LITTLE REAPER

LEVEL DESIGNER AND PRODUCT OWNER

After creating a rift between the mortal world and the After Life it’s time for Death’s little girl to grow up and try to clean up the mess she’s made. She must now take her dad’s legendary scythe and traverse the streets and rooftops of an empty and abandoned city, to rid it from its supernatural menace and try to find Death. Use the scythe to get out of tight spots, or capture the angry souls that have escaped and is haunting the city.

In Little Reaper it’s up to you to not only save your dad but the mortal realm as well.

Genre Platformer

Platform PC

Engine/Tools Unreal Engine 4

Production Time Four Weeks

Team Size 10 people

Role Level Design and Product Owner

CONTRIBUTION

  • Designed the main level by using paper prototypes and white boxing.
  • Managed the project using an Agile method; setting up daily meetings and setting up milestones to make sure everyone knew what to do and what everyone else was doing.
  • Took executive decisions regarding the games design when necessary.
  • Assisted with directing parts of the cutscenes.
  • Created and held a presentation for the school executives and final jury.

DESIGN OBJECTIVES

  • Adventure / exploration
  • Destruction
  • Environmental storytelling / visual narrative (NO TEXT)

MECHANICS

There are three kinds of obstacles the player must overcome; Pits, Spikes, and Ghosts.

The Pits are holes in the ground, and should the player character be so unfortunate to fall into one of these she dies instantly.

The Spikes are supernatural in its origins, glowing red to indicate danger. Running into one of these will hurt the player character.

Ghosts fill a similar function as the Spikes; running into them will hurt the character, but they also generate Health to the character if killed with the scythe.

The player can Wall Climb pretty much anywhere where there is a wall. This is used to move vertically throughout the game, allowing the player to reach hard to get to place, and can also be used to save the player character from certain death by clinging on to the side of a Pit, making it possible to get out of there.

Teleportation is used by throwing the scythe in front of the player character and then instantly jumping to its location. This allows the player to cover a lot of ground quickly, and to jump horizontally to places otherwise out of reach, maybe over a Pit or through an area covered with Spikes.

LEVEL DESIGN

What was important to show with the level design, was the effect Death’s daughter had had on the mortal world when she accidentally released the spirits. This was shown by having pieces of the street levitating, pierced by supernatural spikes, that also functioned as platforms for the player to traverse on, but also with having big, gaping holes in the streets. All of this tied together with the “Destruction” theme set out in the Design Objectives. Other ways this was shown was having pieces of house facades ripped out, showing the interior. Excluding the cutscenes, this was our only means of telling a story.

I set out to divide the level into three parts, each focusing on different things. In the first part I wanted the player to use the Wall Climbing ability quite frequently. It’s also in this first part that the player are introduced to new elements, such as Floating Platforms, Pits, Falling Platforms and Enemies. In the second part there was a bigger emphasis on the Teleporting mechanic, when the player character throws their scythe and teleports to its location, and would be combined with Wall Climbing in the third and last part och the game. It’s in this section where I truly combined these two mechanics to create more difficult platforming puzzles as part of the climax of the game.

LEVEL MAP

WALKTHROUGH

In the First Part of the level we introduce several new elements from the get go; the Pits and the enemies. To make it look sinister, the Pit is riddled with pointy spikes, indicating to the player that falling down the Pit will be dangerous. The first enemy is located under a roof jutting out over the street, making it impossible to avoid the encounter forcing the player to face the ghost head on.

Having introduced new elements to the player we then reintroduce the Wall Climbing mechanic in two segments straight afterwards.

Then comes a longer stretch of the level that focuses more on pure platforming than anything else, but depending on which way the player goes, they’ll be introduced to Falling Platforms – or they might miss them altogether.

To be able to move on from this platforming segment the player needs to either Wall Climb or teleport out of it.

To be able to move on from this platforming segment the player needs to either Wall Climb or teleport out of it.

To be able to move upwards the player need to use Wall Climbing in a new way they never have before; jumping between walls to get up.

Afterwards there comes two teleportation segments, indicating that the level have entered a different stage, which is also indicated by having the majority of the remaining part of the level taking part inside of houses.

The next house focuses more on platforming segments with Wall Climbing elements.

The last part of the level combines Wall Climbing and Teleportation to a larger extent than before. This is shown right away in this part where the player needs to teleport beyond the Spikes to the wall on the other side, but since the player can’t see the bottom of the hole under the wall, they’re inclined to stick to the wall and carefully lower themselves to the floor underneath.

The next puzzle is very similar to the last one, but with Spikes just underneath the Player after having teleported to the wall, which means they’ll have to jump down to the other wall to their backs, and from there the player can drop down.

Two more teleportation moments.

The last combination of the Wall Climbing and Teleportation mechanics sees the player having to Wall Climb upwards just to have them throw the scythe in the opposite direction and teleport beyond the Spikes.

The last part of the level focuses on an easier platforming segment before reaching the end of the level.