The <5 Minutes of Play Jam has finished taking submissions and is currently in the voting phase. For those who haven’t heard of this jam, each submission must be able to be played in under five minutes. I planned on playing all of these anyways so I decided I would also post some thoughts I had about each one. Being there are 22 submissions I am splitting these posts up. There will be a total of three posts. So, let’s begin.
Brutal Tendency – Browser
I really enjoyed how uncomfortable this game made me. Not in the sense of unsettling content but in how insecure I was making every decision. The game begins in media res with the player asked a question about the price of what they desire. I don’t know what it is that I am paying for nor do I find out. I discover I am wanting a witch to make a potion, but there are no details past that. Several events happen that force the player to make choices they do not understand and lack the means to even guess the consequences. There is no backstory, no lore, and no resolution and it is amazing.
I Simply Adore You – Browser
Unfortuantely, I Simply Adore You isn’t interactive at all and plays more like a digital book. The story is decent and seems to be heavily inspired by the stylings of “creepypasta” short stories. I enjoyed it for what it was but I’m more interested in where the developer goes from here. There is definitely potential for making great Twine games and their writing style unique enough to stand out.
That Abominable Urge – Browser
I never quite grasped what the story was about despite playing it through four or five times. I believe it was about a demon ripping your soul out of you through your mouth. I could be wrong. However, the writing was very descriptive regarding what was happening physically to the player during this tug-of-war. There is only one path to “win” the game and, without any knowledge to the consequences of each action, ends up requiring a bit of the “try every combination” tactic to reach the “good” ending.
I expected quite a bit more Twine games to be part of this jam due to the ease of creation and being better suited to the tiny gameplay window. 3 out of 22 is a bit small though so I’ll look at 3 other games as well.
The Clock and the Chaos – Browser
A wizard uses their power to bring chaos into the world, which causes the gears of a clock tower to gradually decay. It is up to a tiny repair robot to keep the chaotic energies from reaching the center cog. The game is surprisingly polished featuring a beautiful, moody art style coupled with a melancholy soundtrack. Unfortunately, as with anybody who tries to push against entropy, the robot will eventually fail.
Just to put this upfront, this game is difficult. While my finished playtime was just shy of five minutes, I must have played this game for half an hour. Imagine Sinistar hovering around a defenseless player character who is trying to get past moderately difficult platforming segments. The Electric Moon, which is the enemy that flies around the screen, is a hundred times worse than that mask from Mario 2. Aside from the difficulty, the games utilizes a beautiful 8-bit aesthetic despite the visual sparsity. The music is ominous in a lonely kind of way that meshes well with the impossibility of the task. The heroine knows this is a suicide mission, but nobody else could do it.
This is a really unique game and is, insofar, my favorite despite it’s flaws. The basic premise is that of a sidescrolling space shooter, think R-Type. At any time, though, you can switch views to inside of the ship where you take command of an engineer who can repair and of the three areas of the ship by hitting them with her wrench. The game doesn’t pause for this however creating some very tense sections where I was constantly switching between piloting my ship and repairing it.