Based on the Ludum Dare concept of “the more you have, the worse it is” Goblins 2 Go (on Itch.io) is a clever little browser-game from SFB Games the creators of recent Switch success Snipperclips. It’s free and absolutely worth ten minutes of your time, putting you in the shoes of a hard-working witch producing made-to-order goblins through some carefully eyeballed potion-blending.
Ludum Dare dev-jams (official site here) are seldom less than amusing. They offer participants a one-sentence concept and a time limit of only a few precious days. A pressure-cooker of creativity leading to the creation of hundreds of strange little games, some of which will undoubtedly grow into something more commercial, and most will be at least worth a look.
Goblins 2 Go is a lovely execution of this jam’s concept, and an inversion of something we see in so many games these days: a slider-based character creation screen, obfuscated just enough to turn it into a satisfying little game. Customers line up outside your door with a description (handily represented as a pencil sketch) of the goblin of their dreams, and you’ve got one shot at pouring in just the right amount of each potion to mutate your generic off-the-shelf goblin into the desired shape, adjusting its arms, legs, head and face on two axes each.
There’s no real victory or failure state, but it’s a lot of fun to shoot for accuracy, and remarkably challenging. As the potions themselves are physics-simulated liquid, pouring out the right amount requires precision and care, and it’s all too easy to add too much, with no way to undo your mistakes. Did the customer ask for ‘Slightly buff’, and your hand slipped? That goblins is going to be built to lift trucks, and the lack of failure state means that even screw-ups are funny and rewarding in their own, bizarre way.
It’s a fine example of originality spawned from looking at something familiar from a fresh angle, and I could easily see this expanded into something commercial, although it’s more than worth a look in its current incarnation. You can try out Goblins 2 Go here on Itch.io, although as it runs in Flash, Chrome users may need to tell their browser that it’s safe, first.