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 ‘A Game by Its Cover 2017’!
A Game by Its Cover is a yearly game jam which asks developers to take fan-made Famicases and create games based on the designs. The variety of Famicases in the gallery game developers choose from are a massively varied source of inspiration throughout the jam. Optionally, developers could make their game playable on a Winnitron arcade machine and use diversifiers to mix things up. There were tons of really amazing entries for this jam and I got to play all of them in my compilation video series. Below are a few of my favorites, in a random order.
by Jon Tiburzi
Hikari’s Station is a super cute, selfie-taking, train-traveling game where you need to befriend people and take adorable selfies! You are on a long train journey, heading home. There are a lot of stops between where you are and the end of the train’s journey. At each of these stops, other people get on or off and you need to make the most of the time you have on the train by taking selfies. Your selfies are extra special if you get some of the other people on the train to join in — no one wants a camera full of the exact same pictures.
Taking pictures does annoy some of the people around you, but you can say hello to them to see if they want their picture taken. You can even sneak your way into other passenger’s selfies or take pictures with cats who have wandered onto the train! The more people in the picture, the better the combo you receive. Once you fill up your selfie slots, you get a bonus and remove them before taking more. Hikari’s Station lets you take pictures with adorable characters and make friends along the way to your destination!
Sacrifice of Love
Sacrifice of Love has you waking up an ancient goddess who is extremely hungry. As a result, you need to provide her with food — goddesses are very powerful, so there is no telling what she would do to you if left with an empty stomach!
Getting her food is no easy task, nor is she satisfied easily. You need to wander into a glowing cave, facing the monsters in the dungeon and picking up whatever you can find. There are chests full of items throughout the dungeon, as well as occasional drops by enemies, but your inventory is very small. You have to dump the items back onto her altar and see what she says. Her demands might become more complex, forcing you to venture into the dungeon for longer, surviving against stronger enemies and collecting better objects. Keep the goddess happy for as long as you are able.
地獄・Hell is a super strange game where you play as a chicken — or rather as eggs, maybe? You start off by cracking eggs into a pan… until you miss. Once you miss, you become a chick, eating food and laying your own eggs. The more eggs you lay, the more chickens you can switch between, eating worms and bugs outside. Eventually, you can get back to your frying pan and begin cracking eggs once again. This time, something is different. The eggs are red. Instead of a counter of eggs, it’s a counter of sins. Soon, you drop the egg again.
This time, you don’t get to become a chicken, free inside some home. You become a chicken trapped in Hell, with only a few lives remaining. You can search around Hell, admire the other people and monsters there, however there is a good chance you will die. You might be able to find a weapon and work on surviving — but you never know what’s in the next level of Hell.
Lil’ Satan’s Cake Quest
by Jose Guerra
Lil’ Satan’s Cake Quest is an adorable platformer where you play a very hungry devil! Your fellow undead are looking to eliminate you. You do have a beam that lets you destroy them, turning them into cakes, donuts, muffins and other treats, which you can then eat for more health! Faster enemies sometimes drop gold-lined treats which will really boost your health, should you be quick enough to destroy them. As you move through the level, you find enemies which are far more powerful; luckily, you can spam your laser and even float in air while you do it.
Lil’ Satan’s Cake Quest is a cute little platformer full of scrumptious treats, all to be eaten by a fat devil!
Rusty Blade is a short, heartwarming adventure which sees you trying to overcome the very last quest in a fictional MMORPG. You want to achieve the highest level possible, so you have been grinding away at quests and gaining level after level, until now. Your final quest seems to be a challenge for you — not because it is difficult, but instead because the ‘monster’ you are meant to fight isn’t fighting you. You were assigned to kill off some vicious blood hounds which have overrun someone’s cabin. You went into this mission thinking it would be very simple — and yet you are still here.
