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

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Grab & Defend

by fragileannihilator - Jam Entry

Grab stuff with a mechanical hand and throw it into enemies attacking your castle - The Placeholder Army (pun intended)

YES, the hand is quite hard to control, but that's the point! Once you master the controls, the game becomes not that hard. Make use of inertia! Rotate the hand and move the machine simultaneously to get max kinetic energy.

If you feel that the game is WAY TOO HARD, please, write a commenat about it.
TIP: If you get lost with what keys to press, just try holding Q+W+E or A+S+D simultaneously to move the entire hand at once. You won'nt beat the game if you try to control each joint individually. Move them all at once.

Q/W/E - rotate joints clockwise
A/S/D - rotate joints counter-clockwise
Space - grab/throw stuff
left/right arrows - move


Engine: Construct 2
Art: Paint.Net, Spriter (post-jam animations)
Sound: Zoom H2n + Audacity
Music: cgMusic, Cubase 7LE, VST

The game was made by myself within 72 hours.
Music I was listening to during development: Ice ages, Goethes Erben


[30.08.2016] v1.0.1
- Shooting through wall fixed

[31.08.2016] v1.0.2
- New tutorial
- Waves 1-4 rebalanced
From now on, this game version is considered Post-Jam

[09.09.2016] v1.1.1
- Enemy sprites reworked & animated
- "Arm" sprite reworked
- some visual effects (fire) added
- other minor changes

Downloads and Links


Remicy says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:57pm

Nice game! I like the controls and concept, really cool idea!

Gipzo says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:25pm

Interesting game, but way too hard.
If enemy is attacking the wall - it is unreal to kill him.
I think if joints will rotate faster, but with some inertia - it will be more fun.

P.S. Oh, you can shoot through the wall... that's make game much easier :)

Aug 30, 2016 @ 1:38pm

1) If enemy is attacking the wall - it is possible to kill him easily even with a log! It is easy once you master the controls.

2) 0_0 No, you actually can't shoot through the wall... It is a bug, probably

Smiley says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:42pm

nice idea but as you said a bit difficult.. the arm should have moved a bit faster..

SkullPixel says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:42pm

Okay, I finally managed to beat Waves 1 and 2. Nice job on the game, it's definitely a pretty unique concept for this Jam. I thought it was fun, and I liked the music too. My only suggestion is that wave 1 be made easier, because once I figured it out, it was fine, but that still took a little while.

dos says ...
Aug 30, 2016 @ 9:52pm

Oh crap, it is hard! I get lost with the keys all the time, and when I finally do what I meant to do, it's too slow to actually help me much - although it does become a bit easier with time, which makes me want to play again and again.

Good that you included that meet-the-controls-tutorial, it definitely helps :)

Strike says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:12am

I misunderstood completely the "tutorial" part that teaches you that wood log = fuel. So when on the next step you are introduced with both enemies and fireworks, I thought firework = weapon.

I have been dying 5 times not being able to do anything because the fireworks are totally useless against the first waves. It couldn't take it any more so I went to read comments hoping to find some clue about how to beat this game. Until I realise I was not supposed to use fireworks but logs on the enemies.

Once this painful part is passed, the game really becomes a good challenge where it's all about skills. It's really rewarding to manage to kill the very first enemy after to many tries. And it feels even better to beat the first wave. Now I want to keep playing it to see if I can reach the end.

Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:51am

Thanks for valuable feedback. I'll consider it and make changes to the game.

1)Log = both fuel and weapon.

2) You actually can use fireworks effectively even on vawes 1 and on... since you are good with controls. I probably shound not have introduced players with fireworks this early in the game.

wilsk says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 11:22am

I like the idea and the controls but I found it a bit difficult!

Lonely Vertex says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:16pm

Very nice idea. Controls are hard but once you get used to it, it's fine. However, I think it should move faster, it takes way to long to move from the resources part to the wall part.

ocarson says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:17pm

I am a big fan of abstract control schemes so i liked this, I didn't actually get off the first level though! Maybe making the firework "shot" a bit wider would help? Either way, cool game would like to see it developed a little further.

DespiteSoft says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 12:44pm

I was too confused by the multi-purpose of the wood. Especially because the hand of the arm just stopped moving when I almost had the fireworks directed straight down the wall... I thought I was just failing to control. Fireworks debuting in a later wave would be cool.
But the idea is very nice. I almost always wanted to control three joints at once, but I could not. I guess that would simplify the controls too much.

publicidadeba says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:11pm

The controls were hard, every will tell you that. But the creativity also there, I never seem anything like this before, not in the jam or outside of it! Props on that!

