Calling it "The Labyrinth of Keys" is a bit of a misnomer. Perhaps it would better be called "The Labyrinth of One Key". After all, you only get one key, and you've got to use it wisely if you want to have any hope of escaping in Matthew Rodriguez's action-puzzle-platformer game of the same name.
The night is dark and full of terrors. You are one of them. You cannot see, but you can hear, and though they may hear you coming, they will not be able to stop you. Because he deserves it. Jord Farrell presents The Hunter, an intense, challenging, and intensely challenging, unique top-down stealth-based horror adventure, originally developed as part of the "you only get one" Ludum Dare 28 competition, now expanded and refined for a final release.
backstabber is a Sokoban-esque puzzle game developed by Dennis Ranke for MiniLD. Play the nameless protagonist as he moves square-by-square to stab each of the other people in the levels. With PuzzleScript pixel-y goodness and a quirky attitude to offset the grim nature of the theme, backstabber is a game that will have you scratching your head with a smile to the very end.
With simple graphics and simple sound effects to match, Alan Zucconi's entry for Ludum Dare 28, 0RBITALIS, suits itself well. Control the trajectory of a satellite in different celestial situations to have it orbiting the different objects for the entirety of the given time limit. No job is too big, and no gravitational pull is too small, so get your physics-themed thinking caps on and get flying!
Fever Blue isn't the name of some hair product, but it'll leave your scalp tingling like one. In this short puzzle shooter made for Ludum Dare, you're told that the markings on the ground will guide the way, but you've still got to figure out how to use them while navigating a maze of deadly turrets and monsters.
The results of the "10 Seconds"-themed Ludum Dare 27 72-Hour are in, and top prize goes to NXTWPN10: a quirky Unity shooter by Graebor. An explosive combination of color and creativity, if a little disorienting, but a worthy winner and a perfect candidate for expansion.
Why is it that something bad always happens to space research missions? You play Captain Robert in this narrative-driven exploration game, made for Ludum Dare 27. After waking up from a bad bump on the head, you'll need to explore your ship to discover the fate of your crew and piece together all the mysterious things going on.
Robby wants to rob a bank, but things don't go so well when the police show up. As the officer counts down from ten, it's up to you to find out a (probably weird) solution that doesn't end with our hero dead or in jail in this wonderfully silly point-and-click puzzle game made in just 48 hours.
zillix returns with another Ludum Dare entry: exposure. In its post-competition form, this game has you traveling the land of SOL in search of orbs to place in strange holders. As you travel further, you discover more about SOL and its conflict with NYX. And standing in the background is a giant stone golem. What is its role in this land. And what is yours?
We've all dashed into a store at the last minute to grab a forgotten item. Mr. Pink Rabbit has a whole list of items he's got to collect before the store closes--and it closes in ten seconds! Set waypoints to create a path for the rabbit to follow through the aisles and to the checkout before time runs out in this hilarious game made in three days for the Ludum Dare competition.
Terra Coda is an adventure game originally developed by Zillix for Ludum Dare 19, now re-released in a polished form, wherein you live and relive the life of a time-skipping alien organism trying to escape from disaster. It's a game that throws you in at the deep end, but one that very much evokes the thrill of discovery.
Puzzle meets roguelike in this challenging little retro game created for Ludum Dare's minimalism theme. Four heroes sounds like more than enough to find all four magical scepters, but with random dungeons filled with unique monsters, tricks, and permadeath, you've got your strategizing cut out for you.
The winner of the minimalism-themed Ludum Dare 26 game jam, Mono, a Java game by Timtip Games, is a uniquely artistic top-down mix of puzzles and skill. In it, you must guide an eye through a series of eight levels. It's over far too fast, but it's densely packed with interesting ideas and a well deserved victor.
It's dark. You're lost. You have to rely on sound to find the exit in this maze while avoiding the traps laid for you... but something else is using sound to find you. Created for the Ludum Dare "minimalist" theme, this simple game that tasks you with finding your way out before something finds you. Though slow and repetitive, the formidable atmosphere of tension the game creates with sound and simple lines alone is truly remarkable.
Everyone Together is a tough little stumper in a meek, unassuming package, and it will give you the urge to go back through your various contact lists and catch up with people you haven't gotten in time with for years. You know exactly the ones I mean!
The scores have been tabulated and the results are in: the overall winner of the minimalism-themed Ludum Dare 26 72-hour Game Jam is Leaf Me Alone, a retro Metroidvania-style platformer by Mark Foster and David Fenn. Now, "minimalism" and "Metroidvania" aren't two words that usually go together, but Foster and Fenn has put together a wonderful little world for a pixelated-blob-type-thing to explore, if one that could use a little more direction from time to time.
