In Development – Ludum Dare 41 Roundup

This month we have a special edition of In Development. We’re going to take a look to five of the best entries to Ludum Dare 41! This means that the demos of this roundup will be a bit rawer than previous editions. Developers only have 48 hours after finding out the theme to come up with a playable game. But they make up for this in originality and creativity.

For this version of the Ludum Dare, developers had to make an original game with two incompatible genres!

How do you mix two genres that don’t go well together?

It was certainly a challenge but that didn’t stop the teams from coming up with some amazing concepts. In this article, I won’t talk about the best concept of a general game, like “YOU LEFT ME“, a visual novel with outstanding artwork and deeply emotional themes (User discretion is advised) submitted to Ludum Dare 41 by @zephybite While this is a great concept which created a lot of interest. I didn’t feel the clash of genres expected for this game jam.

In this roundup, I’ll tell you about the concepts that found the most incompatible genres and made them work with creative and original mechanics combinations. That the point of the Ludum Dare 41 right?

1 FishOut

Ludum Dare
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: Fishing/Racing.
Developer: auxiliaryCarry, chrissx2

FishOut - Ludum Dare 41

FishOut mixes the usually peaceful fishing genre with the fast-paced action of a racing game. You can race against the AI or if you have a gamepad you can challenge a friend. The only problem is… The boat doesn’t have engines.

The way they decided to combine the genres is that to advance, you’ll have to catch a ride. I mean that quite literally, there is a stream of fishes below your boat and you’ll have to catch one with your fishing rod so it pulls your boat.

You have to be careful when casting your bait. There are fishes going in both directions. Chaching the wrong fish will drag your boat backward. In the end, the races are a little awkward. Going back and forth, having to wait until the bad fishes pass by and you have a clean shot, and so on. But it makes for quite the fun ride.

The game has a waste swamp theme, and the artwork is pretty cool. they could use more work on the casting mechanics but overall I didn’t find any major bugs or lacks in development. A great entry for Ludum Dare 41.

2. Unbelievabubble

Ludum Dare
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: Match Puzzle/2D Platformer
Developer: Ultimategrinder

Unbelievabubble - Ludum Dare 41

Unbelievabubble did a great job with Ludum Dare 41’s theme. It combines two genres of gaming that are very far apart, color match puzzle and 2D Platformer. You’ll play as Sergio the Duck while he tries to make his way to a party. Like in any regular platformer, you’ll have to jump your way through obstacles using your equipment to advance. In the case of Unbelievabubble, the obstacles are the interesting part.

During the game, you’ll encounter different clusters of colored bubbles. Some will be blocking your way, others almost perfect to help you get to the next platform. As for your equipment… Well, more bubbles. Sergio has infinite bubbles of random colors ready for you to shoot at the bubble clusters. Like always matching three or more of the same color will make the bubbles disappear.

You’ll have to be careful with your aim, shooting the wrong bubble into the wrong spot might keep you from some of the party supplies you need to collect, or even from getting to the party in the first place.

It’s quite clever how the Ultimategrinder team approached this Ludum Dare. Two genres with absolute different core mechanics and structures fell together very well in Unbelievabubble. The game doesn’t just have mechanics from both genres but instead, those mechanics work together to make the gameplay unique.

This might have started for Ludum Dare 41. But it won’t end there. Ultimategrinder announced two new characters that will be coming soon to this crazy title.

3. Tennis Hero
Ludum Dare
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: Block Breaker/Bullet Hell
Developer: Jeff Chen

Tennis Hero combines a bullet game with a classic block breaker using the Tennis theme. The best part of this title is the awesome artwork. Using original-styled low poly animations and modern glow and shadow contrast, Jeff Chen really made a good deal with his 48 hours.

The character is quite hilarious, and its movement is quite original and fluid. When the waves of bullets start coming in, you really get the arcade light show feel.

In the end, we get a fast paced, action packed game with simple and smooth gameplay. Having tree life points and enemies constantly shooting at you make a great twist on the classic block breaker, And having only a tennis racket to fight back is quite interesting for a Bullet Hell. The only issue I found is that the genres are not all that incompatible.

The mechanics are extremely similar to other games of the genres. When the Bullet Hell component starts to show, it basically works like the multiball mechanic in the classic block breaker. The game has incredible quality and original artwork. But in my opinion, Jeff Chen could have chosen a more challenging combination of genres for the Ludum Dare 41.

4. Rookie Rakoon
Ludum Dare
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: Stealth/Shoot them up.
Developer: Quiji

By playing Rookie Rakoon, you’ll have to keep out of sight of enemy defenses and blast them off while flying a plane… You can really feel the mismatch of genres when you’re flying around trying to evade the enemy sights and shoot them at the same time.

Quiji was very creative when choosing the mechanics for the Ludum Dare 41. Rookie Rakoon actually takes advantage of the genre disparity to make the game more fun and engaging. Having to evade the sights to keep defenses down and enemy planes from hunting you down enhance the fast-paced action of the Shoot em up genre; And the constant motion of the plane means a brand new challenge for the stealth fans.

