This guest article was written by Jupiter Hadley, an enthusiastic and active member of the indie community. More about her and links to her other content can be found at the bottom of this article.
The amazing community of GameMaker developers over on the r/GameMaker subreddit have hosted another one of their quarterly game jams called GM48. This is the 22nd edition of the jam. This game jam requires developers to use GameMaker to create a game in just 48 hours, from scratch, with similar rules to the strict Ludum Dare Compo. The theme for this GM48 was ‘Descend’.
At the end of 48 hours, entrants were to submit their game to the website. The winners were determined by ratings given by users, and YoYo Games graciously supported the jam, once again, by providing prizes via a giveway of a copy of GameMaker Studio 2 to the winners. You can play all of the games submitted to the game jam here, and see the results here.
Below, I am going to review the the top three games from the 22nd edition of the GM48!
Abyss is a wonderful, under the sea exploration game, where you are a diver looking for some treasure! You have a harpoon and an oxygen tank to help your descent to the bottom of the ocean. This harpoon comes in handy as there are plenty of sea dwelling creatures who hurt you if you run into them. You must charge up your harpoon before hitting the fish to kill them. If you fail to charge it first, the fish instead bounce off of nearby walls and come back at you, essentially unharmed.
There are also different barrels that are floating under the water. These barrels contain either health packs or oxygen for you to consume. Your air is constantly running out, so shooting these barrels and breathing in the released air bubbles are needed. There are also different upgrades floating around under the sea. These upgrades will help you move faster or refill your oxygen completely.
Abyss is a really fun game that slowly gets more intense as you go deeper into the sea. New fish begin to appear, moving differently than the last ones - some even targeting you, leaving you no choice but to eliminate them. If you can make it deep enough without drowning or being killed by fish, you may even find some treasure!
The Ascension is a wonderfully creepy and mysterious platformer that has you playing an angel. This angel seems to have fallen, but there are plenty of staircases to use to get back up from the ground. These staircases are always just out of reach or are unusable, or so it seems. The narrator seems to not want you to fall, but that is your only option. With not a lot of choice in interacting with the narrator, you must just continue your path of figuring out what to do.
As you get deeper and deeper into this game, something starts to change - anger pours out of the narrator and you start to darken. The environment in The Ascension plays around with the player’s perception of what the area they are able to move in is. Sometimes in places that look like walls, there is an alternate route that you must take. While these are not obvious at first, over time, you learn to look for the unexpected places to explore.
This game is very well made with multiple endings to explore and figure out, though some just end up in darkness.
Cave of Generations is a challenging platformer that has you exploring a cave for some treasure. Every century new adventurers try their hand at finding the treasure deep inside these caves. You are one of these adventurers, looking to find the treasure deep below the surface. As you explore, you learn of different types of spikes - ones that you can walk in front of but not jump on, and another type that you must avoid completely. There are also blocks that are sometimes in your way, and so must be shot and destroyed.
It is fairly easy to die in this game, so when you do, your skeleton will lie on the ground, becoming a part of the environment. Many months will pass after death allowing your old body to decompose. You can write down the year you are in, on the starting sign by the opening of the cave, to mark how long it has taken you or when the last adventurer had visited it.
Cave of Generations is straightforward in gameplay, the graphics are nicely made. I enjoyed exploring the caves and trying ever so hard to make it to this treasure that’s rumored to be below.
GameMaker makes it easy and fast to complete game jams, even in game jams that have a short time limit, like the GM48. The community around the GM48 are super helpful, whether you are an experienced GameMaker developer, or someone looking to start in the engine, this game jam is worth checking out.