Jig Easy, Sam
I can pleasantly say that aside from going to college, I've never been faced with the burden of having to pack up tons of boxes and move my home. From what I hear, it's quite a hassle, and there's no easy way to go about it, no matter how much manpower is on your side. Getting everything into boxes and into a waiting truck takes hours, and who knows how much stuff you might break.
In Jig Easy, Sam, you've got about eight minutes to move out. You'd better lift with your knees!
While your friend is at a dance competition trying to win money to pay back Ernie, the local loan shark, you've got to move all his property out of the building as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you've discovered a method of delivering furniture, appliances, and boxes of books down to the ground in helium-filled bubbles. Also, Ernie digs the beats he hears when these bubbles bounce together, so he'll gladly pay you to write some of the drum beats for the contest. But while this sounds like a cushy job, Murphy's Law seems to be working overtime today. Not only can you not park the moving truck directly underneath the window you're dropping the bubbles from, but the truck's brakes are faulty, and the truck is inching its way down the street.
Since each bounce you make can bring in some dough, you can purchase flower pots, satellite dishes, rats, and hire moving men to bounce the falling bubbles to your moving target. Unfortunately, all of these have a limited number of times you can bounce things off of them before they disappear (the workers' labor contracts seem to work the same way). Your job is to manage your funds properly, and find a way to bounce the falling packages into the truck, while still making a profit to pay back Ernie.
To play, select your bounce implement from the selections in the top-right corner of the game, then click on the building to place it in the playing field. Rats are cheap, but can only withstand one bounce before disappearing, while satellite dishes are more expensive, but can last for twelve hits. Dropping any packing bubble will cost you money as well, so be sure you have a plan for bouncing everything you can into the truck. If you can earn $1000 before the truck reaches the end of the street, you can avoid the wrath of Ernie and your friend can move out in piece (and with some extra cash in hand).
Analysis: Jig Easy, Sam is Matt Slaybaugh's third entry into our competitions, and each time he demonstrates his ability to design compelling gameplay around the theme. The "ball physics" theme of CGDC4 is demonstrated quite nicely in Jig Easy, with appliance-filled ball-shaped bubbles bouncing delightfully across a city scene.
Even with a broken truck and a handful of money to make before time runs out, the game offers one tremendous flaw that can still make the game wickedly easy: The clock, as the most expensive item in the game, has no expiration. Once one experiments with the mechanics of how the game tallies up the scores, a player can easily rack up money with a single well-placed clock (which quickly becomes many well-placed clocks). One common technique for racking up high scores is to "trap" a falling package in between several clocks, thus racking up hundreds of dollars by the second, and allowing the player to reach scores of over a quarter million dollars by the time the truck has crossed the screen. While having an invincible tool is an appealing feature, it unfortunately makes the game quite easy when used improperly.
Clockwork issues aside, Jig Easy, Sam is a very well-designed game. The goal is easy to understand, and a humorous storyline sets the background for a veritable bounce-fest. One sad part about this game is that it only lasts for one "round" and then the game is over. I think this game could be greatly improved by adding different levels that require certain tasks to be accomplished to move forward (such as bouncing the furniture into the truck, while bouncing the moldy "food" that has stood in the fridge for several years into a dumpster, etc.). Who knows, maybe your helium balloon "moving service" could become a hit in the neighborhood, with several jobs for hire.
We thank Matt for another great competition entry, and for having the creativity to name his entry using an anagram of the site's domain name. =)