Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

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I've Bean Stalking You

by Artylo - Compo Entry

You are the single defender of The Stalk. You must slay all the beast that fester under the soil, so that your stalk may grow and flourish.
The Stalk grows with the blood of its enemies, as it feeds on their rotting corpses (which are neatly decomposed into organic compost). The Stalk will rise, mighty and firm, allowing you to gain height through soil in randomly generated levels. Use your holy sword to slash and charge into enemies, slicing and pushing them off the side of the screen for cheap arcade combat. After you have slain all of The Stalk's enemies, it shall allow you to gently touch it's surface in order to climb and slay more enemies... then more climbing... then MORE enemies... then secrets... then MORE climbing... ect.
The game features a speedrun timer, which is it's main mode, due to the lack of win or loss condition. Therefore I announce a CONTEST!
The par time for the first 10 levels is exactly 3 minutes and 0 seconds.
For the first 3 people who manage to beat level 10, level 20 and/or level 30 in 3, 6 and/or 9 minutes respectively and post an image in the comments or send it to my e-mail: matglishev[at]gmail[dot]com ; will receive a special limited secret thingy from me. Good Luck and Happy Stalking!

Level 10:
RockhopperGames - 2m 38s

Known bugs:
- Collision System is taint
- Sometimes the vine doesn't allow you to climb
- Some unreachable enemies on high platforms from random level generation
WASD or Arrow Keys - Movement
Jump - Up Arrow Key or W
Mouse - Swing Sword
Climb Stalk - Jump at the bottom of the stalk when you see the icon
Charge - Move in a direction and point the sword at the same direction. This will allow you to move faster, reach some more difficult platforms and push enemies off screen, instantly killing them.

Cheats (Don't use them for the contest, I will know ._.):

Holding CTRL and pressing ALT will let you pass your current level, if you are stuck. It's a temporary solution, because I couldn't be bothered to fix stupid RNG...
Post-Jam Version:
I'm planning on releasing a post-jam version after the voting period ends.
It will feature a rewritten collision and movement code to better fit the speedruning functionality.
Enemy AI will also be dynamic, instead of the currently static enemies. Each different enemy should have it's own AI mechanics and will be attacking your stalk as a sort of endgame.
The speedrun timer will be optional, instead of constantly being on.
There will be random boss encounters on some levels.
More weapons and different attacks.
More playable characters.
More tiles and different weather and particle effects.

NOTE: If you want to follow progress on the post-jam build.
Follow my Twitter: @MageArtylo
or my Tumblr:

Although I will upload the new version here, updates will be posted there more frequently. It will take at least a month to make all of the updates, but I will be posting pre-release builds with the new engines and fixes.

Reviews (by some of my friends):

"What is this?" - Alexandra

"It looks nice..." - Annie

"It really looks fantastic! Are you sure you made this all today?" - Atanas


Downloads and Links




Transmit says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 9:56am

Hello! I'm sorry but I get a 404 not found when I try to download your game from the Windows link! Please sort and I'll have another try later

jcwelgemoed says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:01am

404? Cannot rate sorry :(

TripleW says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:01am

Windows download link is down, please fix and I'll give it a try :)

jackyjjc says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:16am

The game looks very good but the link give me a 404 like the others have reported

bazz_boyy says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:22am

cannot find laaa~!

BlackBulletIV says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:26am

I went directly to the game's repo and downloaded it from there, but you really should fix that link.

Overall it runs fine (apart from a couple collision bugs), though I do wish there was more depth to combat than hacking at passive enemies.

Artylo says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:29am

[DEV] Link is now fixed. Sorry about that. It appears that the LD link system doesn't like inverted commas in file names.
All should run fine now.

Tensoplast01 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:38am

404 :/

esayitch says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:40am

I really dig the aesthetic here. The sounds are really ambient and haunting, very good work on that as well. Gameplay itself is a bit simple, the jumping seems a bit floaty and fussy. Other than that, pretty solid! Good luck!

togo says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:41am

it seems i got here just in time for the fixed link.
fun game, i played 16 levels and never needed the cheat.

Rfdshir says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:43am

I like the style and the atmosphere! But gameplay is a little bit boring.

RikkyPikki says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:45am

Nice animations, but the gameplay was not so great. The enemies didnt do anything and i got stuck in the ground multiple times.

paraxite says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:48am

Player control seems... clunky.
I understand that you move faster towards the direction you are pointing at, but since your character doesn't need to move a long distance to do it only feels unnecessary.
Also I think the sword should just do damage based on the direction of the mouse from the player simple do damage upon contact, not based on mouse cordinates.
Wished some enemies moved.

Bumblepie says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 10:49am

I love the visuals for this game, it really is pretty. I also enjoyed the idea behind it, it was an excellent and innovative use of the theme Growing. With a bit of tuning, the platforming and charge mechanic could feel more intuitive and make it fun even without being able to take damage, and with dynamic enemies this would be a really enjoyable game. Like most game jam games, it comes down to scope, and it is really hard to reign that in during the short time allowed. Would love to see further work on this concept and visual style.

nunesbarbosa says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:06am

Windows Smartscreen protected my computer from opening the game. :(

muit says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:11am

COol style! Some kind of reaction by the monsters would be cool.

