Together Alone


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elleelle_togetheralone_image1.pngTogether Alone is not an oxymoron. It is an innovative puzzle game created for Ludum Dare #22 by Jan Niestadt and Gijs Rosengarten of Qwok Games. The theme of the competition was "alone", and rather than retell this sweet little love story—which would be a moot endeavor, anyway, as individual perspectives do color its meaning—let's just say it's about Peter and Alice, two strangers passing through time, pondering loneliness and seeking togetherness.

Game wise, the objective is to eliminate all the tiles from the board by navigating the two principle characters along their paths: blue for Alice, tan for Peter. Navigate using arrows and/or clicking on the space you want to move to. As you pass over a color-coordinated square, it disappears, barring further passage, in most instances at least. If this was the sole gameplay, you'd question how Together Alone won an award for innovation, but it's not. The lovelorn duo continually gain new abilities, inspired by their circumstances and feelings, adding new dimensions and means to move on. This diversity on gameplay not only keeps it fresh and fun, it makes the narrative truly interesting and enjoyable rather than just words bridging across levels. Yes, people do like a little story with their game.

A more critical analysis could point out Together Alone's deficiencies. To be sure, most casual gamers have a wish list of features that would add complexity to the gameplay. Yet, as uncomplicated as it is, as bereft of bells and whistles the game may be, any additional elements would only diminish the story's prominence. It's the story, along with beautiful graphics and solid controls, that elevates Together Alone from a rudimentary, simple diversion to a thoughtful, insight-filled creation. Besides, the most important parts are already included: it's mechanically sound, aesthetically pleasing and, overall, it's entertaining. The difficulty progression is on a very gentle slope, with no huge bumps in challenge, making it perfect for those who love to relax while unraveling a spatial riddle. At times you'll be stumped yet, with a little time thinking it through, you can find your way forward.

So, do Peter and Alice end up together? Or are they forever alone, love passing by just out of reach? There's only one way to find out . . .

Play Together Alone

45 Comments

This game is a little quirky with the controls. They don't work the way the instructions say they do. You can't use the arrows but instead you need to use the mouse to click and drag.

I can't get past level 14 due to this issue.

Nice puzzles, challenging, attractive--I like it! Wish I had time to play all the way through it this afternoon, but I'll be back.

To anyone having keyboard issues:

The developers and I worked through and resolved some keyboard issues before publishing the game here, and we successfully tested the game in a variety of major browsers on both Mac and Windows platforms.

If you are experiencing keyboard issues when playing this game, please include the OS and browser versions you are using when you comment so we can try to reproduce the issue. Thank you! :)

No control problems here, but I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do on level 16. Hint, anyone?

19 and bed for now - enjoying the game so far and @bailey

It is the south most exit you are heading for, you will need a double hop on and off the east most exit - they are like the solid blocks.

Ohh and for the record no keyboard probs here with Firefox 9

Usually I get tired with a game like this after 5-10 levels, but the puzzles were diverse enough, and the narrative was creative enough that I played it through to the end.

Level 18 has me stumped.

@Stumpy Stumped McStumped, this is how I solve it in full:

You don't actually need Alice's ability at all. As Alice, move right to get orb. Move down once and move right twice. Move up, then left, then up, then left, and up twice to enter Peter's side of the level.

As Peter, move right to get the orb. Make Alice stand on the same tile as the orb after you get the orb. Move down then up.

As Alice, move up once and right twice. Move down and right to the exit.

If you did everything correctly, there should only be a simple path left for Peter to use his Jumping skills.

Hope that helps. Now that's done, can anyone help me with level 22?

Hi everyone, I'm one of the creators. Gijs did the art, I'm responsible for the code and the levels. @elle, thanks for a great review!

To anyone looking for more challenge: when you complete the story mode, 6 additional, fairly tough levels are unlocked!

I hope there are no more keyboard issues; if you're still having troubles, do let us know.

@toanoradian re level 18:

doh, of course you don't need Alice's special ability, completely overlooked that one. I'll probably tweak the level for a future update.

and a hint for level 22:

Alice's first moves are D,D,L,D.

@ Jan

Re spoiler

Strictly true - trickster !

Loved the game though :)

still stuck on 22! no keyboard troubles here. Loving the game!!!

Another few level 22 hints:

Alice starts by destroying most of the right and lower parts of the level.

Alice uses the right and lower orbs, Peter uses the left and upper one.

You will have to make sure Peter still has a landing spot next to the exit!

I'm stuck on level 19, and seem to be missing the obvious. Any hints on how to get started?

Aah, got it. I knew that I was missing the obvious.

She can travel freely in the upper section, holding down tiles so that he can hit the odd extra ones.

@chelle: Okay, just a little nudge in the right direction then:

The previous sentence is almost a spoiler in itself. :-) I'll just say this: question your natural assumptions about how to approach this level.

