Ludum Dare 25 - First favorites

This past weekend was Ludum Dare 25, the newest in a competition that has been running for more than 10 years where the entire goal is to go from nothing to a complete video game in 48 hours or less. I didn’t manage to participate this time around, but I’m looking forward to trying it out next April (they run every four months in April, August, and December).

What I did do though, was to follow the contest RSS feed to which anyone creating a game can post. Honestly, that may not have been my best idea ever with dozens of posts coming in each hour, but I did scan through them quickly enough, narrowing it down to the just a few which I then played. Here are the ten top games that I’ve found thus far. (Note: If people didn’t post to the blog or didn’t post at least a screenshot, I likely completely missed them. If you have the time, browse through the games, there’s occasionally a few gems in there.

The theme this time around was ‘You Are The Villain’, reversing the usual tropes of video games. So if there’s a bit of a bag guy vibe going on in the games below, that would be why. A lot of people seemed to have been expecting ‘End of the World’ to win the voting instead, but it lost with 376 votes to You Are The Villain’s 461.

Anyways, without further ado, here are the ten games I thought were worth a few minutes playing this time around. They’re in alphabetical order by username, not otherwise ranked. Click the name of the game to find either download links or links to play the games online (when applicable).

You Are The VirusYou Are The Virus by Ashkin (Web)

You Are The Virus is a simple puzzle game where you have to collect a number of little blue dots on the level before escaping to the larger dot. There’s a bit of a ‘story’ to the game and really not much in the way of depth, but it has the potential to be a quick diversionary puzzle game on mobile devices or the like. It’s perhaps a bit too hard at the moment with how quickly the timer runs down and I think a move counter would work better than a timer, but I’d say it’s worth a couple minutes at least to check out.

Space RestaurantSpace Restaurant by Cell @Cellusious (Windows)

Space Restaurant is a pretty typical top down shooter with some nice music and graphics. You can just hold down the right mouse button and spew what look like white nails at infinitely spawning enemies which is oddly satisfying. It’s particularly impressive as the author claimed they made it in only an hour (and I thought 48 was impressive!) and a good way to burn more than a few minutes. I know I spent about five minutes on my first game. There’s no difficulty to speak of and you can keep going pretty much indefinitely so far as I can tell, but it’s fun for a bit at least. Also the ranking system at the end is fun.

Firepower!Firepower! by cwilloughby (Windows | OS/X | Web)

Firepower was definitely in the top 2 or 3 best games I’ve played among the submissions. Basically, you are playing some force of nature, causing either forest fires or planting trees (by creating water for them). The drawback is that it takes power to create either fire or water, you have to burn down trees to get more power, and if you don’t do anything at all for a while your power fades. It’s an interesting mechanic and forces you to both keep moving but also keep your fires under control. Push too hard and you’re out of fuel. It’s definitely another game that could do well as a mobile app.

Dark DreamDark Dream by eShredder (Java)

Dark Dream is a strange little platformer where you are in some sort of dream world, trying to collect ’nightmare spirits’ without hitting any lights. The gameplay isn’t anything special, but I definitely appreciate the art style and sound effects. It has a nice, dark atmosphere that really lends itself to both the theme and the game idea itself, particularly with how it ties into indicating your current health. I think the biggest negative is that there’s no way to tell how many spirits you have left to collect and you can quite quickly exhaust all of the easy options and get lost–although that’s not necessarily a bad thing from an atmospheric perspective.

Critter CriminalCritter Criminal by JaJ (Windows | Web)

Basically, it’s a Pokemon-esqe game with a darker, more criminal twist to it. It’s got an impressive amount of depth to it for 48 hours, with a whole load of different variables to each critter and a breeding system to optimize though (and a butchering system to get rid of any less than fit critters–certainly not something you’ll see in a Pokemon game). It doesn’t quite feel complete, but there’s enough there to keep you occupied for a little while at least.

Dark WorldDark World by KilledByAPixel (Windows)

Dark World is basically what Mario would be if the Goombas were ordinary citizens and Mario were the bad guy. The platforming physics are a bit strange, but the graphics are great fun and the dark aspect with an aimable light is a lot of fun. I’d definitely put this one in the top 2 or 3 of these games.

Slab JudgementSlab Judgement by Mysterarts (Web)

Slab Judgement is a neat little game the combines mousing over enemies to kill them with keyboard controls to make sure that the souls end up where they’re supposed to. The combination of the two is a bit tricky to get the hang of and probably the best part of the game. It definitely needs some optimizations and was a bit laggy on my desktop, but it’s web based, so it should run on just about any computer (it’s Flash though, so not on iOS).

Ludam Dare 25: MechVillainMechVillain by nodoxi (Web)

There’s really not much depth to this game, you pretty much just use the mouse to aim at either the buildings or the people. It could have been much better with a bit more time, perhaps by adding enemies or more levels, but the basic idea is solid enough. It would do well as a mobile game with either single button controls or just dragging to aim and no movement control. I think the best part though was the graphical design and animation of the Mech. Even if you don’t actually play through a round, I think it’s worth checking out just to see that.

Cube InfectionCube Infection by noKid (Windows | Linux)

It’s a neat concept, although it’s far more of a puzzle game and doesn’t strictly speaking seem to fit the theme. Still, it’s a neat concept combining a fairly standard puzzle game with a limited field of view. The levels are randomly generated so they can’t always be won, but it’s still fun. The graphics are also pretty neat for only the 48 hours of work. I think it’s another game that has a lot of potential to go even further.

It Came From the 25th DimensionIt Came From the 25th Dimension by Somfunambulist (Windows)

The game itself is pretty simple: it’s basically a Breakout game, only with the player’s paddle on the top rather than the bottom and buildings rather than blocks to destroy. It’s really well done though and quite solid. Probably the third of my top 2 or three games and worth playing. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but this would be another game that would be great on a mobile device.

All in all a pretty good collection of games. I’ll probably go through the rest of the games where they didn’t post to the blog (or I just missed them), so look forward to another potential post in a few days.