Java4K 2012 Competition / JUDGING RESULTS / REVIEWS

Results of the Java4K 2012 Competition

23 Seconds, 4k General, 4Khords, 4Killer, 4ssassins Creep - Derivations, Abstract Glowy Vector Wars, AnimalMatch 4K, assimilate4k, Atoms4Smashing, Attac4k of the Greenballs, Ballmove, Bot Blaster 4K, Bubo 4K, Cave4k, ChangeMan 4K, City4K, Conway's 4k Game of Life, Dawn, Di4klo, Digits4K, Dotz4k, Drift Driver 4K, Dungeon 4Keeper, Electron Golf 4k, Fleazy, Galactic Conquest 4K, Griefer4k, JewelKr4sh!, Jubik`s Cube, Jump 4K Freedom, Kobold Tournament 4k, Laser Pinball, Mazer 4K v1.2, McJob, Missile Command 4K, Mystery Mash, Nameless, Nyan4k, Pitfall 4K, Pocket Kingdom 4k, PORT4K, Sandie4k, Shanghai4K, Snake on a Plane, TD4k, The Little Scientist, Theseus vs Minotaur, Tide Frog 2.0, Tilt Maze 4k, TruckMaze, ZZRace 4k,

Judging Reviews


23 Seconds
by Pit
5460 downloads
Lost in space with defective laser weapons, your only way to survive are the ship\'s bombs. But these need 23 seconds to reload. 23 seconds you... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 80%    
Pretty fun game, simple yet difficult, but perhaps lacks mission/level focus.

I'd love to be able to shoot from some gun besides using the bomb. And the bomb should rather expand outwards in a circle rather than a straight line onward.
demonpants
Overall: 90%    
85k points. That's more than 4k, this game is illegal! But more seriously, this is quite well done. The graphics are pretty, the pacing is good, and most importantly the balance is excellent. I really felt like the difficulty ramp was very good overall. The gameplay idea is also excellent. There were a few times when I felt that perhaps a situation was impossible to get out of and once where my temporar invincibility faded while I was still surrounded by bullets from my previous death, but I'm surprised at how infrequently I found those situations. Well done.
Drabiter
Overall: 80%    
Nice looking. The "bullet hell dogding" mechanism works well. Background is nice too, just curious why they have to be pink. The bullets.
pjt33
Overall: 65%    
Simple and fairly familiar gameplay, but the title's emphasis on the recharge time of the weapon rather than the bullet dodging gives it a slightly different feel.

I like the clear labelling of my hitbox, the variety in bullet patterns and behaviour, and the little bits of polish with the textured background and graze sparks. The mix of graphical styles, though, with solid boxes for score pickups, makes the game feel not quite finished, and the impossibility of collecting all the score pickups when I kill enemy ships adds to that, giving the impression that you planned to have magnet upgrades and didn't fit them in.

4k General
by pelle
3081 downloads
Turn-based operational wargame. Occupy all cities in each of 12 scenarios. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 92%    
Very smart turn based strategy game. I really like it, exactly the type of game I'd like to make myself. The city icon could be better, but the other graphics were sufficient. I encourage you to make a full(er) version of this game.
demonpants
Overall: 60%    
Seems like it has potential but the controls were clunky and I had a difficult time figuring out which unit does what. It was especially problematic when none of my units could cross the river, even though I had all the types I started the level with (therefore meaning my engineer couldn't have died). As a result I couldn't do anything and the game ended after 15 turns, both me and my enemies waiting on opposite sides of the river. Just overall the lack of transparency to what was going on was the biggest hindrance to this game really working.
Drabiter
Overall: 70%    
Need time to learn at first, but it's fun later. Levels are designed in balance. I just don't like the fact that a tank could be beaten easily by infantry.
pjt33
Overall: 65%    
Ah, a hex-based battle game. That brings back some bad memories, but I shan't hold that against you!

