Ludum Dare always produces some of the year’s most interesting games, and Ludum Dare 31 is already shaping up with some excellent entries. December’s theme, “Entire Game on One Screen,” has already given us Birdsong, a visually striking Metroid inspired adventure. Developer Managore won 1st place Overall in Ludum Dare 29, and this one’s already shaping up to be a top contender.
Birdsong starts off as seemingly a traditional platformer for the first couple of seconds. As you begin to move across the screen, your view is zoomed out and warped, until you can see the entire world map stretching around you to the edges of the screen. It’s a brilliant effect, made better by the shock of the fake-out introduction.
It helps that it’s a well-done Metroidvania as well. You control a little bird, and have it hop through levels, dodging spikes and other obstacles. As you explore, you’ll find items that increase your jump height to expand your traversal skills, and others that allow you to build checkpoints in difficult locations.
The game’s biggest strength is in it’s totally unique visual effect. Every part of the level can be seen from anywhere, and walking simply wraps the screen around in front of where you’re moving. The furthest parts of the level taunt you from the opening moments, and finally making your way there feels like an accomplishment as you look back on where you’ve been.
When the Ludum Dare awards start coming around, I guarantee you’ll be hearing more about this one. Check out Birdsong on its Ludum Dare page, and check out the rest of the several hundred entries based around LD31’s theme. Designing around constraints always brings out creativity, so enjoy the new ideas while they’re fresh!