Ludum Dare 30 — August 22nd-25th, 2014 — Theme: Connected Worlds

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by Noah Ratcliff - 48 Hour Compo Entry

Connect planets to solve puzzles. Feel good about yourself.

Known bug: if you click a button on the menu before the fade in is finished, state changing will break and you'll have to reload the game. Sorry about that.

From the in-game howto:

Click on a green body to select it.
Click anywhere in space to manipulate the body with your tractor beam.
You can not manipulate orange bodies, or the body you are orbiting.
Your tractor beam will not work when a body is blocking it's path.

Downloads and Links




Nsmurf says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 2:29am

I like it! Music would help, and some of the puzzles could use some difficulty tweaking, but overall it's great!

JavadocMD says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 3:25am

Played all the levels but couldn't for the life of me figure out 13! Still, love the puzzles. Very fun!

Aske says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 6:23am

Really great mechanics, and fits the theme very well.

Techblogogy says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 5:00pm

This is very nice game, with decent amount of content. I loved it

WeaselZone says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 6:46pm

Very calming game, the lack of music is actually something I enjoyed and that fits well (considering it is space). Like the minimalistic approach. First few levels solved themselves which was weird, other than that I had fun with this one!

Aug 25, 2014 @ 8:00pm

Nice! I love the orbiting mechanics and the relatively large number of levels. It would have been nice to have more than just two types of planets, but then again 48 hours is not a lot of time. Some true art would have also been nice, but overall, not bad! :)

StrideWide says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 8:13pm

I found slight annoyance in not being able to manipulate things from behind the planets, but overall it was an enjoyable game. It put me in the mood for tea.

ViliX says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 8:25pm

It's quite difficult to win at this game. But it's well polished.
Running 64bit version on my 64bit Linux didn't work, but running 32bit worked.

Aug 25, 2014 @ 8:32pm

I really like those soothing sounds. Nice clean design and the mechanics are entertaining.

MadApples says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 9:02pm

This was an awesome game, i enjoyed playing it.

Snicklodocus says ...
Aug 25, 2014 @ 9:17pm

Fun game! At first I was confused because I did not realize planets would move towards your mouse cursor when beamed. Afterwards, it was fun bumping the planets into place. I feel like some indicator of how much tractor beam strength you have would be nice, and planets locking into each other after the dotted line disappeared was unexpected. I think the game is fine without music. Impressive number of levels as well. Overall, I enjoyed it.

AndyBrown says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 2:34am

Interesting game, I was a little confused on how the beam worked at first. Some kind of indicator of how much energy you have left would have been great since it seems like you are limited different amounts on each level. Still, very polished and lots of content, great job!

igoramendola says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 3:42am

Cool! Took me a while to get used with mechanics, even after looking the How To. But once I got it, nothing stopped me! hahaha and I passed all maps. Very interesting, also nice sounds ;)

Mike Mezhenin says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 7:36am

Nice game, but learning curve didn't work for me - first several levels were too easy, but after that I was stuck at every level for several minutes. Well, maybe it's just that I suck at puzzles.

Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:40am

I didn't quite get how you were supposed to pass the levels. Like, I tried pulling planets into their respective white circles, but I'm pretty sure there's something I'm missing. So I passed about 13 levels. I do like the fact that there was no music though, it kind of makes you focus on the puzzle without being distracted. Also, some of the levels can be passed by doing nothing. :P

Also, nice work getting so many puzzles finished in such a short time period! :D

ryguydavis says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 2:25pm

I really like this. It could make a pretty good mobile game with some extra work. Great use of theme, too.

fallingBear says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 2:52pm

Great minimalistic design. Cool colors :)

Lyszie says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 4:00pm

Nice game :) I find that not having music is ok, but perhaps some audio of the beam and when things are moving would be fun to have :)

Xanjos says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 6:55pm

Took a while to get used to the controls but this is a pretty enjoyable entry. Puzzles were well thought out (even if some of them seemed quite impossible to do) and the primary mechanic fits the theme quite perfectly. I'll probably agree with everyone else and say some ambient music might help but overall, it's a very good game.

Noah Ratcliff says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 7:24pm

@Lyszie the beam does have audio. It's a soft deep hum. :)

talecrafter says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 7:47pm

Interesting gameplay and charming presentation. Wonderful. :)

Donar says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 8:03pm

Pretty nice concept. Feels sometimes too easy and sometimes too hard though. Happened a lot that I kicked a planet out of the screen.

