This week, we’re covering games made for last weekend’s Ludum Dare, an online game development competition wherein contestants have exactly 48 hours to make a video game from scratch. Ludum Dare 17′s theme was “Islands”.
The thing about “islands” as a theme is that it’s a little more conceptually narrow than it might initially seem. Looking through the 204 submissions for Ludum Dare 17, you’ll notice that a few patterns tend emerge. The games are displayed alphabetically, so looking through the list, you might see Island Hermit Hop!, Island Jumping, and not one but two games called Island Hopping listed right next to each other and make the incorrect assumption that they’re all basically the same thing. They aren’t.
The Island Hopping I’m here to tell you about today is an intense, fast-paced first person platformer (and the first completed Ludum Dare submission) from Praetor57. In the game, you’re constantly moving forward, with your job being to leap from island to island falling into the ocean below. Your rate of speed and the distance between the islands increases as the game continues, making it an increasingly frantic struggle to say alive. Between that and the procedurally assembled courses, it wouldn’t be totally unfair to call the game a sort of 3D Canabalt - and that’s not an insult. The whole thing is actually kind of exhilarating.
There’s a little depth to this one, too. If you’re worried about overshooting or undershooting a landing, you can subtly adjust your trajectory in mid-air by looking up or down. The scoring system isn’t anything to scoff at either: green islands give you 500 points, and red islands lose you 500 points. Landing on multiple green islands in a row forms a chain that gives you increasingly large bonuses the longer you can keep it up. In addition, grey islands give you 50 points, and orange islands give you 50 points and a power-up. It’s all pretty rad and in-depth stuff. There was some serious time and thought put into this game, and it shows. (No, really – it literally shows). All the effort put into the scoring system, though, kind of just makes the fact that the game doesn’t track high scores all the more puzzling.
Overall, Island Hopping is a blast, and the sessions are short enough that it can potentially suck you in for far too long with that seductive just-one-more-round mentality.
What did you think of Island Hopping? Let us know in the comments!