Ludum Dare started in 2002 as a forum in which 18 individual game developers took 48 hours to make a complete game from scratch. This traditional bare-bones competition has been preserved in Ludum Dare’s Compo category, which is called the “hard mode” of Ludum Dare. The theme for this competition is “You are the Monster."
Here are the Compo first-place winners.
In "Writhe: The Thing from the Omega Sector", you play an alien organism recently escaped from Research Station Omega. None too happy about your captivity, you decide the best thing to do is to eat all the scientists on board, destroy all their stuff, and escape!
Pros: The level design and progression is spot-on. Obstacles are gradually introduced and conquered.
Cons: The controls take some getting used to. Scientists and tentacles have to be clicked precisely, which can be frustrating in an action game.
you have a simple mission:
find the target, and eliminate it.
the power you've been granted is overwhelming.
cleanse the valley with fire!
Pros: It’s like Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime and Trogdor put together. The endings dialogue alter slightly depending on whether you destroy the village buildings and/or destroy your objective called “the wonder.”
Cons: No enemies or conflict. The only challenge is the first few seconds of the game when you have to figure out the controls of the dragon machine.
You've been pushed around and around and around long enough! Teach the world a lesson by coming unhinged and taking down an entire city, or maybe even more?
Pros: It’s a fun idea. The fact that the Ferris Wheel gets a death laser is bonkers.
Cons: Unfortunately, this game falls short in a lot of ways. The wheel and the rocket are both impossible to control. After playing for a while in free mode, I ran into a glitch that kept restarting the game. But maybe that’s for the better. At the point that I quit, I would have done anything to make the music stop.
I know “fun” is a subjective category, but I thought the second place winner, Earth Was a Bad Choice, worked much better as a fun distraction.
You are Bigfoot. People keep bothering you with their video cameras. And they won't leave until the camera is full. But you hate being recorded. So, you have to trick them into recording a blurry, grainy mess. Reveal yourself, then disappear into the forest. If you're successful, you'll remain as a blurry rumor. Fail, and you might end up on the home page of youtube.
Pros: A neat idea. This could easily have been a survival stealth zombie game or military game, but Bigfoot is an inspired choice.
Cons: A little boring. The game could have benefited from a better risk-reward system, like extra points from drawing more people.
Stay alive as long as you can, and kill the unfriendly peasants.
Make him scream:
In this game, YOU are a monster that want to become an "official monster". To do this, you need to take an exam which consists to make a man the most afraid as possible ("Make him scream !").
Pros: I can see why these tied. They’re vastly different art styles but both pretty to look at.
Cons: On the other hand, neither of these games has much depth. In Unfriendly Village, the animations don’t sync well with the hits. And in Make him scream, I won without knowing how. I think I did something to the refrigerator, but he never actually screamed… which is kind of the point of the game, right?
A super-fun rhythm game! Play as Ms. Melody, the peaceful piranha plant, as gardeners, knights, and wizards try to uproot you. "YOU ARE THE MONSTER!" they cry, but all you want to do is have some peace in your flowerbed!
Pros: This could be considered both a rhythm and a tower defense game. I’m usually terrible at rhythm games, but something about the chiptune music and my desire to devour people as a piranha plant makes the gameplay feel smooth. The difficulty is customizable and escalates gradually as the game teaches you how to play. There’s even an option to change the sound latency in case it’s a little off.
Cons: There’s not much to complain about. The Compo version only has a beginner mode; but if it had advertised itself as being the full game, I wouldn’t have known any better.
You suddenly are a werewolf! But you don't want to kill anyone. Convince the people of the village to stay inside!
Pros: It’s a series of logic puzzles with a fun premise. The townspeople are randomized so that there’s a small amount of replayability.
Cons: The text boxes are clunky and the art could be better. The werewolf looks like a werebadger-weasel thing.
The creator of this game did not list a description, but it seems to be about a monster with sad puppy eyes who is trapped on an island with humans.
Pros: The ambiance of this game is that of isolation. There are signs everywhere that you can’t read, houses you can’t enter, and people you can’t speak to or interact with. Instead, everyone runs in fear.
Cons: Not much to do aside from walk around the island. Was the monster born in the cemetery? Visiting? Who knows! I was just about to quit and call this game a loss when I stumbled upon the ending by accident. While it did make me think about the game’s themes a little harder, I'm bitter about the lack of agency in the game. How come the villagers get to run and I can’t? Life's unfair for sad monsters...