Ludum Dare 29 — April 25th-28th Weekend — Theme: Beneath the Surface

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Beneath the Surface

by FistBumpGames - Jam Entry

Wander beneath the surface and explore a mysterious tomb. Overcome your enemies and prove that you are the greatest hero of them all.

fixed some bugs

*update2: thanks for the feedback!(:
controls now work as intended

*update3: princess version for all the small heroes.

*update4: redesigned post vote version. have fun :)

Alfred Stanzl
Matthias Bruzek
Matthias Soria
Lukas Tuschl
Sabine Fantner
Jasmin Yan

Twitter: @FistBumpGames

Our Facebook-Page:

Downloads and Links




bitserum says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:00pm

The graphics here are superb! It's a beautiful game, but the controls and some item placements on screen could use work. The "dodge back" (D) is hard to utilize well, and having enemies kill you behind obstacles where you don't see them (or yourself) feels really unfair.

fullmontis says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:00pm

Amazing visuals! But it's very very hard. I keep dying to the first enemy. I don't understand why either because I've killed the skeleton and I still die :/ Also, the main character is very small and it's very hard to understand what is going on and dodge attacks.

JoshOS says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:07pm

I love breaking games.

5 seconds in I wallhopped on the wall to the left and got out of bounds - screenshot - - gif animation -

Now onto the review!

Graphics; now, I've always been fussy, pixel art in my opinion should stay true; so, rotating a piece of 2x scaled pizel art by 45deg makes it look like it's not actual pixel art anymore; however, when it's all combined with the bloom-like glows etc, the game admittedly looks -gorgeous-, with alot of smooth animations left right an center, so props to you there!

The sound often lagged out; I've no idea if thats an issue with the web version of unity, or not. But the sounds weren't too bad.

the gameplay I felt lacked. The sword swing was very slow - sometimes I was able to kill a skeleton, and still be killed by them. Odd. :P But yeah, the retreating jump felt useless in combat, and the sword very slow. Also combat behind foreground decorations was the most common cause of death for me.

Overall great effort but could do with some fine tuning in my honest opinion.

Good luck!

kristof says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:08pm

This looks absolutely beautiful! Sadly the controls do not feel very precise. The character kept running further than I expected. Also sometimes the game would't recognize releasing a key. The character just ran into the skeleton. The only way I was able to kill the skeletons was by standing still and spamming Control.
Please improve the controls! I see so much potential in this one!

ActionRemix says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:13pm

Presentation is perfect.

One critique: Dodge seems useless, as evidenced by my running attacks hitting enemies while they dodge. The dodge is shorter than attack ranges, and is even shorter while running. I might be better off just running backwards.

Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:18pm

I ran to the left and jumped over the wall, began to infinitely fall. Cool game though

xerohuang says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 7:15pm

Love the art! :)

Gwinnell says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:42pm

It's pretty, but I keep dying on the second enemy. D: It hit me behind the black rock the first time, which I later tried to avoid. I liked the atmosphere and concept, but couldn't persist enough to find it enjoyable.

Hippolyta says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:43pm

Very nice and polished game!

GarethIW says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:44pm

Controls are a bit troublesome, but the game is still very atmospheric, nice job!

dook says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:46pm

The graphics are amazing, especially the animations. The game was brutal and when I finally made it to the boss like thing I didn't feel like trying to get all the way through it when I died. I never managed to get the dodge thing to work, just holding down forward and clicking the mouse seemed to work until I got to the golem thing. With some tighter controls/gameplay this could be a beautiful little game :)

xdegtyarev says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:46pm

Brilliant art style, miydzakish mood!

porglezomp says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:48pm

Man, this game's beautiful, but really hard. Are there checkpoints later on? Because I never managed to get to one.

Snowflower says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:52pm

super pretty and I love the style, the controls and unforgiving 1hit death makes it really frustrating.

I would play this a ton if it was a bit easier (let the player take 3-4 hits before dying) and tighten up the controls a bit more.

Maybe try creating some more obvious animation cues on the enemies before they attack to make the 'hop back' defensive move more useful.

Hope to see this one developed some more and have it updated.

GreatBigJerk says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:45pm

VERY nice visuals, but hiding enemies behind foreground stuff is kind of harsh. It also seems like the best strategy is to just stand still and wave the sword as fast as possible.

hexagore says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:45pm

Breathtakingly gorgeous.. like the very best of old arcade pixel art combined with state of the art lighting effects. Nice!

MunkeeBacon says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:46pm

AMAZING graphics. This has already been said, but the controls are a little clunky. The game is still really fun though. Great job! Super great atmosphere to the game.

Danvil says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:46pm

This game is really beautiful, but too frustrating... Enemies behind walls are really unfair and the back dodge seems a bit useless.

simplesmiler says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:46pm

This is Dark Souls of Ludum Dare. Very atmospheric and attractive. And very evil. I like it.