Graphically there's a bit of a mixture of styles, with fine lines and font but blocky icons and trees. The random tree positioning which makes every forest tile slightly different is a nice touch, but the icons aren't the clearest (and I still haven't worked out why the engineer is denoted by the letter 'm').

In terms of the gameplay, there's variety in the units and in the levels, but a lot of things didn't really make sense to me. The movement rules (in particular, movement near enemies) aren't specified in the instructions. The armoured unit has a big main gun, but can't attack except at point blank range. The fog of war is colourless, so I don't know where I can theoretically "see" that there are no enemies and where I can't. I don't know most of what the enemy does on his turn - not even whether he attacked my units - which makes him feel rather passive.

Not knowing what on Earth is going on is very realistic in a battle simulator, but it is also frustrating. I would gladly see the number of scenarios reduced to half if it meant more information in the remaining ones.

Finally, thank you for allowing infinite replays of failed levels and avoiding the arcade trap.

4Khords
by Russell A Spitzer
2256 downloads
4Khords asks you to create beautiful music with the majestic silver power orb. Unfortunately and evil wizard has made it so that only a specific... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 85%    
Haha, perfectly cool and clever game :) Probably the best 4K game out there that is audio based. The thing with this game is that even without audio it's a perfectly good game, but the added audio doesn't just enhance the gameplay it changes it.

One major problem though, it's too difficult. Maybe allow player to control the bouncing of the ball.
demonpants
Overall: 97%    
This game was absolutely wonderful. I was completely addicted and wanted nothing more to finish it. Unique, fun, polished - there is a lot to like. My only points of improvement would be to have some sort of victory message after beating all the levels and maybe tweaking the level order, as the difficulty curve did not feel like it was constantly increasing. But overall stupendous work.
Drabiter
Overall: 85%    
4k game with beautiful sounds. The gameplay, is just little too difficult for me. Ball move wih smooth animation. However it's little frustating when you lost the tune (combo) when you make a mistake. It's a game where longer you play, more tense come.
pjt33
Overall: 55%    
An innovative concept and a moderate amount of variation between levels. The spark effect on hitting the right platform is great. Unfortunately there seems to be a bug in the sound handling, and it would consistently stop playing the sounds after a short while. That coupled with the difficulty of getting the ball to go where I wanted meant that I wasn't motivated to continue beyond level 6.

4Killer
by Tom-Todd
2470 downloads
It\'s my first attempt at java 4K and indeed the first game I have completed. It\'s not great, but hopefully someone will enjoy it... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 35%    
Fine as a first attempt, but I got nowhere in this game. Difficult controls and I kept dying despite punching.
demonpants
Overall: 42%    
I think this is a good start, but it's definitely not complete as-is. It's hard to know whether my punching will cause the enemy to die or whether I'll get hit, and there wasn't any real progression to the gameplay. Still, I think it's a good job for your first effort.
Drabiter
Overall: 54%    
I like how it looks. However there's bug where most of my hits were missed. It became worse when the guy faced left side. IMO for game where people have fun by bashing, the mechanism should be simple but effective. Punch action should be able to use just one button.
pjt33
Overall: 42%    
We all have to start somewhere, and this game is certainly more sophisticated than the first game I ever wrote.

I couldn't get it to keep the focus under Linux, so I had to test with Windows. Maybe worth looking at the forum threads on tried-and-tested templates.

Graphically it's not something to write home about, although I do like the heart icon. The fine grid of the background feels out of place with the blockiness of all the other graphics.

The basic loop through "Get Ready to Fight" and fighting could be improved. In particular, while I'm fighting I'm not watching my score, so when I die you should tell me what I scored. You could either do that with a "Game Over" screen or (nicer) by letting the monsters wander around the board until I press a key which isn't used in the main gameplay (such as Enter).

The gameplay itself is simple, but not entirely trivial. I like the fact that I move slower when punching than when moving, but that I do still move: it adds a basic level of decision-making where it matters which enemy I target first and where I have to back off and resume the attack.

Hope to see you again next year with something you do consider great.

