Hey, I have been playing Prison City on the Switch. Very nice. Will Transylvania Adventure of Simon Quest be on Switch or other platforms when you finish?
The Transylvania Adventure of Simon Quest
A downloadable game for Windows
The Transylvania Adventure of Simon Quest is a parody/homage to NES ClassicVania and other NES titles from the era.
The titular hero, Simon Quest, has just arrived in Transylvania only to discover his vampire hunting rival, Stan Helsing, has already slain the evil Count Dracula. In order to reclaim the glory that should be his, he journeys across Wallachia to gather what he needs to resurrect the dark count piece by piece and kick his ass himself!
Special thanks to:
Jordan Chewning (@Jordizzle) for coming up with this game with me and doing amazing art
Jonathan Holmes (@NonTrotski) for his support and amazing promotional/box art featured on this page
Tobias (@MisterFoxInc) for doing some QA and finding bugs
As always, if you want to help support development of this project, feel free to donate when you download, or visit my Patreon!
Otherwise, I just appreciate you checking this project out!
Frequently Mentioned/Asked Things
Q: Is there a demo?
A: Absolutely my disembodied friend! Check the downloads and grab Demo 3!
Q: Where can I follow development?
A: I post updates pretty regularly on Twitter! twitter.com/programancer
Q: Will this game be very hard?
A: Given the nature of the genre, it's going to be difficult! It's not unfair however- enemy patterns can be learned easily, plenty of checkpoints, and if you keep a decent momentum you should be fine.
Q: The music sucks!
A: Sorry, I'm not a composer! I'll try to get better though.
Q: Can I work on this with you/give you assets
A: I'm not looking to expand my team at the moment. Right now it's just myself and sometimes Jordizzle- less hands in the jar = better cookies.
Q: Won't Konami sue?
A: Konami doesn't own any of the content in this game. The game is a parody & homage to a variety of works, and the main character's name is "Simon Quest" - No B*lmonts here!
Click download now to get access to the following files:
- General FAQMar 15, 2022
- The GDWC Fan Favorite VoteJan 17, 2022
- IndieLand VOD is up!Oct 21, 2021
- Just some things I've been working onOct 19, 2021
- Lugosi Region Devlog (spoilers)Aug 31, 2021
- TASQ on GDWC 2021 Weekly Vote!May 25, 2021
- Pogs Available on Patreon!Mar 29, 2021
- New Demo!Jan 28, 2021
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Well I've finished the demo, got to say, it looks really promising and I am glad to see more people like me still like the classic gameplay format, tho this is mostly a metroidvania, what I like the most is the graphics and the silly humor the game has. Unfortunately the demo is too short and, it's quite weird, because I saw footage by AlphaBetaGamer and he confronted a Dracula-like boss, this is not present in this demo because whenever I go either east or west it tells me the demo is finished, so I guess that has been removed, hopefully I will get a more complete demo soon and I HOPE.
I saw that you want to get Yuzo Koshiro in, that'd benefit the game because the music as is now it just... exists, it's not offensive or bad, but it's kinda boring so I was jamming with some Castlevania II and III tunes and honestly that improves gameplay experience, good music elevates a good game into a great game, different tunes for different areas would help too.
Otherwise it looks very promising and I am looking forward for what you have to offer. Cheers!
A little review I wrote in german about Prison City:
Here's a DeepL translation - hope you like it:
With his action-packed puzzle game Dumpy & Bumpy, Michigan-based indie developer Programancer already caught my eye two years ago. Since then, I've been eagerly awaiting the completion of his fangame The Transylvania Adventure of Simon Quest, a parody of the old Castlevania games of the NES era. But it's going to take a while to complete. This is also due to the fact that the developer is working on commercial projects on the side. His latest work is called Prison City and takes you to a dystopian past.