Stargazers is a minimalist puzzle Ludum Dare entry by Cake and Zeik that's sure to have everyone watching the skies. An interesting variation on connect-the-dots, Stargazers may be short, but it has astronomical amounts of polish.
In the platformer created by Ludum Dare veteran, Jussi Simpanen, for their 26th competition, the theme of minimalism was embraced in both graphics and gameplay. But don't let that fool you into thinking the story runs the same way. Having committed a horrible act, you must platform your way through dangerous levels to beg forgiveness and prove your worth of it. The fine melding of story and level design will have you invested in the character by the mysterious ending.
Now you too can be a minimalist artist! Mondrianism is an ingenious interactive art game, in which you get to play with Mondrian's paintings. Move one coloured rectangle around, absorbing all the others, until there's only one colour left on the screen. And you thought this art thing was difficult...
Created by Markus Persson (the mind behind a certain popular crafting game featuring mines) Drop is a simple experimental typing game with a visual twist. To play, you just type the advancing letters before they reach the edge of the screen all while the fabric of reality bends and warps around you.
Go to a forest, meet people, find items they want, give them the items, make them happy. Sounds easy? Not really, because you have no idea what the people are saying. They all speak in symbols, and it's up to you to figure out what they are talking about and how to help them. Vast is a simple, minimalistic game, but it's heartwarming and strangely rewarding.
Made in just 48 hours for the minimalist themed Ludum Dare, this itty-bitty adventure starts off as a quest to get a grisly trophy... and then to break a curse! The laws of the world might not make much sense to you anymore, but you won't let that stand in the way of a little destructionI MEAN heroism.
Remember when? Nicolas Cannesse's short action-adventure/interactive art piece will have you asking yourself that as you go on a journey through the evolution of games. Made in just 48 hours for Ludum Dare, it'll remind you that there was a time when polygons didn't exist, save points were a myth, and just how far we've come over all.
Stupid heroes! Always looting your randomly scattered GPs, knocking down your doors and whacking that stupid sword of theirs against your orbs of true evilness. Well, this one picked the wrong dungeon to vandalize, because you're the Atomic Creep Spawner and you've got a whole mess of atomic creeps just waiting to be spawned.
Not all fairy tales are made the same, and not all locked away princesses want to be saved. In Mad Princess, a defense strategy game, the goal is to help the princess destroy her would be "heroes," and ensure she gets to stay in her cozy castle filled with corpses. Armed with an assortment of traps, you will have to time and plan your attacks well to be effective against the attack.
Your life was just a simple one. But this morning, you've found this sparking mechanical creature in your front yard. Is it friendly? Is it hostile? Or, perhaps scariest of all... are you teaching it what to do? A Ludum Dare 24 entry by Paul Greasley, Soul Jar is adventure platformer that tasks you with directing the evolution of a robot companion, for good or for bad. Visually stunning, with a killer premise, Soul Jar is hampered by clunky controls, but demonstrates the creativity the Ludum Dare format can inspire.
They say big things come in small packages, and you're one of the smallest around! But just because you start out on the bottom of the food chain doesn't mean you'll stay there, if you're fast on your feet, and with your teeth! A short, simple, and colourful action avoidance platformer themed around evolution and made in 48 hours for Ludum Dare.
Recluse is a short, cute, and creative metroidvania-style platform adventure game from chambers that tied for eighth place in the most recent Ludum Dare compo. Centered around the "tiny world" theme, you play a snail who has never left its shell and is now ready to emerge into the world. While much of the gameplay is standard platform fare, there is a unique mechanic that makes Recluse worth experiencing: screen shoving!
Is your trigger-finger ready for a challenge? Then load up the beautiful but deadly Ludum Dare competition entry Kumiho. Pilot a ship with the ability to teleport against hordes of semi-organic monstrosities transformed by a vengeful Goddess. With striking visuals and simple but high-difficulty gameplay, it's a lovely little diversion if your reflexes are up to the task.
Jonathan Whiting is here with another wonderfully vague Ludum Dare entry, arcade puzzler, Niña Nueve. Taking place in a nine-by-nine room (or does it?), Niña Nueve leaves it to the player to determine its mechanics, even as they grow ever more complex. Niña Nueve is a short game that will be run through pretty quickly. Still, it is a heck of a ride.
Made in only 48 hours for Ludum Dare 23, this miniature point-and-click adventure is big on impact. Help a forgetful old man remember through exploring his tiny cell, looking for the key memento to bring back his memory in full. Game designer Sébastien Bénard makes perfect use of the theme, Tiny World—from the scale of game window to the limits of the protagonist's world—creating a memorable story and enjoyable playing experience.
