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

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

Jump-and-avoid game with a topological and a musical twist. Four parts Canabalt, one part bell ringing and some undetermined amount of square dancing, Canon is a simple but challenging action/rhythm hybrid where you have to control four jumpers on the same level in canon.

Relaxed Mode is slower and with shorter levels, but the jumps are still pretty tight. If you are stuck but want to see some later levels, check out the gameplay video I posted.

Use WASD/arrow keys to jump, space to start/exit a level. Dvorak controls (,AOE) are supported because I'm crazy!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you had trouble with levels 6 and 7 before, a new version has been uploaded that fixes them. They were more difficult than intended because of a bug/typo. Note that although the fix was uploaded after the compo deadline it was actually made three hours before the compo ended---I forgot to upload it once it was done, oops! Those levels were still possible with the bug there (the gameplay video was made with the version that had the bug) but they were just much harder.

For more information, including the obligatory "it's my first LD48 entry yay!" see my blog post here:

Downloads and Links




Saturnyn says ...
Apr 28, 2013 @ 10:12pm

Hi, I love the concept, it's beautiful (but it is really really hard !)
Anyway, good idea and good work !

sparkleswirl says ...
Apr 28, 2013 @ 10:22pm

@Saturnyn Thank you! Yeah it's pretty hard, even I have trouble beating it! =)

arkeus says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 3:59am

I really like the concept but I think that having to do it 3 times is a bit much. It's a neat idea and I like the difficult of coordinating the four sides, though. :)

mrexcessive says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:03am

Nice one... relaxing and stressful at the same time. very "gentle"

Jesse111 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:03am

It gets extremely hard, as soon as the second block appears! I'm not complaining! Good job!

uberneen says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:09am

Brilliant concept and a solid implementation. It is hard, but it forces you to really break out of dull and mindless gameplay. It's a welcome change.

Mark Hildreth says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:46am

Really neat and fun, Font was a nice choice too. I had to give up on level 5. I think I would have preferred if the tone sounded when I jumped rather than land, though.

sparkleswirl says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:54am

@Mark: That's totally weird, because it's actually supposed to go off when you jump! I think it's another case of Flash sound lag, unfortunately. =(

daniel says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:29am

Clever game! Gets very tricky, I like :D

Deadlyapps says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:31am

Really Hard... awesome game

Soundboy says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:32am

Really smart and original concept, great choice of audio too. One of the best in the compo I've seen!

yajiv says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:33am

Love the idea, and it's surprisingly challenging! Nice job :)

bobo72a says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:35am

Difficult! But I like it.

raincole says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 5:42am

As hard as the first levels of superhexagon....

frr171 says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 6:16am

Fascinating concept - I like it, but it's a bit too much for my reflexes, lol.

gizmo says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:05am


San says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:18am

Amagad, this is... waw, incredible, best atmosphere i've found yet in this LD!

gabehollombe says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:24am

Lovely sounds. Soothing, simple gameplay that is easy to learn and then rewards patience and practice. Very nicely done.

Spierek says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 8:17am

Very unique, but horribly frustrating. It's hard to get into the proper rhythm.

omaromeir says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:03am

I absolutely love it, smart and minimal and challenging. It also has a relaxing quality :).

patrickward says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:13am

Fun game, but a little stressful. Too fast for me...I couldn't keep up in relaxed mode! I really like the game play though. The sounds are beautiful and the muted grey graphics are very appropriate. Very nice job.

CharlesBoury says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 12:08pm

Ok, I give up ^^ But I will come back on this. I will win it !

Chman says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 1:04pm

Brilliant idea. It gets hard pretty quickly but it's fun !

jami says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 1:23pm

Cool game! Really hard, I will come later to finish this challenge!

Apr 29, 2013 @ 4:31pm

Tricky and very challenging! Nice work, really original.

Cosine says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 7:28pm

I like the minimalist sound effect style. It's also a very cool game, like how more cubes accumulate. Overall great.

orangepascal says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 9:37pm

wow, that's difficult! :D very nice gameplay, wish it was slightly slower ;)

GertJohnny says ...
Apr 29, 2013 @ 11:43pm

Neat concept - super hard to keep it going though. I wish I could rewind time slightly instead of starting from scratch.

aare says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:36am

Clever idea. My only complains is that the font might be a little better choosen. Somehow the current one doesn't seem to fit.

sparkleswirl says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:50am

@aare Yeah, I hear ya! I just got one of those "omg 5000 fonts" packages and I was dazzled, so I just picked some random ones and chose the best. Turns out having so many fonts isn't a good idea! Think I'll stick to the Fixel font next time.

MrHalfman says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:24am

Really nice game but a little bit too hard. Nice sounds :)!

daydalus says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:43am

Very original, but pretty tough. The collision was't very forgiving so died a ton. I did like the sound effects, how the notes would play a simple melody as you played the level. almost like Guiter-hero style rythm games. Nice work!

Apr 30, 2013 @ 2:45am

Hypnotic and charming! A clever twist on rhythm games.

