Last Update: Jan 2014
Whats all this about? Sprites and few other stuff I've done for Hoplite, the pick-up and play, mythological Greek themed strategy game for mobiles.
I havent done much for Hoplite. It doesnt need much to be done either. Its a "gameplay above all" sort of thing. It may look like a minimalist can of worms from the screenshot but once you play it you will probably want to play again and again and again until you realise dying is fun and addictive.
Some people refer to hoplite as a rpg, some as a puzzle game, its hard to say what this is. but for me it feels more like checkers than anything else so I guess I'll call it a strategy game so this is a pick-up and play sort of 5 minute quickie strategy game where you try to reach the exit of each map without losing all your lives while each level gets harder and harder.
Hoplites were greek warriors trained to kick ass using huge round shields and long spears. The player takes the role of one of these Greek Hoplites who travels deep underground on a quest to retrieve the Fleece of Yendor. (some golden goat fluff belonging to a guy or deity named Yendor? Or is it Yendor as in the amulet of Yendor from Nethack?)
As you can see Hoplite doesnt rely on the story. It just gives you an excuse to run inside caves, leaping over pits of lava, avoiding projectiles and poking neon glowing demons in the face with a spear. I on the other hand enjoy spending time on a little bit more detail so i tired to come up with a few more lines.
The image below is the intro I proposed. Drawings are mono colour, orange + dark gray like the title screen, Greek pottery style to depict the Greek mythology stuff. Images were to be shown like a slide show (or even better they could have rotated as if the black vase was spinning) telling the story;
There was a brave hoplite who charged into each battle without fear, victorious in every battle, tales of his valour was was quickly noticed y the gods up above Olympus. A gift of immortality was offered by the mighty Zeus if the Hoplite could prove himself worthy to receive such gift by venturing deep underground and bringing back the long lost Fleece of Yendor which was said to be stolen by the demonic denizens of the underground...
Skills and Abilities
I'll just breifly describe skills and abilities here but Hoplite comes with a quick tutorial (unlike most tutorials which never seem to end) I strongly suggest new players to have a go at it so they will grasp the basics.
Stabbing is done by moving into any other tile adjacent to the one the enemy stands.
Lunging is done by moving directly towards the enemy when the spear is equipped.
The Hoplite is also able to use any of his 3 special abilities shown with the 3 icons below the screen; "leap" "shield bash" and "throw spear."
Leap is useful when you need to make an urgent escape or when you want to speed run through the game for a high score.
The shield bash is useful when you want to push something or someone. A bomb landed in-front of you? no fear, just bash it with the shield and away it goes, back to its owners (or even better, in to the middle of a group of demons) A demon standing next to a pit? a quick bash with a shield sends him down the pit. Couple of enemies standing next to each other? a quick bash will make them push each other like the mindless bully kid of your high school. Due to such effects, shield bash seems to be the most fun ability among all.
Its not easy to swing that giant shield so once the bash skill is used it will take a couple of turns for the hoplite to recover and be able to re-use the shield.
and finally the Spear throw is used when you need to poke someone who cant be reached with a regular melee attack. But remember, once you throw the spear you will need to pick it back up again to be able to attack enemies using direct lunges. Luckily the hoplite can fight on without his spear but his melee attacks will be limited to stabbing only.
Visiting temples along the way bestows various bonuses to abilities. There are also achievements that allow you to unlock new and much more powerful abilities but they are for premium users.
Demons of the underworld
The underworld is filled with neon coloured glow in the dark demons who will try to stop the Hoplite from reaching the fleece. Each demon attacks using different patterns. Taping on the demon will show the tiles they can attack while holding your finger on the demon will open a description window.
Footman - these guys arent much of a problem until they start swarming you with large numbers. You usually find yourself killed by a footman while trying to avoid some other enemies attack.
Archer - these green demons attack by shooting arrows from 5 tiles away (more or less half the game field) they can easily be killed by rushing towards them with zig-zags or leaps but they start to posses threat once they hide behind walls of footman
Demolitionist - these guys are probably the easiest among the enemies. They throw explosive bombs that can easily be avoided using the leap ability or easily re-directed with the shields bash ability, mostly resulting with the death of other demons. However act too reckless and you may lose a life or two to these pink demons.
Wizard - another ranged enemy that can attack 5 tiles away. They dont throw fireballs when another demon stands between them and the hoplite so it is wise to hide behind other demons when trying to approach the wizards.
Here are some very early (and rough) sprites of the demons. The demons were initially planed to look like satyrs with goat legs and human bodies. We later disbanded these guys due to tile size limitations. I'm happy they never made it :) Early versions of hoplite had another enemy that was removed later on. It was a giant slime that divided into smaller slimes each time it took damage. Having slime in a mythological Greek themed doesnt feel right so I offered the slime to be replaced by a Hydra that devided into smaller snakes as it took damage. However the slime was "removed, mostly because they were a bit tedious to kill and didn't add much to the game".
And here are couple of helmets for the icons and splash screen. They all look the same to me :)