Surpassed only by Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare is the second largest game jam in the world. Created in 2002, the jam requires participants to adhere to a theme voted by the community a week before. The bi-annual game jam kicked off its forty-fourth event in the last weekend of April, inviting developers to make a game in either the Compo, a 48-hour period, or the Jam, a 72-hour period. The theme for this Ludum Dare was, “Your Life is Currency” and with 2,536 submissions, I wanted to pick a few of my favorites, especially since the results of the jam were announced Tuesday this week!
DRIED is a game that mixes elements of Faster than Light (FTL) and Sunless Sea in the best of ways. You play as a robot that is roving through the ruins of a city. You travel by clicking on a node in whatever direction you want. After you travel, a random encounter will occur, forcing you to make choices about trading, exploring, and moving on. Each move will cost you fuel, and if you run out of fuel, you won’t make it. Can you make it through the wasteland?
SEED is a fast-paced game that requires you to do one simple thing, and that’s plant trees. As the player, you start 380 million years ago at the start of the forest, and it’s your job to keep that forest thriving. But, humans need it as a vital resource. The interpretation of the theme in this entry hits home for me as it focuses on the way we collectively use our planet’s resources to no end. As you try to build your forest, the humans advance technologically, harvesting the forest faster and faster. I only made it to the year pictured below. How long can you keep the forest alive?
Invertebrae harkens back to a time when the only kind of game were text-based ones. The biggest difference is that rather than type commands, players click-and-drag words from the story to use as their actions. They collect these on the right-hand side of the editor. This allows for a variety of combinations in how the player progresses, and sometimes moving backwards through the story can help you move forward. There are multiple endings to the game, and the creator was kind enough to include a guide of sorts in case you can’t figure it out. I know I had to use it a couple of times.
DEADline is a simple but cleverly designed game. The player is an ‘I’, or cursor, that’s simply trying to survive. Type words to create platforms that you can then jump on to progress. By completing a word, the player scores a point. Once you progress far enough into the game, you can buy upgrades with the points you’ve collected. What kept me coming back was not only the design, but the intensely competitive online leader board that’s implemented. I sat at number four for a while now, but I’ve lost the title. I hope one of you can claim it.
Thank you to the participants of the LudumDare for creating such quality fun, and I hope that development continues for many of these entries. If you have a LudumDare submission that you want us to try, please be sure to drop a comment below or join our Discord!