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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Nine till Void

by Ben Allen - Jam Entry

First LDJAM entry

You are an trans-dimensional treasure hunter, shifting through planes of existence for treasure and artifacts. You've stumbled on some particularly unstable dimensions that could collapse at any moment. Traverse quickly, but don't forget the treasure!

Spacebar - scroll
Enter - select

Although the game is best played knowing nothing, there is a complete game manual available with the download (PDF). The manual is meant to be used after you try the game a few times and don't want to learn everything yourself.

Post what level you got to and how many kills you get!
My current highscore is 69 kills on level 6.

Downloads and Links




napoleon says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 9:50pm


blohod says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:05pm

that was fun, I had to use the manual though

Reggianito says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:28pm

I love cryptic games where you need a manual by your side to play, so this was an extremely fun experience.

Loved the style, the gameplay was fun, I would have made it a bit easier to get coins, because running out of them is why I died almost every time. But other than that, an amazingly solid experience. Would love to see more from this game.

dalbinblue says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:30pm

As recommended, I played once before reading the manual to try figuring out the game, and a second time after looking through the manual. I actually think I appreciated the game much more after looking at the manual, at the very least I understood the enemies a lot more.

I really like the game. It's very board game like, reminding me a little of forbidden island for some reason. Actually would love to see this as a board game with multiple players. The only difficult I could see is implementing the random teleport, but otherwise, it feels like a good fit.

While I like the game a lot, there were two things that were annoying:
1. The controls were a bit annoying. I understand you were using the theme two buttons, and it works, but I moved the wrong way several times due to the mechanic, and just wanted to use arrow keys to navigate.
2. The symbology used was odd. Specifically, several of the symbols look like they would be more appropriate for other actions. For example, the bomb or teleports looks like it would be better for laser, and the +3 coins would look better for the bomb.

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 14, 2015 @ 11:38pm

Thanks guys!

@dalbinblue I agree with what you said about manual use and changed the description. I hope to add more to this game in the future and make the movement use the arrow keys. I was just reeeeeally stubborn with the theme.

@Reggianito yeah coins can be a sad death. Move 4 and coin up are great for replenishing them though!

srakowski says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 12:43am

Really great game. I did try at least a little while without the manual, but yeah, I had to use it :). Very cool, well done!

ORECROS says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:04am

This reminds me alot of my dwarf fortress days. No idea what that thing does, oh, it kills me. there goes 4 hours of gameplay. just condensed really small.

bushmango says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:07am

This would be awesome on a tablet or phone I think. The manual made it more fun for me :) I'm trying to think of a way to make it easier for mere mortals without the manual, but maybe that would ruin the fun. Smaller starting levels and you have to unlock harder items?

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 1:13am

@ORECROS Yep! That's the idea. I'm not a huge fan of trial and error stuff but I think it works well here because of how quickly your runs usually end, so there isn't too much punishment.

@bushmango Yeah I want to work on this more at some point, and maybe work towards other platforms like mobile. I think having the item symbols correlate more towards what they do would help a lot, but at the same time I don't want to make everything really obvious, because that's a lot of the fun.

ORECROS says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:02am

I do hope you re-release with a better control scheme after the competition

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 2:06am

@ORECROS Yeah totally! I already have ideas for it.

Tyler says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 8:58pm

Wonderful game, though the graphics were almost too cryptic. I kept thinking that one power up was the laser. Very difficult, but part of the game. Really well made!!

pjimmy says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:43pm

Awesome! I love this game :D well done!

Bobsleigh says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:44pm

Had a weird feeling of exploration and discovery while playing. It was pretty good. The sound effects without ambiant music were a bit harsh on me. Liked it overall.

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:51pm

@Everyone above this comment Thanks! Yeah the main thing I was going for is making it as cryptic as possible while still being possible to understand without the manual. Exploration definitely goes into that. Sorry about sound being loud :(

thejimster82 says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:59pm

This is really awesome I have to say, it is amazing how many different functions you got into the game in the time period. I really liked the manual as I would have no idea what to do if it weren't for that thing to help me out. That being said, the fact that you needed a manual is pretty cool because it means that the game is very complex. The other thing I liked was that I could see this being very addicting in terms of trying to get to a higher score, mainly because there are so many different things at play that are trying to kill you that if you don't know what you are doing you can slip up very easily. Overall this is great.

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 10:23pm

@thejimster82 Thanks! Highscores are definitely something I love in games. One thing that I'm really happy with is that I still don't really know the best way to play the game. Even when you know everything about the game, I don't know what combos are actually the best for getting far and getting lots of kills. The second screenshot is my current highscore, and I don't really know how I even pulled it off. After ratings come in I hope to work on the game some more and maybe have global leaderboards and seeded runs etc.

alvarop says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 4:22am

This gets the perfect score from me. I like bold games, with innovative gameplay ideas and a strong game design philosophy. This game is not only cryptic, but it is also solid on its reflexion on the genre that it's borrowing from, the art-style that it employs as well as the theme from this LD edition.

One of my personal favorites so far.

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 6:59am

Thanks alvarop, glad you liked it so much.

Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:21am

I was surprised I could figured any of the items out. I think a tutorial would improve the game dramatically. However, the strategy was appealing and seemed pretty deep.

klianc09 says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:45am

Man, I really love this game, it's one of those awesome rouge-likes where every turn, every step you take matters and makes you think. Reading the manual just makes it so much better. Just some things could be better 'readable' (e.g. the blinking void space looks so innocuous, and one can't see bombs that are below enemies).

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 8:01pm

@klianc09 oo, I thought I made it so enemies wouldn't step over bombs. Maybe they're spawning on top of them?? I'll fix that in the post-jam version (which will exist!)

euske says ...
Dec 31, 2015 @ 9:43am

Played a few times without the manual as suggested. As other people have pointed out, I don't think it's realistic to expect anyone to figure out the complex rule without it. The game itself was pretty fun and addictive. Good job!

Ben Allen says ...
Dec 31, 2015 @ 7:36pm

@euske glad you liked it! Yeah I'm currently working on a post jam version which shows the name of the item (which is self-descriptive) at the bottom of the screen when you hover over it in the item panel. I also am adding a tutorial, fixing up the controls, adding new items, fixing bugs, and adding some secrets and an ending. It should make the game better in pretty much every way, and I'm really liking how its coming. I'll post about it and soon.

ChuiGum says ...
Dec 31, 2015 @ 11:52pm

Very innovative!

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