Slash Quest

The Queen’s evergrowing talking sword is lost in a faraway land. Luckily you showed up to wield it back to the castle. You do know how to swing a sword, right? Right?! Forget your power fantasy. Slash Quest’s simple yet unfamiliar controls will put you in the shoes of an unlikely knight with a big heart, an even bigger weapon, and absolutely zero skills. But worry not! Just like Shep and Swordie’s friendship, before you know it everything will feel right and everyone will be counting on you to save the Queendom.

the game was developed by Big Green Pillow together with Mgaia Studio. it launched in 2020 as an Apple Arcade exclusive. 


-level designer
-new feature co-design
-made in Unity


I worked as level designer. I was hired to do additional levels for new updates.
as the new updates have new mechanics, part of my process was to co-design the new features to find how it could fit with the rest of the game.



i came to work on this project when the game was already well worked through. they had their main mechanics. they had the do's and don'ts. the code restrictions. the art blind spots. they had a lot of things already established. therefore, initially my work was to understand what the game was about, and from there  provide new designs for the project.

but what i'm going to talk about is how it was to co-design a
new feature for a released game.


the new mechanic i worked on was the ball. to understand how the ball fits in the rest of the game, first it is necessary to explain the main mechanic of Slash Quest.

the game has one core element: the sword. it grows when it kills enemies, and it shrinks when it hits rocks or any unbreakable object. the player doesn't interact with the world if not through the sword itself.

all the interactions that the player can do, be it to activate a switch, to carry a bomb, or to spread fire, are static interactions. they only require the player to reach the object, then the new state happens. by touching the fire the sword will be on fire, by touching the flower bomb the sword gets a bomb on it, and touching the switch activates something in the level.


the ball in this sense is very unique, as it has a behavior of its own. it requires a skill from the player which has not been explored before in the game, that is not to check if the player can reach the object or not, but how the hit was made.

but because the sword grows and shrinks, it changes very much how the players find themselves in the level and how they control the character. a big sword reaches far but also gets stuck in a lot of obstacles. a shorter sword is agile but is bad to interact with other objects.

when designing the ball there were two challenges: one from the development side, which was to know the angle and direction that the ball would take in different sizes. and one from the design side. which was how the player would find different balls throughout the level being in different sword sizes.

then we made the levels to require, as best is possible, the player to only hit the ball by a sword swing. using the blade sideways, not the sword tip. as it is much more easy to predict where the balls is going to. the player is only require to do a thrust when it have to put the ball in movement.


therefore the levels were designed to allow the player to always have the sword in a size where it is easy to handle the ball. in this way, the places that the ball needed to reach where made accessible/possible through hitting it sideways.

knowing that the ball is one of the only objects that have such chaotic behavior, whenever it was possible we would embrace the unpredictably of its control to create levels not explored before.

this feature was an interesting project where it was through the level design that the object design was shaped.


thank you for reading :)


marcel barboza

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