4ssassins Creep - Derivations
by Simon
6652 downloads
A 4K take on Ubisofts Assassin\'s Creed series! Mission 1: Kill 3 cardinals without being detected. Mission 2: Kill your target in less than 60... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 95%    
Holy God, are these graphics for real? This is 4K? :)

Amazingly beautiful game. Tad difficult, and jumping is a bit jerky. But everything else in it just shines. The animations are great.
demonpants
Overall: 84%    
I am winner. The graphics are very impressive, as is the size of the levels and the depth of the gameplay. However, I did feel that overall the controls could be improved, as I wasn't sure exactly what could do what and why certain things were happening. One big issue was the "Desynched" issue that when seen by a cardinal would cause me to have to reload the page in order to play again. This didn't seem to happen with guards.
Drabiter
Overall: 95%    
Never played any series of AC before, but I can imagine the feel of thrilling assassination through this game. Neat work.
pjt33
Overall: 74%    
The level of graphical detail is quite impressive - I particularly like the lichen on the walls. The variety of mission types is also nice.

The controls, however, I felt let the game down. Not only could I not be sure whether I would be able to make a jump (especially to a window), I got the impression whenever I tried to land on top of a guard to assassinate him that I teleported away and was detected (or "desynched" - the game description really needs an explanation of the setting, because not everyone has played Assassin's Creed, and language like that makes us wonder what you were smoking). Level 1 served as a good introduction to the basics, but after several attempts at level 2 without even seeing my target once, I gave up.

The constraint on number of levels, and hence difficulty curve, is arguably the most challenging constraint of the 4k limitation for games which can't just randomly generate each level. Sadly, here I think it has undermined a game with a lot of potential.

Abstract Glowy Vector Wars
by dapy
4243 downloads
Fire a big gun at shiny neon sprites. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 90%    
Wow.. the graphics and effects are superb. I really like the parallax effect in this game. But it's way too difficult to control, it's like my brain doesn't have the training to shoot using one mouse button and move using another. I'm sure you would have better scoring, at least from me, if ship controls were easier.
demonpants
Overall: 86%    
Extremely impressive graphics. I love the bloom effect everywhere, the number of sprites and all the attention to detail, and especially the big 3D thing in the background. Looks wonderful. The gameplay was also good, although I had issues due to playing on a laptop (unable to press left and right buttons simultaneously). I am not marking you down for this as it's my own issue, but I recommend including other control options.
Drabiter
Overall: 99%    
Awesome glow effects. Gameplay is neat. Fun and easy. What the most wonderful part is the particles and bouncing effect. No more words, I like this.
pjt33
Overall: 77%    
Very nice graphics, with transitions and flying bits of broken ships; good variety of enemies. But what happened to the controls?

Did you initially decide that you couldn't squeeze in both keyboard and mouse, so had to do everything via the mouse? Whatever the reasoning, the result is that the player has to use the mouse in an unconventional way, and that adds a big hurdle to gameplay. Even having autofire so that I only need to worry about one button would be an improvement (and require less code!)

It's a shame, because the awkward controls let down an otherwise excellent game.

AnimalMatch 4K
by MdotEdot
1323 downloads
There are three groups of animals: land fish birds Match identical animals while these rules apply: land animals can only walk on... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 82%    
Nice puzzle game. Bit difficult to grasp the concept, and even after understanding the rules it's difficult to play by them because somehow ... it's a strange puzzle game and things don't feel quite natural. I do wonder if there are other ways to visually represent this puzzle game concept, like using hexagons, and/or a different set of icons. It felt strange to try and match pairs when there were a lot of empty tiles. Audio was loud.
demonpants
Overall: 64%    
Definitely a cool little game and a good effort. However, there were a few issues with the execution that could make this frustrating. I never at any time understood exactly when one tile could interact with another. It seems like maybe you were just doing an iterative array search to find obstacles, rather than actual pathfinding. In many cases I had a completely open field but for some reason a single tile would be considered in the way, even though for a separate situation it wouldn't be. I would put in Dijkstra's to sort this out. As a result of this issue, I was never once able to win without removing all the red tiles - even if I had only two tiles that were kind of sort of on opposite ends of the red, they would be considered in between and that was that.
Drabiter
Overall: 61%    
Game mechanic is well enough. I love the fact that it has various sprite, not only represent three types of animal but also down to some species.

