js13kGames 2020 winners and top5 picks from the experts!

Andrzej Mazur
Oct 5 · 18 min read

I’m excited to share the final results of your voting - check out the list of winners in the ninth edition of the js13kGames competition!

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The page didn’t return 404 Not Found and you were able to see the results? Cool! Congrats on submitting your entry, we had a whole bunch of awesome games this year! The overall quality is increasing every single year, the games around the 200th place are still great and enjoyable.

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1. Ninja vs EVILCORP by Rémi Vansteelandt
2. Edge Not Found by Tom Hermans
3. CHOCH by kostik1337 & lampysprites
4. Track not found?! by xem
5. Stolen Sword by Ian Chiao

Feedback from the experts and other devs

I know for many the main reason to participate is because you’re getting feedback from the experts and other participants. Firstly, the feedback from the experts is now visible on the entries’ pages. Secondly, we’ve opened up the voting page, so there’s plenty of feedback comments from your fellow devs you can check out as well!

Separate voting for categories

This year we tried improving the voting system, and the entries from other-than-the-main-one categories were voted separately. Plus, WebXR and Web Monetization were judged by experts as well, so your entry might’ve ended up on different places depending if you invested more of your time into making it as smooth as possible on Mobile, or added impressive Web Monetization features.

Top5 picks from the experts

Experts were assigned with 20-30 randomly selected games (beside WebXR and Web Monetization, where judges did their job playing all the games from those categories respectively), and some of them wanted to share their top5 picks. Beware, it’s quite a long section ahead!

Joshua Marinacci

* Exit: Good concept and a fun 8bit arcade sensibility with the shrinking cubes for the board floor and the sound effects. I’d like to see some more VR specific features like the ability to move the board around or tilt it, and some boards with height in them.

* ROAR: The concept and graphics are great. Only two things I’d add. First, I couldn’t see the missiles. Can I breath fire on them? Second, if would be awesome if I could throw chunks of building and see them smash other chunks. That would require a real physics engine, of course, but it would be super fun.

* Ned Snow: I’m really impressed. The concept and gameplay is fun, and the graphics are quite sharp given the size constraints. I think you should try expanding the game with more types of obstacles and more decorations in the office. I love the terminal text on the walls. Great job.

* Sculpting Done Quick: I’m really impressed that you made a voxel sculpting game with such little code. The game is fun, innovative, and looks quite good. I love that you even put music in it.

* 13kb-404: Brilliant concept and good use of canvas textures and audio. If you turn this into a bigger game, I’d suggest giving the user a limited amount of paint so they can’t just cover the walls, but need to use it sparingly. You could also tweak the navigation code a bit to enable teleportation and other mechanisms.

Björn Ritzl

1. The Waffle: Pretty hard but fun. I quickly got lost and had to start mapping the level to find my way out. I would have liked to see even more puzzles and going back and forth to use switches to unlock and disable things to be able to progress through the game.

2. NoteCraft: Absolute genious! I really look forward to seeing what people will be able to create with this! Is there already some place where people can share their creations?

3. Clone not found: Ha! Nice one! Really stressful but fun, and damn annoying when you select the wrong one! I think the penalty of not selecting a clone within the timeframe should be more severe (perhaps even game over?).

4. Population 404: Interesting game! It takes a while to understand the mechanics, but I definitely think you’re on to something and I encourage you to explore this game concept further.

5. Can you fix my server: This is a really interesting idea for a game and I hope you continue to explore it! Right now it’s only connecting to the closest point, which is fine for a while but then it gets repetitive. I’m thinking that there could be different kinds of nodes, some want to connect to the closest node, others perhaps to the farthest or a combination. If there are several ways to solve a level it would keep it interesting longer. Oh, and an option to toggle the music (which was ok for a while!).

Sebastien Vandenberghe

1. Every Alien loves 404
2. Exit
3. An Http Story
4. Ned Snow
5. 13kb-404

Ahmed Khalifa

1. Bio-Server: First of all congratulations on finishing a full clicker game in the time of the competition this is a great job. This is very nice and addictive and with the timer in starts to be more like Cook Serve Deluxe than a normal clicker game. I liked that Unicorn and dragon have special color. I think the game will benefit from an upgrade that make each card of the creature of different color. Because the game is all about the mess of picking the correct ingredients to get the likes in. I also think you could add more hectic by making the creatures and classes and types on convyer belt and doing that the player won’t need the 404 button, they might need just to increase or decrease the conveyer belt of the choices they need to make.

