Frostbitten Midas: Ludum Dare Winners

By Adam Smith on January 10th, 2012 at 2:51 pm.

Stay inside with the ghosts or go outside and freeze. It's a choice I face every day.

There’s always something unexpectedly brilliant brewing in the indie community and when an event like Ludum Dare actually challenges all the talented designers out there to produce playable snacks at a rapid pace there’s an overwhelming amount to keep up with. That’s my excuse for missing the two winners of Ludum Dare 22 during my two previous pieces on the competition. Didn’t play them, didn’t notice them. But now I have, because they have been crowned and even I am not shortsighted enough to miss a coronation. If you are utterly myopic, however, you may not have played Frostbite or Midas yet. Read on!

Frostbite, which won the traditional 48 hour competition, is a side-scrolling ghost-shooter/survival game. Isolated in a guard tower during a blizzard, the aim is to head back to the city and find out whether the ghosts are hallucinations or SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY. Such as ghosts, perhaps. They could have sprouted from all the dead people littered about the place.

You’ll have to play through in one sitting, since pressing escape doesn’t take you to the menu screen or pause when you need to alt-tab into your browser to send an important email that really can’t wait, meaning you have to start all over again, which causes you to rush through the first few screens and die of hypothermia before even reaching the point that you were at when you accidentally quit. So, yes, avoid doing something stupid like that.

Dying of hypothermia is just one of the hazards facing our lonely hero. You can discover the rest for yourself though. It won’t take long to complete and it’s not particularly difficult, provided you grab rations whenever you can. Download it for free here.

Midas won the Jam competition, which is a kind of Ludum-lite with some of the rules softened. Designers have 72 hours instead of 48 and are allowed to collaborate and use assets they have designed previously.

Midas is a pleasing brainscratcher, with simple but clear presentation, clever puzzle design and extremely brief but effective textual links between levels. Blocks turn to gold when the greedy-beard touches them, unless he can first neutralise his powers by touching a blue block. Why would he want to do so, you ask? To hold his daughter once again, of course. And to stop the world collapsing under its own weight. Both are understandable ambitions.

Before I leave, I shall recommend Abandoned (2nd place) and Last Breath (3rd) again, both of which I have mentioned before. I’d forgotten how beautiful Last Breath was until I loaded it up again a few minutes ago.

I reckon some of you will appreciate Solitary Sand as well. The less I say about it the better – you’ll want some stereo headphones to enjoy it fully and quite a bit of patience. The concept outshines the particulars of the design and it’s easy to become frustrated, but you can play it in your browser with minimum effort and it might well make you go ‘aha!’ which is a good thing to do at least once a day.

That concludes my Ludum Dare 22 coverage. The next one will kick off April 2012 when the event will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Grand. Next up on my cog-encrusted steam-powered indie calendar-clock is the announcement of the IGF finalists which is due January 10th. Waitaminute…

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19 Comments »

  1. matthias_zarzecki says:

    Ahh, it was a good Ludum Dare. Lots of wonderful games, lots of fun making them.

    I suggest taking a look at the top-50-pages and looking around, perhaps something might strike your fancy.
    http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=top&cat=Overall
    http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-22/?action=top&cat=Overall%28Jam%29

    Made 26th place myself. Not plugging it, though :-)

    -Matthew

  2. vivlo says:

    no rest for the braves !

  3. SiHy_ says:

    Just had a go at Solitary Sand. I like the idea but gave up trying to do whatever I was meant to do and just stood with the breeze on my face, listening to the ocean. Probably what I would do in real life.

    • Hodge says:

      Yeah, I thought it worked surprisingly well. I didn’t figure out what to do but I’d like to see someone take the idea and do a proper IF game with it.

  4. jonfitt says:

    The Frostbite link points to a public dropbox folder which has been blocked for exceeding some number of downloads which is probably specified in the dropbox fine print :(

  5. Hodge says:

    I wish I had the time to check all these out. I’m pretty sure I still have stuff from the last Ludum Dare lying around which I haven’t yet played.

  6. saint11 says:

    @jonfitt
    Wow, thanks for telling me that! :D I just updated the download link, here: http://higherorderfun.com/stuff/Frostbite.exe

    Thank you :)

  7. Consumatopia says:

    Too many experimental/art games have the “you have to play this in one sitting” problem. It’s excusable in this case because of the 48 hours time limit, but it’s problematic in general because I have no idea how much further I have to go before the game is complete.

    Unless you’ve designed your game to be replayed, you should allow the player to retain their progress. If you’re making an atmospheric linear platformer with a twist ending, and I have to start over because I tried to pause the game or switch tasks, that completely ruins whatever atmosphere they were trying to build.

    • Rich says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • saint11 says:

      I agree too, a simple save or at least a pause system was planned, but I didn’t had time to do it in the end. I have plans to do a extended version fixing some bugs, misspellings and adding that kind of stuff.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Yeah, I can’t imagine making something like that in 48 hours. This was probably the wrong place to complain about a long standing pet peeve I have.

  8. Phantoon says:

    Haha, I just broke Midas on the thirteenth level.

  9. Skabooga says:

    Just finished Frostbite, and I must say, the ending put a chill down my spine, as built up by the general atmosphere of the game itself. Bravo. You accomplished in 10 minutes of play time what some games can’t accomplish in 10 hours.

  10. jrodman says:

    For last breath, which is infuriating enough to ruin it, I would suggest you play this version:
    http://deepnight.net/games/ld22-lastbreath/extended/
    on easy.