April 26th-29th 2013 :: Theme: Minimalism

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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The Vale

by Tyro - 48 Hour Compo Entry

The Vale is a short, puzzle/action hybrid platformer. In it, the player explores a mysterious monochrome world while defeating enemies with modular rectangular projectiles. These weapons are formed from the player's own body and can protect them from harm or affect certain environments.

Arrow keys - move, enter doors (up)
Z key - jump
X key - charge a projectile / raise a shield
release X: - launch a projectile
F4 - fullscreen mode

Downloads and Links




Branch says ...
Apr 28, 2013 @ 10:50pm

doesnt work on my os. could you port it to ms-dos 6.40? :(

lpcustom says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:34am

I love the art in this one!

Kortuga98 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:35am

Cool graphics, nicely done, bu the window's a bit small for my liking. Perhaps you might find it beneficial to work with view ports?

Sanguine says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:58am

Cool concept, but it's a bit too difficult for me.

Tahooey says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:58am

Love the game, ESPECIALLY the graphics

Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:01am

Controls are slightly awkward but I love the art (:

ella guro says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:05am

the overall visual presentation in this is reallly cool! i don't mind the small window either, or the fast pace of the game. the jumping and movement felt pretty stiff though, which led to some frustrating deaths.

Tyro says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 10:07am

Branch: Can you tell me what happens when you try to run the .exe? Does it just insta-close, or is a message of some sort displayed? If I knew what the problem was maybe I could try to fix it. :(

Ipcustom: Thank you very much! :)

Kortuga: Thanks, thanks. I forgot to mention this in the original post, but you fullscreen can be activated w/ f4. I can hopefully give the option to increase the port size as well in a future update.

Sanguine: Thanks, and sorry it was overly difficult. Any parts you're having trouble with, specifically? If it's enemy-related, growing your shield/projectile to its full size and holding it down will help in most cases.

KristianGibson: Thank you! Custom controls were coded in the game but not implemented due to sleep deprivation. Expect to see them in a future release. :)

Andrei Barsan says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:10am

It has a pretty nice mood, though I found the second level to be way too hard, until I figured out you have a shield. Some in-game pop-ups explaining the charge mechanic would be helpful - that's the only thing that's not straightforward. I liked the style - it perfectly fits the theme!

MTO says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:16am

I really like the mechanics on this one, especially the fog and block puzzles. A bit of a challenge too

timtipgames says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:25pm

I love the graphics, running it fullscreen was much better for my eyes :) you should add that info to your description :)
The game is a bit too challenging in the later parts for my taste. The charging mechanics and what you did with it regarding the level design is cool though.

psychomonster says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:52pm

Very cool game. Nice Gameboy like artwork. The difficulty is a little bit to high... Reminds me of SuperMario. Great work

hgouveia says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:17pm

love the art and the game ! reminds me my old gameboy pocket

aare says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:22pm

Very fun little platformer. The shield mechanic wasn't wery obvoius though. Especially when the barriers appeared I was looking for some way to turn them off.

sP0CkEr2 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:14am

once i figured out the controls it was fun -- nice retro but missing some beeps


Tyro says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:14am

Thanks for the new responses, all! I have finals until Thursday but can hopefully address some of the issued you had after they're done (lack of sound/music, inability to customize controls, better explaining the shield mechanic in-game, etc.)

Will be sure to check out your games too when I have a chance. :)

miharbi says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:46pm

Fun Game. Loved the graphics and feel of the world

dook says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:21pm

This is really well made. I didn't get the mechanics with shooting at first, but I like the way it works. Only complaint is sometimes there was too much to replay when you die. (Or perhaps all these short games today have just left me impatient)

Apr 30, 2013 @ 9:31pm

This was amazing! And quite the concept to use the same button to create a shield and then use that shield as a projectile! AND to see in fog! Absolutely loved it, way to go!

pvwradtke says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 2:16am

Love the art style and the atmosphere created by the retro looking music and gameboy-esque graphics. A bit hard, but just like old times :).