It was not clear for me how you get more refresh in the current version of the game, I thought you get more refresh every time you press on 404 but that didn’t happen as I was stuck with hand of all chicken and I am pressing on 404 and I don’t get any more refreshes. It could also be based on time where I get more refresh every couple of seconds and it slows down.

overall that is a great clicker game that grabs cooking games in the mix. You could easily skin it as cooking game or any other types, there is a lot of interesting ideas to add and play around with. I honestly encourage you to explore that game more and try to solve the current issues about using 404.

2. Find the theme: First of all, congratulations on participating in the JS13K and finishing and submitting a fun game. The animation between different parts is very incredible. I love how the words are reflective in the animation. Great job.
I think it would be useful to animate which buttons have been pressed before. I know you might not want to show it to make it harder but I think it will enhance the experience and you could also make the color get darker the more you press on it so you record your mistakes since the start of the game but at the same time still not easy as you need to remember the color of the board before starting. Maybe color it red when it was a mistake and a little bit blue if it was correct.

Overall this is very fun game. Great job.

3. You have found: First of all, congratulations on finishing and submitting a very astonishing good looking game for the game. I like the easy of the flow and the movement. I understand it is more of a soothing experience about perspective but I think having different endings or voice over based on your movement and reactions in the game and which objects your collecting will enhance the whole experience of the soothing experience.

Overall, great job for finishing and submitting the game.

4. The King’s Missing Page: First of all congratulation on creating a big point click adventure game with a lot of art and music with that small footprint. You should be proud of that. I am not big on point click adventure but I usually enjoy jokes and silly conversations that happens during the adventure. In that game, it was a little bit harder since most people I met only say one line like Hi. In a lot of the cases, I appreciate that since it is to the point and there is fluff but I also don’t get why these people are there if there is no conversation to be done why not make these places blocked and later when needed the door appear is open and when we talk they might speak about a missing thing or giving me a hint about a location if you still want to make the game to the point.

Overall, great job on creating the game. Congratulations on packing all these interesting stuff in small footprint.

5. Request & Response: First of all congratulations on creating this funny game. It is a little too hard using a mouse, maybe it is easier using a touch screen. The idea is funny and I like the wrong requests that you need to serve 404 error to the people.

I think the game could be an interesting clicker game in the same vain of Universal Paper Clips. Since it have the meta that you are working as a server responding to people requests with the correct pages. You could have upgrades that help you serve these files automatically and later maybe the game get expanded to include access and acquiring more resources and maybe the ending like the rise of Skynet and no more requests are happening anymore because no more humans which made your program question its existence.

I am sorry for ranting about how to give your game some narrative arc with more progress but I love the idea and I think it is funny and have potential.

Congratulations on creating this game.

Ewa Mazur

1. Ninja vs Evilcorp: Wow, I mean W-O-W! Much respect for packing completed, polished, dynamic, funny, and juicy game into 13KB. This is the kind of game you really want to come back and play again. I love the intro, the Ninja animation, sounds, all visual effects, the story and the game mood.The only thing I could think of to add is some kind of a mark inside the game for Practice Mode, so the Coil Subscribers would know it’s something special for them.To summarize - Respect!

2. Office 404!: I’ve spent so much time playing this game and had so much fun. Nice theme implementation. I love the graphics ❤ and whole gameplay - it’s so polished. The graphics and the music keeps a consistent mood. And I love the discount for Coil subscribers, although it could be shown in some way on a gameplay.This game is my personal “Top 5”. Congrats!

3. Ned Snow: Oh boy, the mood of a secret is all over the place! I love this game’s vibes. You’ve achieved consistency with music, colors, first person perspective and story. I like that Coil subscribers can get additional tips during the game and they can choose if they want them or not. And of course 3d is always blowing my mind if it’s going about 13KB limit. Awesome game!

