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

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by Viza - 48 Hour Compo Entry

In "Upstream", you control a little diver and have to retrieve lost treasure chests from the bottom of the sea (I guess there will be a lot of diver games this LD :) )

The trick is that you can't lift the chests - you can only push them horizontally. To reach the boats on the surface, you have to use the upstreams in the sea (the little up arrows). When there is no upstream go high enough, you can fill the gaps with air bubbles - they lift the chest one tile and disappear, so you have to think strategically using them.

Ten levels, the ones after 4th-5th are getting quite hard - be prepared. :)
Made in like six hours - unfortunately I had other programs for this weekend, but I think this turned out quite nicely. :)

Please try it, and vote! :)

Downloads and Links




GresponApps says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:21am

Awesome. I loved it! Simple and fun.

ENDESGA says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 6:00am

awesome game :D I loved it

plugz says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:09am

Simple and fun.

FuzzyWuzzie says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:09am

This is an ADORABLE puzzler! With unique puzzles and mechanics and everything. You need to make this into a mobile game STAT. I would definitely pay a buck or two for it!

plugz says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:09am

Simple and fun.

gikdew says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:09am

Quite fun! I ended up like playing 5 minutes!

rylgh says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:12am

really nicely themed, nice mechanic, and the art is just so pleasant

John Drury says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:47am

Very simple. Enjoyed the redo feature.

eldog says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:52am

This got dastardly difficult after the first few happy levels :). Very fun puzzler.

monsterkillu says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:56am

Excellent puzzle game. Really loved the levels. How do you come up with such levels in such short time. Amazing.

Colorvade says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 8:05am

Clever. The core elements make for some interesting puzzles. Good job.

darkflamejam says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:54am

Great fun!

Draknek says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:59am

Nice concept!

Levels not quite as compact as I generally like in my puzzle games (too much pushing things all the way across the whole level) but that works to make it feel more like a sea than an artificial puzzle.

Sound isn't working? It's in the source-code version but not the actual game.

aldian says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:03pm

Little hard to read for. Otherwise Its simple but addictive. Well done!

cr2crstudios says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:04pm

Really well done!

Luis Anton says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:07pm

I would have paid for watching you designing those levels. Great game!

thomz12 says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:08pm

Simple & fun, liked it. the undo feature is very helpful!

Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:09pm

Amazing PuzzleScript game ! Great job !

Techblogogy says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 3:48pm

Great game!

Elforama says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:07pm

I enjoyed this puzzle game, and it has nice simple graphics.

PapyGaragos says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:14pm

I like that game. The graphics a simple but enjoyable. Sounds would be a nice addition

Viza says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 4:15pm

Thanks for the nice comments (BTW I play and rate everyones online game who comments here!)

A couple of you asked about the level design process of the game: it is simple *and* hard at the same time :)

I just start with a basic concept - what I want the level to be about? Maybe to showcase/teach a gameplay mechanic (for example the use of bubbles) or just "let's do a wide and shallow level, because I don't have one yet" :)

Then I think about what would be the best way to show that concept. In what situation the player *have* to use bubbles? What challenges a wide and shallow level could offer?

Then I create a basic level around that idea, and tweak, tweak, tweak until it plays good...
Can I take away one more bubble? Won't be too annoying for the player to move so much around? Is it challenging enough or should I throw in a couple more obstacles?

And that's the hard part. :) It took the better part of the six hours of dev time here... like I don't know four hours to design that ten levels... :)

icereci says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:49pm

is the web link dead?

Viza says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:59pm

Nope, it's working for me - is anybody else having problem with the link?

mrexcessive says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 6:45pm

Fun to play... Thank you for reminding me of puzzlescript!

Lars Faust says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 7:06pm

Fantastic game.
I was stunned by how many levels you managed to put together in the short time. And they all are fantastic, require solid planning to finish. Also love the Undo-mechanic, saves a ton of trouble and works perfectly with the kind of turn based timeline of the game.

Really really good puzzler, that has superb level design for a LD-game.

jtpup0 says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 8:36pm

nice game!

stoo says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 8:52pm

Simple looking but interesting idea, some of the levels are really challenging and have a lot of "a-ha" moments when you figure out the solution.

Apr 28, 2014 @ 8:53pm

Great job man

DaanVanYperen says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:57pm

Simple and solid mechanic leading to fun game play. well done!

pawegio says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 9:58pm

simple and fun, missing sound.

terraco says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:15pm

Not bad

TijmenTio says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:19pm

For something made in like 6 hours this is quite the outstanding work :O Wonder what you could've done in the full timeframe :)

lamphj says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 10:33pm

neat puzzle game with good tutorial and difficult puzzles in the later levels. Very cool!

friken says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:15pm

Fun puzzler, good job.

DarkMeatGames says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:15pm

Wow, awesome! A really innovative take on Sokoban, but I really liked it! If this were polished up a bit, it would make a really great little puzzle game. Would even work on mobile!

TowelKing says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:35pm

Great puzzles and I love the simple graphics

Kep says ...
Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:36pm

An impressive number of levels for a jam.
I liked it, well done!

ninjacharlie says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 12:41am

Pretty cool! I love simple puzzle games :)

Beavl says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 5:23pm

Really clever entry! Love puzzlescript games (we'me made a few). This has some really strong mechanics. Congrats!

KeyMaster says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 6:34pm

Had me playing for quite a long. The mechanics were simple yet the problems were quite deep. Nice one!

Apr 29, 2014 @ 9:12pm

great little puzzler ..nice gfx too :)

hexagore says ...
Apr 29, 2014 @ 10:56pm

Really appreciate that the levels were actually difficult fairly quickly. Actual puzzles! Cool

csanyk says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 4:22am

Wow, such puzzle. I am impressed that this was done in just 6 hours! Very challenging turn based tile puzzler, and the ultra lo-fi pixels are sweet.

