It’s got MOON, it’s got NO TEXT, and it’s got blocky pixels, chirpy audio and all the other essentials!
This was a strange “compo”, but several interesting games came out of it and I had a good time working on mine. The 24-hour time limit was rather severly busted, but that’s fine I suppose. DQ means surprisingly little around here, especially since this compo had no voting.
As usual for me, the main idea was a technical one and involved using a sphere-mapped rectangular playing area. As one theme was “moon”, this seemed easy enough to work in. The actual game concept was undetermined until rather late in the process. At first I was thinking that maybe you’d drive across the moon in some vehicle, collecting things… but that didn’t happen, so I changed it. The final game is pretty cool imho, where you drop/stack colored chips onto the moon to make them disappear.
This all sounds very lame and boringly puzzly in theory, but the main challenge is the hideous control scheme. You don’t control your position directly, or even your speed, OR the acceleration – but the next-higher derivative! Tap right and you’ll see very little happen at first, but after a few seconds the moon starts slowly rotating in the chosen direction, and then it goes faster and faster unless you compensate in the other direction. It’s very easy to overcompensate and end up in an oscillating back-and-forth motion where you have no real grasp of what the hell you’re doing, but play the game enough and you can enter into a sort of zen state where you can “feel it” and get along pretty well. This is really essential, since you need to position yourself very accurately over the chips to avoid missing (and thereby creating a new stack which needs to be completed and removed).
Unsurprisingly, most people that tried the game hated it. Once I realized where it was going I pretty much tried to make it as evil as possible, much like a lot of old C64 games which you find in some old dusty drawer without a manual and have no idea whatsoever what to do with. You’d start a game and almost instantly die, and the controls weren’t obvious at all or severely broken. Ah, the heritage.
I’m really happy with the music though, sets the mood nicely. Imho the game is worth playing a few minutes for that aspect alone if you’re a retro geek.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read some instructions (that you shouldn’t really get if you want the full frustrating experience).
Download: Windows version (575 kB)
Quick instructions: Arrow keys to move/rotate, Z to drop chips. Do not drop like-colored chips on top of each other.
There’s a small cheat which might make the controls a tad easier to grasp – type “showyou” at any point to bring up an acceleration graph in the top-right corner.