Nature is a cruel mistress in this little gem from Ludum Dare 23. Improve tiles, gather resources, and build cities and shrines to stabilize your world against the next eco disaster. To beat the game you will need to build a level 4 shrine and a level 3 city. Easier said than done, as each disaster will destroy or rearrange tiles, and erase whatever you've built there.
Predicament by Orangepascal is a back to basics escape-the-room game with lovely pixelart and features a story with an unexpected ending. You are a lone survivor who has fallen into a cave and must find their way out if they want to live. But, why are there objects already in this cave? For anyone with a need for a quick escape-the-room fix and a love for stories with ambiguous endings, there is no predicament... just play and enjoy.
Long for the halcyon days of point-and-click adventures, with their great stories, rib-tickling humor, and lovely pixel art? Exposed, a new point-and-click puzzle adventure from Procedural Activity is the closest you'll come without a time machine. Made in under 48 hours for the recent Ludum 23 Dare, you play a bored teenager with a Fonzie-esque pompadour who gets himself into a bit of trouble when he runs afoul of the local mad scientist. To make amends, you'll have to aid him in his morally bankrupt experiments and solve plenty of puzzles along the way.
Explore the Tiny Worlds of the Mushroom Kingdom in Johan Peitz's Ludum Dare entry, A Super Mario Summary. A distillation of the original 32 levels of Super Mario Brothers in single screen puzzle-platform format, A Super Mario Summary is a loving tribute, but more than that, a great game.
Platformer. Ugh. Does just the mention of the word bring up bad memories of clunky controls, lame physics, and endless falls?. Have no fear! A plucky little boy with a purple baseball cap is here to make you believe again. Little Locations, Nolan Cooney's Ludum 23 entry, is a no-nonsense game with great physics and interesting backdrops that is challenging without being utterly impossible.
Grab a buddy, turn them into a heavenly body, and then thwak them silly in Matt Thorson's goofy, groovy versus fighting game made for a recent Ludum Dare competition. As planets orbit the sun, hurl them at your opponent for victory and shameless gloating rights in this amusing little diversion.
In Tiny Wizard, an inventive new arcade shooter by Hannes Rahm, your lovely castle has been invaded by all manner of ghosts and ghouls and if you want to see peace again, you'll need to conjure up all your best magical powers (and your snazziest wizard hats) to beat them back.
Step inside the world of Fracuum, a top-down maze shooter where every inward move zooms you in to the next layer of the game. Made in just 48 hours for a Ludum Dare competition themed around Tiny Worlds, Tyler Glaiel may have given you a bigger challenge than you think. Can you finangle your way through the fiery funnel and fight the foes to find freedom?
Created for the Ludum Dare 23 Jam, this charming puzzle platformer puts you in the role of Soldier Hinds as he attempts to escape the clutches of the evil Zordak on the small prison of Planet 161. It isn't just a great game for something created in under 48 hours. It's a great game full stop. Using three very different types of guns that allow you to manipulate your environment in different ways, Planet 161 dishes out cramped levels that unfold in complexity, offering up a few pretty compelling exercises for the gray matter while not suffering from being overly difficult.
Developed by Jonathan Whiting for Ludum Dare 22, Craequ throws players into a puzzling pixelated world of corridors, pushable blocks and crystal balls. It's up to the player to discover the logic behind it, but if you do, you'll feel really smart.
The Love Letter is a unique stealth experimental game by Alex Cho Snyder and Pat Kemp, where you must read a note from a secret admirer while dodging the taunts of your classmates. Originally a Ludum Dare entry, The Love Letter is a short bit of sweetness that will have you going "AWWW!" by the end.
Arzea is a Metroidvania-style adventure game that demonstrates the kind of danger that magic can lead to. You're a wizard stranded in a strange world with only your wits and a variety of spells and upgrades to help you get home. Your main goal is to find your way home from the strange land of Arzea. There's at least a good half hour of gameplay here, probably closer to an hour if you're out to find all the upgrades and collectible shards.
Created in just 72 hours for Ludum Dare #22, this puzzle game took second place in both innovation and overall competition. Your goal is to eliminate all the tiles on the screen by moving the dual protagonists across the game board, each seemingly on a different planes. As you pass over a color-coordinated square, it disappears, barring further passage, in most instances at least. The lovelorn duo continually gain new abilities, inspired by their circumstances and feelings, adding new dimensions and means to move on. This twist on game mechanics not only keeps it fresh and fun, it makes the narrative truly interesting and enjoyable rather than just words bridging across levels.
All The Girl wants is a little time by herself, but that's not going to happen so long as The Bodyguard is on her heels. Luckily, he's prone to distraction, and The Girl isn't above using some rather unusual abilities to her advantage. A short point-and-click puzzle game made in just 72 hours for the Ludum Dare "alone" themed competition that will make you wish it was a whole lot longer.
