So I've got the demo ready to go now! I've sent it off to the first wave of people - hoping to get some good feedback from everybody. If you're interested in playing it, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be sure to send it your way!
Over the last couple weeks, I've been trying to add some bonus content to The Adventures of Chris - filling out the Kingdom of Lost Balloons, the game's central "town" area. I've even added a mini-game!
You see, in the original, pixel-art version of the game, I had a level very early in the game that people called the "bird level." It was remarkably challenging for what was essentially the third level in the game, and a lot of people got frustrated to the point where they quit playing at that level - before they'd even reached the World Map! I smoothed it out significantly with later builds, but it still felt like a lot to put players through that early on.
Well, I aim to fix that in the new version. I've greatly shortened and simplified the first several levels of the game, trying to streamline the difficulty curve a bit. So the "bird level" is radically shortened. Unfortunately, I kind of like the bird level. I liked the challenge of it. So I'm bringing the bird level back, but as a completely optional mini-game.
"But Chris," you might be saying. "Don't you hate mini-games?"
"Not all of them!" I might reply. I do enjoy complaining about certain mini-games, that's for sure. Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII both had mini-games that drove me crazy, for example. I don't like a game that I enjoy telling me that I have to play a game that I don't enjoy to continue. Zelda mini-games are better, but occasionally the challenge level gets too frustrating. Right now, Mario Odyssey's jump rope and beach volleyball mini-games are driving me crazy.
But mini-games don't have to be random or overly difficult. They can fit in with a world well. And they have advantages! Mini-games provide additional variety of experience. They can reward exploration. They can add optional challenge for players that like that kind of thing. They help flesh out a game's world. (Final Fantasy XIII really could've used some.)
So adding mini-games is a risk, but they have potential rewards.
So we'll see how the demo players react! Hopefully it enriches the world, and adds some additional fun for players that want it.