You shouldn't think about the premise of the game: In 1995, the run-down city of Detroit was evacuated and turned into a mega-prison. Two years later, this prison is infiltrated by terrorists and only the muscle-bound ex-cop Hal Bruzer is able to cope with this mission. In retrospect, one sometimes wonders if the action movies of the 80s really had such terrible premises. You only have to look at B-movies of that decade like Trancers or Hell Comes To Frogtown to realize that things were often much, much more absurd. So these movies that were never produced for television or even the cinema, but for the video store. The video games of the time, such as Shatterhand or Power Blade, then transferred these B-movies to the NES. The developer of Prison City has skillfully captured this, I'll call it, "video store aesthetic".
With the Chakram against criminals and robots
In terms of gameplay, the developer has mainly taken a cue from the two games mentioned above, Shatterhand and Power Blade. Which is a nice change after all the Mega Man and Castlevania clones of the last few years from other devs. Even though the former games were rather B-grade on the NES back then. The ability to hold on to wire mesh fences and shimmy along them was taken over from Shatterhand. These hang more often in the level background and serve to either reach higher platforms or to master an obstacle course.
The combat system was essentially taken from the two Power Blade games. While in those games the hero defeats his opponents with a boomerang, in Prison City the hero has electrically charged chakrams at his disposal. Chakrams are throwing weapons that originated in India. Three pieces of a power-up are hidden in each level. If you find all the parts, the weapon is strengthened and enlarged once. However, this only lasts until you are hit three times by enemies and have to settle for the normal-sized chakrams again.
Otherwise, the balance between action and jump & run is well-balanced: In each of the eight freely selectable levels, there are sections where fighting enemies is the main focus, and those where there are various obstacle courses to overcome. The level design doesn't look bad to me, but it still looks like it came from the drawing board. The levels never seem to have grown organically to me; instead, while playing, I kept getting the feeling that the developer had thought at various points, "Oh, I haven't included the obligatory platforming passages yet. They're coming now."
Maybe it's just because I've played far too many titles of this type, but here I notice the formulaic nature very strongly. That's not a huge criticism, because the level design of the tasks is challenging, but always fairly designed. I've seen much worse in the indie realm. I just miss the surprises a bit. I could often guess in advance which game element was coming next.
The goal of a level is now to find the door to the boss fight and, on the way there, an informant who hands you the corresponding key card. Also hidden in each level is a permanent upgrade for life energy.
Difficulty level and option variety
On the normal difficulty, I would describe Prison City as very challenging and definitely for genre veterans. As mentioned before, the jumping sections are quite crisp, but in addition, the fights against the enemies themselves are also challenging. It's not like they're done with one or two hits. Very often it is necessary to learn the movement patterns and to think of an appropriate strategy. In addition, there are various traps and obstacles.
If you don't care about trophies, you have the option to build your own difficulty level in addition to the three preset difficulty levels. And what options are offered here is amazing! The options aren't content with being able to set how many lives or how much health energy you want to start with. The options go deep into the game mechanics: Should you lose a life when you fall into the abyss and restart at the last checkpoint - or do you just want to have a point deducted from your health and continue at the same point? Should the chakram also be able to hold items like grenades or life energy? And how long do you want the shield to last after you collect the appropriate power-ups? Even the dropping rate of the enemies can be adjusted.
At first glance, the options seem a bit overloaded. In fact, however, everyone can compose their own difficulty level according to their preferences. For example, if you're not so good at jump & runs, you can take a lot of frustration out of the game with the two options "Forgiving level hazards" and "Respawning from pits", while the "Aggressive enemies" option keeps the fights challenging. The same applies the other way around, of course.
I find this option variety explicitly exemplary, because I often have the problem with modern indie games that the normal difficulty level is too hard for me, but the easy one is already much too easy. With such options, the developer gives me the opportunity to decide for myself how I want to play the game and where I want to focus. I would like to see such in-depth options offered by other developers in the future. It doesn't take anything away from anyone who wants the normal gameplay experience - but it adds a lot of value for those who have big problems with certain game elements.
Normally I would say at this point that the 17€ for Prison City would be justified for genre veterans who want to play a game à la Shatterhand or Power Blade again - a more than top target group. The developer captures the feeling of the NES action games excellently, the difficulty level is nice and hard - just like we nostalgics love it. For everyone else, I wouldn't have given a recommendation at this point, because there are better and easier Jump & Runs for the money. Actually, it was just a game I had in mind for the next "what to you play right now" gallery.
