Game Jam Roundup - Mini-LD 44 aka #7dRTS

Intro

Yep, I'm back with yet another look at a bunch of games from a recent game jam. This time looking at games from Mini-Ludum Dare #44.

If you aren't familiar with Ludum Dare, it's one of the longest running and most respected game jams out there with the likes of indie game pioneers like Notch gracing it with his presence (even before he was Notch). The Mini-LD isn't quite the same as a full on Ludum Dare game jam: a host is selected which picks a theme they want and the rule set and ratings are relaxed. The participation is generally much lower in these events that fill the gaps between proper Ludum Dare events that occur once every four months, but you still often see some interesting things coming out of the event.

Mini-LD 44 offered up a pretty straight forward theme - Seven Day RTS (7dRTS). As the name implies, the goal was to make an Real-Time Strategy game over the course of a week. Of course, this theme comes with the typical encouragement to experiment and push the boundaries and with this being a Mini-LD there's even less pressure to stick to what's expected.

As with the previous game jam roundups that I've done, the standard disclaimers apply. I haven't played everything, and inclusion or exclusion from this list doesn't necessarily imply anything about quality. These are just a sampling of games that I've played that I found to be worth telling people about. I encourage you peruse the entire list of 99 entries if you get a chance.

The Highlights

The Great Story of DOTS

This is my favorite game of the bunch. It simplifies RTS base building and unit movements down to just drawing lines and geometric shapes. It's entire presentation is polished and nice looking, too. Everything about this package just comes together perfectly, and I'm really hoping that the developers take the time to expand this into a full fledged game, ideally on iPad since I think this control scheme would work extremely well on a touch screen device.

Lode Storm

Lode Storm is possibly the most atmospheric game that I've played. The audio does an excellent job of establishing a tense mood, and the Command & Conquer style radio chatter just sounds flat out cool. The gameplay is stripped down to just controlling a few individual units in a battle for control points, and it has a very slow and deliberate movement speed to it that feels pretty unique in comparison to today's more twitchy RTS games.

Icarus

Icarus is another entry that does a pretty good job of using audio to set the tone. This game puts you in charge of rescuing people in a galaxy with an ever expanding sun that is swallowing up entire planets, but the overall tone of the game is simply one of impending doom which lets you know that not everyone is coming out of this alive.

FrogForce

Dungeon crawlers and Real-Time Strategy aren't two genres often seen together, but FrogForce does an admirable job of combining them into one lighthearted package. It puts you in direct control of a hero unit along with a set of three compatriots controlled through fairly conventional RTS controls. It even features a pretty healthy upgrade system which goes a long way toward making this feel like a deep full-fledged game.

Chess

If you've ever found chess to be slow and boring, this might be the game for your. Essentially, this is just chess, but with the twist that there is no turn taking, it's all in real time. Chess pieces still follow their standard movement rules, but now rather than having to wait your turn, you're only limited by a small cooldown placed on pieces after they've been moved. The bottom line on this one is just that it's good hectic fun. Try it out.

Love Squad

When a developer with a hacker alias like DogShitEmpire puts out a game, you pretty much know it's going to be something crazy. Love Squad doesn't disappoint. This game puts you in control of the "Lovenecks", the 7th Battalion of the eponymous Love Squad. Your goal is to spread love and fight the Hateitis pandemic. Honestly, what else can I say other than that. It's a bit incomplete and buggy, but just go try it out anyway.

Oh, and I also made a game. I guess you can check it out if you want to.

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