4. RESCUE not FOUND: Oh yeah, I definitely felt this whole managing the risk idea, while I was playing the game. I love the graphics, the gameplay, visual effects and music. The game is polished and well designed. The Web Monetization implementation is great - as a Coil subscriber I exactly know what I get as extra and I can decide if I want it or not. Awesome!

5. The Legend of Yeti-404: I’ve enjoyed playing this game a lot. I love it’s retro vibe, graphics, music (!), visual effects (!) and whole juicynes. I had some lags on Firefox, but it went smooth on Chrome. Although there are some extra bonuses for Coil subscribers, I couldn’t tell which ones, so it would be nice to put info about that inside the game. Cool retro vibes!

Anselm Hook

1. OFFICE 404!: This is the flat out best game period — it has a tetris like quality.

2. An HTTP Story: This is well done — and web monetization bonus is excellent.

3. Highway 404: This is quite good. The music is fun. The web monetization bonus is good.

4. FOURFOLD: This is also fresh thinking. Good Monetization.

5. The Legend of Yeti-404: I was impressed by the graphics here.

Abiyasa Suhardi

1. 404kph: An excellent and polished retro 3D racing game. I really love the old vintage look-and-feel: CRT monitor, scanline, wireframe 3D, and the synth music and sound effects. Pretty amazing that all of these can fit into 13KB!

Very good UI and well-executed menu system. It’s very easy to navigate the game. The ghost racing feature is really well implemented! Being able to watch you or others racing or completing a track is really awesome! I really like the copy-and-paste-able racing data so you can easily share it with your friends. Very smart!

The loading time is very long, could take up more than 2 minutes to complete. So retro 🙂

2. CHOCH: Excellent visual effect, game character, and the background music! Loves the old CRT and plasma effect! Well done with the Shader effect. I really like the game themes as it has a nice ambiance atmosphere and fits well with the competition themes. The level design is also enjoyable although it can be quite frustrating sometimes.

I wish the game could save the last progress so I could easily replay from the last level 😉

3. OS13K: A very interesting concept and well-executed game, exploring an OS-like environment, looking for clues and scores. It’s like multiple games inside a game! Quite amazing you can fit them all in 13kb!

This game has trophies, scores, points, and secrets to explore. Also, it stores the game progress so you can continue exploring on another day! Very addictive. It’s well-polished as you can see the details on small things: icon, music player, and nested-games. Has good readme on the GitHub page and good sense of humor too 🙂

4. Roll Tanks: A really cool 3D turn-based tank game! I love the game mechanics, the dice that gives a little randomness, simple tank actions and rules that are easy to understand, and works perfectly on mobile! The visualization is great and well-polished, I like the flat-color style! The map is simple and colorful, fits well with the game theme.

The AI is quite good but sometimes the enemy gets stuck behind a tree or didn’t manage to shoot the bullet and got stuck on aiming. The collision detection can be improved, sometimes the player cannot pick up the medicine while tanks can walk through other tanks.

Great job 🙂

5. Byte! Deliver Yourself: A very well-executed game! Simple UI & graphics but yet good mechanics, really love the game/level twists and excellent puzzle design. I find it very addictive & intriguing, also nice SFX and visual effect! The glitch and sliding animation work well together 👍

The save progress feature is also cool, could motivate or help users completing all levels.

Ale Bles

1. Stolen Sword: Amazing work. Runs smooth, animations are superb, the environment looks awesome and it plays well on mobile too. Would love to see a full-featured game!

2. Not Found: An all-round well executed and complete game. Nice theme tie-in with the game and a lovely clean code.

3. Magic 404: The style is really something else and the game is quite fun as well! Refreshing as well to see a game not use canvas but drawn via SVG. Execution is really nice, animations are well done.

4. Four, oh Four: It’s a really smooth game. and it’s fun to play too. An option to press through the dialog via space would be nice.

5. 404 repetitions: Such a sweet game! Somehow reminded me a bit of the old flash dating sims you could find online! Code is really neat, one of the better submissions in terms of overall score in my opinion!

