Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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Wood for the Trees

by ratking - Jam Entry

A personal adventure game.

You probably enjoy this game more if you take your time and read the texts. (Really, it's crucial for some of the puzzles.)

Unfortunately I didn't have time to add sound effects, sorry! Music by Johannes-Paul and Ludwig Hanisch. Trees generated with HappyTree by Sol_HSA. Used font is "Bree Serif".

PS: The theme is in the environment and in the story, somehow.


[spoilers]Yes, the first part loops forever. Unless you solve the first puzzle. For this, read the first inner monologue carefully, and examine the lampposts.[/spoiler]

Downloads and Links




KhaoTom says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 4:35am

Really neat presentation. The first step is hard, but once I knew how to explore it really came together. Don't really understand the story, but I can tell its personal and a feeling did come across.

iendsl says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 5:51am

Really beautiful. I felt a little frustrated at what I could and couldn't click. A way to read the previous text would really help solve the puzzles. At first I didn't even realize I was being puzzled, just thought It would be narrative :*) but great mood and beautiful and cool style. I look forward to seeing more of this game.

the31 says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 6:31am

Really really cool visuals, and deep story. I really like the way you did the arbitrary room movement--without anchor points I think it would be harder to recognize what the navigation was doing. I could have used that spoiler for the first puzzle when I played it--I didn't understand how interacting with things worked, so I looped around for a while without realizing that I should be doing something. It made for a very pretty walk, though!

icefallgames says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:17am

It's really beautiful, I absolutely love the presentation and the feel. It is a bit confusing to play, but I at least reached all the points I see in the screenshots.

I agree with someone else here that wrote that it feels like a very personal story. Games are definitely a great medium for storytelling!

aidanmarkham says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:59am

Holy crap was that good. It was challenging to solve, but I'm so glad I stuck with it. The narrative you gave us was simple, but striking. This is possibly my favorite entry I've played thus far!

02fc.exe says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:39am

I love this game. Graphics and sound are awesome. I can't say something about gameplay, because haven't played games like that yet, but I like it too.

aemiliu5 says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 11:32am

graphics and music are awesome!
though i was really confused with the looping environment...
nice entry!

LeoM says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 11:46am

Yay ! I manage to finish it ! :)

Great mood, but a bit frustrating sometimes when you are lost.
Nice work.

Ogniok says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:35pm

Very nice game! The art looks amazing. And that looping maps... great idea! :D

Sean says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:50pm

You really nailed the visuals!

I was confused as to why you separated the interaction and mouselook though. Was there any particular reason you didn't just use the center of the screen as a pointer?

kestrelgames says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:55pm

this is awesome, I love the sound design and visual feel. The atmosphere is very well-realised -- and the looping concept is genius.

panurge says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:56pm

Fantastic mood and an intriguing story, beautifully told. I'm just frustrated that I couldn't complete it (I think) - I got stuck after I found the 'figure' (trying to give no spoilers here!) and couldn't work out how to proceed.

Anyway, high marks all round. This is really good work.

ratking says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:13pm

Thank you all for playing, and the nice comments!

@Sean: I don't like it when games catch your mouse cursor if it's not 100% necessary, so I figured it would be nice to separate it that way. In the end it's only an experiment.

@panurge: I'm not sure if you talked to him already? If so, you can always click more than once on something...

Tijn says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 8:33pm

A *very* nice game, this! It's a very organic experience, despite the huge pixels. I liked how natural the puzzles flow into each other. And even though the music wasn't made for this specifically, it still works very well.

Looking around was a bit hard with a touchpad, which is a shame, because looking around is also one of the nicest things to do in such a game. Spotting a hidden note can be really rewarding, so I like to look around as much as possible!

Nevertheless this was truly a joy in every possible sense. What I especially liked was the looping. It made the space feel quite large, but simultaneously nothing was ever far away and you can't get lost. Very very clever!

James Coote says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 10:33pm

I love the shrinking trees and messing with my sense of geography, though reading the spoilers before helped a lot! (Was thinking before then that this was a _really_ small game).

