Silicate by My Liver Hurtz
Finally, a game created by somebody who actually made a handful of other titles! Like Dave2's Oil, I went into this with my hopes high, only to be very let down. The game's story is over the top, and thinking about it, the whole deal with aliens having invaded is likely only there to ensure the game fits the "Disaster" theme. Otherwise, it's your generic corrupt government performing inhumane experiments.
The system to determine your stats is a very cool idea, but it's also the sort of thing that you could tell immediately that ZZT couldn't do justice. Knowing what I knew about ZZT games, I knew I'd want to crank up agility to have the most time to hit enemies and not get hit back.
The combat turns out to be a joke and I was literally just holding down an arrow key while all the guards lined up and got punched to death before they were permitted a chance to attack my character back. The other stats involve knockback, starting health, and how the player interacts with things like computers and locks.
It is unbalanced, as you can't beat the game without a certain intelligence score); buggy, as you can't actually access the ending board; and maybe just impossible, as one of the puzzles has been mentioned by every judge to not have a solution.
This one has ideas that would work in a game with more time, but honestly, probably not a ZZT game.
Very ambitious and interesting, but not very interesting to play. Has a bug that renders it unbeatable.
- Writing isn't bad
- I like the character customization premise
- "spacing"-based combat is a real real fun idea (although in practice the enemies' tendency to just pile up often makes it a bit pointless; calls for better AI to take full advantage)
- I have absolutely no idea how to do the reactor room, I just zapped it (some of the reactors don't seem survivable, and one of them doesn't seem to do anything??)
- some of the keys being secret seems annoying, but the ability to skip one of them is a nice touch to help make up for it
- according to the website, there's an ending, it's just not hooked up??? I know it's 24 hours but how the heck do you miss that
- despite a decent number of complaints, I've gotta give this 9/10.0 for one good idea (custom character) and one great idea (shoving-based combat). I could easily see this being fleshed out into something really fun, even if what we got in the 24-hour version is kind of bland in practice. not sure if judging it on its potential rather than "playing the 24-hour thing as though it were intentionally exactly what it is" is going against the spirit of the contest though, or if it's exactly the spirit of the contest? like, if the purpose of a game jam is to hash out and prototype a good game idea, then this one succeeded
This is definitely the most technically impressive game, with the player having to spend points at the beginning to influence their abilities later on. (I wonder why you have to manually set a flag to confirm completion instead of just touching an object to confirm it, though.) Unfortunately the design of the game itself is a bit Sierra, because I'm pretty convinced that it's impossible to complete without a lot of future information - specifically having to put a certain number of points into Intelligence to clear a lock, and to get a computer to spit out a key. Elsewhere, I genuinely have no idea what the boiler room wants from me or how to navigate it legitimately.
There's an interesting use of an engine putting boulders to punt the player away. I remember Dr Dos explained why this works to me once, about #put not being a cycle-ending action, but I've since forgotten the details. Unfortunately it isn't completed and ends after the corridor of doors is opened, but it's an interesting entry.
You play as Lieutenant Sato, an unwilling participant in an experiment to bio-engineer human soldiers to kill aliens. I liked allocating my nanobot-enhanced stats at the beginning! The game plays like a tradition ZZT world, attempting to gather keys and escape the facility. Like most of these worlds it’s unfinished (I could only find 6 keys in the editor) but good fun.
SILICATE has technical promise, as the growth system and engine use have potential. It’s another one-trick-pony, but I’d like to see those aspects in a more complete game.
This is a mostly well-made action game with solid graphics and a mostly unique, if imperfectly balanced and exploitable and very LOUD (press B to be quiet) combat system. It is easily the closest thing in this batch to feeling like a full, real, non-24 hour ZZT game. However, it completely falls apart in the end. The difficulty curve hits a solid wall as soon as the player reaches the boiler room (is that even physically possible? Am I missing something?) and, if the player somehow survives that, the final board is bugged and does not actually lead to the ending (which is kind of an afterthought anyway.) Oops!
Feels the most like an actual game, but it's not completed. Also the only one that required cheating--the sentries shooting bullets are unfairly placed, and lead to massive slowdown on the electrical system board. Key collection is cliché, although it fits in a game with a Doom-like plot. The exposition gives a good sense of place and motivation, although like usual this begins with a message showing a lack of self-confidence in the artistic choices. Had a skill-level select system, but unclear whether that did anything.