But then I discovered the variety of options and was thrilled. Nowadays it's nothing special that game developers make the number of lives or health points adjustable, for example - even if that still happens far too rarely. That a developer offers options that deeply intervene in the game mechanics, I have not seen in this form yet. As mentioned before, this allows everyone to create their own game experience, where essential rules of Prison City's game design can be changed. That much trust in players to decide for themselves which aspects of the game they prefer is something I would like to see from many more developers. Even if that means relinquishing control to the players.
Definitely a gem you should check out, especially if you love the original NES series. Despite the game still in Demo, it's pretty fun!
Looking forward to the full game!
Dude I like this game.
Any new updates on this awesome game project?
Not a whole lot- it’s on hold at the moment while I get Prison City out (as I did with Dumpy & Bumpy when that was in development), but will be back at it once that’s done~
This is a really great start. It's already better than Simon's Quest in many ways despite some beta roughness. I think I've been everywhere in the demo (Bela and Legosi are inaccessible and there's an empty hidden corridor in the waterway) although there are several screenshots of places I haven't seen. Hopefully this project will get finished.
I say, graphics are beautiful the same I can say about gameplay and references, even music have this unique style, this is not castlevania level or shovel knight but this gothic and baroque style is something that fit game. Music is not the best but is very far too be crappy
if you want help, I can help
The rom will be available to be played on original famicom/NES using everdrive?
No, there is no way this would ever run on an NES. It’s not designed for that and it breaks very many limitations for the system
Any chance for a mac release ??
This game is a freaking masterpiece!
when is the game done, I will pay for it. It looks awesome
Hi dude! Just wanted to say that i love these kind of retro games. Demo was pretty fun too. I`m definitely gonna buy this if the final soundtrack kicks more ass! I wish you best you luck, this looks awesome
Any chances for a linux build in the future?
The demo is really good so far! Extremely gorgeous and amazing love-letter to classic NES adventure games
Just some suggestions:
- Let me change sub-weapons on the fly with the L and R button + a dedicated sub-weapon button (make it optional if you wish)
- I'm being prompted with pressing the B button to advance in a conversation, but in reality it's the X button that works, is that a glitch?
- In the fishing mini-game, give some better cues on when the line is going to break and a fast reel button for when you want to quit
- Controller rumble
I hope this becomes a full game!
The buttons are listed in the splash in the beginning, and is listed as an NES controller- meaning as it stands right now, the game has only the standard buttons from the NES controller (A/B/Start/Select/Up/Down/Left/Right). The prompt saying "B" button is as it would be on an NES controller. Button mapping/etc is something that will be added further down the road, and as such prompts will only show the NES equivalent of the buttons (as shown in the intro splash).
I subscribed just for your project, it's AWESOME! I'm a very, very, VERY fan of Castlevania 2 Simon's Quest, in fact I'm making a graphic mod, do you have a personal email to send the mod? I would like you to take a look at it, maybe it will influence your project a bit ;P
The aspect ration in full screen seems to be slightly off. The top was cut in half on my screen.
I’m sure this is something I’m going to hear a lot, and it’s something I’ve addressed a few times on Twitter over the past 12 or so months, but the resolution is about 16 pixels off of 16:9, and that’s gonna stay that way- it was a mistake made early on, but development is way too far to change it. It’s a fix that requires remaking/adjusting every room in the game and is way more involved than just doing some creative fixing/scaling toward the end of development.
Thats fair. I have a 16:10 screen so i think that made it worse. Game development can be confusing at times. I had a great time btw.
It probably never would have happened at all had the laptop I develop on not had a weird aspect ratio, so it took a really long time for it to actually click that it was off by a bit haha It's definitely something I'll look into more when I'm closer to being finished though
But I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I have only played it for a few hours (I have explored Bram's mansion a little), and as a huge fan of the genre and the original NES Castlevania series, I can say that this is nothing less than a love letter and tribute to those timeless classics and a masterpiece in its own right.
Played through the demo. One word - amazing.
I hope it's not a secret but what kind of engine did you use for this? I love the look and the tight controls.
