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 premiere Alakajam.
Alakajam is a forty-eight–hour game jam where developers need to create a game from scratch. The theme around this first Alakajam was ‘Alchemy’. I’ve played through each of the submitted games in my compilation video series, and below are a few of my favorites, in a random order.
The Last Scholar
The Last Scholar is a point-and-click adventure game which takes you into the small world of a lone wizard. This wizard is the very last one in existence, living out their life on a small, floating island in outer space. Since you are the last wizard, you haven’t had much motivation to continue your work or even keep your tools in working order. That changes today: you must grab your journal and start working through everything that needs to be done on your island. You need to continue your research on the philosopher’s stone, as well as fix up your home and play around with various objects around the island. As you interact with different places and objects, you might well get more goals in your journal. You also get items that can be used and combined with your tools to transform them or learn more about them. If you stick with it and stay motivated, you might even be able to make a grand discovery.
Philospher’s Strike is a space shooter where you must gain resources to upgrade different parts of your ship! As you fly through outer space, you can shoot down enemies and asteroids coming towards you. They then burst into various resources depending on what they are made of. These resources — Fire, Air, Water and Earth — are then divided into different categories to upgrade various parts of your ship. Fire upgrades your weapons, Air upgrades your fire rate, Water gives you a shield and Earth gives you more life. As you fly around, you need to maintain a balance between collecting all of these different elements and staying alive as you do it. Gold sometimes falls from enemy ships (especially as these enemies grow more challenging) which can be collected for points. Philosopher’s Strike is a shooter taken up a notch — it’s just fun!
Hermes the Alchemist
Hermes the Alchemist is an audio-primary game wherein you must listen to the sounds of potion ingredients to create what is needed for the king. You are the king’s only alchemist, a job which entails you having to create the requested potions so the king is satisfied. You were very good at your job, until an accident happened that rendered you completely blind. You know that if you tell the king you will be thrown out of the castle, without food, to live out the rest of your life in the gutter. You do, however, remember how your lab is laid out — shelves with ingredients at the back, a table in front of you, and a cauldron for when you have made the potion.
You are given the noise the potion makes at the start of the level (and you can hear it again by clicking on the red lines on the left of the screen) — but after that, you are on your own. You can grab at the shelves, listening to noises of various objects, before dragging the correct sounding ones onto the table. There you can combine them to hopefully make the same sound you have heard. There is a timer, so you will need to be quick, as the king doesn’t like waiting. If you make the correct potion, you gain more food, however you don’t if you make a mistake. Without food, you will not be able to survive. Hermes the Alchemist is a super-original, well-designed game — made mainly for your ears!
Chrysopoeia is an adorable yet challenging little combination game where you want to create gold within a twelve-day time frame, only using the objects you can find in the game’s forest. Days are short in this world, so at the start of each day you must decide where you want to spend it. You can stay in your shelter — perfect for unloading your cart and creating new objects using your cauldron — go into the forest to collect new objects with your wagon or go to the market to buy recipes. You can also buy various upgrades (which are random each time you play or buy one) and feed people to earn coin. This one location will be the only place you can go for the duration of the day — once you are done there, you must walk off the screen to begin a new day. Your goal is to make gold, of course, but you need to figure out which combinations of items you need to get this gold. Figuring out what needs to be collected, which recipes are out and where you need to spend your time may take a few playthroughs but someday, you might end up making gold!
Potions, Frankly sees you starting your first job as an intern at a potion creation factory. It is not hard to create potions in this game; you don’t need to mix a lot of ingredients or even learn recipes. You just need to know how to mix bat blood (red), radiated urine (green) and liquid smurf (blue) together to make the requested color potion. As this is a factory, instead of using the old-fashioned cauldrons, you mix the colors right in the potion bottle! You can release a potion bottle onto the conveyor belt under the different ingredients, then push the right pipe to let the ingredient drain out. Any liquid that hits the conveyor belt instead of the bottle costs you money, so make sure you are accurate when mixing! Once the potion has reached the end of the belt, a cork is put into it and your boss inspects it. If the bottle is nearly the right color and filled enough, you get paid. Hopefully you don’t waste too many ingredients and end up making bank!
The Alakajam runs multiple game jams a year, through their community. If you are interested in learning more about Alakajam, follow @AlakajamBang on Twitter!