Ludum Dare 41 happened this last week. However, that’s still on people’s radars, so I think it’s pointless to add to the hullaballoo right now. It’s great to wait to play them, not only to have some space from the burst of excitement, but also to keep the interest in them going a little bit longer. Instead, I decided to play games from the #LOWREZJAM 2016 & 2017 because digging up stuff from the recent past is fun!
Knowing I’m going to write for this weekly roundup does affect what I’m going to play, but I don’t really care as long as I’m playing games!
50 e by Rosden
50 executables, each containing a single room with differences in player size, jump height, colour palette, etc. It was really satisfying opening them all even though I expected to stop short of 30.
GPU Grass Renderer by ompu co
This isn’t a game, it’s a tech demo, but it’s so soothing and beautiful. It’s like an interactive lava lamp but with the ability to control its parameters.
out of bounds [lite demo] by Cyathea Tree Studio
Ooh, so this is a lovely PuzzleScript game. It’s pretty neat and fun to play around with. However, I just cannot beat this level (above) right now… I tried for about half-an-hour, which is longer than I’m willing to put into most puzzles.
Princess Axolotl of Europa by The Loneliest Pixel
This is unbelievably good. So good, in fact, that I read it all!
I usually fail to read through any sort of written fiction to the end, regardless of how much I’m enjoying it, due to my short attention span. I even have a difficult time with Bitsy games even though I love them so much! Considering that, it was a breeze immersing myself in Princess Axolotl’s world.
This is one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read in my lifetime. It’s a brilliant blend of dark humour and surrealism delivered in a flawless deadpan fashion. The writing style is paradoxically thoughtful and impulsive, shining like crystal pink candy with a dark cloud swirling beneath the surface.
Being that this is done by Princess, it’s super gay and colourful and cute which is exactly what the world needs.
#LOWREZJAM 2016 & 2017
Tiny displays are so cute! I love the 64x64 pixel constraint of these jams because they feel like little dioramas to peek at, as if miniature humans created these. Pico-8 is also neat for this as well! A big bonus is that these tend to run really great on low-end computers, and that keeps them accessible for many people to play!
Big Sword by OAB
A short action platformer. A foreboding atmosphere with excellent animation and imaginative enemy design make this a jam game to remember. In a way, I sort-of wish it was longer, but I’m also content with it ending when it does.
Boorglars by midipixel
A chase-’em-up with cool shader work! The controls were a bit slippery, but it was still manageable to catch the bad boys, though they will keep you on your toes.
CHANNEL07 by Tanner Grehawick
A labyrinth with 3 coloured keys and happy murdering monitors. It’s simple yet creepy and enjoyable!
Micro Pico by RhythmLynx
Warioware-like is my favourite genre because it’s great for my attention span! This one is extra cute because it’s simplified down to 20x20 pixel boxes. It’s heaps of fun, though it’s a bit difficult on the second time it speeds up. Such a joy!
THE MORTAL by ODS
Wow! This game is so beautiful! Honestly, it’s impossible to convey that in a still as it needs to be seen in motion to be truly appreciated. The animation on the enemies and the environment tickle my cup of tea which is suprising considering the 64x64 limit. Also notable is the sound design, making this quest a bit intimidating to jaunt through. It took me a few tries to emerge victorious, but it was totally worth it.
Norman’s Sky by nothke
Someone in my feed liked or RT’d the link to this game’s postmortem, otherwise I might not have ever played this. In fact, that’s what catalyzed my action to finally getting around to this LOWREZJAM business.
The only experience I have with No Man’s Sky is cuddling with my friend while watching him play it. Norman’s Sky is all about exploring space and the surface of the planets. You can’t get out of your vehicle, but it doesn’t feel necessary because it’s cool just as it is.
I love this for a) the planets’ atmospheres and b) how lighting affects the cockpit frame as you fly around.
Purgatelly by Thana
This game might have worked in a higher resolution, but it just feels so right with its tiny constraints. Parsing the mechanical language of the game is an event in itself because it’s a bit odd even though the environment recalls daily home life.
It’s quite a simple game, a bit repetitious, but in a psychedelic meditative sense. It left quite an impression on me: I was thinking about it after I had turned my computer off for the night.
Soluna’s Secret by Callum John
Quite short and beautiful first-person experience.
Tea Tastes Better on the Moon by Friendly Cosmonaut and Scary Moonchild
A wonderfully-illustrated platformer with sliding and PUNCHING. It’s on the medium-difficult side, though the final boss (?) was too much for me to handle with the grippy grips. It’s punctuated with a cute lil’ story that makes me wonder the lengths I’d go to for a cup of tea.
Tiny FPS by MuscularHair
A super-simple FPS, but oh my, I love this one! The enemies are so cute being primitive shapes that are so Doom-like. This also features a find-the-colour-keys gameplay, but the architecture on this one is just neat for being so tiny. There’s really not a whole lot to say other than I highly recommend it!
Other games I played this last week but already covered: Desert Golfing, Golfinity, Doom 3, N++.
Bonus: My Doom 3 review for the largest digital distribution platform:
Doom 3’s janky reputation provided me with low expectations that actually turned out for the better. Hooray!
I (mostly) adhere to the developer’s intended experience with their game so I decided to pick up this version before venturing into the BFG territory. I agree with most people’s criticisms against the monster closets, flashlight switching, and repetitive corridor-shooting, but I adored the absurd amount of darkness here. Though many of the encounters were expected, I was still frightened quite often due to inadequate visual illumination. The horror vibe succeeds in its intent, a natural progression since Doom 64’s dark ambient atmosphere.
One of my favourite mechanics of Doom 3 is the recoiling of Doomguy’s head when struck with a melee attack. Your view is jolted upward which makes reorienting oneself just as confusing as it ought to be. This adds a little spice from needing to escape within a cramped area, causing a bit more panic than a simple flash of red on your HUD. Similarly, I appreciated the rocking of your view when crawling, giving a tactility that surprisingly isn’t used often.
The biggest disappointment for me is the amount of time spent in a human-built environment. Sure, it’s not too awful, but the I much prefer the imaginative architecture of Hell. The warm tones and organic spaces provided a much-needed break from the cold corridors of the UAC station, and it was such a shame that the otherworldly section was so brief.
Speaking of length, I do feel that this game could have easily been cut in half. There was a bit too much repetition going on, with the game slowly introducing new bad boys being the only real sense of progression. I believe that many AAA games in the past couple of decades would benefit from a tighter-focused experience, though it makes sense that developers feel the need to pad theim out to satisfy consumer expectations. Regardless, I had a positive experience through it all.