The great thing about the aftermath of Ludum Dare is that there are so many games out in the wild, just waiting to be tracked down. While carting my blunderbuss around the steaming jungle that today’s expedition of Colonel Freekirk’s IndieToy Hunting Party chose to visit, I became aware of a rustling in the mulchy remains of a collapsed banana grove. Nudging a cluster of razor-sharp yet brittle fronds aside with the butt of my gun, I was startled to see Abandoned, a gravity-flipping box-and-button puzzler, feasting on a strange purple fruit. It ran as only an indie game can but I gave chase, bagged it and present its trophied face for your appreciation.
There are brilliant Ludum Dare entries that were obviously the product of the 48 hour time constraint. The flashbulb of an idea captured in code, with the concept hastily captured. Abandoned isn’t one of those. It’s a game that if I’d stumbled across it without knowing it had been entered into Ludum Dare #22, I would have assumed it took much longer to make. It’s not particularly long but the levels are well designed, introducing slight variations around the basic theme gradually and effectively, and there’s a level of polish in the presentation. I believe there are plans for a post-Ludum version, which is grand, but it’s already a fun little game.
The whole notion of gravity being ‘selective’ managed to make things quite confusing for me, even though it’s not actually all that difficult to grasp in the game. I couldn’t help but think how it would work in real life, which you definitely shouldn’t do because it’s weird and now I feel oddly displaced. Just play it instead and stop thinking, for pity’s sake.
Apart from the occasional moment when I found myself stuck behind a box, my only real quibble is that I keep clicking through the text as it appears slowly on-screen. If words appear bit by bit, I instinctively press every button within reach, assuming that one of them will make the full sentence or paragraph to appear. It’s why I’m not allowed near heavy machinery or war rooms. I’d get half a text message and maim someone/burn a continent to ashes.