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 23rd iteration of the jam. The game jam requires developers to use GameMaker to create a game in just 48 hours, from scratch, with comparable rules to the strict Ludum Dare Compo. The theme for this GM48 was ‘Sacrifice’.
At the end of 48 hours, entrants were to submit their game and rate everyone else's. The winners were determined by these ratings, and YoYo Games graciously sponsored the jam once again, by providing a Desktop license to GameMaker Studio 2. You can play all 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 23rd edition of the GM48!
Railcar Revenue is a super fun, chaotic game that sees you attempting to manage a train full of cargo and passengers while bandits are attacking! At the beginning of each level, you are able to purchase railcars that contain different cargo. Some contain people, others important people, and lastly, cars filled with just cargo. Once you have purchased all of the railcars you would like, your journey starts.
These journeys never go smoothly - bandits attack from the roof, throwing both your customers and your cargo from the train and lighting things on fire! You can throw the bandits off or even throw your customers at the bandits to knock them off, but you must act quickly as each passenger or cargo thrown off will be less money in your pocket. Cargo also plays an important role - you can use it to smother fires. Once fires start to break out in your railcars, you will need to smother them immediately. They multiply fast and no one will fork over their hard-earned cash to be on a train that's on fire! Inevitably, if it all gets too hot to handle and the fires get out of control, you will have to pull up the train car’s coupling and let the whole car go.
Railcar Revenue is very hard to master, but if you can last and make your train lengthy, you may have a very profitable business!
Heart of Steel is a stunning hand-drawn game that has you defending the city as it’s people escape in fragile hot air balloons! You are a giant war machine, a robot if you will, defending a small town from the war going on around it. Planes are attacking, tanks are rolling in, but the townspeople must try to escape. Unfortunately, they only have humble hot air balloons to make their escape with.
These balloons are extremely fragile - getting hit by planes, the tank’s shells, or your own lasers will send them tumbling ever downward. You must use your laser to defeat the invaders, saving the townspeople as they float up into the sky. Along with your laser, you also have a jetpack to boost around the screen with. The only downside of these two features though are that they have the same energy bar. Using them too much will cause it to overheat, and then you will be unable to use either of its functions for a few seconds while it recharges once again.
Heart of Steel is very beautiful and quite fun to play! Watching the villagers make it out into the sky provides a good feeling of achievement in the chaos!
Seven Sacrifices is a challenging platformer that has you giving up different abilities instead of gaining them! Unlike most Metroidvania-styled games, instead of collecting different abilities that allow you to go to new areas of the game, you will be given every single ability at the start, and forced to give them one up at the end of each level! You will have six abilities; some boots, a pistol, a whip, a grappling hook, an amulet, and a lantern.
As you make it through the game, you will rely on some of these useful tools to get around easier, so when forced to sacrifice each item, you must think about what you don’t need and watch as the game gets increasingly difficult without the items. Quickly, you will find yourself making tough decisions in order to continue on in the game. While it seems like none of the levels are unsolvable without any one item, some are much easier with abilities!
Seven Sacrifices is a very clever game, forcing the player to make hard decisions and live with their decisions.
GameMaker makes it fast and easy to complete game jams, especially in game jams that have a short time limit, like the GM48. The community surrounding the GM48 is super helpful, whether you are an experienced GameMaker developer, or someone looking to make a start with the engine, this game jam is worth checking out.
The next GM48 will be held on October 14th, 2017. You can keep up with this jam by joining their subreddit, visiting the GM48 website, and by following @tehwave on Twitter. If you liked this article, feel free to follow me @Jupiter_Hadley, check out my website, and support content just like this on my Patreon.