Be nice if I could re-read some of the texts, as I got a bit stuck at one point and one of the clues I only half read, so not sure if I missed something or not.

Otherwise, looks fantastic and music fits well. I like that it's not dark, but still has an air of mystery and expectation. (Reminds me of eating outdoors on hot summer evenings).

I didn't like the 4th wall breaking with one bit of text/dialogue though. That kinda threw me for a bit.

JefePapaya says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 5:23am

This navigation is just magic. I try not to think about the implementation because I just don't want to spoil it.

One day I will be a magician like you.

Also the music is *-*. Don't even have enough words to describe how I loved it.


sol_hsa says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:29am

Okay, I'm done. This is the best one in LD35 that I've played.

Geti says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:32am

Lovely, and very personal-feeling. Agree about being able to read the previous hint again though, haha

tentacode says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 7:54pm

Beautiful but very hard to get :)

Apr 21, 2016 @ 7:28pm

Don't apologise about the lack of sound effects - I think just-music actually works quite well for the watching-through-a-haze kind of atmosphere.

And I would not have thought that kind of pixel-art effect would work well in 3D, but it really does. I'm very impressed!

fullmontis says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 4:33pm

Wonderful atmosphere, and realy interesting visual style you went for! It can get a little hard to get untangled because the movement is so confusing, but that is probably just a minor annoyance.

Apr 22, 2016 @ 5:28pm

Nice entry! Really beautiful and personal. Loved the mood and the narrative.

jakass says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 5:54pm

Look at this graphics!!! This game is an Art!

glbs says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 7:52pm

Thank you for this game. The set up and the way the places unfold make it an intriguing and immersive experience.
I'm a bit frustrated being blocked at some point actually, I'd enjoy to see the conclusion -Reading the comments, there seems to be more- I found the figure also but couldn't talk to it, nor after revisiting the whole place...
If you got a hint I'd be glad to replay.

euske says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 12:37am

The whole atmosphere was very nice (or whatever, the "mood" thingy that people are talking). The story was a little bit too introspective to me, but I guess it probably tells your character.

ratking says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 1:44am

@gkbs, you have to tell where you're stuck exactly. The "figure" only talks to you at a certain point, so to reach that point you have to do some things. If you want you can watch this walkthrough, but it's not by me:

SteveSalmond says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 6:04am

I didn't read the starting instructions carefully and was initially confused. I wandered down an endless road for a few minutes, gave up, then realized my mistake when returning to this page. After that it was awesome! I love the way the wrapping rooms collapse the search space but still give you the sense you're in a large environment. Very cool experiment, great job.

Chaoslab says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 7:12am

That was pretty darn cool. Thanks.

Freank says ...
Apr 23, 2016 @ 3:25pm

Hi, nice game ! We're realizing a video with several games of the Ludum Dare #35.
Can you add your game on ? (it's free)
So we can include also your game in the video ;)
p.s. write #LDJAM in the game's description

Jeasonfire says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 11:24pm

Didn't finish it, got to the point where I got the shovel :/ Oops, spoilers!

But oh well, I'm not good at adventure games anyway. Still, the game was quite good. The graphics are really cool, the trees' animation for example, and I like the pixely look. The music adds to the very slightly supernatural feel of it all. The movement could've been a bit more free, but I understand why it's not. Having the mouselook be a toggle, instead of holding it would've been a plus, but that's just my preference.

Overall, a very interesting experience. I like it!

Lokarunith says ...
Apr 24, 2016 @ 11:26pm

Beautiful game!

derr says ...
Apr 26, 2016 @ 8:12am

Great piece of artwork. I was really confused at first but the mood and graphics pulled me in. Good job with the intrigue factor. :)

Apr 26, 2016 @ 5:40pm


Let's start with some short criticism (I have to try hard):
The ability to re-read previous notes would be very nice for those with short memories (like me).
But actually upon finishing the game, the only parts that gave me trouble were:
1. The very beginning, I just kind of walked around and missed the first text about the color and then I couldn't reread it; I restarted and it was fine
2. The graveyard part, which took maybe a few too many repeats to give me the note so at first I gave up and looked elsewhere; restarted here too to re-read the note, and got it then

I think in both these cases, just having the previous notes for reference would help.
The theme application is quite vague, I suppose, but at least you don't have "me too" game with the same obvious mechanics (my own included).

