The final weekend of April has become a fixture in many GMC members’ calendars in recent years, the reason being to immerse themselves in relentless game making and community spirit. This is all because the GMC Jam takes the stage for its second time in the quaternary event that sees members get their creative hats on and produce a game in just 72 hours. These games are then presented to the community for a voting period in which they receive votes and feedback. As my community prize I offered to review the winning entry of this 10th GMC Jam here in the Reviewers Choice forum, so sit back and enjoy while I pick apart the game that took the title. I present to you:
“Colour, it’s something we take for granted, isn’t it?” Not anymore in this world Lune has created in this game “Rainbows Below”. A narrative cut-scene presented at the opening of this game puts you right in the mind of the character as they strive to climb up and find colour, so that there can “be Rainbows Below again”. It isn’t something you see too often in games created in such a short amount of time, but Lune really pulled this cut-scene out of the bag. You can’t help but find yourself sympathising with the story line, portrayed using static images drawn in the distinctive graphical style of the game blended with an inquisitive voice over, which itself fits nicely over a backing music track.
“If I could reach it- If I could stretch my hand out and take some of it, could I bring it back down to share with everyone?”
With the scene well and truly set, you are then presented with the game itself. There are no problems getting acquainted with the controls as it simply a case of using the arrow keys to climb, slide and jump your way across the perilous cliff face. You are left under no illusion that the aim of this game is to climb as high as you can, in the hope of finding colour once more. So with that in mind, you start climbing. A pleasant rock-hammering sound effect plays for each tap of your climbing axe, and accompanied with the scraping sound of sliding and a few extra noises the sound effects are minimal yet sufficient to do justice to the game.
It doesn’t take long to hone your skills in this game, and before you know it you are climbing at a great pace. The timing of jumps becomes second nature, and you start to recognise patterns in the obstacles that the game presents you with and you are able to tackle them with little problem.
Some obstacles are trickier than others, but the variety keeps the game interesting.
Having said that, I don’t want to give the impression that the game gets boring quickly- it doesn’t! With each poor decision you make (like flinging yourself over a rock wall because you climbed just too high on its opposite face) you feel compelled to give it another go. You know that the cause of your death was most probably your fault; perhaps you were rushing or simply got complacent. And it’s with that knowledge that you know you can do better, and this alone makes this game addictive and re-playable. But it doesn’t stop there, it seems each time you give the game another go it knows you want more, and variations of the obstacles and hazard setups apparently keep coming.
Hazard variations were impressive.
I was really very impressed with the mixture of hazards, as I assumed it wouldn’t take long to have seen them all. Although partly true that you do see them all relatively quickly, you don’t see the full combination of them for a while. In fact, while playing this for the best part of an hour for this review, I was still seeing new challenges on my very last attempt!
When you are unfortunate enough to come to your death, the game simply lets you know how high you climbed and tallies up the number of enemies you took out on your climb. Although it saves your session highscore, upon restarting the game your score is lost. I think that is the one thing the game currently lacks and if it were to be developed further I would definitely consider online highscores to add an extra level of addictiveness to the game.
Whatever your score, you feel you can do better.
Aside from that, this game really is a deserving winner of the 10th GMC Jam. You'd think a constant tapping sound effect would getting irritating- it doesn't. You'd think the gameplay would lose its novelty quickly- wrong again! And despite only being allowed to use one colour on top of grayscale (as defined by the Jam handicap this time round), I’m left feeling this game was vibrant and the atmosphere was perfect. Does the climber ever find colour and bring it back? I’ll let you discover the answer to that one…