The red tiles that act as wild card is a good solution to break dead end, although it's very costly. Fortunately score isn't considered, but the feel of playing puzzle.

The sounds are great. Like the sound when a pair of tile become match.
pjt33
Overall: 59%    
The first thing which struck me about the game was the nice outlines of the animals. A little bit more detail is always nice, but these make effective tokens. I played through the tutorial, and thought I understood the rules and they were quite elegant and flavourful.

However, when it came to playing the full game things came unstuck. Firstly, although the animals are distinctive enough to pair them up, visualising the entire board at a time isn't compatible with identifications by pairwise comparison. I really needed more colours to be able to process everything at once.

Secondly, I discovered that the rules weren't as simple as I thought. While I knew what class of tiles would block a move, I didn't know which paths were being considered, so a lot of the time it was trial and error to see whether a match could be cleared or not. It also seemed that 10%-20% of my clicks were being missed. And there was absolutely no difficulty curve to ease me into considering which of the three pairings of the same tile was the best one: it was straight in at the deep end, and then each level was the same.

The sound effects are understandable as a show-off feature ("I managed to fit them in!"), but I didn't feel that they add much to the game. Those bytes could perhaps have been better used on a bit more graphical polish and a difficulty curve.

The core mechanic is interesting, and if the details were better explained then I think this would be quite a good puzzle game. But it needs that clear explanation, and a bit more polish wouldn't go amiss.

assimilate4k
by BenniBanni
2414 downloads
That\'s my first entry ever. While playing around with the applet, i remembered a game called \"Ataxx\", so i recoded it in 4K :)... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 33%    
Ah, a first timer :)
I can't lose! The AI is very easy to beat. But not much else to say about the game.
demonpants
Overall: 45%    
Nice simple little games. It did what was advertised and I found no bugs or other issues. It obviously could use some overall improvement in terms of complexity, though. I lost interest after my first game because there was nothing else to it. Also, the AI is far too easy to beat. Excellent effort for your first entry.
Drabiter
Overall: 58%    
It's very easy and fun to play. However the screen's size is too small.
pjt33
Overall: 40%    
You might want to check your applet template, because I couldn't get it to run in a browser. Fortunately it did run with appletviewer.

I've played one Ataxx clone before, and the rules were slightly different. In this variant there doesn't seem to be much incentive to jump.

I like the 3D effect on the grid: simple, but effective. You seem to have used font metrics to position the scores, which is good - but not the "YOU WON" message?

The real key for a simple puzzle like this is whether the AI is good enough to give it replay value. Sadly, I didn't ever feel threatened by it.

But please don't feel discouraged. The fact that you managed to write any game at all in 4k is an achievement. I hope you'll be back next year with something no bigger but awesome enough to blow our socks off.

Atoms4Smashing
by JohnBot
2748 downloads
"After all these years..." declared Mr. Doctor Professor Patrick, "I've finally done it!" Mr.Dr.Prof. Patrick had been working on a way to shoot... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 66%    
Something like asteroids, but... stranger. Was never good at asteroids, had something to do with absence of gravity and friction. I really like the graphics, especially the ray gun, simple yet realistic, but game is otherwise very simple.
demonpants
Overall: 83%    
Very cool visual effects, the lightning felt very interesting. I had good fun with this one. My biggest issue was the difficulty curve, which began easy and all of a sudden got extremely difficult. I think the game would be improved if you didn't have the shrapnel also being an obstacle to avoid. They are too numerous and difficult to see, and also their random direction makes it hard to predict where they will fly. A little more determinism on here would go a long way.
Drabiter
Overall: 62%    
The story is detailed. It's fun. And I was enjoying simple graphic.
pjt33
Overall: 56%    
Move over, CERN: there's a new atom smasher in town. On Windows, at least: I couldn't get the applet to have keyboard focus on Linux.

