Ludum Dare 2014

Posted by SPOTCO on May 2014

Entered the Ludum Dare 29 (theme: Beneath the Surface) with my game, Maniac Pengmaku!.

Pretty satisfied with how this turned out. I started a few hours late with absolutely no idea what I was gonna do (and not much painting practice since several years). With this one, I tried to focus more on gameplay (since I do remember the last one, Window Cleaner, I was focused more on story/etc and got criticism for that). Turned out really fun to play, and a good opportunity to learn Haxe and Haxeflixel. Would like to do port to mobile whenever I get the time.

Played a whole lot of other Ludum Dare entries (really liked their system for incentivizing submitters to rate), so here's a few of my favorites.


Liked: By far and away my favorite out of all that I played. It had a whole lot of ambition for a 48 hour game, but was executed incredibly well. Highlights are the RPG-esque upgrade system (that keep you interested for the whole game), and really amazing graphics & animations. Also the voice acting is super cute, I gotta get more of that in my games :)
Disliked: Starts off (before you have all your upgrades) pretty slow and a little frustrating. You'll need to grind a bit before taking on the first boss, then your powerlevel snowballs from there. My first run took around 30-40mins (which is huge for a gamejam game), but really wish there was more of it!

We Grow

Liked: Like Pikmin, but really simplified (with blocky canvas.drawrect graphics). Creative idea, and pretty fun to play. Ending also makes me cry errytime.
Disliked: Not too challenging (your pikmins never stop spawning) and pretty short. But, it WAS a gamejam game so that last bit can be forgiven.

Digable Planet

Liked: Played a couple of RTS-like games, and this one was my favorite. Decently challenging (had to restart a few times before I had a good setup going), and really great art and sound. Will take a bit of micro to beat, though once you know what you're doing the the game will end pretty quickly. Also a really creative idea, with complex mechanics that are well explained.
Disliked: Too short (no fault here), and the win-condition is really luck based (either your radars find the artifacts or they don't).

Damn Scouts

Liked: Really really cute art and setting. Funny too, since you need to find various ways to kill the scouts (and they always have a super cute death animation).
Disliked: One of those indie platformer/puzzle games without much gameplay (this one's more on the puzzle side). Had some trouble (leading to frustration) figuring out how to kill the last scout, ended up solving it by running around pressing the "use" button on the whole map.


Liked: Completely original puzzle game idea (I've never seen anything like this), and very fun+addicting. Plays a little bit like a match-3 game, but that's like saying Yoshi's Cookie is similar to Bejeweled. This one, more than any other, would make for a great expanded mobile version. Had some RPG-ish elements too that furthered the addiction.
Disliked: It'll take a few deaths to figure out what's going on (there are three different enemy types: cats, mushrooms and slimes and you have no idea what they are at first) and no tutorial. Once you understand everything and really get into it, it ends.

Hot Diggity

Liked: Really fun fast-paced Terraria/Minecraft infinite digger with slight RPG-progression mechanics (collect minerals to upgrade your machine to dig faster!). Challenging too, I never got past around the 250 meter mark (usually triggered one to many exploding blocks). This one was really great in the ``Game Feel'' department, drilling and shooting lasers felt really ``right''.
Disliked: The tank-style controls always felt a little difficult (even with a couple of engine upgrades), and would have liked to have seen more mechanics the deeper you went.

Beneath the City

Liked: I really loved the turn-based stealth mechanics in this one. It was a bit like one of the first games I made, Save the Princess, with a much more refined mechanics. It has multiple ways to beat each level, as well as limited-use items to spice up the gameplay. Would also love to see this one expanded, maybe with some rpg-elements and a full story. This one really inspired me too, if I was to ever work on another 2d stealth game, I'd borrow some mechanics from this.
Disliked: Ending was (self-admittedly) a little dissapointing. Items were fun, but not particularily well integrated into the rest of the game (you only started with a certain amount every level, and there weren't any more to pick up). Finally, would have also liked a little bit of non-required combat (sneak up behind the guard, Metal Gear style?).

Dig Hard

Liked: Another Terraria/Minecraft digger, though not infinite! You find weapons underground to speed up your digging (Lasers, Rocket Launchers, etc), and have to avoid various obstacles such as landmines and exploding blocks.
Disliked: Really fun and addicting, though probably the most frustrating out of the bunch! You die really quickly (one hit), and often don't have time to react to what's gonna kill you. You'll have to make leaps of faith, and more often than not they'll lead to a pit of fatal land mines or a random raptor that'll jump on your head. It's fairly short too, a full (perfect) run will take less than a minute to beat.

Planet Corp

Liked: Starts out easy enough, a precision timing/aim game where you fire a limited number of missiles to try and hit targets. But then, around level 3, it gets ridiculously hard (see the picture). That specific level requires you to make about 10 perfect shots in a row on a very small target, on a strict time limit too. Took me about an hour total to beat it, but did it sure feel great afterwards.
Disliked: The sudden spike in challenge may be offputting to some (and man did it sure require perfection).

Rated about 170 games (if you count at least 5 minutes per game, that's a WHOLE LOT of indie gaming!) over the course of a week. Was a little slow, so the highest (in ``coolness'') that I ever reached was #35.

Really enjoyed the Ludum Dare experience, and would love to do it again (hopefully with an artist next time though! :))