A claustrophobic trio of Ludum Dare gems
Running out of space
Based on the theme of “running out of space,” the latest Ludum Dare game jam was always going to produce some anxiety-inducing results. These three are some of the best examples of that, exploring the fears of drowning, being an overworked dog shelter employee, and being trapped on a crowded tube, while somehow still managing to be enjoyable. Video game magic.
Probably the most intense of these is Stuck!, which sees you fighting your way through a packed train carriage towards the doors before you reach your station, and just the thought of being boxed in with all these eerily identical suited figures is pure nightmare fuel. Zig-zagging seems to be the key to making your way through level after level of transport hell - that and just pushing people off the train in front of you as soon as the doors open.
After all that, the blue expanses of ocean in Overflow might seem like a much more relaxing option, and they are, to an extent. At least the sound of the water lapping against your little boat is nice until you immediately have to use that boat to rescue stranded people from the rising tide and discover it can only hold one person at a time. Then it becomes a touch more ominous. It's still pretty though.
Luckily, No-Kill mixes in some cute factor as an antidote to all this stress, as you run around feeding all of the dogs at the shelter so that they stay happy and can find new homes. Get them adopted quickly, though, because new dogs come in all the time and there’s a risk of not having enough kennels for all of them. It’s still unrelenting but, hey, there are puppies, and every time you feed one you get to see its little heart icon appear and read its bio. So that makes up for it.
Speaking of running out of space, there are currently a staggering 1800 games tagged with Ludum Dare 42 on itch.io, and even more can be found at their website.