I agree with what others have said: this game really does atmosphere well, both on the surface with the view of the planet and inside the caves. The pixel art in the opening and menus is very clean too. The thematic music is a very nice touch. It would be great to see fleshed out beyond its Game Jam state. Spiralling Down could be Minetest's answer to Deep Rock Galatic.
That being said, it's not finished enough to recommend spending a great deal of time in right now. The menu screen isn't really very intitutive, it's not clear what the various elements you're collecting are or do, or what the tools are (it would be helpful if the HUD showed a descriptive name for the selected tool). Though I said I like the music, it's way too loud by default and there really could be more emphasis on sound effects, especially for drilling and such. Music transitions are a bit abrupt when moving between areas. I also got some errors related to sounds when using the acid gun (didn't know how to use it either). There were some plants that were kind of floating a few blocks off the ground that looked like they should be hanging from the ceiling. It would be good if you could pick up the lights again. The bat monsters could use some work, they're a bit laggy for me and totally overwhelming. The weird green balls also look a bit rough and clutter everything up. The game could introduce you to the hostiles in a bit more of a staggered fashion - perhaps only a handful at first, then more of them and more dangerous foes the deeper you go.
I am taking the time to give feedback here because I think the bones we have here are promising and it could be a fun game with more development.
This is the first Game Jam game I played this year, and I have to say, as 'simple' as the concept is, it was a very enjoyable experience. There was no need for lots of introductory text or explanations - the gameplay was very intuitive and the pacing was great. There was parts where I thought I was stuck but then kind of naturally figured it out. I especially found the hand prints that display on the blocks a nice touch. The atmosphere was very chill and spacey thanks to the music and sparce use of sound effects (only from moving blocks or teleporting). The textures were nice, as was the use of image backgrounds. While the gameplay was a lot simpler than Glitch, I actually didn't lose my patience with this and managed to clear the whole thing.
There wasn't much content to the game, but in its defence, everything that was there was very nicely polished. The rooms were interestingly arranged and the atmosphere really worked with the theme. Some of the textures could use a tiny bit of fine tuning perhaps (I found the textures at the crash site/opening kind of jarring and unharmonous, maybe they clash with each other or the background), but the space station areas looked great.
I'd like to see more of Klots and would definitely hop back in to play more levels.
This one's tricky for me. I'm not a very patient gamer, and I don't enjoy platformers or 'skill based games', which is the direction that Glitch seems to be aiming for. But I will review this objectively, with the perspective of whether I would recommend this to a friend who I know enjoys this type of game.
In the time I spent playing this game I could see that a lot of work went into it. An impressive amount actually - it really feels like a proper fully fledged game, not something frantically assembled while racing against the clock. It has a cute aesthetic, it has music, a unified feel (even the UI fits the theme), it has unique gameplay mechanics and it's engaging enough (if you like this genre) that you kind of forget about the whole 'Minetest is an engine' thing and just think of something as a game in its own right. Arguably, I think that's the most important thing. Too many games rely on the 'strengths' of the engine, e.g. that you can play tons of other stuff too, instead of just standing on their own right. With some more development after the Jam ends, this could probably be one of those rare titles worth playing even if you don't know anything about Minetest as an engine.
That being said - some very minor critiques: I found it very hard to tell when an ability had recharged (like the sliding mechanics). The stopping distance also was quite hard to judge. Lastly, I feel like maybe the game could use a tiny bit more personality and liveliness of the kind you would find in nostalgic 3D platformers. Maybe little emotes over the characters heads, occasionally changing expressions to emphasise events, a tiny bit more humour, maybe some secrets to find, etc.
This is my favourite mod by ElCeejo. It's not even for the dinosaurs themselves, but the gameplay. Scouring your world for fossils, never being quite sure what you'll find, the fossils are rare enough that you'll never be overloaded with them, providing that extra bit of motivation to delve into yet another cavern (which Minetest badly needs). Often enough your fossils end up being duds, but even then, the bones and other materials you get can still be put to use.
