Ludum Dare 20: It’s Dangerous To Go Alone!

I wonder where I can get a bowl of Lucky Charms with delicious voxel marshmellows

The latest make-a-game-in-48-hours Ludum Dare competition wrapped up recently, with an impressive 352 games created for the theme “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This!” The overall winner is Appy 1000mg by deepnight, the story of a worried little fella suffering through what could easily pass as a typical night out in Croydon, dealing as he does with intense drug addiction, wandering a blood-soaked wasteland, amnesia and jetpacks. Also on show is some basic environmental destruction by way of delicious looking voxel graphics, making the 48 hour time frame seem incredulous with the high level of graphical polish.

You can check out the rest of the Top 20 here, and we’ve selected some favourites after the jump.

First up is Don’t Go Alone by pgil, based around a walk through the woods to see your dear old Gran by way of a passive top down shooter. You can’t fire at your foes, but you’re accompanied by a TOTALLY TRUSTWORTHY AND NOT AT ALL EVIL creeping glowing-eyed hooded shadow figure who helps you by dispatching the usual woodland creature fare, like poisonous snakes and boomerang-energy firing giant alien terror gates. It’s all done in a wonderfully low-fi presentation, reminiscent of the bleary haze of a child’s memory of Croydon before private parking and a witless local council starting putting up alien terror gates at all the tram stops. Unfortunately it doesn’t have checkpoints, but just think of it like a commentary on endless one way streets that dump you screaming onto the flyover and you have to start all over again.

It's Dangerous To Go Alone! Stay Inside Your House!

Next is Have You Considered the Benefits of Life Insurance by crackerblocks, doing a very good job of recalling the experience of wandering through Croydon’s pedestrianised shopping district, albeit not in control of your own destiny and actually in control of a godlike life insurance salesman who can telepathically close life-threatening holes to protect his flock of money-making drones. While frantically keeping both your funds and your clients alive, spend your cash on meaningless gifts for your unseen trophy wife before you go bankrupt. It’s a lot like taking trips to Bluewater to suck dry the local economy and aid in the destruction of the town centre and disappearance of all the good music shops.

It even looks like the Whitgift Shopping Centre

Then spend time with Officer Alfred by Hempuli, a very blue 2D platformer that confidently experiments with freezing time in a facility that more than slightly resembles Aperture Science, though the voice of help is pleasingly simply helpful instead of expectedly vindictive. Whenever you freeze time, all matter and energy is frozen solid, letting you climb over explosions and run along laser beams. Neat! The puzzles are tough and require superhuman timing with your powers, but the regular appearance of cloning machines takes the edge off. Here’s a timelapse of it being made followed by a full walkthrough if you get stuck:

Diamond Hollow by arkeus has a great time being a compulsively satisfying vertical scrolling action platformer. Jump around like a maniac shooting the blobs and collecting the gems while trying not to fall off the bottom of the screen and don’t worry about anything harder than that. All pleasing enough, but what makes it great is the upgrade screen seen after death where you can spend those tasty gems on all kinds of stats, eventually turning you into a little spikey-haired demigod who destroys all he sees, sucks screens clear of gems at a stroke and can practically fly. The metagame gives such clear results from the upgrades it’s rewarding to return to again and again, almost exactly unlike how unrewarding it is to return again to any part of Croydon after it’s underwent renewal.

Add an option to customise the little guy and that'd be the rest of my afternoon


  1. Mike says:

    Didn’t this wrap up ages ago?

    It was a great LD. Surely Vigilance deserves a mention for a brutal but funny concept! I also really enjoyed the metagame in Bonifaco’s Bazaar, although the main game needed work.

    • randomnine says:

      I’m actually glad Andrew chose not to mention Vigilance. I’ve been working on it since and I’ll have a much-improved version ready for release in a week or two :D

      Officer Alfred is an utterly phenomenal game for 48 hours. I’d also recommend Let Me Save You!, a pretty funny visual novel/JRPG satire.

