You play as Mable, a shape-shifting girl who can take the form of the creatures that she kills.
The strange cult that resurrected you speak of an ancient prophecy that says you will hunt down the great beasts, take their shape, and use their powers to save this dying world.
But what if they're wrong? The prophecy is old, and words lose their meaning with time...
When the world is falling apart around you, what will you do?
In Mable & The Wood, it's up to you to make that choice. You don't have to kill anyone, but you might kill everyone.
Will you banish the darkness, or will you become it?
Mable & The Wood is a metroidvania where you can take the form of the bosses that you kill, changing how you're able to explore the interconnected world.
It's also a metroidvania where you don't have to kill anyone.
How to Play
Unlike most metroidvanias, you can't run or jump.
You play a young girl with sword that she can't lift but that she drags slowly along the floor. At the start of the game you can shape-shift into a fairy, leaving the sword in place and flying away. Pressing fire again recalls the sword to your hand, destroying anything in its path.
If you track down the bosses, and defeat them, you will unlock their form to shape-shift into. These new forms include:
- Spider form - fire the sword out on your web and swing through the levels
- Mole form - dig through the ground to get around barriers or sneak past enemies
- Medusa form - turn enemies to stone with an area of effect attack and use them as platforms until the effect wears off
- Stone form - smash through enemies, move heavy objects and enjoy the invulnerability that stone skin brings
However, you don't have to kill the bosses to finish the game. In fact, you don't have to kill anything at all.
A big part of most metroidvanias is the large number of secrets hidden throughout the game. Usually these secrets are power-ups or new abilities. In Mable & The Wood these secrets allow you to find different, non-violent paths through the world and discover different sides to the story.
Key to this is the diverse cast of characters that you'll meet on your journey, each with their own take on this whole 'end of the world' thing.
Additional Gameplay Modes
These additional gameplay modes are scheduled to be added into the game post-release:
- Local 2-player cooperative mode
- Boss rush mode
- Survival mode (similar to Horde Mode in Gears of War)
No New Game Plus mode will be added, due to the nature of the ending of the game and the secrets that are unlocked for future playthroughs upon each completion.
"Bringer of Dawn, carry us through the night!"
Mable & The Wood is set in a world that is held together by a magical force. But that force is growing weak and the world is beginning to fall apart. Parts of the world are flooding or collapsing and people are evacuating to the priory, built centuries ago to protect those who are waiting out the end of the everything.
All of this was foretold by an ancient prophecy, which has been studied for hundreds of years by a strange cult.
The cult speak of a "Bringer of Dawn", who will "carry us through the night". But people mistrust the cult after they convinced the King that he was the hero the prophecy speaks of.
It didn't go well.
They told him that the prophecy says the hero will slay the great beasts of the world, giant magical creatures who are the last of their kind, before they drain the last of magic that is holding the world together.
Upon hearing this, the King built a great fortress and locked himself in the tower.
The King was not the hero they had thought. Some people thought the cult had read the prophecy wrong, some people thought prophecy itself was wrong, and some thought the prophecy simply hadn't existed in the first place.
Decades later, with the Queen's personal guard now working to evacuate the population to the priory, the cult uncovered a long forgotten ritual. After the incident with the King however, they had been cast out from the kingdom. After all, the Queen had been quite fond of her husband before he had gone and locked himself in a tower. News of the ritual made its way through the land, but it led only to confusion and mockery.
Hidden deep in the ancient wood, far from the palace and the Queen's guards, the cultists carried out their ritual.
Upon the altar a young girl was resurrected. But this was no ordinary girl, she was a shape-shifter with the ability to take the form of any magical creatures that she killed with her magical sword.
The prophecy was coming true. Was this strange girl the Bringer of Dawn?
April 2015: Ludum Dare
The original MABLE & THE WOOD was created in 48 hours for the Ludum Dare game jam in April 2015, with the theme 'An Unconventional Weapon'. It was well received, finishing 26th overall out of 2,821 games. It was in the top 50 for 4 categories (including a number 6 placing in 'Graphics').