Every time I look for updates in the development of this game, the more I want to play it. Too insane, I think I will love it so much. I'll save you a little bit of praise for now, but I'm really blown away by every element I see you adding when you appear on twitter.
Quick question! If we buy the game now, will we get a Steam key in the future? I mean, I'm gonna toss some dollars your way anyways, but I was curious. The game looks fabulous, by the way!
Unfortunately, since I don't have a price decided or a set release date, everything I have listed here (demos, etc) are all free-or-tip and do not carry over to a Steam key purchase. Ultimately the tips help continue development since I'm doing this full time, but I'm still a ways from release to be able to set the page up for that ;-;
Fantastic! The art is very beautiful. Congratulations!
Hello, Will the game come to steam at launch?
Hello, can someone help me by telling me how to put the game in Spanish? PLEASE AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH .... GREAT GAME, SUCCESS!.
There's no current official Spanish translation to the game (yet), however the language file is completely external if you want to manually translate things for your own installation! When the game is finished there will be support for multiple languages.
Will the game be free at completion or will it have a Steam release?
Steam release planned, possibly consoles down the road
Thanks a lot. There's a bunch of potential from what i see on the screenshots. I started playing it last night and i admit the graphics and programming does their job very well, except the music needs a proper fixing in the future.
Wondering about the music, since the game is a parodic homage to Castlevania, would it have some kind of funnier music inspired by classic horror movies rather than cut-edge action music themes?
Some of the music from the demo has been updated since (Bram Town Theme for example), and others will receive updates at some point in time, but I'm not really at a point in development where I want to stop forward momentum to go back and touch that stuff up just yet. Some of the tracks are lighthearted, others are a little more sinister- there's a track player in the demo (in the options) if you want to check out some of the themes from later in the game as well.
Too bad i don't have windows. Art from the screenshots is exquisite! Amazing job!
I do ideally plan to port this to Mac and Linux when it’s done as well, so hopefully you’ll get a chance to try it~
I don't understand this level. please explain it? thanks. I don't find it consistent with the game to me always at mega man level futuristic I mean . I mean you should be as gothic as possible
It’s explained in game.
It's very important to remember this game is *not* Castlevania. If you're looking for that experience, play a Castlevania game. This is a parody that has a very lighthearted take on all of its inspirations. Also, I’ll be as “whatever I want with my game” as I want to be, thanks! It has plenty of gothic stuff already.
I have never been good at NES Castlevania and I am not gonna lie, this game really made me want to replay it because it felt so great. I am not super far in but I am heavily enjoying it. I do hope a control guide is added in the menus of the game rather than just when booting it up since I have been having difficulty getting subweapons working properly. Great game and I am sure to play more soon.
I'm glad you're enjoying it!
Yeah the little guide in the beginning is just a temporary thing. Eventually there will be full button mapping and such, along with options for a dedicated subweapon button~
I found a shinny skeleton, but I couldn't get it. if anyone find it too please let me know
please remember to put the joystick option thanks
Definitely not a matter of forgetting to do that, but it's extremely low priority and something I will add later on when I add key bindings/button mapping.
I can 100% assure you this game will be very hard with the imprecision of a joystick though, especially when it comes to navigating stairs and using subweapons, which contributes to it being a very low priority thing.
What does the hearts do? If it's use to heal so can u tell me which button to do it pls. Thanks.
Hearts are ammunition for subweapons, however if you need to heal you can visit a church and talk to the save statue, grab a potion from the shop, or get a streak of kills on enemies without getting hit, which will generate wall meat. You can also attack certain walls in mansions that will drop meat for health.
U mean the mansion which have an unlockable gate?
Yeah, that Mansion has hidden blocks you can break to get health, and you can also kill 10 enemies in a row for weapon multipliers, but if you have max weapon multiplier, you get health from enemies
And by the way, are the churches' statue the only save point? So I have to find a village with a church to save? Cause every time I go back to game I have to start from the church
I don't think I was notified of the tweet!
