Global Game Jam Picks – Session 2

Global Game Jam came to an end last Sunday, bringing with it thousands of free games for you to enjoy. All made within 48 hours, these games range all across the indie-spectrum; from the ambitious 3D games to the charming 2D, as Jammers constructed new narratives, new game mechanics, and new ways to have fun. You may not have time to play all 4000+ games however, so we’ve put together another collection of ten titles for you to check out. Because jam games are inherently short (anywhere from one to ten minutes) you can get through them all in a single session. Be sure to check out our first Game Jam Picks here.

Museum of Parallel Art – from Montreal, Canada

museum ofAlong with this year’s Game Jam theme, “we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” many Jammers chose to incorporate one or many of the “diversifiers.” As such, Museum of Parallel Art revolves around local multiplayer gameplay that can be giddily funny. First, player 1 is presented with a randomized set of cards representing what ever they feel they represent; one person may think a sleeping cat represents cuteness, for instance, while another may think it represents boredom. Without the second player seeing, player 1 then chooses cards to place in front of 7 different paintings, each of varying art-styles and time-periods. Once player 1 is finished, player 2 enters and places the cards not how they themselves interpret them, but how they think their friend would. Everyone then has a laugh as the interpretations and reactions are revealed, and everyone learns a little about one another. There’s even an updated version now available to play and download.

Riff Raft – from Austin, USA

riff-raft-01Try saying this one ten times fast. Riff Raft is another local multiplayer game that will have you and a buddy doing what you’ve always wanted to– dress up as wilderness scouts and defend your precious wooden raft from other jealous campers and their flaming arrows, all while enjoying a nice cold one (or twelve). Toss empty bottles as weapons, and infinitely relieve your bladder to taunt those pesky coonskin-helmeted no-good sons-of-… But other scouts aren’t the only thing getting in the way of a good time; dangerous rocks threaten the raft’s integrity, forcing players to cooperatively maneuver and defend themselves in fast-paced madness. The game gets tough, but watching the two scouts face-plant into inch deep water when their raft crashes is great too.

SPLIT! – from Melbourne, Australia 

splitSplit is a game that, in its simplicity, feels surprisingly polished. Split asks two players to simultaneously navigate to a level’s exit while cooperatively solving puzzles. Its mechanics remain simple, but it uses them in as clever of ways as games made without the 48 hour time restraint. The screen is split in two; one side is orange with a blue player, the other blue with an orange player. On both sides, the other player remains as a ghostly image that assists in being both orienting and disorienting at times. Players are required to flip switches and press buttons to open doors in simple puzzle game-style. There’s some interesting twists along the way though, and it makes for a fun little diversion for two players, or a challenging one for a solo player– especially for a free game.

The Triad Trial – from Sao Paulo, Brazil

triad trialRather than at São Paulo’s designated GGJ site, The Triad Trial was developed by eight people crowded into an apartment. The Triad Trial is a vertical platformer that makes use of an inherent gamer skill– peripheral vision. The screen is divided into three duplicate, colored sections, each of which are home to a different type of bird. The trio moves simultaneously with the same controls, but there’s a twist. Items are only visible in the peacock’s area, platforms in the chicken’s, and enemies in the falcon’s section. Players must maintain concentration on all three areas in order to safely navigate the level. If players need a moment to orient themselves, they can fuse all windows together and turn the birds into an immobile totem in order to see everything in one section. The current version has a few bugs (and has to be launched in a browser), but developer Alpaca Team says they plan on releasing an updated version in the future. You can also read their development blog for The Triad Trial here.

Robo-gination – from Athens, Greece

roboginationThe great thing about Global Game Jam is that it is exactly that– global. From all the way out in Greece comes this clever little title about robots and imagination. This puzzle platformer gives players the option to build simple shapes or complex contraptions by connecting glowing balls of energy collected throughout the levels. The graphics are cartoony, but slick, with some excellent lighting work. Sans a few mechanical oversights, the game runs impressively smooth, too. I occasionally found myself stuck (be careful with barrels, and don’t use the orbs before you need them), but relaunching the game and trying again to see what different things were possible was enough to keep me entertained. There’s a great video of the game’s potential over on Youtube to check out after you’re done playing around with it yourself.

I Am A Brave Knight – from San Jose, Costa Rica

braveknightJammers were busy down in Central America, too. Brothers Alberto, Felipe, and Andres Cartin of Tree Interactive cited the GGJ Keynote speakers as inspiration for their game saying, “they really pushed us to create something that brings an emotion and meaning to the art.” I Am A Brave Knight is an allegorical story following the life of a man from childhood to the end. The Cartin’s call it “a short story based on our perspective of life.” Emotional and compelling, I Am A Brave Knight has players type on their keyboard to reveal each sentence of the story. As the player types thematic words, the generational story unfolds along with beautiful art and score. It’s short and sweet, and a great representation of games with deeper thoughts.

Through the Eye of a Candy – from Jakarta, Indonesia

eye of a candyAs Global Game Jam expands over the years, more and more sites open for aspiring game creators everywhere. This year, writer Mohammed Fahmi and his team partook in the first Indonesian GGJ, bringing forth a heartfelt story from the perspective of a lollipop. Through the Eye of a Candy follows a young student at school who always keeps their head down. Cycling through days of being bullied, the player unlocks new options of dialogue and action after each cycle, in progression towards standing up for themselves. Ambiguous in its charcoal grey art style, Through the Eye of a Candy can be universally related to, regardless of gender. While made in only 48 hours and lacking polish, Through the Eye of a Candy tells an honest and engaging story.

What If – from Berlin, Germany

what ifNot everyone had such an easy time with this year’s theme. What If is a satirical game in which one or two players take control of quotation marks and follow the humorous journey of developers trying to make a game jam game. “It’s not us, it’s the theme,” the game quips, in one of many funny moments that act as inside jokes to those familiar with the game jam experience. Like Tree Interactive, the What If developers cited the keynote as inspiration by thanking speaker Richard Lemarchand for “encouraging failure as a legit option to experiment.” If nothing else, What If is another time-killer for fans of abstract art, and was probably a ton of fun to create.

Angle – from Bitola, Republic of Macedonia

angleAngle is an atmospheric, 3D puzzle game in which players can walk on walls and be annoyed by telephones. Players will have to navigate maze-like rooms by shifting the angles of the walls; walk to where a wall meets the floor, press space, and the world rotates until the wall is now the floor and vice versa. Solving the puzzle of a room will complete one side of a mysterious floating cube in a game that’s perhaps too ambiguous for its own good. There’s a ringing telephone that made me wonder where my hands are, but the core mechanics were entertaining enough to keep me from worrying about any details, unlike that movie Cube. Angle‘s ending is lackluster, but the puzzles are worth the free entry fare.

Heterochroma – from Brevnov, Czech Republic

heterochromaMade in 48 hours by the developers of Time Shifter, Heterochroma is seriously awesome. Inheriting the art-style of Antichamber, this 3D puzzle platformer does insane things with the Unity engine. The core mechanic allows players to switch at will between alternate level layouts coordinated by color. Some may have walls obstructing progress, while others may have enormous gaps. In order to navigate to the finish, players will have to manipulate and maneuver the world in clever ways. Littered with hidden walls and other technical marvels pioneered by the best of the best, Heterochroma feels absurdly polished. It’s hard to capture the essence of this game in a screenshot so, if you haven’t already started downloading it like you should, check out this video to see what we mean.

  • VOX

    Is there going to be a third session?