Tag Archives: Stray Whisker

Playing the Ludum Dare 22 Winners, #2 – Abandoned

In Abandoned, the number two game from Ludum Dare 22’s top fifty submissions, you come to your senses aboard a space station bereaved of life and social activity and realize you are nothing more than a clone. We are spoon-fed this realization with no further fluffing. A grapple beam is attached to your arm, and with it you can spin a room around, tilting it this way and that. Your goal is to reach the room’s exit via a door, and not to die. Death is given out graciously by static laser beams. Completing each room gets you one step closer to unraveling a number of questions about who you are and what went wrong, though it is a painstakingly slow reveal.

I played for about ten minutes before giving up on a room I just couldn’t solve and hated redoing over and over. My bad, I guess, but I wasn’t really hooked (pun intended) on the whole experience.

While Abandoned does not do much with the chosen theme of this Ludum Dare–which is alone–it does look nice and play well. I mean, the room-moving grapple beam totally works and is a fun idea to build a game around, but I think the lack of a story and even slower reveal of it is a letdown. Would have liked to see this lower on the list, with maybe Stray Whisker or Last Breath in this spot. Onwards to the number one entry, a game called Frostbite that looks pretty dang good from an initial glimpse.

Playing the Ludum Dare 22 Winners, #5 – Stray Whisker

I don’t think Stray Whisker would’ve been as effective if it wasn’t for the fact that, just three weeks ago, Tara and I got two cats. Their names are Timmy and Pixie, and they are having a good time exploring and owning all the space within Grimmauld Place. I love them except when they vomit, poop, or put their smelly butt in my face when I’m trying to sleep. Conversely, I think they now love us, and I can say with confidence that one cat in particular–Ser Timmy of the Toylands–would go on a journey to find us if we ever abandoned him alone in the urban wilderness.

It’s a quiet game about just that though. A woman in pink leaves her kitty cat in a nondescript section of outside and just walks away. Maybe she can’t afford the cat anymore or doesn’t have room in the house with a new baby on the way or the cat threw up on her favorite pair of heels. We don’t know. We just know that, as the cat, we must get back to her. We must nuzzle her leg and be the greatest purr machine that ever purred. We must.

Gameplay is simple as it’s all controlled by the arrow keys. Left and right make the cat go left and right, respectively, and up gets it to jump. You can jump on to ledges and knock down pots in typical cat-like ways You are always moving right, and eventually you meet other cats and a not-so-friendly dog, but eventually you’ll find your master’s home, with your master at home upstairs. I got stuck here initially as I thought I was supposed to lead all the other strays back to the house with me, but that wasn’t it. Just had to climb into the house through the top window. Love achieved!

One moment in particular reminded me of Limbo, where you reach a new screen, get the quickest glimpse of your sister/owner at the edge of the opposite side, and do everything you can to reach her. It’s small, but effective, and made the reunion of cat and owner all the more precious. Also, kudos to Andrew Sum for the solid animation work. That cat’s tail is pretty authentic.

Total play time is under five minutes, unless that red ball really becomes a distraction. Get to it, cat fans.