I suspect that--for some, at least--driving oneself harder than usual on a project results in something like mild, project-specific burnout. I recall that with my own entries in previous such game-jams, I've often left my entries behind soon afterwards, barely looking back at them.
I said previously that I intended to write up some feedback for the game submitted. I've now played most of the games, and here present my mini-reviews.
Note that my focus perhaps tends towards critique, so please don't take it to heart if they seem overall negative; indeed, I had fun playing through this set of games!
I haven't reviewed Relic Hunter, Snake Undead, Light of Felin, or the entries provided by teams "Something Fun" and "7 Day Masochists". Other than Snake Undead, I believe that all require the installation of one or another redistributable, and since these are informal reviews and I didn't want to read through a EULA today, I decided to skip them. I'm honestly not sure of why Snake Undead doesn't run for me, although it's possible that it's similarly a matter of a missing redistributable. My apologies that this means the lack of reviews for these games! :/
Finally, note that I'm not using the scoring-guide given in the first post here, but simply presenting my thoughts on each game.
(Oh, and naturally I'm not reviewing my own game! ^^; )
As an aside, I believe that most of these games ran well under WINE; of the few that didn't, I think that most were amongst the unreviewed group given above, and two ran happily under Windows 8.1 instead.
All that said, the reviews:
This is a fun idea! The player takes the role of an immortal tyrannosaur, and rampages around eating zombies, regaining lost flesh in the process; this scenario which is introduced in a rather fun little intro. On top of this, when the dinosaur steps into shadow, we see its bones glowing green, in a manner that to me is rather reminiscent of the glow-in-the-dark skeletons that I recall from childhood. ^_^
The first guard that the player encounters quite neatly teaches the player that eating humans is bad: on kicking their way through the door, the player is greeted by a lone security guard (or police officer, perhaps) standing only a few (dinosaur) steps away, firing on them. The obvious thought in a game such as this is (for me, at least) to charge at and eat the aggressor--and upon doing so, the player finds their character coughing up the remains, and their recovered flesh lost.
However, this clashes a little with later developments: In at least one subsequent room, it seemed that I wasn't allowed to kick my way through a door until I had killed the guards that were firing on me. There seemed to be no reason for the door to be connected to their survival, and dealing with them forced me to give up the upgrades that I had earned by eating zombies. Thus eating humans seems to be bad for me... but also required to advance.
Which brings me to my next point: the game seems to be built around grinding. The zombies don't fight back, and so aren't a threat; the humans are a threat, but dealing with them undoes the player's upgrades, and so calls for the eating of more zombies. In addition, it seemed that I lost all of my upgrades when I moved from one level to the next. I believe that there are those who enjoy gameplay based on grinding, so I won't criticise the game for using it, but I am not one such, and so its use left the game feeling less enjoyable for me than it might have, I believe.
As to the controls, I found that the tyrannosaur would sometimes get stuck on objects (zombies included). Additionally, the T-Rex only moves to the point at which the player last clicked, making movement feel perhaps a little discrete. Perhaps it might have felt smoother if the player could hold down the mouse-button to keep the dinosaur moving--or perhaps better yet, if the dinosaur was moved via WASD or the arrow keys, and interacted with whatever it bumped into.
... I'm afraid that I honestly don't know how this game is played. There seem to be credits and bets, so I gather that it's some form of simulated gambling. One can place "lines", and there's a red button that seems to reset the grid, but I really don't know what is going on. As a result, I'm not in much of a position to review it.
The art is quite pretty, I will say.
Gamut of Blob
This is a really cute game, and a fairly fun little puzzler! The mechanics are interesting (I like the idea of the blobs being too scared to move in the dark, and so being unavailable when left there), and the controls are smooth and effective. The puzzles can perhaps be somewhat brute-forced, but I believe that I found them to be nevertheless interesting.