MrShoestore says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 11:48pm

Beautiful game, but where is the "the real Beneath the Surface starts here" note button for me to warn other players :P

Dietrich Epp says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:42am

Very beautiful and great atmosphere; but very difficult. I could never get past the 4th skeleton.

Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:44am

Very moody and pretty entry. The non skippable intro almost made me not play it.
While I kinda like the game in it's basics, I have a hard time seeing the theme represented. Also, the gameplay was very harsh and too punishing imho - some warning for incoming strikes (flashing etc) is necessary if you want to allow the player to meaningfully dodge or attack in this kind of 1-hit kill combat. Also, putting elements in the foreground just to mess up with the visibility and make the game artificially harder does not work for me.
Still, the mood is really nice and you did a good job on the sound effects.

Jod says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:51am

Loved the surprise enemies, great little gimmick! I died so much!

The graphics are just. Gah. So jealous. Smooth animation, too!

cageinabird says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:55am

To echo others, it looks amazing! Because of the sound and animations it felt vibrant and alive.

But the combat just didn't work well for me (the best strategy seemed to be to simply run forward and attack). Having foreground elements that obscured gameplay also seemed like a bad design choice.

Maniulo says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:15am

Insanely hard, which is kinda fun; but the skeletons hiding behind the dark areas (or should I say beneath the surface?) and killing you there are just not fair. Stopping to hit and dodging looks unreasonable, the only way I could beat at least some of those skeletons are by running and hitting simultaneously.

Venturelli says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 1:47pm

Amazingly beautiful art (and note that I'm not saying "for a game jam")!

Unfortunately I found the gameplay a bit boring and annoying =(

But congratulations on the looks and mood of the game, really great stuff

metkis says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:51pm

I love the combination of pixel art and ambient effects here. Really cool. Sometimes frustratingly hard, when I want to just see the beautiful artwork.

rosa89n20 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:17am

graphic is nice, but control is kind of odd, you always need act first than usually do, because attack is little bit later

flavio says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 11:30am

Amazing visuals ! That is really beautiful pixel art. I wish the character wouldn't be so low in the screen ! Also the game is way too hard to play oO

mortus says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 11:33am

Great graphics and great atmosphere! One hit permadeath is too harsh in my opinion though. Either I didn't get how to fight at all or I just suck at fighting in your game, but I got the best results by just holding right all the time and clicking once for every enemy at right moments. Still couldn't get too far.

tomvert says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 11:49am

It is reaaaaaly too hard, the timing to kill skeletons is to short and sometimes background objects like rocks hides enemies. Otherwise the game is beautiful, so I tried to not give up.

flavio says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:01pm

Amazing visuals ! That is really beautiful pixel art. I wish the character wouldn't be so low in the screen ! Also the game is way too hard to play oO

D2FXRayG says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:03pm

Looks nice but is VERY hard!

PapyGaragos says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:10pm

Ok now I feel bad about the 5 stars in graphics I gave in other entries :)

It's a shame that the landscape sometimes gets in the way of the action, the game is hard enough as it is

cwkx says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:16pm

Really awesome atmosphere, audio, and art. Awesome work :)

okkolobr says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:51pm

Really cute look but that is sooo difficult Oo ! I'll give it another try though, as i'm willing to get good at it !

Kerdelos says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 12:52pm

The game looks fantastic but is way too hard =/

thebmxeur says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:01pm

Is it possible to kill the boss ? The character seems to run and attack by itself.

May 1, 2014 @ 1:08pm

Amazing graphics here, especially the animations. The gameplay is alright but way too hard. The one-hit death just seems a bit unfair, and there are bits in the front that cover everything up when you're fighting enemies. Otherwise great job!

Yword says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:39pm

Impressive graphics and music! Maybe it will better to use HP instead of instant kill.

nicolashognon says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:08pm

really great gfx .... perhaps a bit to hard. but I like it.

radmars says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 3:27pm

God. Damn. Pretty.
The gameplay is a big pain point though. Sometimes enemies take two hits to kill, and sometimes just one. >.< I like the demon-soul-sy fuck you enemy placement(warms my heart), but the attack animation, and turning animation are too slow & clunky to accommodate it. Id like to see the backdodge get a little more oomph as well, never seemed to help. Also, one small bug: I was able to cancel out of the death animation sometimes by attacking right as I was hit.

The atmosphere and mood are hella baller, and the sound works well and ties everything together. Tighten up the gameplay and this will be bonerrific!

Oye Beto says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 5:55pm

It reminded me of dark souls :P
I got to the boss but didn't beat it.

Graphics are the strongest aspect of your game, good job.