Crazi456 says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 4:49am

Very amusing game, kinda hard

Apr 30, 2013 @ 4:57am

Super beautiful.

cwilloughby says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:24am

I like it, kind of has some rhythm elements to it like mine. The level select screen was a little confusing - wasn't sure how to start. Audio and graphics are good.

qdowngames says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 5:56am

When I first played it I thought it was too dang hard; and then I realized I was on challenge mode - very fun!

sparkleswirl says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:31am

@qdowngames Challenge mode is actually "normal" since the game was balanced around it, but yes I found it too hard which is why I made "relaxed" mode. =)

@cwilloughby Yeah, I think the menu was the weakest part of the game. It was hard keeping it minimalist but also keyboard only. Definitely something I needed to spend more time on if I had more.

ncgames says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:40am

love it! glad I stuck with it

Apr 30, 2013 @ 3:38pm

Hard game! Fits the theme perfectly, nice concept and well implemented! Great entry!

Dir3kt says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 6:40pm

That a good idea and nicely implemented. Especially like how each dot correspond to a note.

But.. 1 block is ok. 2 block is well.. really hard!

jadams says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:48pm

Once I got the hang of it I really enjoyed it. For me it was a strange mix of calming and intense.

lucasncv says ...
Apr 30, 2013 @ 10:54pm

Charming. And challenging! Very challenging.

May 1, 2013 @ 3:44am

Holy crap, that's really cool but really really hard lol. Honestly, it took me a minute to figure out where the heck the game was. Regardless, awesome idea. I just beat hop skip whatever, which was definitely the hardest so far. At one point, I tried being clever and used the same approach as in polarity, but that wasn't working that well for me! lol. anyway, awesome job! =D

fishbrain says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:27am

Original concept, well implemented. Tricky gameplay. Great work!

May 1, 2013 @ 8:08am

Very clever idea and well executed.

syawqy says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 1:43pm

simple, kinda elegant and a bit addictive

netmute says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:17pm

At level 2 my hand-eye coordination basically stopped working ;) I very much liked the idea and the sound fit well.

GreyShock says ...
May 1, 2013 @ 7:19pm

Great minimalism approach! It's a very interesting game mechanic that challenged my brain :P

enzo says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 3:12am

I kept trying to be frustrated, but because of the bells, I physically couldn't! Best sound design 2013
(I only switched to relaxed on the 2nd to the last stage, pretty proud of myself)

EdoMiyamoto says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 10:17am

Original gameplay !

metalcan says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 10:47am

Lots of fun, and really hard. Awesome use of sounds. It's all very fitting to the theme. Really cool idea, well done on making a very complete game.

RobKat says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 12:49pm

Man this game is hard. Great concept

Thijsku says ...
May 2, 2013 @ 7:57pm

Great game! I really suck at it though, so I didn't got far. :P Good job ;)

Beldarak says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 1:45am

Definitely not my type of game, too nerve breaking. But the sounds are great and it really fits the theme. I would like to be more patient/skilled to heard how the game sounds at heigher level.

sparkleswirl says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 3:27am

@Beldarak Take a look at the gameplay video! That's why I made it. =)

Zim the Fox says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 5:00am


I'm reminded of my violin classes. "You are getting ahead of yourself" the professor would tell me every single time xD

Boy, I need to go back to playing violin.

I had to give up at V. because my computer was starting to lag (too much stuff open) and it was throwing me off, but the game is perfect just as is. I'll try again tomorrow.

All fives!

Zim the Fox says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 5:04am

Adorable pony avatar, BTW :3

sparkleswirl says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:20am

@Zim: Thank you!

Zim the Fox says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:09pm

And I finished challenge mode! That was amazing. Great job.

Perchance the most frustrating part was when I'd press a button one millisecond before the block fell down, so it wouldn't jump. But I guess that is my fault.

Rafael Sales says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:46pm

Really nice game. Very immersive and perfectly fits to the theme. Congratz!

sparkleswirl says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:53pm

@Zim Yeah, the timing is really tight on the last three levels. That said, it *is* still possible to jump too rapidly.

GranaDa says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 6:57pm

Too hard too early. Great concept and very addictive. Great job!

zeelyndz says ...
May 3, 2013 @ 8:22pm

This really neat, it get's really tricky really fast, which may be it's only downside.
(Also you tried to play my game but it was down, it's up now if you're interested!)

Colapsydo says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 11:44am

I really love this game, it fits the theme, the sounds are nice, and the game is really challenging and even teach you coordination.
I spent more time on Mazurka than on Canonblat :)

First LD, I say "Congratulations!"

protensity says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 7:46pm

Excellent game - very difficult, but I really like the subtle musical theme that helps the player get the patterns down.

One of the best games I've played this Ludum Dare.

May 4, 2013 @ 8:35pm

Very Hard, but a beautiful game. I really like the gameplay, yet more the sound effects. Great Job!