It might have been useful to have been able to move the screen independently of the current blob's position, allowing the player to identify newly-lit areas when activating switches; if not, it might help to have the camera briefly pan over to such areas when they are activated.
During the introductory text the player can't move, which I think that I found a little confusing at first. In general, I think that I would have preferred to have retained control while text was showing--as was the case with at least some of the texts.
While most of the sounds were cute, I found the sounds for character selection and light deactivation a little grating.
On a relatively minor note, I'm not sure of whether the final cinematic actually ends (and I simply hadn't waited for sufficient time), or the game simply stops there.
I rather like the interface to this game: a representation of an old computer, complete with bright-green text. The game itself is an interesting idea: the player controls a living human tasked with navigating dark rooms to an exit, while avoiding zombies. To aid this endeavour the player has a limited use, short-lived light source, allowing them to observe the room and plan a route, and a simple pseudo-ASCII map showing their current location--but not that of any obstacles, items, or enemies.
Overall, it seems to be rather easy (at least up to about level fifteen or sixteen, which I think was as far as I played); for the most part the player seems to be able to avoid the zombies by skirting the outer wall in one direction or the other.
Alas, there doesn't seem to be a means of restarting the level, and in one case I believe that I ended up in a dead-end with a zombie (no pun intended :P) which didn't seem interested in killing me, leaving me stuck.
As to art, the contrast between walls and floor seemed a little low to me: I believe that at first I didn't realise that the former weren't the latter.
Finally, I believe that I saw the sprites being rendered slightly out of alignment at least once--although this is somewhat of a niggle.
First of all, this is perhaps the prettiest entry in the entire set! The game itself seems to be one of turn-based tactical combat, around which is wrapped an interesting narrative.
However, while the art is indeed lovely, the animations are perhaps a little simple, in a manner that I think that I found a little jarring beside the quality of the still images.
As to the gameplay, it was reasonably fun, but seemed to me to lack much depth: there seemed to be little difference between the summons, and little to choose between their abilities; simply hitting enemies and healing or buffing repeatedly got me through everything. It is, however, very possible that I missed some degree of tactical depth.
I encountered one bug, I believe: during one of the fights, the visual positions of the enemies seemed to not line up with their logical positions, interfering with selection.
Ruins of the Risen
I'll confess that I didn't get very far in this game; indeed, I believe that I was killed in rather short order on every run that I attempted. The screen is very busy and very dark, and the enemies seem to move very fast, and as a result I seldom have much idea of what is going on--or what just then killed me. It's not even entirely clear to me where, precisely, my shots are going.
I have two minor critiques: First, the bottom of the resolution list overlaps text in the options menu, making those entries a little difficult to read without highlighting each one. Second, changing the resolution seemed to result in menu items not responding, or perhaps their logical positions not matching up with their visual representations; this was cleared up by restarting the game, I believe.
Doom in the Shadows
If I'm not much mistaken, this is a reasonably fun little wave-defence game: the player is a lone human stuck on an island with waves of ever more undead; the undead can be defeated by firing shadow-bolts, but those bolts leave a residue that is deadly to the player-character.
I didn't realise at first that there was more than one screen. Once I did discover this, I went exploring, but didn't find much. It's also possible during the first few waves to wander off across a few screens and have no enemies present for a time.
Finally, the collision was a little iffy at times; in particular, I recall finding myself getting caught on trees.
In short, this seems to be a multi-character survival game: gather resources and defend against an ever-increasing threat, but defend not just a single avatar but a small community.
There doesn't seem to be an end-game: as far as I can tell, the player is simply tasked with surviving as long as may be. This is fine... save that I found the game to be fairly easily, and after only a few tries managed to build a defence that resulted in no deaths at all.