Cawrtz says ...
Aug 31, 2016 @ 1:25pm

Took me two takes on wave 1 to handle the mechanics but it is very doable. Maybe the level 1 should just be 1 enemy and allow only logs to demonstrate that it is also a weapon.
What really drove me crazy are the fireworks you can not aim to nearby enemies except in the 5 first seconds of the wave (when they are not too close of the wall). The candies idea gave me a good laugh ; it brilliant to work around the firework problem but unfortunately the "distraction time" is insufficient to reload.

Apart from the level design issues which are think are mostly easy fixes, great use of the theme ; very cool, well-implemented game mechanics, and pretty graphics. Well done!

Aug 31, 2016 @ 5:39pm

Thanks for feedback.

1)The fireworks are long-range weapons, you can't kill enemies which are more than halfway to the wall with it, I made it on purpose. Log, however, is a universal weapon, it can kill enemies at any distance. There's also TNT, which is best for destroying crowds standing in front of the wall.

2) In fact, there's no "distraction time" with candies, it's the amount of candies inside the box. More enemies eat faster :) I'll add a bar displaying how many are left.

Aug 31, 2016 @ 9:18pm


game updated

In new version:

- New tutorial
- Waves 1-3 rebalanced

thomz12 says ...
Sep 1, 2016 @ 9:20am

Fun Game! Pretty difficulty, but had fun figuring out the controls!

indieyp says ...
Sep 2, 2016 @ 11:57am

Interesting mechanic, i think it's more playable if you add gamepad support

Skosnowich says ...
Sep 3, 2016 @ 7:33am

At first I didn't even manage to hit the first tutorial target. The first wave kinda felt easier than the tutorial for me. :D

But with a little practice it's a nice challenging game. I like the mechanics very much. Even though it feels a bit mean to lure the poor soldiers out with some candy and then smack wood logs at their heads.
Would've been nice if you also could push yourself off the wall with your arm. That way you could've managed to desperately get some fuel if you don't have anymore.

rodobodolfo says ...
Sep 7, 2016 @ 2:04am

I really like this entry, its very fun and addictive.
Some suggestions: velocity based hitpoints, it feels cheap to let them gather by the fence and just drop a log rather than firing a good 45 degree fast shot.
The crane mechanic is perfecct. maybe faster movement?
The "dont run out of gas near the wall" factor adds depth to the gameplay
Awesome game.

Ping78 says ...
Sep 11, 2016 @ 4:11pm

Good graphics and music. I survived all waves. Liked the mechanic and the variety of enemies. Planes didn't explode. Like other people already said about the speed of the arm I also think that speed should be increased. Would like to see it further developed in the future.

Sep 12, 2016 @ 6:10pm

Nice game. As other said, the controls are a bit difficult at the beginning, but after some time, it is intuitive. I enjoyed a lot. In my opinion,I would prefer a faster "hand" and the screen bigger *having to calculate better the throwing".

Sep 13, 2016 @ 10:39pm

Very nice game! I included it in my compilation video series of Ludum Dare 36, if you’d like to take a look :)

Reiv says ...
Sep 17, 2016 @ 11:21pm

Oh my! I really loved the mechanics! At first I was like "What the hell I'm doing?!" But you get the hang of it pretty soon. As a personal preference, a faster movement for the hand would've been nice. Maybe you can add an option to customize that in the future? who knows... Overall was a fun game!

invader says ...
Sep 18, 2016 @ 7:20pm

I love the steam catapult! The art is amazing and fits the theme perfectly.

It takes some time to get used to the control mechanics, but it feels great once you manage to press up to 3 buttons in combinations - that makes the movement swift and effective. The control itself is somehow resembles a hydraulic excavator.

Great game! And very well polished given the 72h timeframe!

invader says ...
Sep 19, 2016 @ 11:29am

btw, you appear to be in Kiev area. What do you think of making next LD a live event in some anti-café/coworking space and bring additional people on board?

I know at least a few who showed interest in LD and we even talked about making it live - that can bring more focus and inspiration. And definitely more games!

Sep 19, 2016 @ 8:21pm

You probably didn't notice the "post jam version" inscription at the bottom of the screen :) The original 72h version is not polished at all.

Yes, I live in Kiev. It probably would be cool to participate in a local LD event, never done that before.

TheBekka says ...
Sep 28, 2016 @ 4:26pm

very fun game nice job :)

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