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

NOTE: Because of the Theme tie, we allowed everyone to pick either Theme. Using both was optional. To keep things simple, there will still only be one Theme category. Every category in Ludum Dare voting is an opinion, so you’re welcome to rate them as you see fit. But we encourage you to be fair in your scores to people that chose only one Theme, and not both.

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by TheMeorch - Jam Entry

Make your way through the unknown as the guardian of a lost child.
Experience multiple phases of the child's life -- each with its own gameplay variations.


CONTROLS (for customizable controls, check out the post-jam version!)
Q: Move/attack northwest
W: Move/attack northeast
A: Move/attack southwest
S: Move/attack southeast
Z: Turn left
X: Turn right
Spacebar: End your turn


Red heart icons represent your health.
Green fist icons represent your strength.
Blue foot icons represent your energy -- MOVING COSTS 2 ENERGY. ATTACKING COSTS 3 ENERGY.

To open an exit, find 2 keys by searching your surroundings and defeating enemies.


Press F to toggle fullscreen (download version only).

Alternate controls for AZERTY keyboards (selectable on the title screen): A/Z/Q/S to move or strike. W/X to turn.


Update: I've made a post-jam version with a few new options (accessible by clicking the pause icon in the lower-right corner during your turn).
- Remap controls (letter keys only)
- Faster turns
- Restart level
Also, I've added additional movement controls to the arrow keys and numpad.

Downloads and Links




KhaoTom says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 4:18am

Fantastic. Themes of growing and nurturing very strong in each level. Game mechanics support overall themes. Sacrifice as another component was a nice touch that wraps up well in the end. The game took a little experimenting with to grok the mechanics, but it all comes together pretty well. Well worth the play time.

Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:15am

Very cool idea, love how the gameplay evolves with the theme. Each puzzle feels well constructed and thought out. I don't have children, but this is basically what I imagine parenthood to be.

Weeping Rupee says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:43am

was I doing something wrong or could you not attack after picking up the baby?

TheMeorch says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:46am

Not doing anything wrong -- your hands were just full!

GogglesKitty says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:13am

I would gladly play for a complete version of this. That's pretty rare from a Ludum Dare game. This is honestly the best game I've played from this whole thing so far! Very nice work.

Caspila says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 6:16am

Really nice concept. I enjoyed playing the game quite a bit and found it quite challenging sometimes. The whole guardian thing at first and then knowing that your protege must also get some hits in order for both of you to succeed is really cool. I wish enemies animations were a bit fast though. Controls could also get better.

shadow64 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 7:34am

A great sense of dread came over me in certain moments, so the game definitely has mood going for it. Love the concept. And the gameplay works. The one issue I'd love to see fixed somehow in an expanded version is that once you've moved, you can't undo. In some cases I thought I was striking an enemy but instead I just moved and I wished I could undo that. Also being able to restart the level at any point would be good, but again - for a later date. Overall a fantastic entry and incredible that it was done in 72. Congrats!

zenmumbler says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:09am

Good extended take on the theme. Certainly not easy, with or without weapons! Shame that it has no sound. Nice!

Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:52am

Fantastic work, love this sort of turn based combat! Found some of the various mechanics for controlling both characters to be a bit of a pain though. I guess it was intended to feel like a burden - but I just enjoyed the simpler levels most.

Genuinely loved the ground-targeted enemy attack forcing you to move a certain way. All the sprites and their animations were perfect, too! Loved the teleporting guys. It all just felt 'right'.

Didn't quite get the point of the keys since it seemed like it would be harder not to kill everything before progessing. The mechanic for giving up power to train the child was interesting. Kinda nice to feel the main character growing weaker as a source of difficulty. I usually find this kinda 'moralizing' mechanic a bit trite - I assume the result of not doing it is a 'gotcha!' near-impossible final mission? I've not played both ways, so maybe I'm missing something, but I would assume that means an easier final mission for player who challenge themselves and a hard final mission for players who want an easy time!

Anyway, that's kinda nit-picking. I loved this - easily one of the best game I've played this LD.

