Below is a task I did for a "Basics of game design: introduction to the role in 3 days" course from Skillbox. The "course" itself was mostly a waste of time, but I did come up with a good idea, which fit the task of creating an idea with at most 5 actions from a list that was provided by lector (bolded), that were part of the main mechanic.
Originally it was about a random spider, but then I thought, that it could work well with manga/anime Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? ("I am a spider, so what?") with minimal adjustments, since Kumoko is leveling up during the story. I even tried reaching out to Crunchyroll, but no response, as usual.
I translated original text to English and added some comments (in italic) in regards how it could work with Kumoko.
Main character is a spider, with a peculiar trait: it eats insects only in pairs. With Kumoko this can be explained by the way XP is calculated or something like that.
Message of the game is simple: want to live and eat tasty food – train your attention and memory. The need for memorization is kind of explained in the original story, since Kumoko needed to remember different types of enemies to fight them efficiently.
Spider crawls across the screen (initially only along the "floor", the bottom of the screen) and pulls the webs, which reveals different insects (for Kumoko, it will not be limited to them, obviously) behind decorations (leaves, stones and whatnot). Player needs to find a "pair" of identical insects, so that the spider eats (collects) them. You need to do that in sequence, though, meaning if you found insect A, then interacted with insect B, and then found another insect A, the "A-A" pair will not be counted. Obviously, to collect the pair, it becomes imperative to memorize their location and compare it to all of the newly discovered ones.
To keep things interesting these mechanics are used:
- Each new pair collected unlocks some information about those insects.
- Each insect can be in different poses or maybe even "costumes", so that it would not be all that easy to match them at a glance. At least at higher levels.
- The location of the insects should be randomized except for some selected zones (at least a couple of tutorial ones). For Kumoko it would make sense to randomize per zone or part of a zone. Like in the manga/anime there are different cave levels, so each cave level is a "zone" and while monsters in caves had certain habitats, they did move around, as far as I remember, so randomization could be explained by that.
- Each pair of eaten insects means experience to level up the spider, which also results in abilities, including crawling along the "walls" (sides of the screen), as well as jumping, in order to get higher, in general, and to more trickier places. Level and experience may affect the spider’s looks. This is the point, where I realized, that this fits Kumoko so well.
- For eating certain insects, you need to have certain level and/or certain abilities. Makes sense for Kumoko, since she needed to learn certain skills to beat certain higher level monsters.
- It may be possible to also require certain conditions, for example time (day, night, morning), season or something else to acquire certain pairs.
- There could be a hardcore "survival" mode, where we have a timer and with every tick spider becomes hungrier and maybe even looses portions of experience (not abilities). I think at the earlier stages of the story, Kumoko was also getting hungrier. Or we can replace it with mana, which certainly was there.
- Main mode can have a simple story about how the spider grew, how it was shunned by its peers, left the colony, etc. I mean, Kumoko already has a pretty good story, we just need to adapt it.