Taffaz says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:19am

Nice game, made it to level 6 before I accidentally resized the window and my character kept running left. Took me a little time to realise you need to make sure you point your sword towards the enemy and not just blindly click.

If you keep developing it I would add a double jump in there to help reach some higher platforms but I didn't have any massive difficulties with those, just a couple of frustrating falls.

Rogod says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:29am

This was kind of cool, but unfortunately very repetitive.
Also the jumping and running seems to be completely random (rather than based on which direction your sword is in as I think you intended)
The mood was good, the graphics were innovative but the enemies were unchallenging and platform jumping puzzles get really old, really fast.

Ybalrid says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:32am

The level desing make the game a bit laborious, but it fits the theme "growing"
I like the style and the sound design is cool.

Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:05pm

First of all, quality pun, and nice graphics/ambience!

I have to ask, though, was the speedrunning idea a compromise for not having time to make the enemies fight back? If so, fair enough, we all do what we have to. Otherwise, you might want to refine some of the mechanics.

Speedrunning games need tighter controls, for one. I don't see why the sword had to be controlled my mouse aim, rather than using buttons to attack in front of you. Run/charging could be mapped to a button, allowing for faster turns, and making it safer to use on the edge of the map.

Also, speedrunning requires lots of reseting to get the best times, and having to close and reopen the game every time you screw up doesn't really cut it there. The random generations of each screen creates a problem too, encouraging even more resetting. I dunno if game maker can handle this, but setting a fixed seed for the generator could resolve that.

Despite that, I did give it a few times, and managed to get under the 10 level par ( ) I don't need a reward, if I made the first goal, the challenge was nice on its own (and I wouldn't want someone who really cares about what that is to have to aim for the higher tiers). For a 48 hour game, I think you made a fine showing!

cimbaman says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 1:23pm

Great art, great music, game play is just too simple and slow. I don't get the timer, is it for speed running. At one point jut gets to repetitive.
I didn't have any problems with level design so plus for RLG. :)

Artylo says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 1:47pm

[DEV] Answering some questions...
@RockhopperGames: The enemies originally moved and fought back. The Code for the AI is still in their scripts, but it is disabled. I was thinking of making them attack the stalk and not you, but that would mean that you wouldn't be able to go to the higher levels, because your stalk would probably be dead by then.
But I do acknowledge that speedrun-worthy games require tighter controls. The thing is that I was constantly altering the collision code to try and remove the clipping through platforms. It all came down to GameMaker's strange collision functions. If I had more time I'd write collision from scratch. The post-jam version will probably feature the new collision code and will fix most of the clunkiness in the movement.
A reset button is easy to implement and will surely be in the post-jam version.
I'll write up some of the post-jam features I'm planning to fix in the game's description above. Thanks for the great feedback! Your time has also been added to the leaderboard.

timsjostrand says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 2:42pm

Love the art style, with some post-LD work I think this could be really great!

Emkiusz says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 2:44pm

I'm stuck at level 4, because I can't reach the enemies in the right upper corner. ;_;

Anyway, gameplay is good, but controls should be improved a little.

ajopart says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:30pm

Great graphics ! Nice gameplay

gkxd says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:33pm

The visuals and audio are really nice.

I would've liked some in game instructions/tutorial levels, and left/right movement seems a bit sluggish compared to jumping.

Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:42pm

Ahh, thanks for the insight into the design process! Good luck with the collision code! I've heard Game Maker can be troublesome there!

Piscythe says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 5:42pm

This game looks really cool, but the gameplay is sorely lacking at the moment. The slow lateral movement was tricky to get used to, and, combined with the tricky collision, made platforming never quite work the way I wanted it to. This was compounded by a platform spawning in Level 4 that I couldn't figure out how to get to. It might have been flat-out unreachable. I want this to be a cool action game, but right now it's something else entirely. It sounds like you know what this game should look like, though - I intend to come back and try the post-compo version.

51monster2 says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 7:39pm

Great graphics and sound, really makes for a good mood :) As for the gameplay I'm not quite as convinced, as the controls are the only challenge I faced (got to level 7 where I couldn't slay an unreachable enemy).

Zeezgames says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 8:58pm

hi, i liked the idea of this game but shame that it started feeling like too repetitive but i did like the graphics and audio and it was a great entry

Well Done!

trueboolean says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 9:31pm

Nice graphics!

Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:17am

This could actually turn into a pretty good thing.
- Love the aesthetic, very Downwell, black and white games aren't too common
- Good music
- One-screen stages are a personal favorite
- Very dynamic

I think you already have a lot of them covered yourself, it's VERY buggy at the moment with jump being inconsistent and the controls being iffy. The collisions didn't bother me much, but the jumping is very irregular and it was hard to reach the same platform twice by doing the same thing :)

edriavw says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:26am

cool game, nice graphics. need more challenge, quite repetitive

local minimum says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 7:30pm

I really like the style and the idea behind it. There are obvious issues with collision and the fact that the "enemies" just stand there minding their own business. That aside, I played for 6-7 levels because I enjoyed the feeling of it so much.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 7:26am

Very cool atmosphere. Gameplay is a little repetitive but interesting.

I am not ever going to make it on the leaderboard. ;)

Gordy says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 1:24pm

I love the pixel art (y) ;)

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