PEGBRJE: GumGem and Paint Game

God I love gifs.

GumGem is a procedural platformer created by Samuele Zolfanelli, a solo indie dev and Godot contributor also known as DAZEL. This is the 2.1 updated version of the game jam title created for A Game By Its Cover 2018, which was worked on and released before being updated to the glorious version we have now. It features a little individual being informed that the gummy kingdom has been invaded by the evil gummy bear, and the prince has (once again) been taken prisoner and it’s up to our little friend to go rescue him.

As the agile and brave protagonist, players will delve in to the castle’s interior in the hopes of finding the Evil Gummy Bear and get the prince back to save the day. Thing is, there’s been some renovations in the castle, which has caused it to be in a very bizarre, not entirely ‘castle-like’ state — doesn’t help that there are enemies crawling everywhere either. Players will be able to jump throughout the levels, avoiding the spikes that are placed everywhere to stop worthy rescuers while utilizing a unique power; the dash. This dash can only be utilized once before replenishing upon hitting the ground, but it is the greatest tool in the player’s arsenal. With it, players can alter their trajectory at any time, even having some slight control of the arc that the protagonist can take when dashing to get through tight turns and spaces. The dash is also how players defeat enemies in each level, who regularly need to be defeated in order to open the door to the next room; some enemies can just be hit and destroyed while others such as the spider need to be hit in specific locations. The interesting aspect is that when players hit an object that interacts with the dash, the dash is automatically refreshed to allow for another one. This leads to many areas where constant dash refreshing can prove to get through difficult areas with minimal loss of health by bouncing off of enemies, or on the flip side lead to hilariously flying maneuvers that don’t necessarily achieve much.

I say the dash ‘interacting’ with objects as chandeliers can be activated through dashing, which also resets the dash. These are found in the chandelier-puzzle rooms, where every one must be activated in order to open the door. See, the procedural aspect of Gumgem is that each time a player attempts to reach the end, the rooms and their layouts are randomized; players could have a starting room full of bats or other enemies, one of chandeliers, or one that requires the player to grab the key to leave. It gives a sense of almost roguelike consistency, where players need to constantly keep trying at a similar-yet-different strategy in order to reach the end. Being somewhat adaptable is key to ensuring that each room doesn’t cause too many lives to be lost, for the only way to recover hearts is to find them; death resets the player all the way back to the beginning of the castle to try again.

Don’t let the adorable aesthetics, cute animations and lovingly crafted soundtrack fool you, however; Gumgem will suck you in if you aren’t careful and watch you constantly get sent back to the beginning. Of course, this might be because of my ineptitude for platformers, but the quick restarting and constantly different challenges made it much more inviting than what I am normally used to in platformers. Instead of fighting against the same level over and over, I was fighting against the entire game to see how far I could get without dying, which oddly enough is more my style. If this sounds like yours as well, then Gumgem is a fantastic implementation of dash platforming with procedural generation, and you’ll spend more than 5 minutes attempting to defeat that evil gummy bear. Good luck!

Paint Game is a simply customizable ‘exploration’ game created by Max, a solo indie dev who makes games for friends. Players are transported in to a completely empty world, at least in terms of colour; everything is white, outlined in black and contains minimal details at most. It is up to the players to change that.

Armed with a plethora of colours, players will be able to explore this colourless world and paint it to their heart’s content. Thing is, however, that the way that the player paints is through ‘snapshots’; by right-clicking on the mouse, the player will fix the camera in the spot they are in and begin their ability to paint, meaning that the perspective is forced. What this leads to is the inability to see the precise locations and directions that players will always be painting in, meaning that a piece of the sky may get a splash of purple here and there as one attempts to paint a building, or there may be a floating green blob in the air beside a tree. There’s a constant state of messy avant-garde aesthetics that are encouraged, where colours don’t necessarily matter all that much and their placement locations are optional at best. With a forced perspective there’s even the ability to disregard the actual objects all together and just paint a scenery on top of them all, leading to a perspective piece in which can only be seen properly from certain angles.

The world is literally yours to create, with all the lines being more like guidelines and suggestions — even the villagers can be completely ignored, although their advice alters every so often so it isn’t meant to be taken seriously all the time. Paint Game wants you to simply paint any way you choose, as long as its messy and unpredictable (even the narrowest brush doesn’t really do any clean lines). I can’t say much else about the title due to how open it is to interpretation, as if you are wanting something to simply express creativity with minimal restrictions it does exactly that.

Also I’ve been mildly screwed by math, tomorrow will be only a single game. Curse you, math.

Links

Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.