Alphonsus says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:24am

Sound effects would be lovely. Other than that, nice old school graphics. Love the mechanic and the controls! :D

May 1, 2013 @ 4:28am

I love art and sound style. Great Game!

nseward says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 6:31am

Great package. You have everything. My only complaint is that I am not very good at this game. The controls and/or speed of movement could be tweaked to make it easier for me. It is just past my frustration level. I don't know how you did this in 48.

TenTonToon says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 6:32am

A really fun game, with old-school visuals, sound and gameplay. I like the way the shield can work against you in certain areas, by obscuring your character.

The thing is: I don't see it fitting the theme very well - to me, simple visuals or mechanics doesn't equal minimalism.

Other than that, a very cool game on its own.

Congratulations! :)

fullmontis says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:40am

You did a wonderful job on the visuals of this one, seriously! Still, the game is pretty difficult. Couldn't get past the first level :(

Jarrett says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 8:04am

Fun game, rather hard though.

Smaxx says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 8:48am

I like it. Only annoying Thing are the jumping "physics". It's hard to explain, but that one stage where you have to jump around a platform right above you is very tricky to pull off. There should probably be some short extra time where you're still able to jump despite running off a platform.

May 1, 2013 @ 10:21am

great job

Thijsku says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 10:57am

Nice game! I love the graphics. I do find it hard to shoot a projectile right, but that's just part of the challenge! Very good job Tyro! ;)

imagnity says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 3:41pm

Jesus! It's too cute not to play. Nice!

Husky says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 4:48pm

It really has a cool concept :p.
I like the idea, it has a good ambient to tell story.
But I stuck in a level, failed several times...
Maybe it's a little hard?

Zim the Fox says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 5:45pm

I'm posting here so you can see it:

I've had your problem before, I think. Do you have an ATI card? The thing is, the swords are textures I'm blitting while everything else is sprites. There is a bug with some ATI cards and drivers that it refuses to draw sprites. The bug should go away when you update your drivers. However, I've used a hack to fix the problem before and I'll upload it some time later.

Still, I'd like to know your system specs. CPU, GPU, Operating system. Thank you for reporting your problem! ^^

I'll play your game later when I have a chance.

Uhfgood says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 6:54pm

Pretty interesting, although, need to work on the jumping mechanics. Specifically trying to get to another platform. Maybe let there be a leading off of and on to the platforms so you don't immediately fall. I found myself tending to keep the x down the whole time, so maybe modification of that too. Pretty well done for a 2 day game, maybe you should consider polishing it and releasing it publicly (either for pay or for free).

May 1, 2013 @ 10:48pm

Its both brilliant and bloody impossible. Perfect example of a game with great coordination.

Zim the Fox says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 3:19am

The graphics were pretty nice and along the music they set a very dark, somber mood. As someone else mentioned, it has a very Gameboy feel to it.

The game was extremely polished and well done, but too hard. I got up to the caves where you have to teleport in the air or fall on spikes. And that platform where you had to side jump... D:

Maybe I just gave up too easily, a challenge is always good :3

Zim the Fox says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 3:20am

Oh, sorry for the double post, but thank you for commenting on my game! :D

Sebastian says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 5:32am

Pretty cool game. I like how it ends up that you are using your weapon also as your defence - and then later it ends up hindering you as well.

Symmeteer says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 10:33am

This was really enjoyable! (Especially considering that I had a really hard time getting past the first level that had keys, but kept wanting to redo it).

Great graphics and game flow. Like some other people said, it doesn't seem to fit the theme very much, but that doesn't bother me.

One thing you may want to change - when in fullscreen mode, I pressed ESC thinking that game might shrink back to non-fullscreen. It closed instead!

Neonlare says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 10:49am

Broody style, I dig. Wish the resolution was customizeable and there was a little more in the way of mechanics, but definitely a cool lil game :).

