Ludum Dare 34 had a theme voting tie for the first time in Ludum Dare’s history. The two top rated themes (both of which, ironically, had negative vote counts) are Growing and Two Button Controls. Entrants were given the option of choosing one or going for both, and the results have been pretty interesting. Here are some good entries to check out, though the level of innovation in this Ludum Dare is generally high and you should consider combing through the full list yourself.
Windows, Mac | by Random Dynamite
In this game, the boat moves constantly and the player uses their two buttons to make it turn clockwise or counterclockwise, moving in one of eight directions. If the player presses both buttons at once, the ship explodes, taking out anything nearby and hopefully setting off a chain reaction. Causing an explosion uses some health, but making big chains earns the player more health to spend. This is tied with Puff Enuff? (below) for my favorite Ludum Dare 34 game.
Web, Windows | by TheWzzard
This one is a trippy, two button rhythm game. Using combinations of buttons, the player has to match the symbols as they come up to make progress towards summoning an elder god in each level. It has a neat visual aesthetic, but my favorite thing about the game is that rather than having the player just play along to an existing music track, each symbol has an associated sound such that it feels more like the player is playing music. Get it right, play the corresponding sound; get it wrong and it flubs. I recommend the post-compo version for a better difficulty curve.
Long Long: A snake lies in the Past
Windows, Mac, Linux | by Tapehead and one other
I debated with myself about whether to put this one in here. It’s a 72-hour Jam entry that combines well done Zelda parody with Snake mechanics and looks and sounds great. Unfortunately, they went for both the Growing and Two Button Controls themes, with the latter making the game pretty darned frustrating to play. Even with that downside, I think it’s worth noting. So here we are.
Web | by GAFBlizzard
A morse code controlled game about controlling a garden in space remotely. I only recommend the post-compo version; the original doesn’t give you enough time to put in the morse code letters.
My Best (Magical) Friend!
Web, Windows, Mac | by SPOTCO, hinerz, and kcanaga
This is a visual novel, but it’s not just a visual novel. The player moves from scene to scene via a map of nodes, with some nodes locked until the player has certain items and branching paths. The player can backtrack along those paths, which means moving not just through space along them, but also time. In the end, the game feels kinda like an adventure game.
The Parable of the Knight, the Clown and the Lawyer
Web | by cgriff
This is a well-written Twine game that lets the player explore a very silly situation from the angles of all three characters.
Windows, Linux | by Bitslap
If you’re hoping for a good platformer to come out of this Ludum Dare, look no further. This game makes great use of two buttons and its physics to make for a supremely fun experience. This is tied with BOOM BOATS for my favorite Ludum Dare 34 game.
Row Row Row Your Goat
Windows | by A Flat Miner Studios
In this game, you have a boat which is also a goat. A hungry one. Your goal in each level is to use your single oar to guide the goat-boat to the sandwiches in order before it gets hungry enough to eat your last oar and leave you stranded. It’s as simple as it sounds, but the game quickly throws in fun obstacles to keep it entertaining.
Rude Bear Recreation
Web, Windows | by Alex Rose
Alex Rose has continued his tradition of adding to the Rude Bear mythos with his Ludum Dare games by making a one button platformer. It’s not an endless runner; depending on what you used the space bar for last and where Rude Bear is, its function changes. It’s really neat and really silly, being about a shrunken Rude Bear growing medical marijuana inside a huge tumor on Rad Boar’s face. I’m not generally a fan of weed humor, but this is too ridiculous not to appreciate.
Windows, Mac, Linux | by amras0000
Yarnful Days offers no challenge, per se, instead offering a feel-good, playful experience. The player is a button coasting across an abstract landscape, picking up pieces of yarn to add to a yarn ball. If you want to relaxing game, this is a good choice.
Web, Windows | by Mariano Cavallero and Lindar K. Greenwood
This puzzle platformer uses two button controls and asks the player to explore rectangular planetoids looking for the keys that will ultimately get them the diamonds they’re after. Placing bombs can be a bit of a pain, but it’s still fun, with emphasis on exploration.