That's pretty much it. The rest is mostly just really good. It's well developed, has a start (figuring out the mechanics), middle (working through the puzzles) and end (well, sort of).
The art style is really nice, even without the pixely shader (which I do like though) I think it would look great. The music is definitely not bad, but maybe also doesn't stand out as exceptional. Some sound effects like when picking up items would be a nice bit of extra polish.

I really like the grid based movement with a free camera, it's like Myst meets Legend of Grimrock, and I do love how each "area" kind of morphs into existence as you move.

bodsey says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 2:00pm

Can't say I understood anything, but amazing mood nonetheless, congrats

Riftpoint says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 7:02pm

Very cool game, I really loved the pixel shader! The mood is amazing too

SUNFURY says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 7:50pm

Wow! Amazing!
The mood is awesome, it looks great,
It's a really good game, and like the storytelling.
Sometimes I didn't have enough time to read the note, it would be nice if you could read it again

RyanMan56 says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 7:54pm

This was so trippy, good job, I really enjoyed it and the abstract story!

puppetmaster says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 8:00pm

Great art! I like the background music. It give the game some mystical touch! Keep up the good work

local minimum says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 8:13pm

Really very some superlative great! The visual effect on the transitions the puzzle of navigating (a bit on the hard side, especially the first bit). And then the mood of it. If I were to complain, I think it would be nicer to drop the right mouse button for directing the gaze or not use the left mouse button to select. I didn't get to the end, I think, because I think I couldn't find a key. But the game was very good indeed even if I didn't get to see the conclusion.

CliffracerX says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 8:36pm

This is a gem, despite how short it was. The graphics are beautiful, the puzzles are interesting, and the use of the theme was innovative and unique.

Would love to see a much-expanded post-jam version released on Steam or something - I bet it would be popular!

pixelpotions says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 10:54pm

Wow impressive! Love the graphics and this game has such a compelling story and atmosphere. Bravo! My only gripe with it is the inability to look at the notes on my own leisure.

dcolgan says ...
Apr 28, 2016 @ 11:55pm

Pretty hard to get started, but once I figured out what was happening I got the hang of it. Very nice visual styles and good music.

Nnnnneeeedddd says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 3:49pm

This game is amazing! These graphics are amazing, just amazing. Not sure about the gameplay, I couldn't do it, so I am just gonna assume the rest was good. Great game!

Naca says ...
Apr 29, 2016 @ 8:23pm

I liked it very much. I was totally absorbed by this looping world. You've made a great work with this maze-like adventure. Hints were perfect to squeeze a bit your brain: not too easy, but not too hard. Visuals are very good too! I felt like there was an actual backstory for this, but I didn't catch it though. I think it would be good to tell a little bit more detail, less abstract, and let us enter the story. Anyway, congratulations!

OddballDave says ...
May 4, 2016 @ 10:02pm

Great looking entry. I got stuck in the end so didn't manage to finish it. But enjoyed what I did see.

Good stuff.

Simon says ...
May 5, 2016 @ 1:52pm

Loved it!

Ellian says ...
May 8, 2016 @ 1:19pm

Fantasticly made. Art style is amazing, atmosphere is great, and a neat little adventure.
Amazing work, really! It's so damn well made

voxel says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 1:17am your game made me emotional. Lets all have a hug

g12345 says ...
May 9, 2016 @ 7:51pm

You told me in chat to give you top marks, well, after finishing the game I feel you deserve it (well, mostly).

An kinda art game, with great visual and atmosphere, some puzzles and a story. That's quite a lot even for a jam game.

The story doesn't do much to me, but that's more likely my problem and not yours. I also finished it on my first run so I might missed some details too.

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