Urgency Through Mechanics
1. The Premise
In FORWARD by HOT the player runs through a burning building extinguishing flames and rescuing civilians, so I wanted to evoke a feeling of urgency and rising panic.
2. Fast vs. Slow
I used a contrast of a fast movement option with a slow gameplay action to draw the player's attention to their speed and make them conscious of their remaining time.
2.1 The Fast
The player is able to dash a fixed distance with a small cooldown. While dashing is much faster than walking, the fixed distance makes it harder to maneuver in small spaces, similar to how running at a full sprint in real life makes it harder to turn corners. This means the player can barrel down straight hallways, but has to react quickly when they need to stop.
2.2 The Slow
The player can shoot projectiles to put out fire, but remain stationary when doing so. Extinguishing a fire acts like a countdown before a race; the player watches as the fire's health ticks down, and as soon as it disappears they can sprint past it. The flow of the game isn't a seamless sprint through a level, it's a series of small, sequential sprints.
3. A Burning Corridor
The level is a linear path of long stretches, with small side-paths that "distract" the player from the main path.