Weekend Download №100


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Weekend Download

JohnBIt's a weekend of Ludum Dare! The solo game development competition sends people on a quest to create a game from scratch in 48 hours based on a theme. The results are always interesting, though don't expect a long and polished product from two days of work. The theme for the most recent Ludum Dare competition was "caverns", and voting for the finalists is open for another week!

beacon.gifBeacon (Windows, 2.5MB, free) - A quiet little platformer with excellent visuals and an even better premise. When a game can invoke a strong emotion, it's done its job. Beacon is one such game. Alone in a darkened cave, a beacon of light suddenly floats down from above. Your only companion as you walk and jump around the cave, you find yourself oddly attached to its presence. You won't mind waiting for it to catch up, and if it has to take a different path than you, you get just a little bit frightened.

brokencaverobot.gifBroken Cave Robot (Windows, 12MB, free) - You have fallen into a cave. Maybe the fall erased your memory? Maybe you're a newborn. All you know is your batteries are running low and you have five minutes to get out of here alive. Explore the darkened cave and find a number of power-ups (wall climb, high jump boots, bigger flashlight, etc.) in this excellent minimalistic sidescrolling adventure by Matt Thorson. Great music, a surprisingly intriguing environment, but I'm not a big fan of the pressure to explore with such a restricted time limit.

nicecave.jpgNICE CAVE! (Mac/Windows, 5MB, free) - A beautifully colored 3D cave exploration game with locked gates, keys, and penguins! Look around the world using the mouse (side-to-side only, sorry!) and walk using the [WASD] keys. Touch keys to pick them up, and if you have the right key on your person, gates are opened automatically. You can play the game online using the Unity plugin, but the download is a much smoother experience.

Note: All games have been confirmed to run under Windows Vista and are virus-free. Mac users should try Boot Camp, Parallels, or CrossOver Games to play Windows titles, Linux users can use Wine. If you know of a great game we should feature, use the Submit link above to send it in!

24 Comments

Hints at broken cave robot:

Flashlight upgrades stack, get as many as you can.

There is a flashlight upgrade to the right of where you start.

if you follow the left shaft all the way down, and go to the right, the path drops down. There is a top path there which leads to water. Don't go there or you will get stuck. under that is a short passage with another flashlight upgrade.

continueing down and to the right as far as you can go, there are climbing gloves.

then go to the left, down go down the pit. the screen to the left has the jump boots to the far left. Get those.

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Nice cave made me very happy. Simple, short, fun, cute. Could have been an entry for the design competition :)

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Another game from Matt Thorson? I hope it's not as hard as his other games...

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Beacon has the best ending of almost any limited visibility / horror platformer I've ever played. I strongly recommend it to everyone.

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I agree. the ending of beacon is great, but I saw it coming..

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Darnit!!

I guess im not downloading the first game, I thought it said BACON... not beacon T_T

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I was really disappointed in Beacon. It started out as a spooky, atmospheric game with a lot of promise, and it stayed a bit slow and eerie until the last few rooms, where the difficulty went from "wander and explore, feeling excellently creeped out" to "Do it again, stupid! Too slow!". The fact that the grass and the deadly spikes look the same in low light was unhelpful, too.

I also found that the ledge-grab slowed me down more than anything else because instead of landing solidly on the edge I wanted, the character would reach and grab one up and over, and delay me as I tapped the Z key madly trying to get him to pull up. This would cost me time I didn't have.

Finally, I didn't like the ending. I'm sure it would have been funnier if I hadn't hated that little glowy ball by the time I reached the end, but instead I was disgusted that the character was trusting in and hoping for the beacon, so the ending left me merely unsatisfied and annoyed. I wasted the better part of an hour memorizing stupid pathways only to have the developer laugh at me at the very end.

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Rejohn's comment needs a spoiler tag as soon as he begins to hint at the ending...

... anyway, I loved Beacon but I'm wondering if anyone found an alternate ending

Assuming other commentors got the "death" ending, we have all fallen over the section of crumbling "bridge." I saw it coming the first time and thought I'd be okay if I ran fast. This caused me to play it again hoping I could jump it the 2nd time around... but I couldn't. Has anyone actually made the jump?

Well, I loved the game either way.

We don't always need a happy ending!

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Hah! I loved the ending of Beacon! But more than that I enjoyed how challenging the last few sections were, while they still managed to keep the atmosphere going.

I think I've found everything in Broken Cave Robot.

I think I got everything, the screen was pretty much fully lit at all times, I could jump hella high, I had 3 sets of climbing gloves and 2 jetpacks.

I crossed the "uncrossable" spikes twice, once from each side (so I'm not sure why it's uncrossable if you can just go around so easily).