John Drury says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 8:42pm

Really simple! Loved it!

garygreen says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 8:50pm

Really nice puzzle idea - I didn't get very far through it though. I just couldn't work out how to get some into the right orbit.

jacobalbano says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 8:53pm

I didn't enter so I can't rate, but here's some feedback.

It can be unclear at some times whether I've solved a puzzle or failed it, as both transitions are the same. This delays the feeling of satisfaction from beating a puzzle to after the fade completes. My suggestion for making this clearer is to have a correct solution fade the screen to white, and a failure fade to black. This would eliminate the wait to see if you'd succeeded, and allow you to immediately celebrate or prepare yourself to try again, respectively.

It can sometimes be difficult to see why exactly you failed a puzzle, due to the fact that your only visual feedback prior to the fade is that of an incorrectly matched orbit turning red. When a body has already been paired correctly, its orbit path disappears and will no longer turn red if another body begins orbiting it.

Sometimes it feels like the tractor beam is detecting a body between it and its target where that's not actually the case. This was most noticable in levels 15 and 16, where I could have a clear line of sight but the beam wouldn't activate. It seems like in some cases attempting to use the beam and failing will permenantly disable it.

Clicking on the home button or other menu while a transition is active can cause a soft-lock. In-game it can be cleared by pressing space, but at the main menu screen it put me in a state where I couldn't activate anything.

Overall I really liked it! I beat all the levels but 17, which I'm convinced is bugged (or maybe I'm just bad).

rojo says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 9:14pm

Cool mechanic. The sound effects were good, but maybe a little too subtle. Some music or ambient audio would make a big difference. Overall the puzzle design was good.

DeltaF1 says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 9:18pm

It takes a while to fugure out how to do it, but I love the physics and the concept!

Fanttum says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 9:59pm

fun game and easy to pick up and play. too bad no sounds or music :/ but still a cool idea. some levels i couldn't win, maybe i couldn't figure them out :P but others were really easy.

hexagore says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:12pm

Oh, I feel quite relaxed after that. :D

lucidsheep says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:24pm

Clean and simple. Very nice.

HeyChinaski says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 10:43pm

Nice and relaxing. A great concept. I feel like I really wanted to drag the planets rather than clicking around. Great work though!

Kiwiboi says ...
Aug 26, 2014 @ 11:26pm

Really challenging and fun! Reminds me of my game graphics wise haha, maybe even the same background color? :D Well done sir.

CaptainNakou says ...
Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:51am

Great idea, well executed.

jjhaggar says ...
Aug 27, 2014 @ 3:56pm

I agree wit jacobalbano in sometimes is unclear if a puzzle is solved or failed. Also would be of great help putting in a more explicit way that the tractor ray attracts planets to the mouse cursor (I quit playing after being quite frustrated, then learned it by reading the comment of Snicklodocus, played it again and everything made sense for the first time XD) Anyway, fun game! ^^

stasss says ...
Aug 27, 2014 @ 8:24pm

Impressive. I think on tabs it will be cool.

laluis1 says ...
Aug 27, 2014 @ 11:45pm

I played it but I didn't understand it, 5/5 Innovation because of the creative way to incorporate worlds.

MarekkPie says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 12:24am

Very enjoyable puzzle game. Some of the levels can be frustrating, as it is hard to see what the problem was.

rlangewi says ...
Aug 28, 2014 @ 12:40am

Neat game with a nice aesthetic. Was a little confused at first, but once I understood it, each level was a fun little puzzle to solve! Good job!

Aug 30, 2014 @ 11:35am

Original, fun to play, and sometimes a little bit difficult. Great entry

RFMTeam says ...
Aug 30, 2014 @ 12:17pm

i love the basic & clean graphics! with some music this could be really good, even it's hard to understand at the beggining

jimmypaulin says ...
Aug 30, 2014 @ 3:50pm

This had a melancholy edge to it, mainly I think due to the low-key sounds which added so hugely to the experience! The physics felt solid and the puzzles were satisfying to complete though somewhat on the hard side! Would have liked some more bling I suppose but that might have made it confusing, as it stands, a decent solid entry

AdricZero says ...
Aug 30, 2014 @ 4:55pm

Fun little puzzle game. The first level seemed to be a little more picky about getting the planet in the dotted position, almost gave up at that point. The sound effects are appropriate to the game play.

Aug 30, 2014 @ 6:36pm

It took me a long while to figure out the exact control mechanics, for two main reasons:

First, the planets are pulled towards the cursor, yet a line is shown between the planet and the little orbiting ship (this would make more sense if the controls were pull to/repel from the ship, and that would also make the ship's position a bigger element in gameplay rather than just "wait until I can move this planet").

