What is IGU?
Gayyde was created by a member of Indie Game Utopia (IGU), a thriving Discord server intended to ‘help small indie game developers and fans network and form connections with one another‘. It has over 600 members and is a fun, friendly and inclusive place where everyone is welcome.
Indie Hive is partnered with IGU and when they asked us to review the winning game of their recent game jam as a prize we were more than happy to oblige!
If this sounds like your kind of place you can click here to join the IGU server!
The Summer Jam!
On 9th June this year, IGU announced to their server members that they would be running their first-ever game jam, a Summer Game Jam running from the 21st June until 5th July 2021. The theme and main constraint being that the game’s colour palette must be limited to the colours of a pride flag of the participants choosing, different shades were permitted as long as they can still be recognised as being from the chosen flag!
Entries were scored based on five criteria: fun, graphics, music and sound design, execution of concept and stability. Prizes for the winner consist of a special “Game Jam Winner” role in the IGU Discord server to let everyone know that you won the jam, an itch.io key for a game of the winner’s choosing and review coverage by us Indie Hive bees!
There was a nice mix of entries which can be viewed here.
Gayyde is a short platformer in which you can manipulate gravity. It utilises the colour palette of the lesbian pride flag and was announced as the winning entry to the IGU Summer Jam on 12th July. The game ranked #1 for all criteria except for music and sound design in which it placed second!
Available on: itch.io
Engine: GameMaker Studio
Gayyde starts by showing the players the more obvious controls such as pressing space to jump but leaves the player to work out the more unique mechanics on their own. For example, it was far from obvious that lining up with a box and landing a well-timed hit while jumping would help to reach higher platforms.
After taking a while to work out what to do, I started trying to traverse the gravity-defying game world. There are sections of the charming environment in which the players appear to walk on the ceiling, with the direction of gravity indicated by the colour of the platform or surface, all in keeping with the lesbian pride flag colour scheme. There are obstacles to overcome along the way, failing to do so will abruptly yank the player back to the start of that section. The checkpoints seem relatively sparse given that I found Gaydde really rather challenging.
Narrative and Styling
Gayyde’s primary focus is its gameplay and mechanics, which are clean and well-implemented; as such it has no real narrative elements. It does, however, have very cute pixel art graphics that make clever use of the quite limited colour palette. The game world and adorable protagonist are clearly displayed and pleasant to view.
The game’s audio is mainly made up of a series of synth noises played on the loop with a quite jarring and obvious transition which soon became somewhat repetitive.
So how does this work?
You can move, jump, and click in any direction for a brief hit. But more mechanics aren’t as obvious: you can double jump, hit arrowed boxes to jump higher, and hit red elliptical objects to go even further up in the air. Apart from lining up your hits, the base mechanics are easy to master but aren’t well explained in-game. Finally, you can flip gravity by moving between orange and purple-colored walls, in keeping with the lesbian flag’s colors.
GAYYDE is brief, with about four to five sections, though they aren’t easy to traverse. Especially the second-to-last section, because you must cross a corridor packed with deadly spikes, which is itself a distance away from the last checkpoint. This makes the game be repetitive and frustrating at times.
What about the lesbian colors?
The artstyle is simple enough given the limitations of the jam, although the best usage of the lesbian flag’s colors has to be in the first section, where the platform you stand on has a mirror right below it with the opposite color. This contrast of colors is something I would like to see in a bigger game. Despite its name and color scheme, GAYYDE doesn’t really discuss any matters about lesbians, which made the game feel a little empty to me.
Gayyde is a well-made game that does a fantastic job of implementing the restrictions imposed by the IGU Summer Jam with delightful artwork and styling that ties into the game’s mechanics. While my powers of deduction and limited skills in this genre meant I saw a relatively small portion of the game, I enjoyed what I did play. It is a multi-faceted test of timing, and overcoming the various obstacles and mechanics, designed to be intentionally difficult and could definitely provide a fun and hearty challenge for more seasoned platformer fans!
With the limitations of the IGU Summer Jam considered, GAYYDE manages to use its colors well and utilize them as part of the gravity flipping mechanic. Even with the roughness of the platforming and the lack of a lesbian-positive narrative, the game is still worth a play if you’re looking to pass some time. I’m looking forward to Ema’s future titles, hopefully fully fleshing out the concepts in this game!