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

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by kmakai - Compo Entry

CULTIVATE is a game about everyday life, about making decisions, and about growing up.

The game is controlled with the left and right arrow keys.

There are several endings that correspond to different story paths -- the decisions you make will have an effect on the outcome (sometimes dramatically.)

- Included github link to source below!
- Fixed disappearing text after tennis match
- Several win-condition bugfixes
- Accessibility: text readability improved, A/D keys added

Created using:
- Unity
- Paint.NET

Uses the Public Domain font Runescape UF ( by Nathan P (

Downloads and Links




RadMcCool says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:33pm

Interesting style. Not really my sort of thing though played through it longer than I would most similar games

Ghen says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:43pm

i rarely play point and click/story game like this, but i admit this kinda interesting, i like the "rough" art style and how your skill progress depend on what option you choose
however, i notice some word really hard to read because of its overlap with the background picture which had the same color

Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:46pm

If you keep reading the stuff, the game is actually captivating and amount of content is amazing for 48-hour game.

CMG says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 12:49pm

I like the mechanics for the aptitude test and tennis match! Same two buttons but a different use. Unfortunately the game stopped printing text after the tennis match and I had to hit random controls to reach the ending. I still liked it!

Dec 15, 2015 @ 8:10am

Absolutely gorgeous! The use of binary choices is a good take on the theme, the graphics were a skillful compromise to the time limit, and you filled out a lot more content than I would have expected for 48 hours (hope you didn't work yourself too hard)!

As for suggestions, perhaps providing a/d alternative controls would be a cool addition? I loved the little section about choosing what hand you write with, but that made me want to try wasd to play it left handed (I'm a righty, but I thought plenty of left handed like the option?)

I'd also like to see how much of the game is changable, and what is impossible, but I ran into an error when I tried to restart. It was something of a longer error message, so I copied it to a pastebin here:

I'll probably go back and give this another try before the end of the compo, but being able to get multiple runthroughs in would be top notch.

kmakai says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:21am

Thank you for the feedback everyone!

I've hopefully fixed any breaking issues that were identified (restarting the game should work properly now.) The text being difficult to see was a bug (the message backdrop's layer was getting reset to be behind the image for the scene), so I've fixed that as well. Lastly I've included the A/D keys in place of Left/Right.

Thank you so much for playing!

vegapomme27 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:28am

Lovely. It was a great choice to make simple pictures, first coz you can put more content, and secondly because the player can imagine many things by himself, just like he would do by reading a book.
Theme is perfectly handled, it is a lovely adventure. Life is strange should hire you, ahah.

Nice work, congrats.

TheAwesomeHNH says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:39am

Really enjoyed it (and then it bugged out and I didn't get any text anymore but whatever lol)

jangdan says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:12pm

This game is so cool. Got inspired real-time. I like how you made this "graphical novel" sort of into an action game in the tennis scene. The images didn't change after that, though.
art and colors are sooooo gooooood tooooo

maunovaha says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:16pm

This is really creative game. I loved especially the ping pong match! :D.. the art looks really simple, so the game leaves a lot of details for your own imagination. Dunno if it's a good or bad thing.. increasing of stats was a _really_ good design choise :) I liked it.

linseyray says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 3:52pm

Really liked it! The simple art style suits it, as said in other comments it leaves space for the imagination. The stats were also a nice touch. A minimalistic game with creative use of controls, well done!

nunesbarbosa says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:24am

Great game! So much content!

fistmaker says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:25am

Interesting use on the theme, did not expect the running part. It looks like you put alot into it. Great job.

Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:33am

I will play tennis everyday and become the most popular person to have ever lived. #lifehacks

Grahhhhh says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:39am

Just like real life. I lose most of my popularity by lunch time then gain it all back with an amazing game of tennis, ha! Not really into these kinds of games, but it was actually pretty fun!

Yword says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 9:28am

Really interesting and impressive narrative! Well done!

GagaPete says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:02pm

Nice game, so far I had two positive endings. But that were surely not the only playthoughs I'll do. I just hope there are no bad endings.

I just noticed some bugs and flaws. The time to answer the questions is too short. No time to read the questions properly before deciding. At the first run, I never met Charlotte, but the only options were "Yes, I have" and "Lie" (so basically the same). And whenever I try to play another round the game breaks and I have to reload the site. (Chrome)

Dec 17, 2015 @ 11:18am

Nice story, strong tale taling.

greenscreen says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 11:35am

Wow, I didn't expect that. I'm only sad that I haven't had a chance to talk with Simon outside the school. Anyway great looking game with fantastic gameplay. I'd love to see more of this in the future.

Bumblepie says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 11:42am

I actually played through this several times (5+). This is easily the best story based game I've played so far, the writing is engaging and really personal, it makes me want to know more about what's going on, even with the limited information. I can see why there's the whole "empathy increases by 5" thing, but it does kind of cheapen the experience for me. And it's difficult to quantify 5 empathy, it doesn't really mean much to me (although I can see it affects things later). I also think there could have been a bit more payoff at the end of some of the arcs, especially Simon's. James' ending was good though, nice and simple. There is a bit of false choice in the game as well, which does make the meaningful decisions stand out more but is a pain for multiple playthroughs. But that is all just nitpicking because this is a great effort, especially considering the restrictions of the compo. Great work.

