. As someone exclusively doing design on a strategy game for work right now, it was a nice change of pace to be wearing different hats again.

RE: - to respond to
REPAIR - to make amends
PARENT - who you are
AIN’T - not a literal parent / you messed up


- Snack

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