Hymn of the Sands is an isometric action RPG made with the Unreal Development Kit. You awake in the netherworld as Osiris, the fallen Pharaoh of Egypt. In order to face to the trials of the afterlife, you must regain your god-like powers. Greatest among these is the ability to shift between the realms of the living and the dead. Ammit, the Devourer of Souls, stands in the way to ascension and eternal life.
Hymn of the Sands is a familiar type of game, an isometric action game where the player gains abilities and encounters enemies and defeats bosses. We took inspiration from games such as Diablo and Torchlight, but wanted to provide a more tactical combat. The core mechanic of Hymn, swapping between two sets of abilities and environments, facilitates this because you can ready abilities to combat situations that emerge on the fly.
Realm Shift: Change the realm the player is in, swapping abilities and changing the world around him. Swaps between the living and nether realm.
The Kheprir encounter is the first boss encounter, and thus was designed to make all of the abilities the player has useful. The enemies in the encounter are plentiful, but they are weak, allowing the player to feel powerful. As the first boss encounter, it was designed to test the player’s knowledge of the game, but not be overwhelming.
Kheprir pursues the player during the ground phase, attacking and slowing the player. During the second and third ground phase Kheprir calls forth gouts of noxious gas around the room, making the area even more hazardous. During the final ground phase swarms of beetles come to the aid of their queen.
After each ground phase, at 66% health and 33% health, Kheprir enters an air phase. The Scarab Queen flies above the player and spits forth projectiles that erupt into young scarabs when they contact the ground. The projectile pattern for each air phase is distinct. During the second air phase the noxious traps are also erupting, causing an escalation in tension.
The Ammit encounter is the final battle of Hymn of the Sands, where the pharaoh comes face to face with his nemesis. The encounter features alternating stages where the player is fighting Ammit, or contending with the souls that Ammit summons in order to heal himself. This keeps the focus on realm shifting and allows for a frantic encounter to end the game.
Ammit uses a variety of attacks: two standard melee attacks, a slam attack, a bite attack and a spew bile attack. When Ammit reaches 66% and 33% health she enters the Soul Phase. During the last battle phase lightning continues to pound the ground until the encounter is over.
During the soul phase, Ammit summons souls that the player must combat. The souls of the living and dead can only be damaged in their respective realms, so the player needs to shift efficiently in order to prevent the boss from healing. If the souls reach the middle healing portal, Ammit consumes them, restoring health. After all the souls are either destroyed or eaten Ammit reenter the Battle Phase.