Saturday, February 8, 2014

Candy Jam #Finale - My favorite games

After making Scrolls of Candy I obviously wanted it to do well. I don't believe the point of the Candy Jam was to be competitive, but being a competitive asshole is something I'm pretty good at, and you should always play to your strengths.

The jam format itself initially only tracked views, but as it went on they added comments (for site members only) and ratings (for Candy Jam entrants only). All of this made it a little hard market myself or my game, and apparently it was the same for most other people in the jam, based on the low-to-zero amount of ratings most of the games had received. Abandoning hope of being able to "win" by any definition of my own, I decided to instead "become the change I wished to see".

I made it my mission to play and rate all of the games entered into the candy jam. In retrospect, it was a dumb decision, and in reality I think I may have made it through about half of the games, but intent was what counted. There was simply too many games spread across too many mediums, and too many that didn't really try enough that really sapped my will to continue. "All the games" soon became "all the browser games" which then became "Games with nice thumbnails".

But jointly save any of you from the same fate, as well as celebrate those who did do great work, I would like to present my picks for the best of the Candy Jam:

Candy Escape Goat Saga
by @MagicalTimeBean

Probably the one of the most polished games in the jam. It's based on the Escape Goat 2, the sequel to the puzzle platformer game Escape Goat, currently being made by MagicalTimeBean. Rather than reskinning the graphics, MagicalTimeBean has created new levels with new mechanics inspired by Candy Crush/match-3 style games. The whole concept works amazingly well and features great level design. It doesn't take long to play and it'll probably convince you to go and check out Escape Goat as well!

The onslaught of the almighty candy biotics
by @benjamin_soule_

To put it as simply as possible, Candy biotics is like a heady mash up of Legend of Zelda and Boulderdash dressed up in finest EGA graphics the 1980's could afford. The best part about this game is the sheer amount of content hidden away just waiting for the player to come find it. This is pretty much a fully formed game, done in an extremely short amount of time by one guy. It's also probably the only game on this list that I'd go back and play more of willingly.

Candy Match Forever
by @realnoyb

Candy Match Forever takes match-3 games at their basic design, looks at how Candy Crush Saga handles things, and then flips it entirely on it's head. Where CCS  is designed to make you fail, CMF wants you to win. CCS makes you wait before it'll give you any reward, CMF does nothing but reward you. CCS splits and dilutes it's narrative and only drip feeds it to you after passing it's checkpoints, CMF lays it out on the table no matter how well you do. Amazing stuff.

King of Candy Fart Saga
by @_iq12_

Crass as all hell, but it's really hard to not appreciate the art style of this game. There were a couple of other interesting art styles floating around the jam (LCD game-and-watch style being another of my favourites that I'm totally going to be stealing sometime soon) but I don't think any of the other ones were quite as unique or polished as this medieval/playing card look. It also helps that the gameplay is pretty solid and satisfying (especially when you luck out on a few Jesus combos).

by @Sosowski

While the gameplay concept in this game has potential, I don't think it was fully realised here. However, this game gets many bonus points for a few things:
- The informative and educational look at communist Poland.
- The soundtrack, possibly best music of all of the games submitted.
- The incredible ending.

Candy's Crushes Saga
by @Oujevipo

Possibly the cleverest interpretation of the jam words, Candy's Crushes Saga is a puzzle game that plays out like a pixelated autobiographical arthouse movie that examines the relationships of a girl named Candy. The puzzles and the way they are presented are extremely fitting and well done for something made in puzzlescript.

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