There are a ton of game jams happening online at any point during the year. Many of these jams follow a theme and a timeframe, giving developers the challenge of creating a game within a specific jam’s restrictions. I am able to record loads of these games for each and almost every game jam. As I record them all, I pick out games that stand out to me and games I love from each individual jam. This article contains the games I love from the 365 Indies Jam.
The 365 Indies Jam is a yearly game jam which focuses around creating a game within ten days. This jam is open for everyone, although the jam page is in Portuguese, as it is run by Portuguese game developers. This year’s theme was ‘Death is Useful’. I’ve played through all of the submitted games in my compilation video series and below are a few of my favorites, in a random order.
What Kills You Makes You Stronger!! A Magician’s Quest for Immortality
What Kills You Makes You Stronger!! A Magician’s Quest for Immortality is a retro puzzle-platformer where you must die to gain the attacks to move forward! You are a frail magician who only has one life, but is trapped in Death’s dungeon. As you only have this one life, you are forced back to the start of the level each time you die. This isn’t always a bad thing — although frail, you are a powerful magician who can take on the power of whatever last killed him, gaining immunity to the creature while in its form.
This means that if you are killed by a fire-breathing dragon, you get to breathe fire! and are also immune to fire until you die by somebody else’s hand. There are several different enemies and as such, various different powers to consume. Some even change the environment around them, like electricity turning on movable platforms, or spraying ice to freeze water. Many levels have more than one type of enemy, so you need to figure out which powers to take on and how to use them to pass the level. What Kills You Makes You Stronger!! A Magician’s Quest for Immortality is a really nice concept, and one done very well for this jam!
Blood Decay is a defence game where you must spawn monsters to attack the other side’s castle. However, instead of earning gold when you kill enemies, your monsters gain their blood! Your monsters store their enemies’ blood inside their body until they die, then it is returned to your castle. Blood is the currency in Blood Decay, but not receiving your reward until your monsters have died adds a big twist. It does take some time to spawn in a new zombie or spider, so you need to make sure you are safe during that time.
For a bigger blood boost, you can obliterate your entire army, gaining double the blood they held, once every sixty seconds. Though Blood Decay only has a single level (which you can play at easy, medium or hard difficulty), I really enjoyed the unique aspect of this game.
XCOW is a charming shooter where you take on the role of a farmer looking to protect his cows and you do so with the help of the Grim Reaper himself. Aliens are invading the Earth, but they don’t wish to harm humans — they just want to take all of our cows! As a farmer, you have a lot of beloved cows and you have decided that these cows will not be harvested by some random space creatures. You decide to go out and fight to save as many of your dear cows as you can. However, aliens are much stronger than humans, and they instantly kill you.
Our story doesn’t end here. The Grim Reaper came to take your soul and found that you had died before your time. As an apology for this mix-up, he gave you the power to build walls, then brought you back to life. You now have to carry your cows from the pasture into the barn (defending the barn with a wall) while avoiding aliens. Aliens, of course, are armed with guns — but you have your own shotgun. You can collect their guns as well and shoot back at the creatures, but you will not be able to shoot when holding a cow, so you need to focus on avoiding enemy bullets. It’s up to you to save as many cows as possible before the aliens take everything you love…
Enivaldo, O Coveiro
Enivaldo, O Coveiro is a super-fun, single-screen platformer where you dig graves and earn cash! You are a gravedigger, scaling platforms and burying coffins as they fall from the sky. Each coffin falls until it hits a platform — once resting on the ground, you can dig the grave under it by shoveling three times. To the right side of the coffin, a timer counts down. If that timer disappears and the grave is not dug, the person turns into a zombie, walking around the level and looking to hurt you. If you do dig their grave in time, you see an explosion of coins, which can be collected to add to your score.
Devils also fall from the sky and these move much faster than zombies. Both of these creatures can be hit with your shovel until they fall down and die. As more and more enemies appear, it becomes much more challenging to avoid them as you try to keep up with the demand of graves.
