It’s probably a really good thing that I don’t follow game jams too closely, especially after they end. Instead, I pick up a name or two of an interesting title to check out from some other source (usually Indie Statik), do so, play for a bit, write a thing, and happily move on. Otherwise, these things are like bottomless pits, and you could spend days trying them all out to see which ones click and which ones sink. Truthfully, I had intended to look at more creations from Ludum Dare 26, after enjoying Gods Will Be Watching and TOOM, but then I blinked, and here we are now looking at games from the next game jam session: Ludum Dare 27. Really, where does the time go?
First up is Proletarian Ninja X. It is 1930, and capitalists seem to have taken over Earth. You are the Proletarian Ninja X, and your mission is to kill every single one of them. There’s a problem though; your “kill list” is as long as I am tall, and you only have 10 seconds total to kill all the fat cats in the room. Left-clicking with your mouse moves the ninja and kills a snootypant when next to them, and right-clicking throws a shuriken with deadly intent. All the rich have enlightened cones that show where they are looking, and if they spot you or another dead body, it’s game over. Thankfully, it’s very Super Meat Boy-like in starting you over again quickly, so while you might make many mistakes, it is easy to learn from them.
Everything about Proletarian Ninja X is amazingly polished. Evidently, deepnight has participated in game jams before with many successes, and it shows. In fact, I’ve already played one of their (his? her?) games before: Last Breath from Ludum Dare 22. Anyways, moving the ninja from room to room and over desks is easy and tight, the sound effects are wonderfully pleasing, especially when you kill a rich fella, and the pixelated art style fits very well for all that mass murder. That 10 seconds really makes every action count, and you will quickly learn this, as the difficulty seems to ramp up on like the third room. I got to the fifth room and gave up after failing to chop all those high and mighty to bits fast enough without getting caught. This is no Mark of the Ninja (or even Super Ninja Slash), where you can wait almost indefinitely to make your move, but I think the time restraint forces you to try different tactics and makes that final kill all the more rewarding.
I’m looking forward to popping back into this later, and I could totally see this evolving into a full-fledged title. Though I’d like to see some larger rooms with a longer time limit, maybe 30 seconds or so, just to allow for some hesitation and pre-planning. Either way, really good stuff. Always fun to give the upper class their just desserts.