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

Ludum Dare 26 — April 26-29th, 2013
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by optimality - 48 Hour Compo Entry

Tower Defense Rewind


The player starts with a "complete" tower defense system. They start with the toughest wave of enemies and face successively weaker waves. The only action the player can take is to remove their own towers. They get points each wave for the number of towers they have and the amount of health their base has left. The goal is to get the *lowest* score without losing.

The theme of LD26 is "minimalism." Minimalism involves reducing something to its barest essence. In TDR, the player has an overly-complex tower defense system and is tasked with reducing it to the barest form they need to survive.

The player has a minimal set of actions he or she can take: removing towers.

One of the most basic gameplay mechanics is the risk/reward tradeoff. In TDR, the player can take larger risks by destroying towers earlier in the level and reap a larger reward by having those towers counted in fewer waves. Destroy too many, though, and the player risks losing.

Repetition is an important part of minimalism and is incorporated into the game through the wave structure and successive levels.

I used Unity Free, Reaper, BFXR, and Pickle in the making of this game. Thanks to their creators.

The creation of this game was streamed on twitch.tv/optimality, blogged on realityfoil.com, and a timelapse video is posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQQmox51dzg.

Thanks to all of my playtesters for your excellent feedback.

Downloads and Links




ndssia says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:27pm

Interesting take on TD :)

Fervir says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:27pm

cool interpretation of the theme

techmonkey says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:31pm

Cool game, I enjoyed the concept of a backwards TD and you executed it well.

tiffi says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:31pm

love the idea, if you put an slow tower in, it would be much more complex

Gama11 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:32pm

The game mechanics aren't really properly explained in-game. The crucial part, namely that waves are getting easier and that it's a risk-reward thing - because without knowing that, the player will just remove all the towers, lose and wonder what the point is.

That being said, I found this to be quite an interesting concept.

bummzack says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:32pm

Really cool idea. Presentation/Design could be improved.

kochb says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:12pm

It was hard.... very hard.

Masadow says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:40pm

Very nice concept !

cadin says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:44pm

It took me a few tries to figure this one out.
It's a really interesting concept.
I think if you improved the UI it could help make it easier to understand how the game works.

Merkoth says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:45pm

Very interesting take on tower defense games. Well executed and fits the theme greatly. Excellent work :)

adnzzzzZ says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:47pm

Like others said, it is a nice idea with not so good presentation/explanation. But after you get it it's quite challenging. More towers types would make it even more so.

optimality says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:01pm

Thanks for the feedback guys :). I was trying to keep the UI small to fit better with the theme and relying on the player to experiment to understand the gameplay. That's also why I didn't add more tower types - minimalism.

Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:48pm

A very challenging and different way to think about how to win! Nice job innovating and coming up with such a neat interpretation of the theme.

ataxkt says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:39pm

Ahaha, nice one! Like the twist on the genre! Destroying an empire doesn't feel as fun as building one though.

sfernald says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:40pm

Pretty cool concept. I like it.

r3d5 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:50pm

After I win a level and I have the choice to select the next Wave, no towers appear and I lose the game anyway. Did I skim over a instruction or it this possibly a bug of the level not resetting it's towers?

optimality says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:17am

@r3d5 can you give me a few more details? You beat a level (like "Straight Shot"), selected another level (like "Zigzag"), and no towers appeared? Or are you saying you beat a wave and no new towers appeared before the next wave? If you mean the latter, that's the point of the game. Try destroying fewer towers in the early waves - you'll need them later.

Logun says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 8:21am

Interesting. But very hard to handle ! It fucked a bit my brain :)

Jubjub. says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:10pm

really nice concept here. I like the little bippity music, too.

pansapiens says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 1:57am

Great idea, although it was hard for me to get my head around the scoring. I thought I was doing pretty well, but I was always rated terrible :)

optimality says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 2:04am

@Jubjub You might be the only person on the planet that likes the music :). One of the most frequent pieces of feedback I've received is a request for a mute button.

@pansapiens Yeah, the scoring is a bit unusual - there's a risk reward tradeoff where removing lots of stuff early and taking a lot of damage early makes it easier to get good ratings but harder to survive later waves (even though later waves are smaller).

Thanks for playing!

enzo says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 5:16am

Oh my. Risk vs reward to the extreme! Now, if only there was a 'holy crap, I removed too many towers and I can see my impending doom' button... (just kidding!)

hamster_mk_4 says ...
May 11, 2013 @ 4:19am

Interesting take on tower defense, but I did not feel very invested in my defense grid.

Erunaamo says ...
May 19, 2013 @ 8:10pm

Neat idea, simplifying at just the right rate suits the theme in an interesting way. Gameplay is certainly a fresh take on resource management. The (convincingly old-school) sound effects get annoying pretty fast. (It's ok, so do mine!!)

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