[Devlog #1] The Origin of Koa

Posted on Sunday 1st May, 2022

A couple of weeks ago I shared on itch.io and Game Jolt a very early version of a tiny project that is currently in development, a quirky game that combines simple elements such as sequencing and basic platformers’ mechanics.

Koa: A Gluttonous Wizard

The goal of the game is to follow a monster by stomping on platforms in sequence and avoiding being hit by hazardous elements. The rules are quite simple but can also be very challenging.

The initial idea of the game came from a simple prototype I made long time ago about following a sequence of colors/symbols in order and doing so for as long as possible. Due to its fast-paced and reflexes/attention testing nature, the plan was to implement this only for touchscreen devices.

Collow was the origin of Koa: A Gluttonous Wizard

However, after some time, I started to include more content and to think about how would similar mechanics be suitable for other devices, especially computers or consoles. I wanted to make a less casual game and something with more depth. So I tested a very basic gameplay in which instead of following colors, player would have to follow sequences on a keyboard or gamepad.

Initial black and white test for Koa

After lots of playtesting, this mechanic alone didn’t feel fun enough to make an interesting game, so I started adding more challenges: rotating, disappearing and moving platforms/keys, to increase the difficulty progressively and test players’ memory, attention and reflexes at the same time.

Moving keys/platforms + following sequences

This basic ideas still needed a lot of balance but the result was fun to play, especially because it messed a lot with players’ brains when trying to follow a specific key and instead they ended up focusing on the position of the key on the screen.

So to create a more complete and meaningful experience, I wanted to add a bit more personality to the core elements, also a motive and a very simple story to complement its gameplay, this is when the idea of the monster (Gluttony) came up.

very first animation of Gluttony

Although it’s nothing super complex, there was now an entity, a face, a creature that reminds you what you are fighting for in the game and why you are making all this effort just to follow some sequences in the right order.

All the pieces so far, seemed to be interesting in isolation; nevertheless, they didn’t feel right as a whole, there was something missing, the game needed something to put all the elements together and to create coherence. This is when the main character (Koa) was born.

Adding the main character: Koa

Including the main character in the game added a lot of sense to the whole project, it made it easier to explain the relationship between actions and entities and also helped adding new interesting mechanics such as: the possibility to jump, be hit by hazardous objects, ducking, attacking, etc.

Only by adding the jumping mechanic plus the enemies, the game already felt like something different, it had more variety and was more fun to play. Having all these new elements in combination with the core idea, characters, etc, just felt right and opened up many possibilities to expand and improve, adding existing mechanics to create new experiences.

Koa rough animations

At this point, it just felt like the game was naturally evolving and this is exactly when I decided to dedicate more time to it. I’m currently working on the project, testing new stuff, combining existing mechanics with what I have now and adding more elements such as story, world navigation, bonus levels, etc, until there is a more complete and whole experience and a full version can be released for the world to play.

Koa: A Gluttonous Wizard

In the following posts I’ll share some of those ideas and the progress about their implementation. If you haven’t yet, please give the game a try and leave some feedback, your comments are very much appreciated.

Thank you!

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