Interview Highlights

Q: What’s your name?

A: I’m Erick Quijivix, a professional musician from Guatemala living in Uruguay. I’m starting to create games as it is something I always wanted to do.

Q: What inspired Rookie Rakoon’s concept?

A: I love planes and always wanted to make a dogfighting game that involved old WWI planes. I think that the concept has some inspiration from Commandos and MTG (on the stealth part) and some from Metal Slug and Luftrausers (on the Shoot’em up part). I generated the idea of the concept with those games in mind, and as I had little time I just did what came to mind first and developed from there.

Q: What did you think of the “Two incompatible genres” Dare?

A: At first, I didn’t like the theme that much but once the creative juices were working I started loving it! This was my first LD and being able to finish a game (although very simple one) in 72 hrs (I was in the Jam mode and not the Compo which is truly 48 hours!) made the experience so fulfilling. Besides, just watch the number of games that were made and all the crazy stuff that was created!! There are so much great games there! This LD was a big boost in creativity and experience for me.

The artwork is very simple. But the classically styled planes complements the theme very well.

Rookie Rakoon might not be complete. Quiji says he ran out of time and would’ve like to add more features to this title. Sure, the game is simple, but it certainly achieved the goal of this Ludum Dare. It gave a new original concept that we’ll enjoy playing; And we can absolutely appreciate the cleverness behind mixing these incompatible genres.

5. City^3

Ludum Dare
Reviewed on Windows.
Genre: City Builder/Match Puzzle
Developer: Wizcas Chen

From all the games I had the opportunity to try out from Ludum Dare 41, My favorite is City^3. You’ll really need to plan out your moves on this city builder. In order to build your town, you’ll have to match basic building from the queue. Once you have the right combination, you can upgrade them to the next tier. Plotting the wrong building in the wrong spot will bring you trouble matching it in the future.

The success of this title started from the genres Wizcas Chen chose. City Builder and Match Puzzle games are extremely different and very hard to picture together. However, these share a crucial feature… The user interface mechanics are the same. This allowed Wizcas Chen to integrate both seamlessly. With a creative concept that used the best aspects of both genres without interfering with the user experience.

Interview Highlights

Q: What’s your name?

A: My name is Zhuo Chen. ‘Zhuo’ is my legal name and used only in formal situations. Because both of the first and the last name are so common in China and not identifiable at all.
On the internet, I prefer my self-invention name: Wizcas Chen. (‘Wizcas’ is pronounced similar to Whiskers, the cat food)

Q: What inspired the concept?

A: To be honest, the concept of combining City Building & Puzzle was kind of an arbitrary idea in the first place: the theme was all about ‘incompatible’ + ‘building’ and ‘clearing’ are on opposite sides = the game will both build and clear. Besides, by the time of the publishing of the theme, everybody in the online chat group was brainstorming. I just wanted to say something to make me look less helpless [laughs].

Then I realized that it might be a chance for me. My wife and I are both super fans of city building/business simulation games, and I always wanted to make one. On the other hand, not all puzzle games are just ‘match & clear’. 2048 is a perfect example. Players still feel the rejoice of clearing, but the moments of ‘great achievements’ are defined by when the large numbers are finally merged.

There are many variants of 2048 in App Store and Google Play, some of which are about town/building development. I didn’t want to make another 2048, but making a puzzle game alive and developing seemed fun and doable. Therefore CITY^3 came out.

Q: What did you think of the “Two incompatible genres” Dare?

A: The theme was hard and ridiculous to me at my first glance. I was expecting something more specific and limiting. All the ideas, ‘turn-based racing’ for example, made me not even interested to give a shot – when talking about a ‘genre’, players expect a certain vision; If things go wild, the game sucks. I was wrong.

After thinking deeper on the topic, I realized that most innovative games nowadays consist of multiple so-called ‘genres’. ‘Incompatible’ is not actually true, it just looks like (for the successful games, at least). The theme forced jammers to think a lot about what a game consists of, or in other words, what makes a game interesting.

The real purpose of the topic, as I interpreted, was to reveal a game developer’s ability to find the connection among various ideas and making it fun, rather than to figure out what ‘genres’ were and how ‘incompatible’ from one to another.

You can play City^3 in free build mode, with unlimited time to build your city any way you want. But if you’re feeling more competitive there is a 3-minute challenge for you. How much can you build?

There are four different tiers of buildings. Each produces a particular resource needed to upgrade the building and produce the resource from the next tier.

With a combination of low poly 3D graphics and 2D artwork for the UI, City^3 has pretty cool aesthetics. The simple drag and drop mechanics make the gameplay smooth. And while it’s still missing a storyline. The game is very fun and the concept shows a lot of creativity.

This concludes Ludum Dare 41’s special edition of In Development, I hope you enjoy these fresh concepts as much as I did. If you want to see more Roundups and Interviews with your favorite developer, visit us!

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