Highlights from IGMC – 3

We’re back to it! …Kinda.

I only managed to find time for one day this week to really check out some IGMC games. One day of my weekend was pretty much spent on my AC problems (finally fixed though!) and my usual IGMC playing was juggled between a bunch of personal obligations and wanting to work on personal projects. If you have a problem with this, please yell at my work to make shifts shorter or move closer to where I am for commute purposes so that most of week isn’t forced to be completely dedicated to work.

But well, time management is the name of the game for game jams like this! I hope that everyone that participated in IGMC approached their projects in a healthy way! Seriously, please take care of yourselves so you don’t feel like you’re going to fall apart.

You’re probably wondering, “why haven’t I checked X game” yet. Well, it’d be too boring to just play the top rated things, which already have a lot of eyes on them. My process so far is just presenting Infomantis a random selection of games and letting them choose what I should play. Blind selection encourages me to look at games I probably wouldn’t have checked out otherwise, and while a lot of them fell flat for us, it allows us to find games that would have slipped under the radar.

So, without further ado, let’s head into things! I only managed to play a few things, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any gems in there!

The first thing to catch my eye out of the week’s small batch was Mithos: Cup Noodles, by dragoonwys. This is meant to act as a prologue for Mithos, a larger project that the developer’s working on. Honestly? Putting this prologue in for a game jam is a good way to get eyes on the future project.

You play as Ryoji, a young man with many burdens. He works a busy life as a member of a boy idol group. He’s always getting hassled by his partner Touma to eat cup noodles instead of the strict diet their manager dictates. He also needs to fight kaiju every so often.

Oh yeah, he and Touma are among a group of people that can shift into powerful forms to fight kaiju that are constantly threatening every day life.

Stepping away from the RPG and adventure offerings common across the IGMC entries, Mithos: Cup Noodles is more like interactive fiction that’s broken up by bits of minigame. Ryoji wakes up every day to messages from Touma, prepares himself some cup noodles, and tries to deal with whatever the day has to throw at him.

Of course, the most important part of the day is getting some cup noodles! As somebody whose diet is half instant noodles, I vibe with Ryoji in these moments where he customizes a cup with extra ingredients. Personally, I like to chop up some green onion and bok choy for the soup and crack an egg in there. Sometimes if we have mushrooms, I like to fry a few up while the pot is still reaching a boil so that I can add those in. The game’s only crime in this segment is one where the game forces me to add shrimp. I’m just not a seafood type of fellow.

But eventually, duty calls.

Conflicts (both kaiju and music related) are resolved through simple minigames. The enemy dictates a sequence of arrow keys and you have to repeat the sequence before the timer’s up. I’ll admit that it’s too basic and not very engaging, but thankfully there aren’t too many of these segments, so they don’t feel like a pain. Really, these segments are moreso carried by the things happening during them than the minigame itself.

So, it’s good that the game’s got a pretty good voice and style. The characters are simple, but they hit a nice enough dynamic that I like them, and the world is defined just enough to establish a setting while leaving me wanting to know more about it. And you know, I can chill with the vibes of preparing some customized instant noodles.

Overall, kinda nice! I think the game’s attempt to fit into the jam’s theme of rejuvenation/resurrection feels very tenuous but ehhhhhhhh, I’m not a judge, that’s not my problem.

The second game that caught our attention is Remnants of Calandria, by TerminusEst13. In another contrast to other entries, this is a top-down action adventure game within the vein of the Gameboy Zelda games.

In the past, the world was razed by warring gods… supposedly. A section of humanity has survived underground, where they all live miserable lives. But one day, two guards happen across a tunnel that leads them to a nuclear reactor, which may be the key to rejuvenating the world. The question is though, what form will the rejuvenation take?

As said before, Calandria is a Zelda-ish game. To get around hitbox weirdness that fighting with a sword in RPG Maker could have, Calandria smartly resolves that by making the main weapon a spear, forcing players to space themselves before attacking from positions that work within the engine’s constraints. Though, if that’s not enough, you also get some throwing knives to chuck at enemies if you feel that close combat is too finnicky. For the most part, the gameplay is actually pretty alright, and its strengths are most demonstrated with the game’s final boss, which is actually a pretty legit challenge.

As for the dungeoneering part of Zelda-likes, yeah, that’s some Zelda dungeoneering. Everything is easy to understand and do. I guess my only kinda criticism with this aspect of the game is that there isn’t really a map, but well, that’s probably fine since there’s just the one dungeon.

Also, as a warning to people looking to play this, there’s one point that “appears” to be a softlock. Due to some hitbox problems, you have to click on a certain obvious object in a special room to advance the game instead of interacting with it like normal.

Outside of gameplay, Calandria has some enjoyable writing. There’s a surprising amount of flavor text in the game that paints the mood of the game, of a world that’s trying to cope with its conditions. The mix of jokes and dystopic conditions creates an enjoyable tone. As one guard says, “it’s a living.”

Infomantis and I generally liked this game, especially the music, which rips. And also, congratulations to he developer for managing to get this game in mere minutes before the deadline. The developer really made the most out of their time and it’s good that they managed to get this in under the wire.

Aaaand… that’s all I got. Unfortunately, I did not work as much as I wanted to this week. But also, I need to consider that I need to love myself and not work as hard. However, now that the AC problems are resolved and I’m no longer dying in my room, I can hopefully find more time next week to look at some more games before the end of the jam’s judging period!

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