The player can evolve their human villagers, increasing either health or damage dealt, but with a risk of either killing the villager or turning them into a zombie. However, the chance of a negative outcome is fifty-fifty, and the constructed defences seem quite effective, with no significant disadvantage. The probability of a negative outcome can be greatly reduced by the construction and upgrade of a genome lab--but this only changes the probabilities for one upgrade per turn, after which it resets to fifty-fifty. As a result, I'm honestly not sure of why I would upgrade my villagers.
On the UI side, I have a few critiques:
There's no apparent indication that the control-bar can be scrolled, beyond a mention in the help-text that this is so. I'm inclined to suggest adding either arrows or a scroll-bar to convey this.
It's not easy to see what is selected: the selection cursor appears to be fairly small and pale blue, set against a bright-green backdrop.
There is no visual indication (that I noticed) of the upgrade status of either buildings or villagers without selecting them and checking their information in the side-bar. This means that if the player forgets which buildings have been upgraded, they can only find out by clicking on each one of interest.
Finally, the game doesn't seem to like having the window moved, ceasing to respond when this is done--but this may be a result of some interaction with WINE.
A fun, exploratory game with some light puzzle-solving (in at least two senses ;)). The graphics are simple, but sufficiently retro and sufficiently reminiscent of games that I remember from childhood that I found them somewhat nostalgic. The gameplay is similarly simple, but nevertheless interesting and enjoyable.
While at first oil seemed plentiful, it later became sufficiently scarce that venturing into the darkness could be a little tense, and some thought was given to how far was safe to go before turning back to for a refill. I quite liked this mechanic!
The "herding" puzzle--in which the player uses their light-source to drive little photophobic blobs towards a purple... thing--was interesting!
I did find the spike-traps to be a little unforgiving--just a bare touch can result in instant death, making them feel a little awkward to manoeuvre around, to me.
On a minor note, I believe that I found the level-transitions to be a little sudden, and thus jarring.
Of the games that I played for these reviews, this had perhaps my favourite interpretation of the "ruins" theme: instead of the usual broken stones, the player is seeking out the ruins of derelict space -craft and -stations! The shadow-mechanic is interesting, with the intention seeming to be to encourage the player to be careful about how quickly they advance, and by what route.
The camera-views are perhaps a little problematic: While there are several, between which the player can change at will, I found few to be terribly useful. Only the "sun-chase" view seemed to provide me with the all of the information that I wanted--the position of the shadows and the ship's orientation relative to nearby objects and the distant sun--but that view was close to the direction of travel, making distances a little difficult to judge, and I believe that the camera pulled away (perhaps with increasing speed?), exacerbating the issue. On top of this, the camera sometimes ended up with an asteroid between it and the ship, hiding the latter.
I like the shadow-mechanic. However, the ship's temperature seems to drop fairly slowly, which left me at times inclined to simply park my ship behind an asteroid and let it cool off--which wasn't terribly fun. Perhaps this might have been ameliorated by either increasing the rate at which the ship cooled or removing cooling altogether; in the latter case, the ship would only increase in temperature, but perhaps more slowly.
Finally, I found that the distinction between valuable salvage and harmful debris was perhaps not immediately clear to me.
This was rather fun: a tower-defence game in which the player discovers and upgrades various ruins (the "towers"), while at times taking part in the combat themselves. Upgrading the ruins costs bones, which are collected from the undead that are felled.
I rather like the Greek flavour to the game; in particular, I like the use of the term "vrykolakas" instead of the usual "zombie", "skeleton", "revenant", etc.
As to the UI, I don't see an obvious indication of the cost of each action. Similarly, there's no UI conveying the various powers available: the player is expected to remember them. A set of icons, one for each power and showing the cost of each, might solve both issues.
Finally, I found the business of collecting bones to be a bit of a nuisance--but then I generally don't like resources that despawn.
Thanks for the review! I should have done the pathfinder of the zombies a little more "angry", but decided to cut the extras and do the basics in order to have a viable delivery. As for the sprites being rendered: before it was worse. At the moment they are in size 32x32. I was using 64x64 and out all wrong, with huge black borders.