I don’t get to vote on LD28 games since I didn’t submit a game of my own, but I can still play them. Here are a few that I found worthwhile so far… these are in no particular order, other than the order I found them.
I love this take on the theme, “You Only Get One”. Gameplay has the feel of an Atari 2600 game, although the graphics are not done in that style — in the early 80’s game designers took a lot of inspiration from everyday life and would take demented inspiration from seemingly mundane activities such as crossing the street or sorting baggage. Asshole Ducks fits right into that type of game concept — you’re feeding ducks, and to make it fun you’ve made a little game out of it, the goal being to feed each duck exactly one piece of bread. But of course once a duck gets a taste for bread, it turns into an asshole and tries to eat all of it. It’s hilarious how well this reflects real-life duck behavior. Despite it being a bit of a one-trick pony, it’s quite fun to play, and pretty difficult. Graphics and sound are crude, but not essential to the success of the game, which is all about gameplay, humor, and that slice of life that is familiar to anyone who’s been to the park.
Javel-ein is great. Full stop. One of the best games I’ve played in a long time, and one of the best LD48 games I’ve ever played. It’s amazing how well done it is, in all aspects, but particularly core gameplay and level design. It’s a fairly standard platformer, but with a twist. You move using the arrow keys or WASD, and you aim and throw a javelin with the mouse. You Only Get One, so once thrown, you have to retrieve it before you can throw again, leaving you defenseless in between shots. The enemies are just challenging enough, and you have to kill all of them before you can activate the gateway to advance to the next level. You have to stay alive, can’t get hit once or touch lava, and there are also optional bonus pickups scattered throughout the levels for added challenge. Graphics are quite good for the style, using an amazing 16-color palette. The only weak point is the sound effects, which are typical bfxr blandness, but fill the intended purpose adequately. Early levels aren’t terribly challenging, but it ramps up pretty quickly, and the “boss” at the end of the enhanced edition is one of the best, most satisfying videogame battles I’ve won in a long, long time, overcome only by mastery over the controls AND a shrewd strategy that I discovered after dozens of attempts.
A Ronin Heart
Just as impressive as Javel-ein, but a bit less innovative in terms of play mechanics; in this action platformer, your “only get one” thing is your life — take one hit and your artificial heart is cut loose, and you have a few seconds to try to grab it before you die. Since this only comes into play briefly, when you get hit, it doesn’t open up a lot of potential for interesting play, but it’s every bit as well polished as Javel-ein. A strong art style evokes Edo period Japan, the pixel samurai animation is rendered masterfully.
I Can Haz One?
Even though this is a very simple game and kindof stupid, I still like it. The cat is cute, the music is cute, and it is fun to see all teh thingz u can hazzing. Joo r a cat, things fall from teh skyez, an joo haz to haz only one thingz. Try to haz teh moast raer thingz to get moar pointz.
You Only Get One Chance To Save Xmas
Simple, but fun. You run around a shopping mall, trying to find the right colored gift for each person on your list before time expires. Shove other shoppers out of your way if you want to. The minor-chord variant on “Jingle Bells” is fitting. This could really be a fun holiday satire title if developed a bit more — I think there should be a Boss Santa or something that you have to fight at the end.
Ninja Kun’s Final Exam
This difficult platformer provides challenge through stealth puzzles. You must evade the samurai and get to the door. The samurai are very difficult to defeat if they are alert to your presence, so your best bet is to sneak around them with your stealth, or to hit them with a shuriken while they are still unaware. You can use a rope to climb to the ceiling and hang, which makes for an interesting alternative to jumping, which you also can do. The graphics are well done, cute pixel art, similar in style to the original GameBoy. The major downside is the controls: using the left/right arrow keys to run, up/down arrows to use the rope, space to jump, and the number 1 key to shoot a star makes for a very awkward control layout. Also, if you make any mistakes, you start all over from the very beginning — I really wish the doors served as save points.
1111 pt 1
This literal take on the “You only get one” theme is brilliant. Flying around in space, shooting numbers >1, breaking them down to 1’s, collecting the 1’s to gain points to power up and face ever larger numbers.
The game is very easy, there’s no real challenge here, just button mash your way to victory. But it’s fun to see how your ship changes as you level up, and the interesting forms the higher numbers take.
That One Coin
This is a simple platformer, but it comes with a twist. You can win simply by collecting ONE coin. So the challenge becomes how far can you go WITHOUT collecing a coin? It’s like a very difficult platformer where one mistake kills you, but instead of ending the game through death, it ends it through “rewarding” you. It’s an innovative gameplay idea that turns the game on its head. Core gameplay is not terribly sophisticated — I’ve played many run and jump games that were done better — but the music and the sarcastic instruction text make it a fun play.
Tiny pixel art stealth platformer where you get one bullet per level to get past multiple lethal sentries. There are also obstacles that will kill you, most of which you’ll discover inadvertently. This game is seriously hard, and will take a determined player a long time to beat all 11 levels. The developer wasn’t able to complete the game by deadline, but I hope they finish the remaining four levels originally intended.
Natural Sheep Care
If you like grinding, then Natural Sheep Care is the game for you. I don’t like grinding, but I have to admit that I found this to be a captivating and well-realized game. It was far too difficult for my patience, but I really felt drawn to the game world, and wanted to find out what would happen if I could win enough to make it through the portal. The difficulty stems from the carefully balanced economy that demands frugality and perfection, as well as intelligent power-up tree management, and the controls, which includes a novel aiming system that demands pinpoint timing and execution.
YouTube reviewer RockLeeSmile is much better than I was at the game, and managed to play through in his video:
The game consists only of one level, and the reward payoff is anticlimactic, but the game shows a lot of promise if the story elements were expanded and allowed a sense of journey to develop.
One of the most original games I’ve ever played, you’re a camera operator shooting a movie. You have to get the shot perfect in a single take — you only get one. Shoot three different movie scenes. Your score is based on how well you capture a sequence of moments that happen during the scene. If you hit your marks and follow the Director’s instructions, your movie will receive a good rating.
A nonviolent puzzle platformer, Blomster is a well-polished hike through a dark cave to hunt for flowers. The challenge is to figure out how to get to the exit gateway in each cave. You find a glowing ball that lights up when you are carrying it, and which has the power to make some platforms become solid or immaterial. You need to be clever in order to get the platforms to become solid when you need them to be, so you can walk on them and move through the level. The physics, lighting, controls, and camera are fantastic. It’s a fairly short play, and more relaxing than challenging, but quite enjoyable.