Covenant says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:42pm

Awesome game, very nice graphics and some very interesting gameplay mechanics... A bit on the hard side, a bit punishing for those of us that don't play platformers that much... :)

EdoMiyamoto says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 4:45pm

Very cool

GranaDa says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 7:22pm

Cute graphics. Loved the projetile/shield idea!

TomboFry says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 8:25pm

I really like the melancholic music, very eerie

Rafael Sales says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 8:34pm

Great work. Universe really deep. I love it. Congratz!

ENDESGA says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 11:36pm

nice one :)

JohnnySix says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 12:19am

Had a quick play through - love the art - if you tweak the windows one, it'd be could to have a double-sized window for those of us on a larger resolution. The art style was well executed and the music fitting, maybe some sound fx would have been nice too - for enemy deaths and injured noises.

JohnnySix says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 12:19am

Commented again as I'm not sure if ratings are applied if you don't comment or not - and I forgot the first time. :)

Tyro says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 12:45am

Thanks to all for the recent comments! I'm still a bit busy getting ready to graduate college and trying to rate as many LD entries as I can in the meanwhile. Once the weekend arrives, hopefully I'll have time to address individual comments in depth. :)

Just a few things to mention: there are actually two endings (I'm not sure if anyone has actually beaten it yet; I didn't anticipate the difficulty being so high for everyone) and for now, there is but a single sound effect in the game. See if you can progress long enough to hear it!

The reason I even mention that is because it relates to a comment by TenTonToon concerning how The Vale reflects minimalism. Looking back, I do wish I'd worked a bit harder to make the game incorporate it. I tried to express the theme primarily in a visual way - through the use of blocky level geometry, solid shapes for sprites with limited shading, and four shades of gray for the palette. I also attempted to utilize just as many resources as needed to convey the game's message. Hence, a single music track and sound effect, the latter highly related to one of the endings.

The thing is, with 48 hours to create a game you probably aren't going to be able to make more than few music tracks or sound effects anyway... so that's why I'm not sure if my reasoning was entirely sound in retrospect. I don't want to equate "minimalism" with "excusing yourself from creating resources than you should for a satisfying experience." :)

Anyway, hope to be more responsive to your comments soon. I really appreciate all your input!

Travis Irby says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 12:59am

Very nice retro feel :) makes me want break out the old gameboy!

PAMVllo says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 2:07am

Oh God!! That ending was really creepy for me =( But Good Game!

May 3, 2013 @ 5:52am

Simple game that goes well with the theme. Kinda love the art too. Reminds me of the old GameBoy games. :)

AlanZucconi says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 10:32am

Very nice pixel art! *_*

bryonglass says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 1:16pm

I loved the game and music, my only problem was that the screen was so small and I couldn't make it bigger and I hated the control setup, using the arrow keys to move and x and z to shoot and jump drove me crazy, next time use the up key to jump and the space bar to shoot please :)

May 3, 2013 @ 5:46pm

Didn't pass virus checker... odd.

tankete says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 8:29pm

Great look! While I liked the game, the controls didn't work so well for me. I think I'd prefer "up" to jump and "space" to shoot. Regardless, this looks like it took a great amount of effort. Well done!

zeelyndz says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 9:26pm

This is really cool, I love the art. The controls felt a little weird at first but I got used them, the window size is just a little too small for my tastes though. Overall still a pretty cool game!

Xaychru04 says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 11:14pm

Enjoyed this black and white game, very minimalistic :)
I liked the gameplay of using the growing square to pass through the lasers/kill ennemies etc...

Adipson says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 8:32am

very cool !

Eternal_Rest says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 12:27pm

Not bad, Runs a bit fast on my system for some reason. Hard as hell to control.

messiano says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 5:03pm

Looks very polished, I love the art and I like the idea of a little screen. Overall, the atmosphere is great, however it played way too fast on my old PC, so I couldn't get very far, not sure if others had this problem as well or if the game is supposed to run like that.

KEFIR says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 9:40pm

A little difficult, but really cool graphics. Got a feeling of silent movie :)

omaromeir says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 6:34am

Nice graphics, but small window. Really really difficult though, you could've toned it down a bit. Cool game otherwise.