Noël Meudec

1. CHOCH: What a beautiful game! Definitely one of the gems of this game jam.
The atmosphere, the graphics, the music, everything is great.
It is a variant of Frogger, but with a great variety of puzzles and a unique vibe (hard to describe).
What could be improved:
- I had to use a glitch to solve one of the puzzles (leave the screen at the bottom right corner of the screen). Was it intentional?
- I spent more time on the last level than on all the other levels combined, it drove me crazy!
Overall, it is one of the best games I played for this game jam. The last screen says “Thank you for playing!”, I will answer “Thank you for making this game!”

2. the internet is broken (again): This game is a cute puzzle game. I really like the graphics (it has a Matrix vibe to it) and the various game mechanics.
Here are things I would suggest to improve the game:
- Add musics/sounds. With the right BGM, it would make it so much better!
- It was painful to play from a trackpad, and I had to stop playing at level 6 as it is impossible to dash properly. I think there is room for improvement here.
Overall, it is a great game, and with a few improvements it could be really excellent.

3. Island Not Found: It is an excellent little game. I needed about 5 minutes to reach the end of it, but I enjoyed the experience. I really like the atmosphere, very good choice of background music. Some details were quite impressive, like the effect of the sea, the flashlight and the sun. To manage to cramp up all of these in a game that small is fantastic. I also appreciate the few game mechanics, especially toward the end (no spoilers).
There are a couple of things I would do to improve the game:
1- Maybe I missed something, but I think you could have done something more useful with the flashlight
2- A little more storytelling would have been good, even though not knowing much is part of the mystery that contributes to the atmosphere
3- Prevent the character from walking on the sea
4- There is a bug at the end of the game. I was not able to move my mouse pointer anymore; I was stuck in the game!
Overall, I like the game very much and I was quite impressed.

4. 404 Rhythm not found: This is a cool rhythm game! I like the music and the graphics. The introduction scene for each enemy reminds me of Megaman. The controls are OK but in the last battle I have no idea why I keep missing (I do almost a score of 0, all missed), when in the previous battles I was doing almost no mistake. That was frustrating and I have no explanation for it (is it me or the game?)
Here are a few things I would suggest to make the game better:
- Add a couple of game mechanics. For example: get extra points for doing a suggested combo
- To have a final special move at the end of a battle would be great
- Do something about the last battle (if the issue comes from the game and not from me)
Overall, it is an excellent little rhythm game, thanks for making it!

5. POPULATION: 404: It is an interesting resource management game. Visually, it is nothing special, but it does the job. I had to try a couple of times to understand what has impact on what, as it was not clear from the beginning. Even after I understood, I didn’t manage to pass the first level.
Here are things I would suggest to improve the game:
- Have a tutorial or more visual clues to help understand what has impact on what
- Have a shorter first level so it will be easier to get familiar with the game, and give the satisfaction of finishing at least one level
Overall, the game mechanic is good and after I understood what I was supposed to do it got interesting, but the game is not easy to understand and very challenging from the beginning.

Spartez Team

* The Machine
* Find the Papers
* Raid Area 404
* Searching for 04
* 404 BC Pinball

Christer Kaitila

1. Ninja vs EVILCORP: This game is amazingly good! So smooth! I love the motion blur, the cloth simulation, the raycasting view cones for security camera, the awesome levels, everything! This game has it all, and it looks as great as it plays. What an absolutely excellent job. Nice work! I loved it.

2. NILO: This game is SO fun! The sound effects are perfect, the feel is great, and most of all the levels are designed really well! I love turning off one set of platforms and they turn on automatically at just the right time! The bouncing parts were a bit too difficult for me, but overall I thought this game was pretty fantastic. Wonderful work.

3. Johnny Smiter III: Phenomenal tech! Amazing idea! What an amazing achievement. The shadow platforming awesomeness is so dynamic, it makes you “feel smart” when you solve a puzzle. The music is great, the text intros really help, and the silky smooth 60fps perfection of this amazing adventure is so impressive. Amazing work!!!

4. Highway 404: This was one heck of a ride!! I loved the knight rider awesomeness of the later parts of the great soundtrack! and the voice synthesis! and the amazing graphics. so smooth and fast and easy to control! It was a serious mega challenge for my slow reflexes but I had a blast and I LOVED jumping on the lane change redirects! Epic! What an amazingly fun and polished js13k entry. Great work!!

