Jam Favorites: GM48: Helpful but Harmful

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 the 26th GM48.

The GM48 is a quarterly game jam which challenges developers to make a game in forty-eight hours using the GameMaker engine. The theme for this version was ‘Helpful but Harmful’. The GameMaker community around this jam take part in a number of ways, from voting on themes and creating games to voting on the games entered and leaving feedback. 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.

Gooper by Katy Hacking and Harrison Gardner

Gooper is a tricky platformer where you play a slime blob looking to make it up through a world full of platforms. Luckily, gravity doesn’t mean much to you — you can cling to whatever wall you touch at the exact angle you hit it. As a glob of goo, you leave behind bits of slime residue that stick to the ground. When you first make a move, this residue is blue, but once you get through the level, it turns pink and expires.

As everyone knows, pink slime is poisonous. Landing on these old slime spots will start to drain your health. You have no way to gain back most of that lost health, so you need to get to the top of the level in the least amount of moves, avoiding the previous route you took. After a few rounds of moving up, your world will be covered with slime and you will probably be unable to make it. Gooper is full of challenge and is great to play — I only wish there were more maps so I could play it for longer.

Do note this game requires a controller to play.

Jumpey Jump by Thomas Sjerps

Jumpey Jump is a cheerful platformer where you play a small character, moving forward in a seemingly harmless world. There are a few dangers — a single enemy and places to fall off the map — but you always respond. You’re guided through the game by an almost humanistic signpost, constantly talking to you and changing what it is saying. At first, it seems very helpful — until you are unable to die.

The sign then turns, seeming not to want you around but pretending it does. Unsure if you should really trust it, you have no choice but to keep moving forward. Jumpey Jump is a short game, however it is full of character and very well written.

Bombini by Spasco, Gaziter and Vegard Jensen

Bombini is an adorable yet challenging platformer where you play a character who needs to bring a bomb to the door of each level. Inside this cave, you need to break through boarded-up doors by bombing them. Much like any explosives you have, touching them against a wall forces them to explode. If your bomb ends up exploding in your hands, you die and need to restart the entire level. You can change where you are holding to bomb, holding it to the left side, right side or above your head.

When performing wall jumps or navigating small corridors, you need to really remember the fragility of the bomb you hold. Once you make it to the door, the bomb will safely explode and you can move on. This challenge — keeping track of the useful bomb in your hand — provides for some tricky movements and keeps you on your toes.

You Have a Virus by Baku

You Have a Virus is a hilarious game about having a chat program pop up on your computer. It starts out with a simple pop up window — a person claiming to work for Microsoft, looking to help you with your computer virus. Soon, it becomes apparent that this person doesn’t work for Microsoft, but you are told you do still have a virus.

Hoping to fix this virus, you end up following the suggestions of your newly found friend — until you end up installing a strange game-stroke virus onto your PC. From there, you can play the game — which mines real currency — and if you do well enough the virus will be removed. This game is challenging — you must collect what looks like potatoes while avoiding or killing off red viruses. Hopefully you can keep your combo meter up and ignore the chat going on beside you long enough to get this weird situation sorted out!

The GM48 is a quarterly game jam with quite the community around it. If you are interested in learning more about the GM48, follow the organiser’s Twitter @tehwave and check out their website!

Interested in reading about more game jam highlights? Why not check out our archive?

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