I’ve got 5 Minutes: An Indie Game Experiment

By Patrick Walker

I love Game Jolt. Why do I love Game Jolt? I’ve got 4 reasons:

  • Almost all of the games are free
  • All of the games are small
  • It has a strong community of developers/gamers that create/play/rate
  • The website has a simple, yet efficient layout that makes mindless navigation a breeze

What I’m saying is that it’s a great way to waste time at work. However, for me at least, that means that I have different expectations for these games then I’d usually have. Specifically, the hook has to be so much stronger. I usually only play these games for 5 to 15 minutes at a time. If a game doesn’t catch me in the first 30 seconds, my ADD kicks in and I go browsing YouTube for Lets Plays. What catches me? I can think of 4 surefire hooks for me:

  • A distinctive art style; this also helps me pick a game to play
  • A cute or witty presentation; if you make me smile, I am playing your game
  • A strong, immediate smack to the face with pathos; I am a sucker for the feels
  • A unique game mechanic that is intuitive and easy at first, but expands into something challenging and complex

I’ve decided to play 3 games on Game Jolt with a timer set for 5 minutes each. This includes game loading time. After 5 minutes, I will immediately stop and ramble off my immediate thoughts on the experience. I will choose 1 Arcade Game, 1 Featured Game, and 1 Adventure Game. Why those 3? Because those are my favorites and I refuse to expand my horizons.

Super Puzzle Platformer (Arcade)
By Andrew Morrish

Link: http://gamejolt.com/games/arcade/super-puzzle-platformer/5480/

Super Puzzle Platformer

If Cave Story and Tetris did the nasty, you’d get Super Puzzle Platformer. I’ll be frank, I adored this game. The music, the first thing that hits you is this 8-bit jam composed by Landon Podbielski. I am actually listening to it in the background as I write this. I cannot gush about this game enough, it immediately hits two of my four criteria.

  • The presentation, specifically the music, catches my attention immediately
  • It has one button besides the arrow key, and the visuals quickly clue you in on your objective: shooting blocks make them crumble, spikes are bad.

However, by Level 2 the blocks nearly double in speed and indestructible spiked blocks start falling. I never had such a great time sucking so bad.

(Caption: So, so bad...")

(So, so bad…”)

Bottom line: Here’s a game to play when you need a burst of excitement after a 3 hour “team-building”‘ meeting left you a shambling shell of a person.

Totem’s Sound (Featured)
By Causa Creations

Link: http://gamejolt.com/games/rpg/totem-s-sound/35518/

Totem's Sound

What hits me immediately is the music. It’s eerie, atmosphere chanting with a single drum: very tribal. It really sets the mood for… Now it’s a soft, thoughtful piano duet. Okay then. Anyway, the start screen is gorgeous: a piexlated shoreline colored entirely in shades of teal. Pressing start leads to a text crawl that I actually enjoy. It quickly gets the point across, I’m Johan Adrian Jacobsen exploring the Americas. Got it. Then we hit the first ‘cutscene’: Johan and the captain talking as they hit shore. The writing’s utilitarian: Johan is driven, but foolhardy and the captain is every boat captain ever. So we get to the gameplay and…. wait, what?

(Caption: "Well, crap...")

(“Well, crap…”)

Why is only half the map revealed? Oh I guess it’s just a fog of war-type deal… Nope. Yes, within seconds of gameplay I hit a massive glitch: half the screen is a giant green square. Time to restart the game!

Okay… delete… redownload… click… skip. Now back to the… Nope, still there. I ended up looking at screenshots. That is supposed to look like this.

(Caption: "Why can't I have nice things?")

(“Why can’t I have nice things?”)

I read the comments and found out that this game has a shader bug that frequently affects systems with AMD graphic cards. So if you’re like me and have a Radeon, Totem Sound’s decides to squat in your Cheerios. However, Causa Creations said they’re trying to fix the bug.

Bottom Line: I wish I could play this game, it looks fun.

A Small Talk at the Back of Beyond (Adventure)
By Scriptwelder

Link: http://gamejolt.com/games/adventure/a-small-talk-at-the-back-of-beyond/15533/

Long Talk

This is a text adventure by Armor Games. Oh Armor Games, how you helped me procrastinate in my youth. The start screen is standard suspense fare, thick atmospheric electronic noises in the background with a melancholic piano playing in the foreground. However, starting the game reveals that it is not a true text adventure, it’s a hyrbid. You have your computer console, but you can also look around the room you are in. Not everything is as it appears, big surprise. The computer is keeping something from you, bigger surprise. You have to look around the room to find clues about what to ask it to unravel its web of lies!

There’s not much to this game, you look around and talk to a computer. However, it does a lot with what it has. At first, I was overwhelmed with the stupidily large wall of text the computer spouted at me after asking a single question. However, it helps give the A.I. a personality and when it goes from 300 words a response to 4 very slowly inputted words, I had a gut reaction. I’ve also never seen a text adventure do so much with regulating text speed. I only played 5 minutes of it, but from what I’ve read it’s rather short so you don’t lose much by checking it out.

Final Reaction

It’s a fun little douse of pathos to fill your emotionally dead corpse after you finished that fifty page spreadsheet in two hours.

So there you go. In 15 minutes I found you 2 great games to play during the work week! What? There were 3 games? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway, I honestly wish that I had found more mediocore titles, because now you’ll assume that I set out to specifically pick good games. However, that just shows you the strength of Game Jolt’s community. They only accept the best of the best!

Sanicball...

… I think I need to go lie down now.

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