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 8:19pm

Interesting. I like your take with this. It's more interactive than your general fictional digital novel. I would actually be interested in playing and even buying a bigger version of a game like this. With better art and more of a story, it'd be cool. Good job.

Andrew Deem says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 8:20pm

Oh, I also encountered a bug. I tried to restart after finishing it the first time and the game crashed. Just thought you should know!

Dec 18, 2015 @ 11:06pm

The two-button set-up is great and pretty original. You got a lot of different uses out of it (the tennis game is great).

On the downside, the story is pretty slow to get going, making replaying a bit of a chore. The graphics need some work, though I like the shot of the protagonist in the mirror, and the white-on-black scheme in general.

The writing is consistently very good, and I ended up feeling for the characters, even if most of them didn't get a huge amount of development. Like I said before, the plot is fairly slow, but not bad. Not much audio, but what there is is nice and enhances the game.

Found three endings. I might come back to this one again.

Dec 18, 2015 @ 11:11pm

Forgot to mention, a bug: in the ending where you search for Charlotte, you'll remember that she mentioned the laundromat, even if you didn't get that dialogue in the scene when you talk to her.

MercuryXGames says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 2:20pm

I love these types of games. I like there's a option where you don't do the test. I got so much popularity from playing tennis, so now I'm a cool kid

sprawl says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 3:51pm

Great use of the two buttons, the tennis match was clever.

Dec 19, 2015 @ 4:19pm

I like this, especially the sudden break when i played tennis - the controls being used for a different purpose temporarily. I was also a rebel and didn't take the aptitude test.

OwT says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 4:29pm

I loved it, although it's kind of a funny thing to say, because we created kind of similar games.
Your story held me so deep into it, I had to play it more times to see where all the options would lead me!
And I would love to see and play it again, but with more detailed graphics!
Great job! One of the best entries so far!

zulman says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 4:32pm

Very noir atmosphere, truly deep. Thank you!

zulman says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 4:33pm

Also (sorry for posting it here) sorry for not clear rules in Let's Play Simulator 2016 ( Hope this screenshot ( will help you to understand how to detect good/bad games :)

zulman says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 4:33pm

Also the bug with win scene after 1mln subscribers is fixed )

mr. a says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 12:19am

Very engaging.

Giving binary choices between brief text options works remarkably well to keep the text from getting overwhelming, as reading-heavy games go, and and the instant-feedback from social situations (and the stat-effect consequences) keeps the interactions feeling meaningful. Breaking things up with timed "mini-games" was a great idea, too.

It's always impressive when games can pack substantial experiences into tiny timeframes. Hats off, sir.

Ithildin says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 1:22pm

Very nice interpretation of the theme, you managed to fit an interesting story-based game into the restrictions. Awesome job!

cudabear says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 5:39pm

This is a really complex game for the compo! There's a lot to do here and a lot of art to complement it. Well done! I liked the tennis and test-taking minigames. The only complaint I have is there's not a whole lot interesting about this game, other than deciding to help or deject Simon there's not much weight on your decisions. They're basically "Do good" or "do bad". Ah well, still a fun game to play through.

Jace239 says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 7:25am

Thanks for leaving a rating and commenting on my game! I included your game in an episode of my Let's Play Ludum Dare 34 series to show my gratitude! :D

Below is a link to the post with details, and you can find out my opinion of your game in the video as I play!

qkerguelen says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 4:43pm

I liked the graphics a lot! Very simple but it give the game a unique mood! Also the story is well written and gameplay variations are really cool! I think I'm gonna try to have more endings!

Xanjos says ...
Dec 30, 2015 @ 6:37pm

Loved the way you've implemented the two button controls especially for the aptitude test and tennis match plus I really like how there are multiple story paths for extra re-playability. Also the black and white art style sort of reminds me of Undertale but it fits the game very well.

dregamr says ...
Jan 2, 2016 @ 12:29pm

Interesting game.I liked it! :)

Warboys says ...
Jan 3, 2016 @ 9:18pm

This was really nice. I like the writing a lot and it's very impressive how you've created such distinctive characters in such a short time. That Simon guy has ISSUES :P

Loved the Tennis mini-game btw, very inventive.

Jan 3, 2016 @ 9:39pm

Cool Game! I liked the Mechanics, I wish I knew what happened after the story! Hope you make more!

Jan 3, 2016 @ 10:09pm

[ETC from Creative Sectors]
It was a little quick, but after multiple tries I got a lot of content. I really like this interactive fantasy setting you have. I really enjoyed your minigames too.

themadknights says ...
Jan 4, 2016 @ 11:21am

Really good entry.

Mar 29, 2016 @ 12:56am

Really interesting game. I included it in my Ludum Dare 34 compilation video series, if you’d like to check it out :)

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