I'll check out the music soon, but as far as TASQ goes I'm not really looking for other music outside of my own and very specific guest composers when possible (the Yuzo Koshiro goal for example, which would have been a guest thing for 1 or 2 tracks). Otherwise I intend to do everything myself when I can. I will definitely check out your tracks though, because I always love listening to chip music when I can~
Inferior music will harm the entire project. Please put aside your own ego/hubris and admit that to yourself for the sake of this project and future ones. The only way you grow is to fall down, make mistakes, and get right back up.
If you keep repeating the same thing, then you will come up with the same results.
I am in touch with a fantastic freelance music composer willing to contribute some amazing musical tracks if you feel like adding in a proper composer to your team. They are currently on another project that is wrapping up and I could convince them to help you instead of immediately moving on to other work.
I would prefer they get paid for their work, but if you two want to talk and hash out financial details then that's up to you. If interested in this offer just reply to me and I'll post my Discord details so we can set it up. If not interested, then I wish you luck in this endeavor.
We already have Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon as far as throwbacks go, but fan endeavors like this help everyone enjoy a bit of 'Transylvania' in their lives.
You're also way overdue for a new/updated demo or some kind of release by now. Been about 5+ months.
Hey, this is precisely how not to respond to anyone, ever. I'm sure you think you were responding however respectful as you thought you needed to be, but here are a few things for you to keep in mind:
1) It's my game, so I can have any hubris over it I want. I can make whatever decisions I want for it. You have to work through some things if you think I'm not entitled to make my own decisions on my own game.
2) I frankly don't need your involvement or assistance. You can't "offer" me anything I don't already have access to. I know plenty of wonderful composers, artists, designers, etc myself, to the point that I don't need someone else to do exactly what you're doing. If the point was to bring them on as a composer, I would. That's literally not my goal or motivation with this project, as explained in my last reply to this thread.
3) You're not entitled to anything involving something I put my own time and energy into. Period. There aren't going to be anymore public demos, since the previous one is a decent enough slice of gameplay. There's no need for another. It conveys exactly what I'm going for with this game, and that's the point of a demo.
When you create your own game idea and your own IP without riding on the coattails of the Castlevania series, then you can have as much ego and hubris as you like. Until then, kindly check yourself.
What you've made is nothing more than the equivalent of a fan game for Castlevania (changing things here and there to avoid legal issues). I'd argue that rom mods/hacks made by far more talented individuals/teams have a greater precedent for this style of gameplay while also including original compositions superior to whatever you have offered in your demos.
When you're coding in 68k assembly language, then come talk to me about gamedev.
Attn daedalusmachina: The ego and hubris required to stomp into a developer's project, talk like this toward them, and act like you're doing them a favor is astonishing. As for the music needing a tune-up? I couldn't speak to that, but I sure wouldn't want it from someone marketing it like you are.
Based on the demo, I'm confident in saying this game appeals to a different part of the 'Retrovania' experience than the admittedly excellent Curse of the Moon does. This feels more like somewhere between Castlevania 2 and mild bits of Richter's route in Symphony of the Night; 'Adventures of Simon Quest' clearly fills a different space in the fandom than CotM.
Also, Programancer doesn't owe us a damn thing at this time. I don't remember there being a crowd-funding initiative for this, nor are any of us serving as the game's publisher. The delivery time-table for an unfunded game is half past whenever the developer is good and ready to share things.
This entire response to Programancer, demanding things and slamming the game's music, was way out of line. It is almost a perfect example of how NOT to interest a developer in your pitch.
Never been more baffled by a comment on itch. Are you for real, or is this some kind of elaborate troll ?
I know you think you were being encouraging and generous, and that you maybe had to "break some eggs to make omelettes," but you need to understand that the ego and hubris is with you. You project your subjective opinion onto this game as an infallible truth while obviously not understanding the intent of TASQ. Your suggestions imply that you do not even consider the concept of how Programancer's own music is very likely to have integrity in the context of the project. And I'm guessing you have never taken on a project as TASQ, or any game development project . What all of this means is that you see yourself in a position you are absolutely NOT in. You speak to a developer (who owes you bugger all) in a way that not even project leads I've met would do.
If you wrote this comment with no malicious intent, then I hope this backlash, as uncomfortable as it is, at least inspires you to do a reality check. In the future, please refrain from this kind of unsolicited input. Just because you can reach out to a developer doesn't mean you should.