FuzzyWuzzie says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:20pm

Graphics were astonishing, but I wasn't a fan of 1-hit undodgeable deaths or getting killed when I couldn't see my character behind art :(

petey123567 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:22pm

Great concept/graphics. The enemies could really benefit from a 'wind up' animation so I have a better chance to dodge.

harko12 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:25pm

Nice work. Pretty tough.. but I guess that's part of the challenge. I died, like thousands of others.

May 1, 2014 @ 7:38pm

Great job! The graphics are wonderful. I got past the first few enemies. I would like to see some check points or something.

Garris says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:40pm

Very cool. One of the best looking pixel art entries I've seen, and I love the minimalism of the audio. It really makes the world feel more haunted and dangerous. I feel like the hop-back could have been pushed a little bit farther to make the best use of it, but the combat was fun, and challenging.

BuKaneerz says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:55pm

Really good game !
I want more !
(i did not kill the boss, the hero did it alone ?)
Your graphics are awesome !

Tuism says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 8:22pm

So beautiful :D

So hard :/ So so hard. If the second and third skeletons act according to slightly different AI routines then you sir are FIENDISH. I think if they are harder they should actually look different, even if subtly so. As it is now it just feels unfairly wrong.

I guess there's more content later in terms of variety, but damn it's so hard. And hard without room to manouever in - Super Meatboy for example has many options - when the player has very few options AND it's so hard it feels like luck getting through things.

But really, it's a goodie :) Pretty good (see what I did there), or is that pretty hard? :P

travislucia says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 9:03pm

Fun game, cool concept! Very Frustrating!

GrooveMan says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 2:25am

I get what you're going for in how the gameplay works, but the short range and cluttered playing field is not so much challenging and irritating. Always starting at the beginning (for as far as I played) upon death pushed cheap deaths into dealbreaking terrirory. =(

VictoryGarden says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 3:47am

The mood, the graphics, the audio--all of these work together well. I like the small character under the oppressively enormous sky, as it gives a sense of their weakness, fragility, and the meaninglessness of the mission; and similarly, the remnant of a stone statue seen in a single, enormous foot.

I'm fine with no-checkpoint, one-hit-kill combat, but I think that for it to work you'll need to balance the combat some in order to add depth and give the player agency. As-is, I felt it was entirely random as to whether I killed a skeleton or not. I couldn't tell if I had one hitpoint or more, since I could seemingly randomly cancel out of the death animation sometimes, and the skeleton's attack had so little preface that I couldn't dodge effectively.

The enemies jumping out of dark places seemed fair enough--level design seemed fair enough--but I'd like to see the combat tuned a bit. You might like to look into Nidhogg, which has somewhat similar fencing mechanics:

May 2, 2014 @ 7:46am

Beautiful and so hard! Fantastic game

snooze82 says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 9:28am

beautiful! I'm waiting for an easy mode - I never got past the second skeleton

deathray says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 2:35pm

Everything in the comments above are accurate - "beautiful, but really hard" ... I can make it to the 2nd enemy but no further. It's a shame because the visuals and mood are wonderful. I really hope you release a post-compo version with improved combat so I can explore further.

nonentheless says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 8:07am

Amazing artwork

ehtd says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 3:01pm

Really nice intro and graphics

Dreii says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 7:51pm

Gorgeous graphics! the controls seemed a bit slow, which might of been intentional but because of it I couldn't get past the second skeleton after many many tries... :(

NicoM says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 2:14am

God this is pretty, crazy hard though;) I got the the cave entrance, that was the best I could do (in 5 tries) Great job though! Ps. I like the flipping effect on the characters:)

terraco says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 5:22am

Very nice feel to the game. Shame the controls are too hard. Unintuitive, and hitting the skeletons is awkward

May 4, 2014 @ 9:25am

Great graphics. But the game is too hard, imo.

May 4, 2014 @ 10:44am

Nice aesthetics although the pixel art could have been more consistent. The ambiance is great but gameplay could be a bit deeper. Nice entry anyway!

Frump says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 4:30pm

Really great looking game and cool ideas. I understand why you wanted to make it so hard, but in a jam setting you should probably prioritize making it easy enough for everyone to see all the content you made. I enjoyed my time with it. The huge boss was awesome!

Split82 says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 9:03pm

Awesome graphics and mood!

hyouko says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 12:38am

Beautiful, but just too darned hard for me to get much of anywhere.

ruerob says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 2:00am

I like that game, but I think some healthpoints where a good idea, because it's getting really frustrating after some deaths. Thank you for your entry.

Kiyaku says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 6:39am

The art style is amazing, there is nothing to complain here at all. The colors and style are awesome!

The gameplay is a bit frustrating to be honest. I was able to kill the first few skeletons until i entered the cave and then died. Every enemy afterwards seemed to kill me and it got frustrating.

I think not to die in one hit and faster respawning would make it less frustrating. It takes too long after you die to respawn.