- • Split Party!
- • One Final Trek
- • Stray Whisker
Bringing in the end of 2011 with a happy little ring, the 22nd Ludum Dare competition challenged participants to make a game based on a given theme within a 48 hour time frame. Over 700 entries were submitted, and after some rounds of user voting, everything has been ranked and categorized according to awesomeness. We've featured a few of our favorites below, each one representing the compo's "alone" theme quite nicely!
Legend tells us of King Midas, granted a gift by Pan that all he would touch would turn to gold. The tale is the inspiration for Midas, a puzzle platform game by Wanderlands, and overall winner of the Ludum 22 Game Jam. In it, you must guide the king to his love, but not before you reach the river that will wash him of his "gift". The theme for the competition was "Alone", a word that's perfectly captured by this short, challenging, and even poignant game.
Alone. A word that has both good and bad connotations. For Matt Rix' Ludum Dare entry, it's a goal. In The Word Alone, you are given a Boggle-esque board where you are tasked to eliminate all the other letters to leave just 'A', 'L', 'O', 'N' and 'E'. Do you have the word and spatial genius to accomplish this?
You're no ordinary criminal. Your name is Sidney and you have special powers worthy of the X-Men: you can make a clone (or two) of yourself. As Kevin Glass' pixelated puzzler entry for the recent Ludum Dare, The Cell takes you through ten levels of prison escaping. There to aid you are your trusty clones, who follow your every move, and wooden crates, which can be pushed around to do a plethora of things. How long will it take you to escape this puzzling prison?
- • epacse
- • To Hell and Back
- • AWOL
- • Stratus
More Ludum Dare games, anyone? The 48-hour game creation-a-thon has ended yet another competition, inspiring developers from around the world to create almost 600 new games, all centered around the theme of "escape"! The voting has ended, the scores have been tallied, and we've picked some of our favorite downloadable titles to share with you!
Flee Buster is a retro arcade game about a little human escaping abduction from an alien tractor beam. No wait, it's about a spaceship on the run from Pac-Man's violent quadrilateral cousins. No wait, actually it's about a frog trying to jump as far up as he can from some evil looking spike-water. A bit schizophrenic? Perhaps. But this action-arcade release from Chevy Ray that took first place overall in Ludlum Dare 21 makes one think of Neapolitan ice cream: it has three great tastes that taste great together
Get ready for the ultimate hybrid of addictive genres in this new game from Arkeus! Originally created in just 48 hours for Ludum Dare but already being improved, Glissaria combines tile-matching, resource management, tower defense, and RPG elements with a vaguely retro flair for one impressive bit of gaming that has enormous potential.
Trapped in a cave! Gotta get out of there fast. There are flying jellyfish monsters, falling rocks, spikes, and other lovely bits of danger, but if you're fast enough, you can escape without harm. Connor Ullmann's Hollow is a platform game that's high on the challenge with a healthy injection of creative design on almost every level. You'll meet an untimely end dozens of times in this game, but you'll keep plugging away at it all the same. Practice leads to perfection!
Minecraft creator Markus Persson's entry into Ludum Dare is a first-person dungeon crawling exploration adventure. Escape from your cell and explore a surprisingly large series of connected dungeons, discovering new items and abilities, and searching for valuable treasure. An unforgiving death system and lack of a map may prove too frustrating for some players, but for a game made in just 48 hours this is one surprisingly big and fun adventure.
Minerbot features a distinctive minimalist art style that might be confusing for the first couple runs. Once you get into the groove of the game, though, there's definitely an addictive quality to watching a collector hollow out a massive expanse of ore. The action's accompanied by a hopping techno soundtrack.
Since the dawn of time, man has collected. This arcade platformer plays right to this compulsion by encouraging players to load up on diamonds like it's going out of style as they try to climb to the top of an endless cavern. This isn't a pretentious art game or a brain-wracking escape, this is down-and-dirty arcade action through and through and it succeeds spectacularly on that level.
Norapoly is a speedy miniaturization of Monopoly with some extra RPG strategy and survival tactics thrown in for good measure. The clean 8-bit-esque graphics fit nicely with the speedy gameplay, and give the five levels of this game a comfy, old-school feel. So forget the dice, your sword is now your weapon. Go ahead and tackle Norapoly (and possibly win second prize in that beauty contest).
A tiny world is at your fingertips, ready for you to shape it. Create a cavern teeming with life... provided you can discover all the creatures hiding inside. Using sandbox tools, manipulate the environment to coax each creature into the open, or how to create them. A charming little simulation tool that encourages experimentation.