There are no "buts" here.
Kill your darlings.
Often it takes an outside influence to let a game dev know what to improve upon.
If they don't want any opinions or offers of help then they should probably have turned off comments. Just sayin.
I've seen them respond to others (multiple times) claiming the music is ok to them and they aren't interested in any help for it. That's the primary reason I went with the tone that I chose. Harsh yet polite. Even perhaps a bit of cynical deprecation, if you will.
Dev has made it crystal-clear they don't want to put out the flaming dumpster-fire they have for 'music' and would rather have things 'their way' to the detriment of the entire project than to reflect and realize they may want to improve things if they want to sell the final product to a willing audience.
Wish em the best and hope that the final product, whenever it is ready, has a musical composition worthy of the gameplay. If not, at least it can make for some funny meme videos by the ones far worse than I am at completely tearing things apart.
I'm going to go throw money at Curse of the Moon 2 since I didn't realize it existed. I'd rather go get something that has good music than an amateur project that is inferior to most rom hacks of the genre.
lol curse of the moon 2 is good so you throwing money at it is the only smart thing you’ve said so far
I said there are no buts to this, yet here you are with a but that just further proves you do not understand the situation.
- "Kill your darlings" is good advice, but to a limited extent and not the way you're using it.
- "Outside influence" can indeed be a helpful way to improve a project, but it is a delicate and PLANNED concept, and you are obviously just trying to stroke your own ego here with subjective and shallow feedback.
- You were never "polite," you were being self-righteous. You were not "harsh" either, you were being narcissistic. I already explained why your "approach" does not come off the way you apparently think it does, and now you're outright insulting the developer, too.
- Finally, to reiterate: You obviously do not understand game development, you obviously have not worked in game development. You are a consumer who has played games before and thinks this is enough qualification to know better than the devs. It is not.
You are not in the position you see yourself in.
Take this with you for the future. Do not pester game developers any more.
Concerning the music, you're overthinking it. It fits the game and that's what matters. ;D
Amazing game! I love the visuals and inspiration. You have some impressive skills about coding. The skull launcher with the whisp is very good to do. Slide is so smooth and helps a lot in the game. Congrats, man! Yuzo Koshiro needs be the game's composer.
Hey there! Just saw some gamplay of this and love how you brought back the classic castlevania aesthetic. I have been a huge fan of the franchise sense I was a kid and it has influenced my music greatly:D I see you are trying to improve on your music composition. If it helps I would love to compose/produce the music for you and even improve/mix and master what you already have! I have about 8 years of music production experience and I have already composed for a indie game before:D
Great demo! Really brought back memories of my childhood. the gameplay is on point, and the visuals are superb. Hey, I even liked the music. Good job!
Do you want people to report error messages when they get them?
Sure! There are a few in the demo that have been noted (and fixed on my source but not the demo) in the demo release devlog, so as long as they're not in there feel free
___________________________________________ ############################################################################################ FATAL ERROR in action number 1 of Other Event: User Defined 0 for object objSwoleArmorIdle:
Unable to find any instance for object index '0' name 'objSimonParent' at gml_Object_objSwoleArmorIdle_Other_10 ############################################################################################ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- stack frame is gml_Object_objSwoleArmorIdle_Other_10 (line -1) called from - gml_Script_scrChangeState (line -1) - <unknown source line> gml_Object_objSwoleArmorSwing_Step_0
Got this when I dashed right out of the room with the first swole armor.
Also I don't know if this is a bug or a feature but if you leave the game paused and go do something else for too long it resets to the main menu. Had just gotten the Grand Cross and lost my unsaved progress so now I have to get all the way back there if I want it back.
Ah yeah that was an oversight on my part!
When I was showing the game at conventions, I had a system in place that would restart the game after a bit when it's in demo mode and I forgot to remove it from the Bram demo
Demo 3 looks really great! I like the new remix of the forest music! This looks like it will really be quite an amazing game. i hope you can get that composer on board. Thanks very much again for all you're doing.
Great!! Fishing if very fun