Weekly Game Jam 184: Berserker and Thumbnail Maker

“Berserker and Thumbnail Maker” by andretchen.

“[A] pixel art puzzle platformer.”

When I first played through “Berserker and Thumbnail Maker”, I immediately thought of Sébastien Bénard’s jam games. As it turned out, that was no coincidence at all, since the developer andretchen used Bénard’s open library collection deepnightLibs. Combined with one of Davit Masia’s pixel art asset packages, this already created a very positive experience on an audiovisual level. However, the gameplay itself made me think back to a jam submission I recommended about two and a half years ago: “Overwrite” by Steven Miller., which was also one of our Jam Games Of The Year 2018.

After all, “Overwrite” and “Berserker and Thumbnail Maker” have one big thing in common: Their game mechanics. In both puzzle games, we can ‘photograph’ a three-by-three field section of the environment. We can then ‘paste’ this image wherever we can move our character, thus overdrawing the previous state of the game world. This way we can fill empty spaces with platforms or with ladders.

The biggest difference, on the other hand, is who we should bring to the end of each level in each game. While in “Overwrite” we had to escort our own character – a camera that came to life – to the exit, in “Berserker and Thumbnail Maker” we are the last named in the title and so more of a supporting character for the warrior who is in a frenzy. The berserker always moves from left to right and back again, automatically climbing all the ladders that he faces. So instead of just working out our own path, we have to build it for a character we cannot even begin to control. At the same time, we must also take care that he does not run into undead warriors who would bring about his immediate end.

Furthermore, the use of this mechanic was only possible one to three times per level in “Overwrite”, but in “Berserker and Thumbnail Maker” it is completely unlimited. The removal of this limitation is good for this specific jam game, as it often allows different approaches to the same level. So I release you into the dark dungeon; may you find your own way or at least conjure it up quickly. [PLAY]