Oh! I did have a hard time remembering which button was which direction! I think regular ol' WASD (designating one diagonal 'up') woulda felt more natural. Although that's just a guess!

mattlevonian says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:53am

This is probably the best game I've played from this jam so far. The execution on the theme is perfect, and the combat puzzles were very intelligently laid out. The only issues I had were the graphics and the control scheme (I got screwed by the weird controls a couple of times), but those are nitpicks. Very cool idea, very good execution on the idea.

simon.parzer says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 1:18am

The HTML5 version was sooooo slow, but the Windows build was ok. It took a while for me to figure out some strategies but then I enjoyed it a lot considering that I'm usually not a fan of turn based strategy. Well done!

Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:41am

Fantastically well done, would gladly pay for a polished version. Only suggestion would be to color squares where enemies are standing, or otherwise indicate where they are; I had trouble discerning which direction I needed to swing to strike the bats in particular.

Mr_Fudd says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 5:08am

I was pretty confused for a while, but it made sense once I got the controls down. Wish there was sound to go with it. I stopped playing because it took too long for enemies' turns to play out.

Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:52pm

On behalf of all the azerty players, thanks ! :D

PowerSpark says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 4:47am

I liked it.

Aerohand says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 7:12am

nice work. the control is pretty confusing though...

qwetro says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 7:25am

The control is a bit confusing at first. You did the balance well. Nice game.

NoWandStudios says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 5:29pm

You should check the controls :s. t took me a while understanding how mechanics work

CatOnMars says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 11:39pm

I think it's really ambitious to do a turn-based strategic game in LD. I like turn-based game though!
I think the Q/W/A/S scheme is a bit awkward, consider restrict player only doing action on the facing direction. And IMO it's nice to add some sound effects to it.
Well done!

pianoman373 says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 4:39am

Pretty cool puzzle game. I think the controls are kinda confusing though.

sonelliot says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 6:14am

Amazing game! This game is very unique and super fun. All I can say is that I hope you make a post-jam version! :-)

psychomonster says ...
Dec 19, 2015 @ 10:17pm

+1 artwork, +1 isometric, +1 gameplay. Thats a really funny game. Enjoyed playing it :) Why are graphics rating not allowed :D

Hot Box Games says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:35pm

Great idea, great execution!
Interesting puzzles and very engaging, good job dude!

muffty says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:22pm

Noooo!! I had fun sacrificing as much as possible. And once my child got all the powers, the game crushed :(

Push :: Execution Error - Variable Get -5.currentKidEnergy(100039, -2147483648)
at gml_Object_obj_spacebar_end_turn_Step_0

TheMeorch says ...
Dec 20, 2015 @ 9:37pm

@muffty -- Oh no, sorry about the crash! Thanks for the info. I've updated the post-jam version -- it should be fixed now.

Dec 21, 2015 @ 12:27am

great graphics, and vibe

justinooncx says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 1:25am

A very interesting game! Even without sound, the mood can be felt quite clearly. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish it...

mr. a says ...
Dec 21, 2015 @ 11:29pm

Excellent mood!

I stumbled over the controls initially (the presence of the rotation controls made things a little more confusing too), but eventually got a feel for it.

Conceptually, I like the puzzles, but keep bouncing off the hands-busy-with-baby ones. I'm sure having all these LD games to play is making me less patient than usual, but said puzzles do feel like they could be tightened up a bit. The inability to attack could also be made a little more explicit -- perhaps just by greying out the attack icons -- as I kinda expected him to be able to just redistribute the baby (into one hand/arm-crook, onto the ground, into a bundle, etc) while attacking. I think the slowness (though it works very well for the mood) is also off-putting, patience-wise.

I'm kinda hooked by the minimalist narrative, subtle, world-building and elements of sacrifice, though. Looking forward to checking out the post-jam version after voting's over.

Aaranos says ...
Dec 23, 2015 @ 6:13pm

The controls don't quite move intuitively. WASD would of been better in my opinion than QWAS. After getting past that it was actually quite smooth to play. Nice job.

ciaodavinci says ...
Dec 29, 2015 @ 5:32pm

Great game. I was a bit confused at the beginning when I could not attack when I was carrying the baby, but it made sense after a short while. Felt the middle levels were the most challenging. Really enjoyed the narrative and the sacrifice mechanic! Would be great to integrate some sound, if you continue working on it. Nice job!

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