[For their first challenge of the second day our developers-cum-journalists were tasked with previewing one of the jam's under-construction games – You can find all the JournoDevSwap articles here.]
It’s 7am and Kev Chandler has been up all night making oblongs filter towards the centre right of a blue square in an effort to realise Rob Crossley’s vision of the empowered elderly.
As the final art goes into the game, these oblongs will eventually become flying ninjas and you, by simply caressing the un-resisting glaze of your expensive tablet or smart-phone, will be guiding an as-yet-unnamed elderly woman up and in down in the sky. Relentlessly murdering swarm after swarm of these mother’s-sons with a variety of deadly weapons.
Like a cultural fajita, the game promises a cute-yet-harrowing examination of inter-generation relationships wrapped in a never-ending tortilla of strategic arcade shooting.
The game is specifically for “[People who grew up on 16 bit games who are now working professionals and want a slice of hardcore action on the tube]” says Rob, enigmatically furrowing his fulsome brow like the folds of a luxurious lion-skin rug.
The as-yet-untitled game picks up on the short-session, mystery-box grabbing fun of Super Crate Box but transplants the central concept of constant-weapon-switching into a scrolling shooter.
As your geriatric, mono-axis killer patrols the right-hand edge of the screen, furiously ejaculating red-hot death into the bellies of her hapless assailants, crates of weapons will appear behind her. She has a limited period to grab them and accept whatever change their contents make to her firepower before they float out of her reach and power up an on-coming sky-ninja instead.
This risk of your enemies using your tools against you is a gratifying way of tying your motivation to gamble on a weapon-swap to the narrative rather than it just being your success metric. There’s now a tactical imperative to throw away your arsenal.
Sure, un-named-elderly-murderess may be switching down from a laser beam to a simple pistol, but better to rob a strapping, modestly-dressed youth of the tools to defend himself than hold onto your more glamorous trinkets and come a cropper as a result.
Granny Ninja is showing all the signs of a Game Jam project destined for success. The concept is simple yet effective and the team are focused with a clear plan of what they want to achieve.
Also impressive is how effectively the theme of “swap” is built into the idea at its very core. If the objective of the event is to show journalists what being a game developer is about, it is only right to praise them for working to the brief they’ve been set.
Like the power rangers, riding in the giant robot cougars of inspiration and good planning, coming together into the Megazord of fresh game play, this team look set to slay the rubbery-Egyptian-wolf-ape of seen-it-before and be back to school in time to get great grades in their satisfaction-of-a-job-well-done GSCEs.
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