I made it to the top of the giant climbing place (which it turns out is easy to get to from the start, with a bit of jump and some gloves).

I crossed the gigantic area of spikes.

I think there's one room I haven't covered, which is the one where the floor is entirely covered in spikes, but I don't know where it is exactly since my map sucks. :P

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I played around a lot with Broken Cave Robot a little until

I realized there was no way to win. Might as well leave the power-ups for someone who actually stood a chance to make it , you know? I could be wrong, maybe you can get out of the cave by climbing up where you first fell, but given the circular nature of the game, I doubt it.

The map tool wasn't useful at all. I'm no artist, and in the game I can look at my surroundings and remember what's up ahead a lot better than I can try to draw something coherent. The map would have been useful if it gave you a rough layout of the terrain as you explored and left you to fill in details like traps and power-ups, but as it is it's just a poor man's MSpaint.

I agree with RedJohn somewhat about Beacon. It went from being moody and atmospheric to "does the developer think I play these games professionally or something?" hard. RedJohn, you're right that the ledge-grab slows you down. On the part where you have to run to keep up, always use the normal jump and only grab if it keeps you from landing on spikes.

In regard to the ending:

"Oh" indeed. It would have been a lot more surprising had I not felt a very real sense that the beacon was malicious, making me run to keep up and leaving me stranded in the worst situations. You know that one jump between the pulsing red lights? I don't think the developer fully realizes how hard that is.

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For a game made in 48 hours Beacon is wonderful, actually forget about the time frame it's wonderful full stop.

...and for those complaining about the difficulty why are you even playing retro platformers? Wimps!

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I loved the presentation of "Beacon", and as for the ending:

It actually made little sense considering that the beacon was the luring tool of some fish - throughout most of the cave, you walk on dry land, how would the fish get there? Unless it was some sort of supernatural light-controlling fish...

But even then, the beacon made little sense. If that fish was luring you into its domain to ear you, why would it send you through so many dangerous situations? To me, the beacon looked more as though it was as lost as yourself, running into dead ends, panicking at the shadowy creatures and becoming faster and faster out of fear for its own life. Any ending built on that idea would have been better in my opinion - even those with the power to rescue others aren't above fear.

Just my 2 cents...

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Ahahaha the polar bear in NICE CAVE XD

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I must be a terrible person, because I read all the death messages in Beacon as a terrible screamo song.
SWALLOWED! BY THE DARKNESS!

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Well, rc, where in the recommendation for the game does it call it a "retro" game? For 48 hours, the art direction was indeed quite good, but it was simplistic due to understandable time constraints. Why do simplistic graphics automatically mean it has to be a difficult game, especially when its strong points were setting and minimalist storytelling? Also, the "you just suck at games" defense is never a good excuse. It just shows you're egotistical and too lazy to imagine different people are different from you. You'll note that the complaint wasn't the difficulty outright, it was the sudden change from exploratory and spooky to manic and annoying, and that ruined the mood of the game for me.

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@Ohdear : You are amazing. I'm still laughing.

I really enjoyed beacon. I disagree with it being too hard, the hardest level still will only take you probably 10 tries maximum, and i thought the difficulty curve was smooth enough. I cant believe this was made in 48 hours. It would take me months. O_o

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So, like, are all three links down for anybody else? I don't know what's going on.

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The Ludum Dare website is definitely having some problems right now. Check back later.

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Found something in Broken Cave Robot

The only thing in the giant pit room is gems, you need the jetpack to get them

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Broken Cave Robot is kicking my butt. But I am convinced there is some way to win. Read spoilers for my theory.

There are at least three glowing blue orbs sitting about the cavern in various rooms. Touching them will cause them to fly about for a while and finally alight somewhere, and a sound effect will play. I believe these have something to do with the endgame... what it is, I can't say! Maybe they're a red herring. I feel like I've been in every cavern, but I'm sure I've never gotten the sound from all three blue orbs in the same game. Possibly there are more than 3?

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I'm really liking Broken Cave Robot. Making a rough map in game and touching it up in MS Paint after a bit has been added, repeating until I get a rather reliable map.

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Has anyone found a way to actually win Broken Cave Robot? ...yet? ...at all?

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Someone decompiled the game and reveals that over on the TIG forums.

Triplefox said:

Curiosity got the better of me so I decompiled the game to answer our questions. There is no win condition. I counted(by hand) 67 gems and 17 items. I suspect that a perfect game is either impossible or close to impossible, though if it were done tool-assisted, who knows?

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I just played and beat NICE CAVE! (online) in about 5-10 minutes. Very easy, but a fun little (extremely short) game. Not worth downloading, since it'd probably take about half as long to download it as to beat it (probably not, considering the length of the game, but it's just an expression).

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