Split82 says ...
May 4, 2013 @ 10:39pm

Extremely hard but nice :)

galman says ...
May 5, 2013 @ 10:10am

Nice game! Quite hard ;)

rujo says ...
May 6, 2013 @ 3:29pm

artistic tiny game but so difficult! nice idea though

zkenshin says ...
May 7, 2013 @ 1:12am

Really nicely done. :) Longest time spent on a Ludum Dare game yet. ;P

sparkleswirl says ...
May 7, 2013 @ 3:09am

@zhenshin Hooray! With like 2000 games out there that's high praise! =)

moomoo112 says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 2:21am

that's quite a tricky game to beat

Catman says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 6:34am

Nice concept, very clever! Good job!

May 8, 2013 @ 10:55am

Well done! Very nice take on the theme. Quite hard, but the challenge is fair and enjoyable. It's the good type of hard :) My only suggestion would be to add some sort of sound feedback when you are hit with an inactive (bright) block - that would help with getting in sync. Very good entry!

MinionStudios says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 3:05pm

Love this game! so simple and so challenging!

kill0u says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 8:10pm

Nice game, too bad the difficulty get high so fast.

Xanjos says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 9:56pm

Really fun and challenging gameplay concept and the graphics and audio match the theme perfectly.

EatenAlive3 says ...
May 8, 2013 @ 10:58pm

Amazing! I found it to be really fun trying to get into the perfect rhythm! I just wish you were able to make more difficult levels.

Taro Omiya says ...
May 9, 2013 @ 12:56am

Reminds me a lot of Bit.Trip Core, easily my favorite in the series. Tough as nails, it is! Would be greatly enhanced if there were any background music to help sync with the beat (I even played it with the music "Control" from Bit.Trip Core just to make sure of it!)

sparkleswirl says ...
May 9, 2013 @ 1:32am

Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

@Exclamation Mark: That's a great idea! It makes perfect sense!

@EatenAlive3: You're the first person I've ever heard saying that! =D

@Taro Omiya: There were two reasons why I didn't put in a background music or at least a metronome. First was that there wasn't time. But the bigger issue for me is that Flash seems to like having music lag on slower computers (even now I'm hearing from people that the sounds don't play at the right time) and I really don't know how to deal with that. Making a game with in-synced background music is one thing I really want to figure out how to do though. :3

Dmitrix says ...
May 9, 2013 @ 4:13am

Awesome. But it's soooo hard. XD

TurboDindon says ...
May 10, 2013 @ 1:51pm

I love the concept. The atmosphere is poetic and uncluttered.
Extremely hard, I'm very bad! x'D

Milktoast says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 1:48am

OMG! My fingers are not up to the challenge!

Madball says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 2:50pm

You need to make slight background music, I often lose the rhythm. Other than that, the game is very nice. I liked the menu buttons.

ethankennerly says ...
May 12, 2013 @ 5:03pm

Dodging blocks and playing musical notes interested me. If you continue to develop this, I felt awkward using arrow keys to perform a semi-musical task, and was wishing the interface were teaching me the mapping to playing the piano.

May 13, 2013 @ 4:19pm

Definitely not an easy game to play but I think you did a great job staying true to the theme.

Sylvain.p says ...
May 15, 2013 @ 4:15pm

It's distrurbing because the sound is relaxing and the gameplay is pretty hard and frustrating. But good work.

May 15, 2013 @ 6:26pm

Uh, that was cool, but also quite hard... must try this relaxed mode... :)

mcc says ...
May 20, 2013 @ 8:04am

This was exquisite. I loved so many things about it.

I loved the help menu, right off the bat.
I loved how the board looked as an abstract symbol even before you started moving.
I loved how I couldn't play at first because I was much too busy just playing with the arrow keys trying to make tiny instrumental music.
I loved how the center block was just barely large enough to put all four "players" in your peripheral vision, meaning you couldn't rely on platforming and had to focus only on the rhythm. The block movement became a metronome.
I love how this is— seriously— as far as I can remember, the only rhythm game I've ever played that made me feel like I was playing a musical instrument. AND I'M INCLUDING HERE THE GAME WHERE THE CONTROLLER WAS A LITERAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT.
I loved the "oh, heck yes" moment where I realized "how to beat" level iii-- a precise set of muscle instructions that allowed me to "play" the level on a groove-- and I loved the moment where I realized, after like 3 attempts to beat the level ended with me screwing up on the last jump attempt, that my level iii strategy derailed completely when the first block left the screen (thus putting a hole in the rhythm/groove I'd put myself in).
I loved how throughly the game resisted my efforts to put it down and do anything else.

My one frustration was how the jump was very small and the game was thus quite unforgiving, even more so than seemed necessary to keep the rhythm feeling consistent. I wished the squares' hitboxes were circles.

I got to level V and stopped there, exhausted and with aching fingers. I will be playing more of this. A lot more of this.

Topaz says ...
May 20, 2013 @ 10:21am

Definitely one of my favourite entries so far. Good work!

Jyrkface says ...
May 20, 2013 @ 5:19pm

Wow, this is pretty fantastic. I feel like playing it a lot could actually help with rhythm/coordination for playing actual instruments :)

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