Ludum Dare 36 — August 26th-29th, 2016 — Theme: Ancient Technology

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by Ryusui - Jam Entry

In ages long past, the Akrasian Empire ruled the world with their mastery of time and space, conquering their foes with weapons the likes of which the world has not seen again ten thousand years hence. Though a bitter succession war reduced their great cities to rubble, it is said that fragments of their ancient technology still lie buried deep beneath the earth...

Alas, all this is little concern to Pan-Terra Mining Corporation, a conglomerate that sees the Empire's ancient ruins as little more than an obstacle to the valuable mineral deposits buried underneath. You are an intrepid archaeologist who has discovered the location of a cache of priceless Akrasian artifacts - unfortunately, Pan-Terra is preparing to strip-mine the location, destroying the artifacts in the process. Dig deep, dig fast, save as many artifacts as you can, and find a way out before the beam reaches you...

Keyboard and gamepad controls supported. Arrow keys (or d-pad/analog stick) to move around and aim your shovel, Z (or A) to dig.

Collecting five artifacts of the same color will give you a powerup:

Buster (Red): A matter-rending weapon, once the bane of the Empire's enemies, now a powerful excavation tool in your hands. Fire it with X (or B) to instantly dig a hole five layers deep.
Shovel (Gray): Is it nanomachines? Strange temporal mechanics? A long-lost energy drink recipe? However it works, for ten seconds you will be able to dig more quickly through stubborn rock and stone.
Slowdown (Purple): Pan-Terra's mining beam takes time to eat through the ground. With this powerup, time is on your side: the ever-accelerating beam will be slowed down somewhat, giving you more breathing room to collect artifacts and find an exit.

These artifacts aren't the only remnants of the Empire's technology you will find: there are still-functioning teleporters in the form of glowing yellow-and-green tesseracts which will take you far away from the encroaching beam, artifacts safely in tow. But how much is enough? Do you take the first exit you find, or do you delve deeper, risking incineration for the sake of greater treasure? The choice is yours...just don't let the beam catch you, or all your work will be for naught!

Developed with ZeroBrane Studio.
Graphics created with Aseprite.
SFX created with Bfxr and Audacity.
Music created with FL Studio.

Special thanks to all my playtesters for their feedback!

Downloads and Links


Cryovat says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 2:04am

Everything works wonderfully here, the mechanic and controls are great, and the graphics are fitting.

Only slight criticism is that the music doesn't feel like it conveys the urgency of a huge laster following you. Apart from that I like it, reminds me of 10000000. :)

I hope you adapt this into a mobile game. It could fit very well on the platform!

Dietrich Epp says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 11:58pm

Wow, loved it! Wish it were a little harder, if anything. The mechanics were solid, the sounds and graphics fit, and everything just seemed to work well. The in-game instructions were definitely appreciated. The "ping" sound of picking up an artifact was a bit harsh / loud.

xesenix says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 12:20am

Very nice little game. I would suggest not switching players digging direction if i pressed up i dont want suddenly dig down if would i would press down :P. Also it would be good to add some additional obstacles or enemies that you need avoid.

tmpxyz says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 2:33am

The motion is quite smooth, though I think ending with enterning a portal is kind of abrupt.

johnasebok says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 3:42am

The good:
The player moves well and the graphics game me a little nostalgic feeling for playing Dig Dug. The music does have a subterranean vibe to it.

The Ok:
I never felt threatened by the giant laser. I could easily out dig it so I felt I could dig forever. Without the danger there was not much urgency to do the artifact hunting. So although the power ups were a neat mechanic and I was at first curious to explore them - I felt I was playing Pac-Man and I got a power pellet on a ghostless board.

Over a good submission though :)

Jimbly says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 4:14am


I gave up before the laser ever tarted threatening me.

Liked that there was an added bonus for each of the artifacts I was picking up, gave me a little reason to prefer one over the other.

Alphish says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 3:26pm

I totally dig the protagonist's animation.

Also, fun to play for a bit, but I've got to agree that the death beam is a bit untimidating. Also, maybe there could be some different endings depending on how far you advance, I dunno. Guess I'm just not the sort of person to get motivated just by getting higher and higher score.

(also, I kinda initially thought that the teleporter is the final game's goal, and I should get to it as soon as possible ^^')

akai_0okami says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 7:15pm

Really enjoyed this game, the art and audio is great and controls work great. I thought the difficulty was perfect, the beam might seem easy to outrun at first, but as you get deeper the harder it gets with all the rocks to dig through and the beam rapidly catches up with you. You can still just outrun it but you have to be selective about which artifacts to pick up and which path to take. Overall I thought this was a nice and challenging game.

Diptoman says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 10:54pm

Didn't like how fast the beam moved - a gradual progression might have built the tension more. Currently it's pretty much - you see the death beam and you're going to die in a few seconds. (Or I'm doing something horribly wrong.)

Apart from that, wonderful game. Unique, fits the theme and you have to actually plan and dig. Great work!

jsmars says ...
Sep 13, 2016 @ 6:14am

Really nice feel and controls. Really this type of feel is what all games need, way too many games are too floaty, slow and sluggish these days.. Should have been quite a bit more difficult tho!

Chaoslab says ...
Sep 13, 2016 @ 7:38pm

That was allot of fun! Nice pixel art and chippy audio. Enjoyed myself. Thanks for that! :-)

puppetmaster says ...
Sep 14, 2016 @ 9:06pm

Congrats!! This is a very cool arcade like game.
The soundfx fits perfect. Well done!

I would start the timer only after the first dig.

amras0000 says ...
Sep 14, 2016 @ 10:16pm

The game's fairly compelling and fun. The graphics are clear, the sound design works, the mechanics are clear and well communicated. Great job all around.

I've got a couple nitpicks:
The sound for picking up artifacts is a tiny bit earpiercing, but I know I'm more sensitive to high frequency beeps than most.
I'd have much preferred to be able to hold down the dig key instead of having to mash it. I might run a script to automate the mashing if I was playing this for longer, but it's always nicer when a game just lets me hold down the key.
It might also be that I only played near the surface, but the Pan-Terra mining beam felt far too slow to pose much of a challenge. It might get more difficult further down.
And as a potential improvement, I'd normally expect the mining beam to only start going once I start digging.

None of that affected my enjoyment of the game though. Nice work.

invader says ...
Sep 15, 2016 @ 11:37am

wow, it was intense- the beam makes it urgent and it becomes progressively harder to dig deeper over time.
Walls on the way are somehow irritating, since you don't see them unless hit. Other than that - fun and polished game

Sep 17, 2016 @ 8:44pm

Very nice graphics and sound!

I think the main issue is, as somebody else mentioned, the progression - once I first saw the beam, it was like 10 seconds before I basically had to either die or portal away.

I think that if the beam was slowly creeping up on you from the beginning it would be much more tense and maybe more fun. I guess there could also be difficulty levels as well.

Overall, the game is one of the most polished games I've seen - the graphics, sound, and gameplay all fit together very well. The only real problem is that the difficulty is not necessarily well tuned, but I think with a little bit of play testing that could be easily fixed.

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