Incremental Game Jam 2 reviews - Part 1

2021-02-28

Incremental Game Jam 2 has ended its submission period, and now it is time to rate the games. I will drop my thoughts here, and I will copy my ratings here. The ratings are 1-5 stars, and they are in four categories: Fun, Balance, Uniqueness, and Theme. Here are more wordy explanations on how do I interpret the ratings:

  • Fun
    • ★☆☆☆☆ - Pretty much it is a pain to play - essentially negative fun.
    • ★★☆☆☆ - The game, well, exists - and you can’t really say anything much more.
    • ★★★☆☆ - The game provides some fun, but it isn’t something
    • ★★★★☆ - The game is pretty good - especially for a jam game.
    • ★★★★★ - The game is extremely fun and engaging, giving it longevity past the game jam.
  • Balance
    • ★☆☆☆☆ - The game has never heard of pacing.
    • ★★☆☆☆ - The game has major pacing issues, but there is still something that can reedem it.
    • ★★★☆☆ - The game has moderate pacing issues.
    • ★★★★☆ - The game has minor pacing issues.
    • ★★★★★ - The game is paced near perfectly.
  • Uniqueness
    • ★☆☆☆☆ - Almost as if it was made from a tutorial, without any additional inventiveness.
    • ★★☆☆☆ - You can’t call the game original, but you also can’t really call it a carbon copy of another game
    • ★★★☆☆ - There is some minor amount of originality within the game, but doesn’t really explore anything new.
    • ★★★★☆ - Pretty darn original - even if it mostly just combines the known genre tropes in a new way.
    • ★★★★★ - Something that expands the horizons of the genre.
  • Theme
    • ★☆☆☆☆ - The theme was literally ignored.
    • ★★☆☆☆ - The theme doesn’t really affect anything in the game, but you can’t say it isn’t somewhere out there.
    • ★★★☆☆ - The theme is duct-taped, but you can see there was still some game design consideration to work with it.
    • ★★★★☆ - The theme can be really felt from the game, but there are some minor duct-tapings.
    • ★★★★★ - It’s like this game wouldn’t really exist without this theme.

For hopefully obvious reasons, I won’t rate all of these games at once, and I will split this into multiple parts of likely inconsistent length - depending on how fast I will be getting through this list.

Light The Way Home by jgittins

The premise of this game is interesting, but poorly explained. You have a group of villages that want to go back home from the pub, but they are endangered by monsters that are definitely similiar to Grues from Zork. They are scared away by your lamps, that you place with a click. You can place a limited amount of lamps, starting with one - but you eventually can upgrade this cap. If you try to place more lamps, the earliest spawned one will be replaced. This effectively turns the game into a simple RTS… but it also forces you to click a lot. You don’t have to jitterclick to be optimal, but you still should keep up at least decent amount of APM.

This game is an decent prototype and you can build something cool out of it, but as a standalone game it is a bit lackluster. I would also personally like it more if it had some more tempo to it - right now it is a bit too sluggish.

  • Fun: ★★★☆☆
  • Balance: ★★★☆☆
  • Uniqueness: ★★★★☆
  • Theme: ★★★★★
  • Should you try it out: yes

CLEANSED by Yhvr

Okay, this is an extremely interesting game, even if it may look intimidating at first due to roguelike-style ASCII graphics. It has a simple premise, you collect shards to dispel darkness, reaching buildings where you can buy upgrades and exploring the world. It is a game that I will definitely want to play out until the end, and it is actually impressive that it is a game made in just about five days. Sure, it isn’t a perfect game - the world is a bit barren to be honest - but it is still something that made me seriously impressed. The only thing that I can really attempt to criticize the game on is the balance - I would try to pace the game a lil’ bit differently, but that is a bit nitpicky to be honest.

  • Fun: ★★★★★
  • Balance: ★★★★☆
  • Uniqueness: ★★★★☆
  • Theme: ★★★★★
  • Should you try it out: hell yes

Light the City! by Semenar

This game makes a terrible first impression. It starts by a lot of manual labor, and requires a good few minutes before unlocking any form of automation… but it could have been worse - it doesn’t force clickspamming on the player, so at least there’s that. Later on it gets a bit better, but it constantly lacks that “something”. As for the theme, it is extremely duct-taped onto the game - I can’t really see much of it and I actually had to cheat forward to reach anything that mentions lighting the titular city in a reasonable amount of time.

On the more positive note - the author of this game has an okay base on which they can build upon and improve, even if the game as it stands now isn’t anything special. You can still enjoy this game a bit if you liked the early incremental era though.

  • Fun: ★★☆☆☆
  • Balance: ★★★☆☆
  • Uniqueness: ★★☆☆☆
  • Theme: ★★☆☆☆
  • Should you try it out: if you are bored or you like classical incrementals I guess