Ludum Dare is an indie game development competition held regularly every few months which pits developers against a 48-hour deadline to create a game from scratch, based on a given theme. The main site is a community hub for a creative niche in the indie gaming scene that takes part in more than just the competition - like recording time lapse videos and post-mortems of the development process.
The latest competition, the 15th to date, was held at the end of last month, and the theme was ‘caverns’. The 144 entries submitted have been made available to play, and voting will begin in a couple of days. There’s a huge variety in the kinds of games created, as well as in the quality. The entries range from the familiar to the completely novel. The sheer number of games to try may turn casual onlookers off, so it might be worthwhile waiting for the votes to come in so that the very best rise to the top. But as with any creative contest there are quite a few interesting ideas here that will just be overlooked.
I quite like Beacon, a platformer with a little bit of polish. You advance through the cavern with the help of a floating orb of light, and cannot progress without its protective glow. A step too far into the shadows and you are swallowed by the things that lurk in the darkness. There are glowing crystals scattered around that allow you to get from spot to spot while the orb wanders off to unreachable areas, and the game requires you to have some sharp eyes and good spatial awareness. The game reeks of atmosphere and is well worth checking out.
There are other curious experiments that deserve a look, I’ve linked a few here but head on over to the entries page to see the rest.