5. Track not found?!: I loved it! amazing tech! The graphics are so smooth and the puzzles are so cool. I am totally blown away that you were able to achieve this level of polish and skill in only 13kb! At ANY size it would be impressive. The various levels are so great. Amazing work!

Nathan Lie

1. Ninja vs EVILCORP: Excellent platformer — the encouragement to speedrun is a huge plus for me. My favorite part of this game is the multitude of routes available — in a game where speedrunning is encouraged, the choice between a faster riskier route and a slower one makes for interesting gameplay. All the platforming hallmarks are there like walljumping and momentum adjustment, making the controls nice and crisp. The Web Monetization bonus is really nice too — definitely doesn’t take away from the core experience but helps the power user go above and beyond with their experience. Only improvement I can think of is the inclusion of music, but the game is already strong enough without it.

2. I want to google the game: This short-but-sweet game has it all: some music to set the mood, snappy controls, and thematically appropriate visual gags to make the experience worthwhile. Not much critique from me — but would have loved to see more! The Web Monetization feature nicely fills out the browser roster as well.

3. The Legend of Yeti-404: Great little shoot ’em up with striking visuals. Really love the progression aspect with the ship upgrades and the discovery aspect of uncovering more and more of the map. The Web Monetization feature, while not terribly game-changing, is a neat little bonus.

Only suggestion is that it could use a little optimization. On my browser it ran at a rather low framerate.

4. Highway 404: Excellent integration of theme and gameplay — controls are snappy and the gameplay loop is solid. No real comments on improvements when it comes to core gameplay. Web Monetization bonus is a real treat — anything that adds new gameplay dynamics is always a good addition in my book.

5. An HTTP Story: Well written puzzle game with strong story. The one-way dialogue of the Zyra character goes a long way towards immersing the player in the world and investing them in the completion of the game. I have just a small suggestion that there be some more messaging about the logs being checkpoints — I did not realize it at first. Finally, the Web Monetization bonus is great — it’s a real “extra mile” kind of feature.

Ania Kubów

1. 404 Exit not found: With this game, I really enjoyed the comments in the sidebar. The prompting made the game more engaging and hey, some of the comments are pretty funny! The personalization in the game also impressed me. I was able to choose a name, a class, and when I restarted the game, the grids were a different experience each time.

2. Planet 404: What a cute game! The styling is very consistent throughout and very pleasing to the eye. Very well executed and deceivingly hard.

3. Kill.exe not found: This game was incredibly cute! From the donuts to the little aliens, it was a delight! One thing I would mention is that moving the robot on an intersection was not easy, as sometimes I struggled to go from a horizontal pathway to a vertical one, but overall, a very fun game that I enjoyed.

4. Realm 404: This game ticks a lot of boxes for me. I enjoyed the intro story at the beginning, the character development, the different worlds. It’s an amazing feat for such a small game. I am very impressed. I just need to get better at not dying so quickly in battle!

5. Edge not found: A unique concept for a game that plays on the 404 them well. I can see this logic game being very successful. Well done.

Dann Sullivan

1. Raccoon Transport 404
2. CosmoColonies
3. ZigClimb Reborn
4. You’ve Bot Mail
5. Shooooooot!!

Lee Reilly

1. MINIPUNK
2. WIZARD WITH A SHOTGUN
3. Signal Decay
4. BOXBOXBOXBOXBOX
5. Puppy

js13kGames

Js13kGames is a JavaScript coding competition for HTML5…

Andrzej Mazur

Written by

HTML5 Game Developer, Enclave Games indie studio founder, js13kGames competition creator and Gamedev.js Weekly newsletter publisher.

js13kGames

Js13kGames is a JavaScript coding competition for HTML5 Game Developers. The fun part of the compo is the file size limit set to 13 kilobytes. It runs between August 13th and September 13th, online since 2012.

Andrzej Mazur

Written by

HTML5 Game Developer, Enclave Games indie studio founder, js13kGames competition creator and Gamedev.js Weekly newsletter publisher.

js13kGames

Js13kGames is a JavaScript coding competition for HTML5 Game Developers. The fun part of the compo is the file size limit set to 13 kilobytes. It runs between August 13th and September 13th, online since 2012.

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