The RAD GAME ROUNDUP returns as I show off TWENTY of my personal favorite games from Ludum Dare, the worldwide weekend-long game development jam that captured my heart so long ago. This time, the theme was “YOU ONLY GET ONE” so developers had to come up with a way to incorporate that into the game. With something like TWO THOUSAND games submitted, there’s no way I can play all of ‘em. There’s also no way YOU can play all of ‘em, so I’m here to point you in the direction of a few games that I think deserve your attention. Then, at the end, I’ll point you to my game which is secretly the only reason I even do these things (Editor’s note: Not really, he actually really loves doing this).
NOTE: Some of these games were made by more than one person. Beside each game title, I’m putting who submitted the game with a link. This link goes to that developer’s Ludum Dare journal and entry history. Because of the way that the Ludum Dare site handles team entries, it would be far too time consuming to track down every single team member and list/link them. So please don’t take offense if your name is missing. I’m only linking with the same text used by the LD site.
Ok so dig it. This game sounds like Toejam & Earl came barreling out of Funkatron with a vengeance and belly bumped you right in the esophagus, but it looks like your wildest mid 90s dreams came true into a gorgeous splash of wet, drippy awesome right into your eye sockets. With some of the most imaginative characters you’ll ever see, Xenoserf slaps you in the face with a unique brand of quirk that you won’t soon forget. So how does it play? IT’S FUCKING WEIRD! And would you expect anything less from a game that makes you question reality upon first glance? Just give it a spin and try it out. I guarantee you won’t play anything else like it today.
El Tigre Il Assassino by popogames
This game is kind of like mine except way better. You’re this super slick assassin dude and you have a single bullet to take out your targets. You have to ricochet your shots through windows, off walls, and through multiple faces to get the job done. It’s a puzzle game with awesome style.
I FEEL LIKE ELMIRA FROM TINY TOONS BECAUSE I JUST WANT TO HUG AND SQUEEZE THIS GAME UNTIL I SHATTER ITS POOR LITTLE SPINE AND SQUEEZE ITS CUTE LITTLE GUTS OUT LIKE A MEAT-FILLED TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE. OH MY GOD I WANT TO EAT IT AND CHOKE TO DEATH ON IT SO IT CAN BE FOREVER ENSHRINED ON MY DEATH CERTIFICATE AS THE OFFICIAL CAUSE OF DEATH!
In summary: WOIEJFOWIEJFOJIFJFJFJSLJSFLLKJ!!!!!!
At first you might look at this game and think, “Hey, this looks really good!” and you’d be 100 percent correct. But you wouldn’t immediately assume that the core mechanic at play would be as good if not better than the visuals. Yes, it’s true… some jam games looks wonderful and play like shit. LET’S FACE THE FACTS, FOLKS! THAT’S JUST HOW LIFE IS IN THE GAME JAM WORLD! But that’s not the case with One Arrow. NOPE! It’s a total joy for every single one of your senses, INCLUDING your fingers, so go subject yourself to the joy that awaits.
DDRKirby rocks. Literally. When you listen to DDRKirby’s music, you’ll know what I mean. So yeah, this game is on this list because the music is so good. BUT!!!! It’s also here because it’s honestly one of the best uses of the theme… and that translates into some incredibly engaging, innovative, and FUN gameplay. You have to make your way to the exit in a very dark room that’s lit up by a few very small light sources. But here’s the catch… you get a ONE TIME USE burst of light that can show you the layout for a brief moment. It’s up to you to decide when to use this light, and then you have to quickly memorize the level and get to the exit before your stupid brain forgets everything. It’s a REALLY solid entry and was my favorite Ludum Dare 28 game up until I played something else. SORRY! YOU’LL HAVE TO SETTLE FOR NUMBER 2, MATCH GIRL!
ps – get the Match Girl soundtrack by DDRKirby(ISQ) HERE!
Well… in this game you’re a dude with one arm. It’s hard as crap to play but it’s very rewarding once you figure it out. I feel bad laughing at this guy’s terrible situation… having one arm and having to ride rope swings and conveyor belts around, but man… it’s hilarious. The awesome hand-painted art style is also there to, you know, look all good and stuff. OK LOOK IT’S A GAME ABOUT A ONE ARMED DUDE FLOPPING AROUND COME ON JUST PLAY IT ALREADY! You’ll thank me later.
ANOTHER RUDE BEAR GAME? You’re goddamn right.
So what’s the big deal about Rude Bear Resurrection? Besides a pretty rockin’ soundtrack and being able to control a resurrected version of the rudest bear of them all, Rude Bear Resurrection has a pretty bitchin’ interpretation of the theme. You see, only ONE person can win the game. Everything is stored in a database and the game changes based on other players. When you die, you leave a note behind as well as a corpse and other players can use your dead body as a platform to continue forward. You can hit switches to reveal shortcuts, but do you want to help others complete the game? Remember, there can be only one… so why not be selfish? In the end, Rude Bear Resurrection becomes a very interesting social experiment coupled with a pretty challenging platformer that has an awesome surprise in the end. The game has been out for a bit, so someone finally beat it, but the world was reset and the big secret was revealed… the initial winner is NOW the new end boss!
Are you good enough to beat Babelita? In this awesome little 2D/3D platformer, you’re racing to the top of a dangerous tower to set the record. When you get to the top, you unlock ONE power that you can use on a second run to get a faster time. It’s brutal. It’s fun. It looks great. It’s AWESOME!