Harry the Rabbit
Harry the Rabbit is a simple little platformer, split between an adorable world with a cartoon rabbit and a secondary world of horror and death. When alive, you live in a colorful world with charming music, simply looking to get to your favorite carrot. There are lots of dangers in the world, but you shouldn’t be afraid of death. If you hit a spike or find a way to die, you are transported into the other version of the world.
This version of the world is sinister. With your body cast aside, you become a ghost — not as bogged down by gravity and walls. Buttons even appear, which you can press before returning to your corpse. Then you can go back into your body and resume your search for your carrot. Harry the Rabbit has some challenging puzzles and a few surprises tucked up its sleeve, despite it being a quick little game.
Super CapyBros. 4 Advance
Super CapyBros. 4 Advance is a super-challenging action platformer where you must cycle through different characters, each with different weapons. Much like Super Crate Block, this game is made up of platforms on a single screen. Various enemies appear on these platforms, moving towards the bottom, before disappearing into a gap in the floor and reappearing at the top of the screen. You start off in a very safe area below the middle platform, waiting to jump out and attack.
You can choose one of three attacks: fireballs, bombs or arrows. With these attacks you must kill as many enemies as you can and survive for as long as possible. From time to time, orbs appear in the center of the screen — you can pick them up to force a ‘zen mode’ where enemies move slower. If you last long enough against these monsters, a giant boss comes along to really challenge you. Dying in the normal game doesn’t matter too much, but dying while facing a boss could render it Game Over. Super CapyBros. 4 Advance is quite hectic and chaotic, which adds a lot to the fun of the game!
Crayon Adventures is an adorable platformer where you become a crayon who wants bring color to the world around you. As you move through each level, your crayon colors everything! Like a normal crayon, the more area you cover, the more the crayon shrinks. Slowly, it becomes too small to color anymore, and fades away. Don’t fret, though, as you get a new crayon to continue on with from wherever you were last on stable ground.
Aside from the brilliant coloring, Crayon Adventures slowly becomes a challenging platformer — where platforms move and disappear, and jumps need to be timed correctly to make the gaps. Even as the jumps became too hard for me, the childlike coloring and the happy, upbeat music kept me from being frustrated.
Deff is a fast-paced platformer where you play as the Grim Reaper, who has been recently hurt and ended up in a wheelchair seeking revenge! Someone has tried to assassinate you — and they nearly succeeded. You are now disabled, wheelchair-bound, but that has not rendered you unable to do your job. You have found a way to dash into enemies and metal plates, slicing them with your scythe, before hovering and falling downwards.
Dashing towards enemies and metal plates takes some practice, but once you get the hang of this way of moving around, the game begins to really challenge you. Various enemies are dotted around, some needing to be slashed and others needing to be shoved into spikes in order to kill them. When it comes to slashing enemies, you may need to think about which enemy you destroy first, as they become stepping stones to the new area. Power-ups can also be found over time, which can add abilities like slow-motion — letting you jump through electricity and have more time when you need it.
Deff is a very challenging game, but it is super fun once you get the hang of it.
SHINIGAME MONOGATARI is an action game where you play a girl who has recently died. She subsequently made a deal with Ddeath to figure out what she did in her last moments.
You have died, and Death won’t tell you how until you do him a few favors. In the game’s strange limbo, souls appear. These souls really clog up the area, so Death wants you to destroy them. As you destroy them, you gain these souls to spend in Death’s shop, which gives you upgrades.
You start off only being able to jump, strike and dash, but as you gain souls you can dash through enemies, gain more lives and even have more monsters to face. Upgrades are displayed in a branching tree, so unlocking upgrades that have to do with dash let you continue upgrading your dash skills. You will die in Deff, but being already dead, you are just brought back to the Grim Reaper to purchase more upgrades. This game has some cute graphics, but is full of both challenge and fun.
The 365 Indies Jam is a yearly game jam which always spawns a lot of awesome games. You can follow the 365 Indies Jam on YouTube — where the hosts of the jam create all sorts of gaming content — or on Twitter at @365indies!