When you do find something cool though, another level of fun begins. Now you have to set up a labratory and play John Hammond in Jurassic Park. Like the fossil hunting gives you a reason to immerse yourself in the world, this mechanic gives you a reason to build more rooms. That's all before you get to managing your own menagerie of living dinosaurs, with feeders and various other tools.
This mod is an underdog compared to Draconis, so PaleoTest might not see as many updates or fast fixes when issues emerge. There were some texture issues for some dinosaurs and depending on the texture pack you’re playing with, sometimes the stone texture of the fossils doesn’t blend in making them easier to find than they should be.
But the potential...
As some players have requested, there could be an option for wild spawning dinosaurs - this could be done by having a special lost valley biome that generates very rarely and is isolated from the rest of the world by mountains (ala Arthur Conan Doyle's ‘Lost World’. You could also go full 90's action figure and embrace adding craftable cockpits, turrets, catapults and all kinds of gadgets onto dinosaurs.
Small tweaks I'd like to see
I'd love more lab gadgets and optionally depending on an electricity/power mod, to give you more reasons to build infrastructure. Also, electric fences that require generators opens up room for sabotage!
Among the best models/textures for animal mobs, especially in the terrestrial mob category. Better Fauna presents a very consistent feel across the various animals available, highlighting the care by ElCeejo put into designing each creature. Being mobkit based means there is also a lot of potential for advanced behaviours and interactions between these mobs to simulate an proper ecosystem.
Onward to the future
As the title states, it is early days, but I am looking forward to seeing the roster of animals expand until this can serve as the de facto animal mod to populate a whole world. Preferably this would mean biome specific animals, e.g. polar bears in snowy/ice biomes, foxes or badgers in forests, etc. to encourage exploration and give each biome a distinct feel. Though other mods more or less do this already, having a menagerie of 'real world animals' in ElCeejo's style would greatly enhance any Minetest game. If eventually there could be bonus animals for specific Ethereal biomes, that would be a real clincher.
Once the roster is more complete, or as it is developing, the second priority should be taking advantage of mobkit to make distinct behaviours and game-play experiences, establishing predator/prey dynamics and unique behaviours for mobs that affect the world. Animals like cows for example are more dangerous when cornered in real life than in Minetest, Minecraft or most similar games.
Possible improvement to the current mod
One minor point that could be improved would be to add a few different sounds per mob so that they can cycle through them and sound less repetitive. Maybe spacing out their calls more or making them more situation dependant would help too.
I am optimistic about Better Fauna's future. Though it current does not add many animals, each one is well executed.
This texture pack probably has the most artistic flair out of any Minetest texture pack. It helps that Zughy is the real deal when it comes to pixel art. It makes Minetest feel like its own game...er...engine...and not just like a Minecraft clone. Soothing 32 is the perfect name for it too, it's bright and cheerful, feels both contemporary and reminescent of classic games on the SNES. No textures feel out of place or badly designed.
Now if only we could force Zughy to include textures for popular mods like Ethereal...and well...every other popular mod out there...then we'd be set!
Water Life: Must have enhancement for bodies of water
Does exactly what it says on the tin
Water Life really brings your world to life, primarily focused on bodies of water. Its mobs bring danger and immersion to the world, from ravenous crocodiles lurking in rivers to little tokay geckos that liven up the night with their calls. The models are much less blocky than some of the other mob options out there. There are enough creatures with specific behaviours that the mod provides a variety game-play experiences, so it doesn't feel like each mob is just a copy and paste reskin.
Any Minetest world I create has this installed. That being said, the mod does have a few rough spots.
Seagulls. The quality of this mob is vastly inferior to any of the other mobs in Water Life. They clip straight into the floor and awkwardly flop about, after which their texture seems to turn solid black. Their calls are jarringly loud and shrill. Gundul is the person behind Aerotest, so it would be great seagulls get a complete makeover, behaviour and model wise, so they were capable of landing, walking on beaches, etc.
Combat feedback. More could be done to enhance the experience of fighting these mobs; either by having them flash red when hit like in some mods, or playing a particle effect, or preferably by the mob making a sound when hurt.