SoupWithBits says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 4:19pm

Simple, difficult, awesome, addicted!

local minimum says ...
Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:27pm

Nice puzzle script, got a couple of levels into the game, but got a bit bummed when I had played a on the second of the small screen-shots and only had the last bubble to transport to get the second chest onboard. There had been no explaining of how bubbles pass through the red-white things. So either have player fail by bubble passing through red-white early on the first level it is used or clearly show how all objects interact.

I happened to double-step a few times, but I guess that's up to puzzle-script and not so much you can do about.

Fun experience. Might have tried it all way through if not for that mishap.

May 1, 2014 @ 12:27pm

Simple, yet really fun! Just awesome! :D
It get's pretty hard early on, but I like that :)
Great job on gradually adding more mechanics level per level!
Also, is it just by accident or did you deliberately hide a lot of penile designs in the levels? (e.g. the lower right corner of the second small screenshot, and some other levels featured things like this :P)

Detocroix says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 1:35pm

The moodiest little chest snorkeling swimming diving game I've seen thus far. Thumbs up!

cavf88 says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 2:04pm

Simple puzzler, loved the graphics. Fun.

recursor says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 5:45pm

Nicely done puzzle-script game. It was quite fun and enjoyable.

Viza says ...
May 1, 2014 @ 7:44pm

zedutchgandalf: I never noticed... o_O And now I cannot unsee. :D
"a lot of" is a slight exaggeration though - maybe one more besides the one in the screenshot. :)

May 1, 2014 @ 9:51pm

@Viza: it probably is :) but I only started noticing about halfway through the game, and then there were two right after each other which made me think I probably missed some :P

Armanky says ...
May 2, 2014 @ 7:17pm

You made my friends think I'm an idiot. Congratulations!

Viza says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 6:46am

@Armanky: Wha...? :D
Can you elaborate on that? :)

Thorig says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 12:44pm

A really clever game. I really like the mechanics. Good job!

petey123567 says ...
May 3, 2014 @ 8:01pm

I think I abused 'undo' way too much :P Great game!

May 4, 2014 @ 2:53pm

Nice little puzzle. Only problem for me (dont know if its a bug) with the bubbles: they randomly lift the chest. If I push one on a chest and immediately move away, it has no effect. Sometimes, event if I wait a bit, the chest doesnt move either...

May 4, 2014 @ 5:22pm

Really nice mechanics!
Penis everywhere, cannot unsee

soy_yuma says ...
May 4, 2014 @ 9:32pm

I love puzzles! This one is pretty good! Maybe you want to check Draknek's entry:

Viza says ...
May 5, 2014 @ 11:41pm

I played that and liked it.
I think I played all puzzlescript games on LD29 - at least all which turns up for a search for "puzzlescript" :)

scgrn says ...
May 7, 2014 @ 4:27am

Nice little puzzler!

Nanolotl says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 12:15pm

Really well designed puzzles. All of the mechanics were really interesting.

Garris says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 12:48pm

That was a ton of fun! Solid puzzler with good level layouts. I found the bubbles to be a little bit glitchy occasionally when trying to push them around, but nothing game breaking. Well done!

sP0CkEr2 says ...
May 17, 2014 @ 6:04pm

really nice game here - simple and effective - great job

Wertle says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 6:11pm

Great use of theme in the puzzle mechanics! I think the puzzles are very solid and the look is really cute. I think there are a few small things you can do to just tune up the overall flow and pacing of introduction. Here are some suggestions:
- When i was first introduced to the bubbles, it took me a moment to realize I could push them from any direction. I'd assumed they worked like the chests
- the buoy level was pretty tricky! That might be a good one to break down into 2: a very simple puzzle to introduce the concept, then go to the more advanced one (also, i only used one buoy in that puzzle, was the other one a red herring?)
- The level right after that one is great in how it is both simple but advanced, but since there was no buoy involved, it might make for better pacing to do it just before the buoy level instead of after, since it's good to do a couple buoys in a row
I didn't get to finish because I had a time constraint, but I want to come back and finish! Nice work!

bendmorris says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 7:31pm

Great puzzle! Nice level design. I was stuck for quite a while on a couple of them. Oh, and thanks for the "undo" feature :)

Viza says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 9:53pm

Yoohoo! One hundred rating! :)
(That puts "Upstream" in the top 3.5% of the most rated games in this LD according to - I never thought that it could achieve this.)
Thank you for everybody taking time to try my little game, and for the kind comments! :)

Viza says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 10:00pm

- Bubbles - Yeah, I wanted to keep the texts short (almost nobody reads them anyway :) ), but that definitely something I should make more clear - maybe even with a full level dedicated to introduce the concept.
- Bouys - I got more comments on them people find them generally confusing at first. They are actually not *that* complex things :) so the error is on my side - I should introduce them more thoroughly as you suggest.
- Level pacing: I know what level you talking about, I feel that it is somewhat out of place now, the thinking was behind the placement, that I wanted to break up the big levels with something smaller, but hopefully still advanced. But you are right again - it was not that successful :)

elefantopia says ...
May 18, 2014 @ 11:01pm

cute puzzler, not my bag of tea.

Viza says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 11:25am

@elefantopia: Yeah, that happens. :)
I kinda hated the Sokoban-type games for a long type - since PuzzleScript that changed for the better, and I even actually enjoyed making Upstream. :)

xdegtyarev says ...
May 19, 2014 @ 8:37pm

cool, love that minimalism.

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