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Slay the Spire studio Mega Crit has released Dancing Duelists, a free new deck builder created during a game jam as it explored the Godot engine following the recent Unity controversy.
Mega Crit was one of many developers to criticise Unity’s decision to begin charging studios fees based on the number times their game was installed by a user (Unity has since walked back on some of its changes, and CEO John Riccitiello departed not long after), writing, “Despite the immense amount of time and effort our team has already poured into the development on our new title, we will be migrating to a new engine unless the changes are completely reverted and [Terms of Service] protections are put in place.”
Shortly after Unity’s controversial announcement, Mega Crit held a three-week game jam to “explore the Godot engine due to ‘recent events'”. The result of those experiments is Dancing Duelists, a “deckbuilding autobattler dance off with a BUMPIN’ soundtrack”.
As per the rules posted on itch.io, players pick a fighter (each with its own deck of cards) then go up against a randomly assigned opponent for a dance clash. Cards play automatically and a clash is won if an opponent’s Hype Points (HP) are reduced to zero, if their cards are all trashed, or if the player reaches 50 HP. Additionally, the competitor with the most HP will be declared winner if a game reaches 20 turns. Players get two new cards ahead of each clash, special ability granting trinkets are awarded every other clash, and the goal is to win seven clashes to be crowned the “ultimate dance duellist”.
Dancing Duelists is a pretty slick, characterful, and funky thing going by its gameplay trailer – especially so given its three-week development – and itch.io comments point to a game that’s fun, if a little buggy and unbalanced. And if you fancy trying it out yourself, it’s free and available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Mega Crit recommends anyone wanting to fling money in its direction after their time with Dancing Duelists should instead donate to the Godot engine’s ongoing development fund. The studio has recently confirmed – in a separate post on social media – it will be following through with its previous threat to ditch Unity and is now officially moving its next game to Godot.
Mega Crit notes in its brief introduction to Dancing Duelists that the game’s development coincided with the Jump Ship Jam, challenging developers to “craft a game using an entirely new-to-you engine or tool” based on the theme of “strength in numbers”. The Jump Ship Jam received 81 submissions and they’re all available to explore over on itch.io.
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