Does anyone out there have any good examples of top-down action/RPG games that have nice feeling combat? Preferably using pixel art and keyboard only. The combat in Nuclear Throne feels really nice, but like so many games out there, they use a combination of mouse and keyboard (keyboard to move, mouse to attack).
I'm trying to do the whole game with just keyboard (don't ask, it's just a requirement of mine).
Currently, I use WASD to move and SPACE/Enter to attack, but it just feels wrong and I can't place why. Maybe it's the best that it gets with keyboard only. Or maybe there is something little I'm doing wrong that actually matters a lot. It's why I'd like to play some example of games that do it well.
Also, something that runs on the Mac.
And I want a pony.
UPDATE: Still no pony. But, for the commenters that are telling me I should use arrow keys instead of WASD... arrow keys work as well as the num pad. Originally, only the arrow keys worked, but then every single person I sat down to play started using WASD, so I finally implemented it.
WASD is good for 3D games cause you do part of the mouvement with the mouse but to move entirely with WASD feels too stiff.
Hope that can help a bit.
Have a nice day. 😀
Ys - I think they ported it over to Steam.
More broadly I'd also put secret of mana on the list because while it's not on PC (recent remake not withstanding) the controls would work just fine with keyboard only.
When it comes to recommendations, the best that comes to mind is Story of Thor/Beyond Oasis which you can probably try out on a Genesis emulator in the Mac after you bought it here
Game Mac life is hard, I hear.
Maybe using Num Keypad to combine arrow keys with additional functions if your game is complex enough. But for the sake of simplicity I would use arrow keys. As I remember my gaming in old DOS days this was the default setup for most of the games and probably for a good reason too.
They use a combinaison of WASD and arrow keys and strangely it works.
Also, one of the best series of cRPGs ever, the Gold Box series, used top down, pixel graphics, keyboard controller tactical combat and it was awesome.
Big Red Button
Although, having said that, I'm very used to EverQuest II using WASD and 'F' for the 'generic action key.'
I also think that arrow keys are more natural if you don't use the mouse than WASD, expecially if you need other keys for attack or options, but that shouldn't be an issue, the user should be able to change between those configuration (mostly if left/right handed).
No other game that complicated surprised me with how well it played with just a keyboard in recent memory.
A - Down
O - Left
P - Right
Space - 2nd Attack/Map/Invetory or whatever
This works great until today - and even on PCs or Macs
Maybe you should try this :D
Andrea "Rum Rogers" Serreli
I can't think of any top/down action rpg that felt really good, toh.
Of course on the 8 bit and 16 bit consoles, controls were with a D-pad (left) and 2,3 or 4 buttons (right). On case of Gauntlet a single button joystick was enough.
+1 for remapping (international keyboards 'WASD' becomes 'ZQSD' otherwise)
+1 for using arrow keys for movement. I think WASD only gained success to free up a hand to control the mouse. But for keyboard only, I want to use my main hand (right) mainly. So assuming that moving around is what you do for 90% of the time versus fighting for 30% of the time...
If you plan to implement other actions like jump, run, special attack,... shift, ctrl and alt all the way. Space is too clunky, and might be better resevered for dialogue text.
Oh, yeah and obviously, "P" for pony.
It's on mac, check it out, it is quite fast paced though, which may be contrary to what you are looking for
UP = would be a slow but powerfull long reach overhead sword swing,
DOWN = short reach dodge
UP + LEFT/RIGHT = in direction of opponent = upwards forward thrust
UP + LEFT/RIGHT = away from opponent = throw knife
DOWN + LEFT/RIGHT = in direction of opponent = forwards thrust
DOWN + LEFT/RIGHT = in opposite direction of opponent = block/downwards attack
Though what made it really great was the sound design.
Another typing game is this: https://vim-adventures.com/
Perhaps you can find something interesting there. Possibly maybe, probably not.
attack 1: M
attack 2 : SPACE
It's old enough that you can download it on archive. org. They have a version for Apple (IIe), and also a WASM-compiled emulator version that works in modern browsers: https://archive.org/details/msdos_Times_of_Lore_1988
On my machine, the in-browser version works, but the timing seems a bit off, so it's not as smooth as I remember it. That, or I remember it better than it actually was.
Don't forget azerty keyboards, ZQSD for movment :)
Otherwise the binding of Isaac is one of the best game from those past few years control wise in that kind of games.
For any game that has a 2D perspective, the Arrow keys are the most obvious choice to use, and use ZXC for commands. For games that have a 3D perspective, WASD is the most obvious choice, and WASD requires the mouse to "camera/aim/fire"
In MMORPG's that use WASD, usally all the commands are activated using the number key row, and the 4 keys directly above the WASD are used for commands that you would stop moving to use (eg block/parry/cast) while the right-hand has to be the actual fire button, and that would have to be the space-bar if not used for jumping.
Alternatively, you can also do WASD + number pad, as laptops without a full number pad will remap those keys to the right hand side of the keyboard, OR, you can use DEL/END/PGDN (which also map to the number pad)
Though if you want to hit everything the best option is simply to let players change the key bindings, or put it in as a kind of quiz at the beginning. "Which key moves you forward" "Which key do you fire with" and go from there.
- Allow diagonal movement, so you can circle around enemies
- With d-pad/wasd + attack button, movement direction and attack direction are the same, so you can't have a narrow "stab" attack, your main attack needs to cover at least 90°, preferably more (see, for example, Zelda's attack, where Link swipes the word across, instead of stabbing)
- Attacks need to push enemies away pretty strongly, since, when you're attacking an enemy, you're almost by necessity walking towards that enemy
- Since movement direction and attack direction are the same, it's difficult to handle enemies attacking from multiple sides, so you need to offer a secondary attack that pushes enemies away in all directions (e.g. Zelda's charge attack)
But if that works for you, the most obvious classic examples are of course games like Zelda: A Link to the Past, played with a keyboard. It doesn't work as well as it does when playing with a gamepad, but I'm ready to say that's just because using only a keyboard will always be inherently inferior to a pad.