Youssef on DokiToki: Time Slows Down When You’re in Love & Draknek New Voices Puzzle Grant

Youssef is the solo developer being DokiToki: Time Slows Down When You’re in Love, working with a bunch of freelancers for elements of the game that they aren’t making themselves. Youssef described their game in their own words;

DokiToki is a game about a girl who’s so deeply in love, it feels like time has come to a stop all around her. She’s on a quest through school to find the boy she loves so she can give her big confession. As she progresses from classroom to classroom in search of this boy, she’ll solve puzzles centered around freezing & unfreezing objects and manipulating them in 3D space.
Along the way, she’ll meet a few other quirky characters who each have their own worries to confront and goals to achieve, bringing their own reality-warping mechanics to the levels.

Many players have described DokiToki as “Portal but anime”, which I think is decently accurate, considering the first-person “reach the exit” style puzzles & heavy reliance on physics, haha.
I hope players can be challenged by the thinky puzzles, and enjoy the goofy, light-hearted, anime-inspired story.”

We got the chance to interview Youssef about their game and the Draknek New Voices Puzzle Grant.

With a game that has narration in this way, will players get to pick some of the story paths?

“The story is actually mostly linear! There is some degree of freedom to the order that puzzles can be solved, which would result in some slight dialogue changes, but there is only a single main plot or “story path” in the game. I don’t want to give away too much, but will say that I do want players to progress along the set path that lies ahead for these characters, and as a result that path is mostly linear.”

Do you have a favorite classroom to clear, using the time-stopping mechanic, that you can tell us about?

“This is more from a developer perspective than player perspective, but my current favorite is the final level of the tutorial. That level is a combination of all the concepts and “aha” moments the prior levels had been teaching. Seeing players reason through each component of this level, using tools they’ve been adding to their brain’s toolbox, shows that they’ve truly learned the elements that the previous puzzles had sought to teach them. And seeing players learn and grow in this way is an incredibly satisfying feeling. I’ll also give a shout-out to a tutorial level called “The Basketball Which Ai Plays” for not only having a satisfying “aha” moment when players learn that objects retain momentum when frozen and unfrozen, but also for having a title that’s the first of many, many references in DokiToki to some of my favorite anime.”

What are you hoping this funding will allow you to do?

“The full vision for the game includes custom 3D models for new items, voice acting, and artwork to bring the characters to life. I also hope to feature original music, as I think having the right music is especially important for setting the mood both during the dialogue scenes and while solving levels. With this funding, I can put out a demo version of the game that includes these features, more clearly representing the full vision for DokiToki. The hope is that I can use that more polished demo (and the new assets that come with it) to run a Kickstarter campaign that will cover the rest of the needed cost. Without the funding, I would have had no choice but to release a very barebones demo with limited artwork and none of the other features mentioned above.”

Will you use the funding to accelerate development or are there plans to widen your development?

“With the funding I can indeed now run some processes in parallel by relying on additional freelancers to take care of some of the key tasks relating to voice acting and 3D modeling. With that said, the scope has also increased just a tad regarding what I can fit in the demo. So as far as the timeline goes, those two results cancel each other out, and the development timeline stays about the same. Just now with more content being made & included!”

DokiToki looks like a really unique game and I am quite excited to see what this expanded game will look like in the end!

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