You are a government man from the government and they run a program on you that enhances your mustles and you can flaten people and you use your cybernanopunkbots to punch them all real hard and THIS IS PLAYED SERIOUS in spite of the fact that the combat tutorial orders you to "touch your opponent as fast as you can" and then they die and go "NARG!" So... uhm. Lots of laser walls. Lots of combat. Lots of find the key. I would have made this if I were smart enough to make ZZT games as a kid, I swear to god. I'm sorry. 5/10 because this was a real game I couldn't beat so I don't know how it ends. Alternate Universe Me, I hope you are well.
This is one of those games that feels a bit too ambitious for the 24 hour timespan, if anything. Several laggy boards, a long-winded intro complete with statbuilding that is mostly irrelevant to the gameplay, and as far as I can tell an ending board that just isn't functional... There was a lot of effort, but no time to polish out the numerous rough spots.
Virus by Mr. Smith
I honestly don't even recognize the author's name here. However, they definitely also hit the point of "Oh hey, this could be interesting". The slow opening where the game appears like it's going to be about a virus outbreak in space is promptly thrown out to set it on Earth when the ship carrying the virus crash lands. The story is a cliché zombie virus, and the game ends abruptly.
There's some excellent artwork however. The title screen looks great, the thrusters on the spaceship are well animated, and there's an amazing looking burning question mark graphic later on. It looks like all the art took too much time however, and the game abruptly ends. It might have been better to chop off the single board that takes place on Earth and have made the game just a simple (mostly) cinema.
I'd have enjoyed seeing where this went, and graphically it's the best in the contest, but taken as a whole it becomes a bit more lacking.
Oh yeah, and it starts on the wrong board. Boo to that.
Not bad. I like how the background is the same for all of the spaceship boards. However, its take on the "zombie virus" trope is a weeee bit problematic.
- literally completely broken! I had to go into the editor to play this one? come onnnnn
- spinning a chair goes a long way to winning me back over
- nice effects (starfield, thruster, especially that question mark)
- story is kind of predictable, but reasonably well-executed
- running out of time is understandable in a 24-hour contest, but this seems like it was scoped way bigger than anyone reasonably could've executed on? if the entire game so far was just the prologue, how long were they expecting to be able to make the full thing?? (why not just cut out the apartment scene altogether, and call the crash the ending, at that point?) I know I just said I want to judge them on the potential of a "full version", but I feel like this one's "potential" IS to wind up wildly over-scoped and never actually finished, if this is how they approach a 24-hour jam
- everything in this is competent but basically forgettable (though I'm not exactly the target audience to be honest). but I can't picture particularly wanting to recommend it over anything else, even if it had been "finished". 6/10.0.
It's a shame that this one wasn't finished either! It has a great storytelling style and presentation, although Mr Smith only managed to complete the prologue before having to submit it. The virus plot isn't exactly the most original thing in the box, but it sounded like it was going somewhere interesting. Lovely fire effect on the spaceship, as well.
There’s a mysterious virus loose that causes people to cough a lot and then attack in a frenzy! The visuals in this are incredible, I absolutely adore the cute spaceship you spend the first act in. It’s a shame the author ran out of time, I would love to see where this was going.
VIRUS: I liked that you can spin the chair, but it’s barely a game. I’d be more intrigued if this was a demo for a bigger game that starts on the second last board.
A decent introduction, complete with a nice animation of the crash, leading to a literal "oops I ran out of time" screen. Fair enough. It was shaping up to be a zombie apocalypse action shooter of some sort before abruptly ending. I'm not a fan of the genre overall, so I doubt I could have scored this game fairly without personal bias. It seems like it could have been good if that's your thing? But alas.
Simple but impressive title screen art. Needed to be hacked to actually start on the first board. A simple horror/zombie game, with good attention to detail. The choice of making the first protagonist a victim was intriguing. "Blackened skin" is not a good choice of words.
Very nice title screen. Unfortunately, no actual way to start the game without using the board editor. The game is two screens you walk through, then your little space explorer encounters a virus that makes you black and oily (uhm.) and the rest of the game is cutscenes, including what I can only describe as a "room shaped like a burning question mark" which makes me feel like maybe Rybread Celsius was just working in the wrong medium. After this you become a schmuck from New Jersey who keeps a gun under his lamp and decides to investigate a news report, steps out his front door, and is instantly torn apart by zombies because the author ran out of time. ... I'm sorry, I LAUGHED and not in a nice way.
This is the other sort of game that was a bit too ambitious - In this case, the abrupt ending is a clearly-defined screen reading that the author ran out of time, rather than just a board that doesn't work properly. What is there is quite good, including a cool pulsing virus effect that's very 28 Days Later. There's a good attention to detail in this game, and you could only imagine what the full story might have entailed. Also, you probably wouldn't have to edit the game to start on the actual first board rather than the title screen, but hey.