But this seems to have a lot of potential!

May 5, 2014 @ 12:39pm

Wonderful graphics and atmosphere, controls were a little difficult though.

conormn says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 9:25pm

Amazing vibe here and extremely polished. Tip of the hat :)

jorgemoag says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 9:23pm

Very good!! I love the concept

Striwx says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 10:02pm

Love the mood and the gameplay. The first plan elements were annoying (why in black ?) Like the graphics too, but the animations of waiting squelettons were a little bit strange :D

Mase says ...
May 9, 2014 @ 11:47pm

Graphics are good but I had to ragequit.

Managore says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 2:34am

Oh my God this game is breathtaking! The silhouetted foreground, the background, the lighting, all of it is absolutely beautiful. Even the title and control instructions looks good.

I would have really liked to see frequent checkpoints. I felt so accomplished when I got past the first five skeletons but having to start from the beginning after dying to the sixth was really frustrating.

RowdyGhosts says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 4:40am

Very pretty, but oh man, my poor eyes!! So freaking small omg. Really hard to see; and then with cheap enemies jumping out of nowhere on top of it, it's kind of annoyingly unfair. =\ Great style, though!

May 10, 2014 @ 5:24am

Gorgeous art. Fighting was frustrating and I died like 10 times on the first skeleton. After killing 4-5 skellies, I died and had to start over at the beginning. Will play more, but feel the combat is too hard and unforgiving.

jacklehamster says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 5:55am

I found the game a bit difficult, but the graphics are really gorgeous!

Diptoman says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 9:09am

Well, that was really hard- The controls were not solid, and the one hit kill made it more harder. The place where the 3 zombies were, that was as far as I could get. The foreground elements often hid the zombies from view.
That being said, I absolutely loved the graphics. The pixel art and other elements did seem a bit contradictory, but in the end blended together nicely with the soft gradients and effects. Everything waving in the wind, that was beautiful. The mood changed nicely when entering the cave. I'm definitely going to play the post-jam version, but rating according to this.

danbo says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 11:46am

A very visually impressive game, but the OHK-ness, strange controls and skeletons behind obstacles make me think more of masocore titles, treating difficulty as the be-all-end-all, than the sort of "hard-but-fair" notion you were certainly going for - using difficulty as a means to an end in creating an interesting game.

mcapraro says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 2:53pm

those skellies are hard to beat! really lovely graphics on this game, live the atmosphere, great job!

jsspiegel says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 4:31pm

Really fantastic graphics and music, and the combat system is very unique!

TeamFlare says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 4:54pm

I would have loved to see more of the game but just get killed again and again and again. The style is just awesome. Cool entry.

Neidschel says ...
May 10, 2014 @ 10:04pm

Good Game!

May 10, 2014 @ 11:10pm

Super hard but amazing looking game! I included it in part 21 of my Ludum Dare compilation video series, if you'd like to take a look :)

zkenshin says ...
May 11, 2014 @ 1:43am

Really great art style. Well done. :)

Matt Hartley says ...
May 11, 2014 @ 4:57pm

Very pretty!

May 11, 2014 @ 7:06pm

Really good, love the art style.

2HitAdam says ...
May 11, 2014 @ 7:23pm

Really great entry, love the art, just work more telegraphing into the enemy attack animations. They need to either give you time to react or follow stricter patterns of attack for this to be really fun, but I see loads of potential :)

NoNoBattle says ...
May 11, 2014 @ 8:06pm

Thank you for the great comments ans suggentions!
@Jupi: Thank you for adding us :D
@2HitAdam&Maschinen-Mensch: We are working on different attack animations for the skellies, thanks :)
@bitserum&ActionRemix: We are also working on the evade, one thing is the attack animation of enemies which will give you a better clue when to evade and the other is tweaking the distance and accelleration.
@JoshOS: Thanks for pointing this out in so much detail, we fixed it :P
@SnowFlower: As we intentionally wanted to make the character seem fragile and weaker, we prefer to try improving the combat system before giving you more health, but thanks for the suggention! :)
@radmars: The death-cancel bug is a tough one, as it sits inside of the animation statemachine, but we will smoke it out when we revisit the animations soon ;)
@VictoryGarden: Thank you for the link, this combat really looks great and definitely is inspiring :)

udo says ...
May 13, 2014 @ 3:01pm

Even though this isn't on theme, it's very very beautiful.

JonathanG says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 7:24am

Almost impossible. Not sure if it's just running too fast on my computer or something, but the skeletons essentially go from idle to killing me in a single frame, making combat a roll of the dice. Looks fantastic, wish I could spend more time enjoying the graphics, but too repetitive from the instant random death.

May 19, 2014 @ 2:30pm

amazing! extremely unfair but fun nonetheless! and looks as well ass sounds superb! great work!

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