Rattlesnake poisoning. It's especially jarring in single player that poisoning persists after death. It wouldn't be as bad if the antidote was easier to get, but I have never managed to catch three rattlesnakes. This is especially difficult if you turn the spawn rate for mobs down in Minetest for performance reasons. Maybe catching one rattlesnake should be enough, or adding the optional ability for items added by other mobs to cure poisoning, e.g. the golden apples from Healing Trees in Ethereal.
These minor issues don't stop this from being one of the best mods for making your worlds feel more alive and fun to explore.
Fantastic (fantasy) all-arounder with great mod support
This is probably one of the best texture packs in Minetest. It has a unified theme and feel that really makes Minetest feel like a classic JRPG. The fact that it has pretty wide mod support is the cherry on top.
Hands down has the best textures for armour out of any Minetest game - each set looks like a real set of armour with a distinct style and flavour. If you're designing armour for your own texture pack or mod, this is the standard you should aspire to meet.
Even if you don't want to play with the full texture pack, the 3d_armor and other components are modular enough that you can even make a remix for your personal use by dragging their sub folders into your desired texture pack. But then again, if you do that you'll miss out on the rest of this great texture pack.
Wanted a 'Cave Update' for years? It's already in Minetest.
My favourite underground overhaul mod. Adds some really interesting and atmospheric underground biomes that make mining and exploring under the earth much more enjoyable.
Combined with mods that add interesting mobs, like Goblins to your game, it makes for a great survival experience.
Will echo FaceDeer (the creator's) recommended mods: definitely add mods that add things like ropes, gliders, handholds or other ways of getting down some very, very, very deep and spooky caverns. Otherwise you might fall a lot, or have a hard time getting back out again.
Up there with my favourite Minetest mob mods - but has some (fixable) issues in 5.3
tl;dr: Cool mod that adds diverse slimes for different biomes. Crashes Minetest on 5.3.
For an easy fix find the .lua files for each slime in the mod's slimes folder and comment out this line wherever you find it:
So it looks like this:
The Longer Review:
This is one of the more immersive creature mods you can add to your world. It makes your survival world feel more alive. Most of them aren't really a huge threat, but they can still put up a fight.
Recommended for anyone looking for a unique hostile mob mod, especially if they grew up playing old Japanese RPGs like the Final Fantasy series, or, indeed, The Mana World.
As is, the mod crashes your game on 5.3 – something to do with their animations and mobs_redo. Sadly, Piezo_ is not currently active in the Minetest community, so it is unlikely to be updated directly...but you CAN get it to work if you’re not too afraid to alter the code slightly.
Longer explanation of how to fix it (thanks to FreeGamers on the Minetest Forum):
Go into your Minetest mods folder and find the folder for twm_slimes, then find the slimes folder inside that, you will see several .lua files named after the different types of slimes.
Open up these files in a code editor and comment out the following line anywhere you see it:
In LUA, you do that by adding this – before the line you need to comment out.
Save your files and try enabling and playing with the mod now. It should work now!
It's not a super clean fix, but it will let you use this quality mod. Plus, by fixing it yourself, even with these little tiny steps you are learning how easy it is to make your own mark on Minetest and have proper control of your game.
Superb mob mod: Goblins are a total nuisance in the best way possible.
Absolutely one of the best mob mods that I have found for Minetest. The models and textures are high quality, the sounds are immersive and the mob's AI is lifelike and believable. These weird little goblins are a total nuisance, in the best way possible. They swarm around in caves, mining, randomly gum up your tunnels with gross moss and sometimes steal torches right from in front of your nose while you're spelunking. As of the time of this review, FreeLikeGNU is still working on this mod and is receptive to feedback and suggestions, so there will probably be many more cool little features and different types of goblins to discover in future.
The ease of installing mods like this are the reason I switched to Minetest. You can really make the world you are playing in something totally unique. If you want a lively and immersive survival experience, you can't really go wrong with installing this mod.
In my Goblins works particular well with mobs that overhaul caves/underground spaces, like say df_caverns by Facedeer.