If game jams are the lifeblood of independent game development, then Ludum Dare is the life giver. Ludum Dare essentially birthed the concept of game jams (making a game in a short period of time; usually 48 hours) and thus has been either directly or indirectly responsible for Superhot, Broforce, Viscera Cleanup Detail, Evoland, Gods Will Be Watching and countless other indie hit titles all prototyped during game jams.
Running since 2002, Ludum Dare’s 28th edition was held this past weekend. The theme of this edition was ‘You Only Get One’. I took one for the team and went through all 2065 games to find what I believe are the best games of the weekend, check them out after the break! (They are all free to play and many have web builds!)
A Trip to the Moon
A simple and beautiful fantasy game about a kid’s journey to the moon. The experience is very short, but extremely relaxing and soothing.
Death in One Stroke
I am absolutely in love with this simple, fast and addictive action game. It’s packed with feedback in a way only a few games can match. My high score was 37 – will anyone challenge me?!
A top down stealth game where you can only see your enemies’ footsteps, and how far the sound of your own reaches. Playing in complete darkness with only sound guiding your actions is an incredibly unique experience. One of the most innovative experiences this Ludum Dare.
This action platformer is clever, action-packed and an excellently crafted satire of Super Mario Bros.. If you love the look of Vlambeer’s upcoming Nuclear Throne or are in the mood for some Mario-themed quips, you should definitely give this one a go.
Each element of this game is fast: the levels, the movement, how long it takes you to respawn – everything is constructed to keep the action flowing. When you do eventually stop playing you’re so pumped up with adrenaline that you’re shaking. It’s basically FPS Hotline Miami without the psychedelic graphics.
This cunning little puzzle platformer forces you to completely break the habits you’ve constructed over three decades’ worth of platformers. Indecision is punishing in this real-time puzzle solving game, so pick a direction and keep moving.
Imagine if you only had one attack in a fighting game and you had the power to decide what it was? TekkuNikku is the weird love child of Surgeon Simulator and Dive Kick that is surprisingly fun to play. Grab a friend and give this fighting game a go (although single player is supported). Requires an Xbox 360 controller to play for now, but a keyboard compatible build is coming soon!
Probably one of the most complete and polished products of the weekend, this game pits you against waves of enemies in a time attack fashion. What’s different? You only have one arrow, and have to collect it after each shot. This sounds banal, but rather results in you strategically placing your shots to hit multiple enemies. Also, how ridiculously pretty is this game?
This adorable Robot love story has you controlling two robots simultaneously, and using them to solve increasingly difficult puzzles (it hardly starts off easy). This game is obscenely hard, but you find yourself pushing through it to see the completion of the endearing and well weaved narrative.
This brain-wracking sci-fi puzzle game is definitely one for fans of Cluedo. Try discover which member of the crew killed the captain of the spaceship; in what room; and with what weapon! Whatever you do, don’t choose wrong…
What are your favorites? Did I miss any? Did you beat my score in Death in One Stroke? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Also, our local game developers often have a strong presence in Ludum Dare (Free Lives won the overall Jam category in Ludum Dare 25) – check out their entries over on Make Games South Africa.