May 5, 2013 @ 1:28pm

good little game man.. quite like the music/gfx :)

MinionStudios says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 3:30pm

I like the fact that you can hold down the power like a shield. So good and so tiny!

May 5, 2013 @ 7:19pm

I like to play with your game... a game boy like...
Perhaps can you add some levels:)

Fnkee says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 9:04pm

Wow, this game was amazing. And to make this in 48 hours is stunning. Great progression, and great storyline yet someone have to explain the ending to me. This deserves 5 stars from my side! Lovely music btw!

Cybearg says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 10:09pm

I'd say this is my favorite game of the LD. Allow me to explain why:

1. It has an attack/defense mechanic I've never seen before, brilliantly merging the two into a single button in a way that feels very intuitive. But it doesn't stop there--it goes on to brilliantly use those mechanics in intriguing puzzles as well as to fight varied and challenging enemies.

2. The game is fast-paced, with a rapid restart turnover (it doesn't take long to restart the level) and a very fair checkpoint system (when you die, you start the room over, not the whole game). On top of that, the character moves quickly, so it doesn't feel sluggish, fighting enemies is challenging and satisfying, and puzzles are clever and take a bit of work, but not so much to become frustrating.

3. Many of the LD games interpret "minimalist" to mean that it's just got to have as simplistic of graphics as possible and the mechanics can be whatever on top of that.

Personally, I feel that the minimalism should be in the mechanics, with a simple core concept that gets expanded upon. As the Extra Creditz guy would say, "great depth, minimal complexity."

This game has that in spades. There are basic movement keys and an attack/defend mechanic that merges puzzle-platforming, attacking, and defending all into a single button. That's brilliant minimalism!

4. Personally, I love the black 'n grey pixel art graphics. Enemies, platforms, etc. are all instantly recognizable and don't get lost in any clutter, yet the game doesn't look empty or boring. It looks good, with a fine amount of detail in the world. And, at the same time, the drab graphics reinforce the spooky, kind of depressing mood that the game has.

5. The music is haunting and very effective in supporting the creepy atmosphere that the graphics and bits of text suggest. There are no sound effects, but that adds to the cold feel of the game (and I don't mean that in a bad way). Since the graphics are so sharp and easy to read, there is no need for sound effects to further reinforce things like "you hit an enemy" or "you have died," so they aren't needed here.

6. As I've said, everything comes together to create a mood that supports the narrative being told. Things feel dangerous, lonely, and kind of scary, and everything reinforces that.

What more could I ask for out of a 48-hour game? 5/5, perfect score! Superbly done!

FrederickK says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 2:45am

Dude! For some reason your game really scared me! o_o
I liked it a lot, I liked the level design, the dark music and mechanics.
I only had two problems:
1 - The difficult raises too quickly.
2 - The controls are a little stiff. They are ok at the start, but when start coming platforming things at you, it becomes an obstacle.
Aside from that, awesome job! :)

Maple says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 4:40am

I really don't like rating entries that I wasn't able to beat / see the whole game to, but I'm going to have to here because that room where your shots make the ground non-walkable is pretty hard to traverse. Up to that point everything has been pretty nice though. Some SFX would have been nice but I can't really complain about that. Good job.

May 6, 2013 @ 7:32am

Very cute, full marks for art.

wademcgillis says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 6:26pm

This game is hard.

KunoNoOni says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 9:50pm

I really enjoyed the mechanics. Great art and use of theme. Music really set the mood.

lando walters says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 2:58am

Really good entry. Loved the monochrome graphics, but the colisions felt a bit too pixel perfect. Overally, it was fairly easy to get used too though.enjoyed this entry. good job.,

dector says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 5:38pm

Nice game. But I die often :))

fermcg says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 1:15am

Really good game. Controls could improve, but the levels are awesome!

Benjamin says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 3:32pm

Nice game I wish I had more skill to finish it. I gave up on level with teleport. Music is repetitive but the loop is very nice and a lot to the atmosphere.

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