Death In One Stroke by nicotuason
This game is super fun, super gory, and super tight. And when I say tight, I mean it’s TIIIIIIGGGHHHT! One stroke kills. YOU AND THEM! Be careful, time your shots, and be a real ninja in this awesomely addictive little action game.
This game has a few issues, and I was sure to let the developers know how I felt, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this game is EXTREMELY PROMISING and this team seems to be incredibly competent. It’s a side scrolling shooter with a twist… the player is invincible and can only lose when the enemies steal your magic orb. BEAUTIFUL art brings the charming and memorable characters to life in what I hope turns out to be an incredibly solid game one day.
At first glance, The Visitor may not seem like much. But as soon as that incredibly funky song kicks in and you step into this charming little world full of interesting and quirky characters, hilarious dialog, and absurd situations, you know you’re playing something that was crafted by someone with the kind of mind you’d love to roll around in all day. You hear that, Jezzamon? I want to climb inside your head and eat my way out!
But seriously… The Visitor has the best song I’ve ever heard in a game.
No. I’m not fucking exaggerating. I’m 100 percent serious.
THIS IS THE BEST SONG I’VE EVER HEARD IN A GAME, MAYBE EVEN THE BEST SONG EVER WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
That leads me to wonder… is The Visitor… about Jezzamon? Is Jezzamon an alien sent from another world where this kind of music flows like wine?
TAKE ME WITH YOU, JEZZAMON!
There’s always at least one of these every single time Ludum Dare rolls around. It’s the perfect recipe for success. A tight platformer with solid sprites, great controls, and tons of levels. This time… it’s Javel-ein. It’s the kind of accomplishment that some might take for granted because it exists in a genre that’s “oversaturated” and it has an art style that isn’t immediately “unique”. Well… it’s a damn good game, so shutup and enjoy it!
This is one of the first games I played as soon as the judging period started, and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s a marvel. You get one shot to fire a satellite around in orbit without colliding with anything else. It’s a simple idea, but it’s so very enjoyable. I don’t need to say much more… just… go play it!
This is my kind of game. It’s … just really my kind of game.
The core mechanic is so unique and the sprites are so well done… then you get this incredibly out-of-place voice blasting hilarious nonsense at you the entire time while you slowly realize that the game you’re playing is actually pretty dang challenging and you better stop laughing and pay attention! It’s as uniquely difficult as it is absurd, and you might not like it. But then again, you might be a big ol’ dummy. SO THERE!
Batteries Not Included by sockfolder
If you think this is gonna be a game about tiny alien space robots helping Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn flip hamburgers, then you’re out of luck.
Instead, this game is about a cool little robot guy that gets screwed over and loses all of his awesome powers. Now that his systems are all jacked up, the little robot can only hold one power module at a time! What follows is an incredibly clever set of puzzles built around a very genius idea that fits the theme perfectly. If you’re looking for a challenging puzzle-platformer that will test your reflexes and your mind, then this is it!
This game is a masterpiece of concept, design, and execution. This is the kind of game that pummels you with its beauty in a way that may affect the rest of your day and cause you to reflect on life, even if for a little bit. Ditto set out to accomplish a very specific goal with blomster, and he nailed it. Do your heart and mind a favor and play blomster.
One Coffin is an insanely unique experience. You control a cheap gravedigger that refuses to buy more than one coffin, so when grieving widows come to see the remains of their beloved dead husbands, the gravedigger runs underground into his trusty zombie jail and bashes a few of them to bits. He then has to rush back up to ground-level and assemble the body parts to try and fool the bereaved women. It’s hilarious. It’s absurd, and it’s really fun to play. OH AND IT LOOKS AND SOUND AMAZING. DID I MENTION THAT PART?
Aside from having one of the most confusingly awesome names ever, Adventure Crab Mountain Method is just one big fat slice of WHAT THE FUCK pie. It looks like what an orgasm would look like if you squirted it into a Snoopy Sno-Cone machine and dumped it into a Spin-Art toy at warp speed. Seriously. This is one good looking game. You might not really “get” it for a while, but you’ll eventually uncover enough tricks in the game that it will start to come together. It’s a tricky little puzzle game but the feeling of exploration and discovery is really what sets this one apart from the other games I’ve played recently.
This is it.
This is hands-down the best Ludum Dare game I’ve ever played since I first started back with Ludum Dare 16.
The sprites, the animation, the MUSIC, the gameplay, the connection to the theme, the difficulty, the story, the ENDING.
Everything about this game is phenomenal.
You have one arrow and you must defeat 4 great titans, each controlling and occupying an individual tower. Like Shadow of the Colossus, there are no minor enemies. It’s just you and the titans. It only takes one shot from your arrow to kill a titan, but it also only takes one shot to take you down. Use your tactical roll to quickly dodge, find the pattern, and then charge your arrow shot to take them down with a well-aimed launch. It’s incredibly epic, well-paced, and perfectly difficult in a way that demands your attention as you march back to the battle while reflecting on what went wrong the last time.
I don’t care what game ‘wins’ Ludum Dare 28 because it is my opinion that Titan Souls cannot be topped.
Save One for the Kids by SonnyBone (me!)
Play the game that’s been called “unethical”, “dark”, “macabre”, and “decent”! It’s a timing-based puzzle game about pattern recognition and split-second reflexes where you blast mutated creature-kids in the head with a single bullet to try and earn the highest score possible.
And with that, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read about these great games and if you actually took the time to play and rate some of these games, then I LOVE YOU EVEN MORE! Ludum Dare is a wonderful experience and it only works if you participate, so get in there and rate some games… and let us know if you find anything that YOU think is rad.