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Brainroll feedback

This devlog is a bit late as I did ship version 0.6.1 of Brainroll about 3 weeks ago. Version 0.7.0 is dropping any day now which contains a bunch of bugfixes as well as some more levels. More importantly, I want to talk a bit about why I have not posted anything about Brainroll for the last couple of weeks including writing this devlog.

When releasing 0.6.0 I implemented a new unique mechanic and created a bunch of new levels using them. At this point, I think I was at about 30 levels in the game which I think is a fair amount. So instead of just shipping it as usual I decided to ask some people to playtest it. When doing this I wanted the opinion of people that had no investment in Brainroll or ties to me to get pure feedback that is not biased. I was looking for the same kind of feedback I would get when the game is eventually released on Steam.

I have contacted a total of six people, about half are game developers I wanted feedback from because I look up to them and the other half are puzzle game enjoyers that I picked because of their passion for puzzle games. Out of the six people, 5 people played the game so far and 4 of them enjoyed it and/or appreciated the ideas in the game. I want to point out however that when I say that the majority of the testers enjoyed it or appreciated it I don’t mean for it to sound like I’ve constructed a masterpiece rather that these people didn’t have any expectations of my game and just enjoyed it for what it is. With that said I want to go over some of the feedback and my thoughts about it. Note that I will only go over puzzle related feedback as bugs and other ideas are getting fixed soon!

If you want to get an early access copy of brainroll to support my work then it is currently available on itch.io using the link below.


Right now there is a gap in difficulty between earlier levels and when the new mechanics are introduced. Players not only felt like there was a big jump in difficulty but also that earlier levels had more depth than the advanced ones.

My thoughts about this are that it is a “mistake” on my part. The earlier levels in the game have gone through a lot of iterations while the last say 15-20 levels have been made pretty quickly not only as a way for me to experiment with the game but also to learn. Not all levels currently have a core idea behind them as many of the earlier levels do and this is something that I have taken very seriously. This is also why some players commented that earlier levels felt more difficult to solve than later ones.

My original plan was to release the game on Steam with about 50 levels, this number can increase if I find more fun stuff to add but if not I will stop when I reach 50 levels and instead of making new ones I will focus on iterating over the ones I already have. When 0.7.0 is released I will be at about 38 levels and maybe after 0.8.0, I will have reached that number of 50. I plan to try to keep a very nice velocity moving forward to get to this point as fast as possible so that I can have enough time to iterate (this is the closest to a hint at a release date you get).

Random keys

It has not been uncommon for players to feel like some levels are “random” or like they can just brute-force the level by spamming enough moves to finally reach the goal. The “problem” that some experienced of puzzles having multiple solutions also falls into this category of feedback.

This is something I am not that worried about as it has been a part of the core design of the game even since the earlier “maze” version of the game. My answer to the feedback of players that feel this way is that it is true, you’re right you can probably reach the goal eventually by spamming keys. If this is how you want to play the game then that is fine by me but the original game idea was for the player to find the most optimal path or solution to the puzzles. Maybe this is my fault for saying that it is a puzzle game or even comparing it to sokoban but I feel like that is fine, I am giving the player enough freedom to play the game that the player enjoys.

To go even further into this you can solve sudokus by using a sudoku solver online but will you be satisfied? Will you feel like you beat the puzzle? Most likely not, however sometimes to learn it is not bad to look at the solution, just as I many times learned new programming concepts I looked at already written code by others and I feel like if you play Brainroll and stumble on the solution then you’ll just learn what you had to do to win and can iterate on your solution.

This will of course become more clear as I implement some sort of state that keeps track of your move count. This however is not yet implemented in the game and is something that I will have to add very soon. So far I plan on doing some sort of 3-star system where you get more stars the fewer moves you make and make.

Coffin mindset

I was not originally going to touch on this but I changed my mind. Soon after the release of 0.6.1, I got into a bit of a depressive state due to some negative feedback about the game.

To be more specific the suggestion I got was to stop working on Brainroll and start working on a new game. I have been reflecting on this a lot and realized that I will categorize it as poisonous advice. What I have come to terms with is that no player or other developer will ever see Brainroll from my perspective, it is a snapshot of my ability as a game developer and game designer at this point. For what it is I think that Brainroll still encapsulates my ideas pretty well.

The game design of Brainroll is something that has evolved naturally and that is why I think that it is still a game that is worth shipping. What I mean by natural evolution is that the original concept for the game was the ice caves from the early pokemon games where you step on the ice and slide until you hit a rock and just have to get past a bunch of obstacles to beat the level. I took this concept and added a bunch of new mechanics, teleporters, bombs, stars, and more to make it a more interactive game. However this idea was scrapped in favor of a more stateful game, I brought it to more of a puzzle game with the current versions and I do believe that it is a better game.

However, something important that I realized in hindsight is that this is a new game, it’s not even the same as the original Brainroll. Technically I could have wrapped up the old “maze version” which had almost 100 levels at the end and just shipped it as some sort of demo or even a finished game on itch. The reason why I didn’t realize this at the time is that I drifted away from my original visions of not only what game I want to make but what it means to be a game developer to me. I want to make games that I enjoy using my ideas.

I have historically been very insecure about this and probably still am, especially when I am going to take the real step and release my game on Steam but I have learned that I need to follow my vision and not have other ideas imposed upon me. I will from now on practice simply not listening to feedback that is simply anti-improvement feedback and I will keep true to my vision of making my dreams come true.

Even if Brainroll is released and imperfect I will make it as good as I possibly can with the knowledge I have now and after release make a retrospective on the whole project and bring everything I’ve learned into the next game.

Version 0.6.1

As for the changelog for this version as I mentioned earlier it contains mainly a new mechanic as well as some new levels. The new rope mechanic is something unique I have not found in any similar games where the sticky brainrolls can now be connected to another object by a rope that limits its movement. The idea behind this was to allow for an even more dynamic environment that the player can mold during gameplay.

With that said here is the full changelog for this version:


  • Rope mechanic.
  • Rope levels.
  • Level select menu.


  • Improvements to introductionary levels.
  • Issue with UI not working after selecting level from level select.
  • Particles not being cleared upon reset.

Moving forwards

Update 0.7.0 is around the corner which contains a bunch of bugfixes as well as new levels. After this release, I am going to perform a new pass over the interface of the game.

This last month I have also commissioned new art for the game, I have opted out of releasing this new art within the coming new version to give the Steam release some extra spice which I hope people will appreciate!

If you have any feedback I am very interested in hearing it, you can get back to me through any of my socials. Hope you enjoy this version of the game!


This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.