    • jimjames says:

      Seconded! Vigilance is excellence

    • inawarminister says:

      randomnine, thank you for the recommendation, Let Me Save You! is brilliant. Especially since I understood all of the references. All the tongue-in-cheek about typical RPG stories… And the boobies (and in the game!)
      (I always want to have a fairy/elf-coming-out-of-nowhere-sidekick too. ESPECIALLY a tsundere, zettai ryouki one. trololol)

      Also, waiting for the updated Vigilance version! In fact, I’m not touching the contest one, I don’t want my experience to be muddied by a lesser version! :P Can I subscribe to your newsletter so I won’t forget, please?

  2. johnpeat says:

    I love stuff like this…

    As a developer who seems to get bogged-down with bugs and other bullshit (usually in API/Third-Party code) which eat DAYS of my life, I love that people can create something in such a short time…

    I’d like non-developers to realise that it’s a highly unrealistic view of the creative process tho. The REALLY hard part of making games (or anything – really) is the balancing, polishing, documenting, tutorialing, debugging, idiot-proofing, cheatproofing and generally FINISHING of stuff…

    Y’know – the stuff Minecraft doesn’t bother with – that stuff – that’s where the time and effort goes – that’s what we work into the early hours on – that’s the stuff which erodes the soul.

    This is just the FUN bit – and sadly it’s a fraction of the experience :(

  3. OrangyTang says:

    Yeah, this was a while ago. My entry is a zelda-ish puzzler, Who Goes There?.

    Apparently everyone is a sissy girl because it’s way too hard. Personally I find it ridiculously easy.

  4. 8-bit says:

    Appy was posted in the forums a little while ago and while it was interesting it has a problem, the destructible terrain can result in the player being unable to complete the game due to platforms being blown up. I don’t know if that was intentional (I never can tell with these sort of games), but even with 48 hours a flaw that big should have been fairly obvious.

    • JFS says:

      I just fucked up due to this. A shame. I wasn’t far from the ending, I guess.

  5. P7uen says:

    These fancy 2d voxels they have now are called pixels aren’t they?

  6. jimjames says:

    Hey, this post was meant to be a reply…

  7. son_of_montfort says:

    There are way to many British references in here. It’s like the time I walked through Washington Heights and couldn’t understand the languages spoken until I finally made it down to 42nd and Lex. :-)
    I always enjoy Ludum Dare, but that year it was all creepy sex games was… well.. creepy.

    • ColOfNature says:

      And sexy?

    • Koozer says:

      Sometimes when watching dialogue-heavy scenes in American films, my brain kind of loses sync and I have literally no idea as to what they’re saying for 20 minutes. True story.

    • Grape says:

      It… really doesn’t take much to creep you out, does it?

  8. FionaSarah says:

    Haha was surprised to see this, LD20 was aaages ago.
    Believe me that this LD had literally the worst theme in the history of the competition, it’s becoming a joke.
    I made a pretty poor game that’s still slighty enjoyable, didn’t come out how I wanted at all though. Doctor Whoops And The Running Fellow.

    Even did a timelapse!

  9. SpinalJack says:

    I posted about 1000mg on the forums, the updated version is certainly better but it would be good to get some music in as well

  10. matthias_zarzecki says:

    Self-promotion, eh?
    It’s cool to see this FINALLY being picked up. Playing those entries was at both times amazing and exhausting.
    So go play the game that made 1st in coolness and 40h overall

    link to

    or go see that timelapse-thingie


  11. Wulf says:

    Huh. The progression mechanic in Diamond Hollow reminds me of ZHP – Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman for the PSP. (Yes, that really is a thing. There is a game named that.)

  12. Lambchops says:

    John Walker is clearly having an influence on me, the first upgrade I bought in Diamond Hollow was the double jump!

  13. Koozer says:

    Fun! Also, slightly depressing when I can’t even stop a spaceship falling through the floor over 2 days.

  14. MD says:


  15. Tom OBedlam says:

    Whats the deal with the Croydon stuff here? I think for this type of joke to work you need a punch line rather than just repetition.