My project, Headhunter is a 2D roguelike game that explores a combination of gameplay mechanics such as procedural content generation, bullet-hell combat, and boss design to achieve great game feel. These concepts are used together to create unique gameplay experiences with each new playthrough.
Headhunter is a 2D bullet-hell roguelike game that explores how different gameplay mechanics are used together within the roguelike genre to create high replay-value with each new playthrough which inherently results in difficult, feature-loaded gameplay. Headhunter adopts a pixel-art style with a top-down camera angle. The game follows the player character as they locate and hunt down wanted criminals within randomly generated dungeons.
Roguelike games utilise procedural content generation (PCG) to create diversity in gameplay by being able to randomly produce an infinite amount of unique levels, characters, rewards, and obstacles. Similarly, the goal throughout the production of my practice-based research project was to use the defining conventions of the roguelike genre such as PCG, progression systems, and skill-based combat to make an authentic mechanics-based roguelike that has great game feel - which helps to further immerse the player into the gameplay. I aimed to develop this in Headhunter through the use of PCG to randomly generate levels, enemies, and rewards not only to create high replay-value by generating a new and randomised world each time, but to also allow the project’s primary focus to be on implementing game feel, the functionality of game mechanics, and skill expression through the bullet-hell combat system. I purchased additional pixel-art assets that could be used for in-game sprites as well as Unity packages to handle the random level generation - this allowed me to focus on developing the other core aspects of my project.
Headhunter has been significantly influenced by modern roguelikes such as Enter the Gungeon (Dodge Roll, 2016) and The Binding of Isaac (McMillen and Himsl, 2011), drawing inspiration from how these games are able to incorporate the fundamental themes & conventions of the roguelike genre into their own unique gameplay. Other aspects of Headhunter’s gameplay such as the emphasis on boss battles and instance-based levels are inspired by games from different genres such as Hollow Knight (Team Cherry, 2017) and the Monster Hunter franchise (Capcom).
Play the demo through the itch.io link above.