Several hundred people were caught in an explosion of free games in a remote region of the internet this week, witnesses have reported. The blast occurred shortly after the announcement of a “game jam” by renegade anarcho-syndacalist organisation Ludum Dare. Ludum Dare is thought to be composed of rogue elements from a number of nation states. It is not clear what their demands are at this moment but a source close to the clandestine group said: “lol! #LDJAM”
This is the 34th games explosion in recent years that has been associated with the rebel group. “We just don’t know what they want,” said one security chief. “The games released by this blast are dangerous, subversive, and full of seditious content.”
“Some of them have frogs,” he added.
Acrodog Starring Lil Houdini by dvdfu
The circus is in town and everyone has come to see Lil Houdini, the acro-dog. Your ‘A’ and ‘M’ keys control the stage, tilting it left or right and making the superstar pup run whichever direction. The springboard of the platform also means he will go leaping into the air at the slightest jilt, where he will somersault with a flourish even if his trajectory casts him off the platform itself. Try to stay in the spotlight for as long as possible, avoid the tomatoes thrown at you and deal with over-sized beach balls undermining your spectacular canine showdogship.
Reap by Managore
Treasure-seeking, island farming micro-survival. Reap is a teeny-tiny Minecraft with a cast of one. Your shipwrecked survivor is thrown into a big island world, generated just for them, with only some tools and turnips to keep them company. Four pieces of a treasure map are scattered around randomly and you need to use your larger (intact) map of the island to find them all. But the island and your own hunger meter are in the way. After exploring for a couple of days and nights, you understand that self-sufficiency is key to living long enough to get all the map pieces, while having a homestead with a turnip patch is your lifeline, keeping you centred and stopping you from getting lost. Aside from looking gorgeous, this was the only LD entry that kept me hooked in for a good length of time. Perfect if you like map reading, ocean sounds, rafts, log bridges and little day trips away from your turnip farm.
Slash Quest by Big Green Pillow and Mgaia
Sword-wielding runaround with super limited controls. The twin themes of this Ludum Dare are “growth” and “two buttons”. Naturally, a lot of the entries were ultra-simplistic platformers or rhythm action games. Slash Quest, not satisfied with the basic notions of “left” and “right” does something a bit different. You control a little knight with a cute, stubby sword. Hold ‘A’ to swing around in one direction and ‘D’ to swing the other. But hold both buttons and the knight totters off enthusiastically in whatever direction the sword is pointing. As if this unwieldy, slightly clumsy way of getting around wasn’t cute enough, the sword also has a face of its own, which beams with happiness whenever you slash up one of the world’s monsters. But the sword also grows with every kill, making things more complicated. Rocks will stop the sword with a ‘TINK!’ and every bad hit will shrink it down a little, taking chips out of its precious little head. The control scheme alone are this LD’s best example of some extra thought going a long way.
Concrete Jungle by Miltage
Relaxing wall climber featuring a humble green vine. Guide the creeper up towards the light in a narrow, seemingly endless alley. Grab onto anything you can: fire escapes, satellite dishes, CCTV cameras, windowsills. All the while life speeds by around you in supreme timelapse-o-vision. Never mind the hustle. Snake your way ever upward, because you are a plant and that is how plants be.
Just Me And Only Me Against The World by adamgryu
Fast and fumbly shooter with insta-clone mechanic. Kind of like if you demade The Swapper, took out all the messy consciousness-transferring stuff and added a bunch of Space Invader sprites to murder. Level to level it is a basic action platformer. But there are yellow orbs scattered around that will produce another you, to the point where the screen might be filled with bouncing versions of your character. As you try to decide who is the principle shooter in this melee, those wee aliens just get bigger, angrier and a whole lot more “swarmy”. There’s a co-op mode too, for those of us with real clones.
Floppy Frog by walaber
Drunk frog jumper. Take QWOP and add springs, hinges and two froggy eyes and you have Floppy Frog. Get from one end of the blocky platform to the other. Very difficult to control unless you opt for dragging yourself, inch by inch, along the ground by your tail. This frog is such a diva, born as it is from a kind of unreasonable trigonometry.
Uni Ika by joih
Sushi-grabbing rhythm action on a budget. The chef is throwing out dishes on two sushi belts and in this incredible restaurant the food only costs money if you can’t grab it on it’s way past. You have a budget of $100. GRAB THE SUSHI.
Double Kick Heroes by Blackmagic, Gyhyom and Elmobo
Heavy metal zombie blasting rhythm action. A pared-back Guitar Hero that starts slow but soon sees the notes coming thick and/or fast, leaving you struggling to thin out the horde of deadheads chasing after your sweet ride. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap!
That’s it for the week’s highlights. But there are a lot more Ludum Dare entries to check out. You can browse through the entire list here. But be warned, there are roughly 19 billion games in there.