The original version of the game, titled Mable: The Journey, was a simple combat-based game in which you controlled a shape-shifting girl who could either drag her sword as a human or drop it and fly away as a fairy, recalling the sword to your new position and killing any enemies in the way.
This mechanic remains in the current iteration of the game, but now makes up only one of that many shapes that you can change into.
There is also a new focus on using the various combat moves to help you uncover different paths through the world and unlock its secrets.
March-April 2016: Kickstarter and Greenlight
I'd continued development on the game in my spare time, posting progress to the TIG Source Devlogs and Twitter. Feedback from people who saw and played the game had been continuously positive, so I decided to try my hand at crowdfunding.
The aim of the Kickstarter campaign was to determine if there was enough interest in the game to continue making it a bigger thing and also to raise funds to pay for a real soundtrack as well as some additional art and equipment.
The campaign got off to a great start, particularly on the Steam side of things, as the game was Greenlit within a week.
The Kickstarter was successful in the end, exceeding its goal with a total of £7,932 (around $10,343) raised.
August 2016-2018: Delays
The game was originally scheduled for release in February 2016 but is still in development.
Sometimes, looking back, it feels like everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.
Following the campaign, I had great momentum and, despite working full-time and with a 1-year old girl on my hands, the game was making great progress.Broken PC
In August 2016, my PC broke. This was towards the end of a week that I had booked off work to focus on the game. Stupidly, I hadn't backed the game up since the week before and lost all the progress that I'd made that week.
Thanks to the Kickstarter money, I was able to order a new development PC but the website that I ordered it from took another 4 weeks to build and deliver it!
I spoke to backers about the cause of this initial delay and everyone was awesome and supportive (I genuinely have the best backers). I'd already been discussing with them that the release would be later than expected due to me just not knowing how long it would take me to do some of the things that I'd not actually done before. The new release date was late Summer 2017.
But worse was to come.Sarah's Dad
We were excited for the birth of our 2nd child in June 2016, but just a few weeks before he was due, my wife Sarah's dad collapsed suddenly and was rushed into hospital. We travelled to see him but he passed away not long after we got there.
Sarah got to see him one last time, but it was absolutely devastating. We're still dealing with the impact of it to this day, knowing that our daughter Joni never really got to know him and our son Evan never met him at all.
Work on the game almost completely stopped, with me just working on polishing the art or designing levels and writing little stories to fit into the world. Just things that I could do in fleeting moments when everyone was in bed or I was up with a baby sleeping on me.
The support of my Kickstarter backers was excellent during this period. They kept me going and I was desperate to repay them by making sure Mable was awesome (and also finished).
I never really got that original momentum back, but development was starting to make good progress again towards the end of the year.My Mum
At the beginning of 2018 my mum was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
She went course of chemotherapy over the following months, culminating in an operation in July. Early signs are positive and she's doing well as of the time of writing this (September 2018).
This had a huge impact on me personally, but again the support and understanding of the Kickstarter backers has been overwhelming. It did mean that development of the game slowed down once again, but everyone was supportive and understanding with that.
September 2018-2019: Current Status
I'm still working a full-time day job and have 2 kids that I'm responsible for, but development is currently progressing well in the evenings and over weekends.
My wife Sarah's support during development has been absolutely vital, and without it I wouldn't have been able to work on the game at all. I need to get the game finished soon though or she'll have forgotten who I am!
Also I could do with getting some sleep...
Anyway, the game is looking like being ready (save for any more disasters) by the end of the year, but releasing an indie game after September is pretty much pointless due to all the huge releases.
I'm planning to release the game to Kickstarter backers as soon as it's ready, then spend time polishing, bug fixing and adding more secrets and hidden side quests for the public release in the first quarter of 2019.
Currently the game is due to be release on Steam and Itch.io for PC, Mac and Linux, but I am in talks regarding bringing the game to consoles.