@chelle: Simultaneous post! :-) Your approach certainly works but there is a more elegant way to solve it (fewer total moves). Maybe I'll change this level slightly for the next update.

[You're awesome, Jan! Had I known the game came with interactive help from the dev, I'd have wooted about that in the article, too. With all the improvements and updates, my review hardly does it justice. ;-) ~elle]

level 20 I need help

I know that peter must get the orb

I need help with level 21

@elle: why thank you! It's great to see people are enjoying it and I don't want them to quit because they're stuck. And we're getting useful feedback!

Now about level 20:

this is actually one level that intentionally has two solutions. Either Alice or Peter can take the orb. I think the solution for Alice is little easier, but that may just be me.

If that doesn't help:

If Alice takes the orb, they will need to cross paths by standing on the same tile at some point.

Have Peter walk to the tile right next to Alice's starting point. Then have Alice step right and Peter step left. Not yet a 100% solution but should be enough to get you the rest of the way.

I prefer doing this when there's roaches in the next room to kill.

I'm stumped on level 16, any hints?

Great game! I'm stuck in level 21, could anybody help me?

Love, jana.

@Stumped for level 16:

Down twice, then left.

now stuck on 22

beautiful game!

i'm not sure if there's more than one solution, but here's a hint for level 21:

Hint 1.

try to preserve the tiles adjacent to the end tile

Hint 2.

move them together, and it should become apparent when they can split up.

hope that helps!

level 10 help please

I could use just a bit more help on 21, please. Even if it's just who uses what orb; or the first couple of moves...

Thanks for the help for level 16!

Level 21:

Alice uses all orbs.

Alice stays on her own tiles.

Peter can leave exactly 4 tiles, which Alice can zap from her little 'island'.

You can only zap once from each location; this affects which tiles Peter can leave.

Peter needs to step onto Alice's start position in order to be able to leave the correct tiles.

From Alice's start position, leave the tile 3 squares up; the tile 2 squares up and 3 right; the tile 1 up and 4 right; the tile 1 right and 2 down.

Level 10:

Peter must help Alice destroy her tiles, then step onto his own tiles.

First, have Peter walk R, U, R

Have Alice walk U, L

@Walkthrough101: did you see the hints further up? If not, I'll be happy to give a few more. How far are you?

Thank you, @jan! Great game.

Finished 22 and Alice still had an orb left! Woot!

Nice one! I'll have to work out how you managed that! :-)

New version is up by the way, with prettier graphics and improved user interface!

A few changes were made to the levels:
- Some levels were rotated to fit the new format
- Level 7, 8, 12, 16 were tweaked slightly
- Levels 14 was made a little more interesting
- Levels 18, 19 and 21 were changed to try and make the clever alternate solutions you all discovered don't work anymore. Don't hate me! :-)

help!! I'm stuck on level 18. Any help/hints?

Okay!

Alice and Peter can't pass each other on the narrow bridge between their 'islands'.

Alice will have to use the bridge (after destroying her 'own' tiles), and Peter will need to jump.

Alice can help Peter clear his 'own' tiles and end up in the right spot to jump.

Alice should have used her special ability at the beginning to destroy the lower left tile Peter can't get to after jumping.

13? please?

Level 13:

The first orb you should pick up is the rightmost one.

Follow the edge along the top, pick up the rightmost orb, ...

...then follow the edge along the bottom until there is only a + shape with 3 orbs on it left. Use jumps to get to the exit.

Level 21 was tough, I had to use the spoilers, but level 22 was easier and I needed only one orb, but don't ask me how I did it. Thank you for this great game!

Loving this game. Got frustrated with it a couple months back, but just returned, and was happy to see I still had saved game data.

Level 18 was hard! Got it, though.

Um I found a glitch where my game skipped levels 18 and 19 entirely. I went from level 17 to 20 and only realized that it had skipped those levels when looking at a walkthrough. I'm not sure what happened, so I can't give any advice, but I found it very odd. Also I'm late to the game (no pun intended) but that's okay because this game is good.

Yes, that's right, sorry if all this juggling around of levels caused a bit of confusion. That's why we've decided to make a sequel of sorts instead of changing more stuff in this version. Don't worry though, we'll still update the first game with some new stuff, like undo functionality and maybe a few extra levels. Coming soon!

The sequel/remake on the other hand will be much longer (80+ levels), have more elements and abilities and a more fleshed out, funny story. There's even a cute doggy in it, awww... ;-) We're making good progress on it, should be done sometime this summer!

Jan, I, for one, will look forward to that.

This is one of those rare games where you want to keep coming back for another chunk.. great puzzles.

((and what is that you say about a summer... where are you located... I want a summer /sulks))

Thanks! And sorry, I keep forgetting we live on a big sphere, and not everyone gets summer at the same time. :-) I meant: somewhere before October. If it's any consolation, spring here in the Netherlands has been pretty cold on average. But today's sunny!

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