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A game about time.


Sole Developer excl. audio

Made for:

Ludum Dare 46: Keep it alive

Play here:

It’s all about time. Time is infinite and we go through it step by step, and although time is endless, our time ends, it is limited. Within our start and our end, each life is different, filled with moments that make time fly and others that slow it to a crawl. Sometimes accidents happen that stop it altogether. It’s not about keeping the person alive, but about keeping their time alive (lively). 

Your character begins their “Timewalk” automatically and moves through time step by step. Above hang stars that contain either negative moments that slow your character down or positive moments that speed you up. Clicking on the stars makes them fall to the path where they reveal what they are. Collect enough positive moments to complete a fulfilling timewalk.

Key Features

The intention was to create a game with a strong, dreamy atmosphere that was more reflective than active. Because of that, player agency was limited: The player character moves automatically across the screen and the game ends after a fixed amount of time. Players may “look to the starts for guidance” by clicking on the stars and triggering either positive or negative moments, which either speed up the player’s movement or slow them down. 

These babushkas represent positive moments and happy memories

The core idea for the gameplay was for a player to complete a timewalk that was full of positive moments. To do so, they would have to click on the stars to make those positive moments available. The length of the timewalk remained fixed, so it would not be possible to just click on all the stars since some contained negative moments that would slow the player down and limit their opportunity to collect more positive moments. Some negative stars would also fall automatically to ensure the player experienced some negative moments and would need to seek out positive moments to balance out their timewalk score.

A little walk animation

Further Development

The initial idea was to have branching mini-games to allow players to experience the fallen memories more fully. Due to jam time, this had to be abandoned, but there is the opportunity to explore how players might interact with these memories in further development, as well as developing a full catalogue of different memories and scenarios for players to discover.

From the feedback, players enjoyed the atmosphere of the game, but would have preferred more clarity about the game’s systems, such as a counter to show the remaining time, more exaggerated consequences for collecting negative versus positive moments, and better animations to represent them. An integrated tutorial with clearer instructions could also have helped.

Ultimately, it was an interesting challenge to gamify an allegory of time, but too much time was spent on the allegory and not enough on its gamification and the result was an experience that fell short. There’s a special kind of joy that fills you when finally, all the pieces of an idea fall into place. But just because you now have a complete idea does not necessarily mean that you have a good idea or even a good implementation of that idea. Unfortunately, refining that idea takes time and when you have no time, like in a weekend game jam, you have to decide: Is it better to have a complete and playable game or a perfect idea and no game at all? We went with the first option, which meant that we had a finished game, but at the detriment of other elements, namely the gameplay.

Music & sound by Francesco Sicurella.

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