One of the blood hounds didn’t attack you. It seemed to act more like your friend, wanting to be your pet. This dog seems to really love you, but killing it would take you to the maximum level. You can read through all of the conversations with your clan and customer support about this weird quest, but most people don’t understand what is going on. You can play around with the dog — play fetch, drink your coffee, enjoy this little cabin — or you can kill your dog off and continue on in the game. It’s really up to you — master the game or have fun with your new pet.
FACE OUT is a breakout-style game driven by narrative, taking you on along on the adventures of an old samurai, who is cursed and being hunted by soldiers for his previous deeds. As someone who is cursed, making it up the country to safety will be a long journey. Along the way, you hear about your past and trigger various events. Some give you choices, while others tell you what’s currently going on before bringing you into a breakout screen.
Instead of fighting someone, you must break every block on the screen, destroying them that way. Sometimes the blocks are a different color: red attacks you back, gold explodes. Normal blocks might also drop power-ups like a larger sword, extra balls or your own dagger, which attacks another block. Not hitting your ball with the paddle (which looks like a sword) makes you lose a life. FACE OUT is a very intense breakout-style game with a captivating story full of decisions and puzzles!
Typing Champ 1987
Typing Champ 1987 is a turn-based typing game where you must battle your way through enemy after enemy using your words. Before you can attack, however, you need to fill your stamina bar by typing each and every word correctly. If you get all the words in a single box typed out before the timer ends, you even get a bonus! Once your stamina bar is full, you can try to attack or use your special on your enemy.
Your attack lets you deal out a lot of damage by typing out a large word while the letters move around the screen. If your strength is leveled up, this can be a massive hit! Your special, on the other hand, needs to be equipped at the main menu and can do a number of active or passive things. Once you have defeated the enemy, you gain S-Points; these can be spent on health or vitality bonuses in the main menu. Typing Champ 1987 gets intense after a few rounds, so try to keep up!
by Metal Snail
Mornio Monster is a very unusual adventure game wherein a physical light in your room controls the day and night cycle in the world you play in. A hero in a world full of monsters, you currently live in a tent far away from your home. You want to make it back, but there is a lot to overcome to make it there. You can’t do this alone, so you must befriend and use the monsters to help you along the way. These monsters are addicted to a type of berry you have planted near camp — so it’s too bad the plant has died.
You need to water this plant to bring it back to life. A few of the monsters around you have the ability to shoot water from their mouths, but you need to lure them back to your camp first. For whatever reason, there are a number of walls between you and the monsters — which can be up or down depending on the time of day. You must manage the light in your room to make your way to and from the monsters. Once you have the berries from your revived plant, you can befriend the monsters and be less afraid of them hurting you. You need to really manage the world around you, as well as in-game, in order to master this!
I Am A Rock
by Taavet Maask
I Am A Rock is an charming little adventure game about a rock’s normal day. You need to grab some things around your house before heading to work. A rock lives a pretty normal life — interacting with the world and other rocks, just like a normal person. You might need to help out some of the fellow townspeople, if you have time, before getting to work. Once you do make it to your job, that’s when the real drama starts!
I Am A Rock is a very short adventure, but one worth having. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but rolling around town as a glorious, round rock is pretty fun, if I say so myself.
Hoard It! is a funny dungeon crawler where you want to collect as much loot as possible without dying! Your character has a strange walking pattern, as if their legs are made of jelly, but this dungeon is full enough riches to make you the wealthiest person in the world. As you collect the loot, you run into little slime monsters that blend into the floor. If you get hit by them, you lose some of your wealth and health, so you’d better act fast. You can pick up swords along the way, cycling through them to find the best sword for the job.
There are also spikes which pop up and keys to be found to unlock doors, like in most dungeon crawlers. Hoard It! may be wacky, but it’s a really fun little adventure!
A Game By Its Cover 2017 has a lot of other really awesome games based around very creative famicases. Do take a look at all of the other entries, and keep an eye on their Twitter account, @AGBICjam, for 2018’s edition of the jam!