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Soul Garden

You’re a little Grim trying to create a harmonious garden of harvested souls.


Sole Developer

Made for:

Ludum Dare 52: Harvest

Play here:

Play as a little Grim Reaper who’s looking to create the perfect, harmonious garden by harvesting a variety of souls.


The game space consists of 2 realms:

  • The Garden Realm, where all harvested souls appear

  • The Harvesting Realm (real world), where the reaper must go to harvest souls.


Grim Reaper

Controlled by the player using standard WASD controls. Uses tile-based movement (press key once to move once. Press repeatedly to move further) so that movement isn’t too smooth and requires button-mashing to get further faster. This is firstly because the game uses a single screen with a small play area so fast movement isn’t desired, and also because harvesting a soul is automatic on collision - there is no additional harvesting interaction for the player, so button mashing keeps the player busy and allows for more careful movement and decision-making with which souls to collect and which to avoid.


Consist of 4 different types: babies, children, adults, and elders. Souls age over time with elders disappearing at the end of their lifespan. Initially all souls spawned as babies at the hospital, but after play-testing, more spawn points were added at various buildings for various ages.

Player Limitations

Time: The reaper can only stay in the harvesting realm for so long before needing to return to the garden realm. Once the time runs out, the reaper is automatically transported to the garden realm, or the reaper may choose to return to the garden through the available portal before the time runs out.

Energy: The reaper has an energy bar that is depleted with each soul harvested. Different soul types have different energy costs (e.g. harvesting children has a higher energy cost whereas harvesting elders has a lower energy cost). Glowing collectables (energy orbs) spawn randomly in the environment and can be collected to replenish some energy. 

End States

If the reaper runs out of energy, it is instant death and game over.

If the reaper runs out of time or chooses to leave the harvesting realm, they are taken to the garden realm. Here appear all the harvested souls in the positions where they were harvested. A scores for the garden’s potential, vibrancy, strength, and wisdom are shown to represent the kind of garden that has been planted depending on the types of souls harvested.

Further development may involve expanding the game so that the garden realm is its own playable area where the reaper must tend to their newly planted garden, effects and ease of which will depend on the souls harvested initially, but there are currently no plans for further development.


The harvesting realm is drab and grey to represent the dull real world, whereas the garden realm is luscious and green. Energy orbs are the same glowing green to represent the magic of the garden realm in the real world. The reaper is also green, though a more muted green to represent his belonging to the garden realm but also his ability to traverse both. Souls are purple to provide a pleasing contrast to the greens and greys, but still muted to be harmonious with the rest of the game’s visuals.


The intention for the audio was to create a dark, gothic, slightly ominous soundtrack. It was my first attempt creating music for a jam game and was put together very quickly and without much iteration in the final few hours of the jam.

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