Second: Puzzles start out with the planets having way too much momentum already towards.. the largest planet I assume? So some puzzles only give you about 2-3 seconds to get certain planets out of the way before you fail and have to start over.

For the very same reason, some early puzzles basically solve themselves with no player input.

Having a level select screen with previews is very nice, although it would be nicer still to see which levels I'd already beaten.

Finally, there's no visual or audible distinction between completing and failing a puzzle, though this isn't a major problem by any means.

The minimalistic sounds are quite nice, same goes for the graphical style. If the starting pace wasn't so high, it would be a great relaxing puzzler.

This might sound pretty negative, but my overall impression of the game is actually quite good.

Gaeel says ...
Aug 30, 2014 @ 8:27pm

Some of the puzzles felt broken, but it's a nice idea and has some nice little aha moments...

Sunflower says ...
Sep 1, 2014 @ 9:48am

Some puzzles really could use a bit more leniency; a half more of tractor power or something, especially since it takes some time before bodies will align themselves. >.<
Music would help a lot, too. ^^"

mrexcessive says ...
Sep 1, 2014 @ 5:59pm

Hi there. Web version does not work Chrome/W8.1, hangs on menu - wasn't the fade-in bug, left it a while. Retried, still goes wrong. Not rated yet.

Noah Ratcliff says ...
Sep 1, 2014 @ 11:00pm

@mrexcessive: I tested on Chrome/W8.1. Odd. Try downloading the windows version.

bytegrove says ...
Sep 2, 2014 @ 6:53pm

Neat idea! I would have liked to have some more visual indications of when I could reach certain planets however. I think that selecting before dragging is a little superfluous as well, just holding the mouse button over the planet might be enough. I like the clean visual design, the gradient when selecting a planet kinda breaks it, as does the level select screen, otherwise it is very neat!

plash says ...
Sep 5, 2014 @ 3:40am

Well done. This is aesthetically what I would want out of a game like this. I think it misses the mark in a few crucial ways, though.

1. The player has no way of knowing how much energy the tractor beam has for a level until trying. This should be part of the interface. Related to the second point, this causes me to restart more often than I should (and I'm already restarting frequently).

2. The control scheme is spread across two devices. Why? The primary mechanic in the game uses the mouse (the tractor beam) and the menus are also traversed with the mouse. It seems arbitrary to me that the space bar is used to restart the level. For something like this, it makes no sense. It is inevitable (at least in my case) that the player will want to restart the level -- likely frequently. It should be local to the device they are already using to interact with the game.

3. I don't know if this was wholly intentional, but the removal of an orbit line once a body has sunk into orbit removes valuable information from the player's view. I want to know where that field goes when the body I've thrown into it influences the larger body's position. I want feedback that will tell me how to change my approach when I fail (and I am likely to fail the first time I try a level). I can watch the bodies and make adjustments, sure, but I can't *really* see how far off I am from the mark. I prefer to not make specific suggestions, but I would point out that you could even add information to orbit lines by changing their representation when a body falls into it. In the jam build, however, changing the representation won't be very valuable as there are not too many orbits to keep track of.

All said, the only thing I felt was *missing* was music.

Contrary to ViliX, the x86_64 binary worked on my Ubuntu 14.04 system.

I concur with jacobalbano in regards to screen transitions being unclear. You could, however, make it more clear just by means of sound. I also concur with tacospice about the tractor beam. It paints the wrong picture.

Completion: all levels.


- Level difficulty is inconsistent. Also, I didn't have to use my tractor beam on one level.

- As mentioned above, separation of controls. That said, good work on using the primary input device on the menus. Too often I see non-primary controls used *only* for menus.

- Linux archive does not retain the executable bit. This is a minor fuss, but nothing us Linux users can't handle. We do, however, appreciate archive formats that make less work for us. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry about it.)

P.S. Regarding the menu state bug: I don't think anyone would raise a fuss if you made a new release to fix it. Bug fixing is permitted in the rules.

rogueNoodle says ...
Sep 11, 2014 @ 11:35am

Really interesting concept! The tractor beam felt a little finicky, and some sort of energy meter would be great (or at least, it seemed as if there was finite energy for the beam?) but a good variety of puzzles. Soothing sound as well, which works well with type of game.

hbocao says ...
Sep 12, 2014 @ 4:24am

Nice concept!

I enjoyed the game. I found it a little hard to understand how the game worked but after I got it, it was nice. I just feel like some missions needed more polishing.

Sep 14, 2014 @ 11:19pm

Kind of confusing, but cool game! I included it in part 26 of my Ludum Dare 30 compilation video series, if you’d like to take a look :)

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