js13kGames 2021 winners, top in criteria, and expert picks

Andrzej Mazur
Oct 5 · 5 min read

Winners of js13kGames 2021 were announced - congratulations to the authors of the best entries, and to all who participated and submitted their games to the tenth edition of the competition this year!

We had a total of 223 entries this year - here are the lists of all the best games in the given categories (shared on Twitter):

- Desktop (Overall)
- Mobile
- Server
- WebXR
- Web Monetization
- Decentralized

The first three categories were judged by the participatns themselves via our voting app, and the last three were judged by our experts dedicated to given categories each.

Partners

This year’s competition wouldn’t be possible without the support from our lovely partners (listed in no particular order): eBay, NEAR, IPFS, Grant for the Web, Facebook Gaming, GitHub, Poki, Coil, Colyseus, Flux, Filecoin, CrazyGames, GameSnacks, Appfire, and SmartDust.

Criteria

The games were being voted on based on criteria: Innovation, Fun, Theme, Gameplay, Graphics, Audio, and Controls. The overall ranking was a sum of all those attributes, and the voting app have all the details, but here are the top5 rankings of all of them:

  1. SPACE JAM
  2. Space Garden
  3. Celestial Lighthouse
  4. SHUTTLEDECK
  5. Warp Station 13K
  1. Welcome to Space
  2. Space Huggers
  3. Galaxy Rider
  4. The Maze of Space Goblins
  5. Black Hole Square
  1. Space Garden
  2. The Adventures of Captain Callisto
  3. 3DC5S
  4. First Contact
  5. Hit the space!
  1. Galaxy Rider
  2. Space Huggers
  3. The Maze of Space Goblins
  4. Welcome to Space
  5. PACKABUNCHAS
  1. Gamut Shift
  2. Warp Station 13K
  3. Q1K3
  4. The Adventures of Captain Callisto
  5. Space block invaders
  1. Beat Rocks
  2. Welcome to Space
  3. Space Garden
  4. PACKABUNCHAS
  5. SPACE JAM
  1. The Maze of Space Goblins
  2. LOSSST - a Snake in Space
  3. Welcome to Space
  4. Q1K3
  5. Black Hole Square

Expert picks

Our awesome experts selected the games (one each) they liked the most from the batch of entries they were randomly assigned to. Below are the details with explanations why given games were picked.

Noël Meudec: The Maze of Space Goblins

I really don’t like Sokoban, but I love this game. I find the increase in difficulty to be properly balanced. The new gameplay mechanics introduced are great and completing the hardest levels feels rewarding. Overall, 15 levels of great design with a cool 80s arcade game vibe, one of the gems of this game jam in my opinion.

Raf Mertens: SPACE JAM

Really love the ideas behind this game. A planet made up of different musical parts/cities. It’s very fun to play. There were some bugs, and one restriction was the amount of instrumentation you could have playing without audio artifacts and lag. There were also some bugs with the wrong items being placed, and sometimes random instrument sounds when there was no instrument placed. Having said that, the game was super fun and so far one of the best I’ve played. Feature-wise, without limitations, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Volume controls, mixer, dynamics alterations, oscillator frequencies, more instrumentation etc. It would be cool to see this game developed further.

Steven Yau [WebXR]: Storage Space 13

Very well polished, clear aesthetics and style and plays very well in VR.

Lee Reilly: Space Huggers

As someone who’s sunk hours into Broforce and loves retro games, Space Huggers checked all the boxes for me. Procedurally generated levels that I can play in my browser?!? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Christer Kaitila: Space Huggers

It is an impressive game engine AND an extgremely fun game! Most things are one or the other.

Johnny Matthews [Decentralized]: Go Away

At first I was a bit confused as to what as going on. But once I got the hang of it, I had loads of fun! The game itself is super slick and looks great! And on top of that, the integrations with NEAR and IPFS are both super nice to see. I was really impressed by this project.

Paul Gadi [Decentralized]: Need Find Tribbles and Billionaire Space Golf

1. Fun clicker game, with intelligent use of NFT economics! Finding a Tribble and then claiming it gives the player more of an attachment to their cute little Tribble.

2. Love the physics, the sounds and the narrative! I can see this becoming a polished game that can be built on. Great start with the NEAR implementation as well.

Dietrich Ayala [Decentralized]: Billionaire Space Golf

Great music and nice animations in the transitions. Absolutely super creative. Would’ve been rad if published to IPFS or things like NFTs minted for scores, or use drand.love for randomness. Login and shared scores w/ NEAR is awesome though. Implementation is really nice, with super interesting visualizations, and excellent details like the cross-world sci-fi references and the millions of kilometers traveled meter 😂 I think these kids are destined for great things (and papa too).

Jupiter Hadley: Rocket Cargo

The game felt cute (using the emoji assets). I also found the game to be just fun and polished, gameplay wise.

Fernando Serrano [WebXR]: Storage Space 13

I love the retro pixelated aesthetic, the controls are very intuitive, and the puzzles are fun to play.

Tim Sulmone [Decentralized]: Need Find Tribbles

Thought it presented a good distribution method for NFTs.

Sebastien Vandenberghe [WebXR]: Storage Space 13

Such a cute little game. The style is so good looking I wondered how you managed to make it all fit in 13K Good Job on creating this game which fits perfectly with the theme !!!

Dann Sullivan: VÅiD, Tir, and Shadow of the Keening Star

1. Enjoyed the upgrade system that’s in there. Would play this more if you expanded it into a full game.
2. This is fascinating and feels like it could be the start of something poignant and deep. It would be great if the music gave a kind of hit toward you approaching other objects in space.
3. Hey, this was absolutely fantastic. Brilliant work. I’d have kept playing this on and on if development continued. Probably my favourite so far.

Ewa Mazur [Web Monetization]: Get Out Of My Personal Space

I didn’t get the Coil bonus feeling at the first time. I was like “Why, oh why the game doesn’t have web monetization?!” The game itself is so FUN to play, I don’t know but it seems so accurate to me. The story is brilliant, but I was thinking about how to improve the Coil exclusive feeling inside the game. Even short “thank you” note would be something. If I wouldn’t read the game description I would not know there is something unique just for me. Love the game (plot, graphics, sounds, gameplay, subtitles, all!), just work on that WM bonus marking and it would be PERFECT.

Ahmed Khalifa: Space Jam and Black Hole Square

1. This game is a music generator tool at the same time, It reminds me of an old tool called “Drum Circle”. The music that you can create from this tool is always great and enjoyable. The game is more of a cookie clicker style which will lead you to explore more and more because it is amazing what you can do with all these tools in the game.
2. This game is very highly polished puzzle game. Although the theme is loosely applied here (you need your squares to fall through the black holes in the floor) but the game introduce a lot of interesting mechanics and puzzles that will make you try to finish it and enjoy it.

js13kGames

Js13kGames is a JavaScript coding competition for HTML5…

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.