The choice of flavour is an interesting twist on Asteroids: from very large scale to very small. I'm curious as to which came first: the forking electric weapon or the setting. Either way, the weapon, and the game in general, is visually pleasing. The coloured sparks are beautiful, and I like the way they can hit other atoms or molecules and cause unexpected chain reactions.

The gameplay, however, felt a bit off. I think that some of my key presses or releases were being missed. That gets frustrating very quickly.

I'd like to give you a special commendation for tracking and displaying a highscore. It's a simple thing to add, adds replay value, and yet it doesn't seem to make the priority cut in most Java4k games.

Attac4k of the Greenballs
by Jens Stääf
2116 downloads
In a dystopian future, the world is invaded by green balls. You, the purple ball, is the only one who can save the world! Can you complete all 19... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 60%    
Interesting. I found the overall game implementation pretty good, but gameplay is a bit poor. Pink balls vs. green? Why not the green square against the red balls? Children associate red with bad and green with good. Besides choice of shape and colors the levels were pretty nice and it incrementally got more difficult, although a lot levels were almost identical in difficulty, just sit at the bottom and wait for the green balls to come to you. Almost impossible to get away, because you move the same speed as the green balls, should be maybe 5% faster.
demonpants
Overall: 87%    
Excellent graphical quality and overall production value. As for the gameplay, I think it was relatively fun but got a bit frustrated with it because the collision boxes felt a little too liberal. Also, there was not a clear difficulty progression, and I found I couldn't do shoot/move combinations as much as I wanted to. So overall I'd say a little less bytes given to pretty and a little more to gameplay. But this is a good effort.
Drabiter
Overall: 66%    
The animation of passing level and bouncing balls are nice idea. I like this kind of gameplay, but the fact that player instantly die in one touch is frustating. The lack of shoot's direction is also becoming minus point.
pjt33
Overall: 58%    
Graphically this game is beautiful. Random pastel backgrounds, textured walls, exploding enemies. I don't understand why the bullets are composed of little bits of many colours, but overall the level of graphical polish is good.

I can't say the same, though, about the gameplay. My purple ball can't jump, outrun the green ones, or shoot backwards, so it's fundamentally a game of waiting for someone to walk into my sights and then pressing space. I don't find it very engaging. In addition, the key release detection didn't seem 100% reliable on Windows (and I didn't get any response to keyboard input on Linux).

Still, for a first entry a game with AI and with such attention to graphical polish is a definite achievement. Hope to see you back next year.

Ballmove
by Jyro117
2803 downloads
They are blue, you are yellow. They don't like you! Try to survive as many levels as possible, each progressively harder than the last. Some of... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 76%    
Good game. Not overly fun, but still a good 4k game with decent gameplay. Maybe add some power-ups, and instead of some 4 abilities that are hard to keep track of just have 1 or 2 and show a bar instead of percentage.
demonpants
Overall: 81%    
More complex than I expected for your game title and screenshot, and that's in a good way. I think there was some good stuff here and the game has the potential to be super addictive and hit that "must beat high score" itch. I think that you were slightly below the potential this game has, though. The difficulty curve started off far too slowly, and the HP model, which interesting, means that the game really drags on. I think starting the follow-balls much earlier, replacing the powers with ones on the stage that you can move to, and things like that would really help. As it is, I was able to just hide in the corner for my first 4,000 points and simply use a power in the off chance a ball was going to hit me.
Drabiter
Overall: 81%    
Found it quite creative. Can feel the surviving atmosphere with various powers, although at start it's very easy. Love the idea behind this.
pjt33
Overall: 82%    
In many ways the gameplay is familiar, but there is a big twist in the controls. The familiar direct mouse control is replaced by indirect control on the keyboard, and that adds a new level of challenge.

Graphically this is a game which wants simplicity and clearly defined borders, although a simple 3D effect on the balls would improve the feeling of polish without distracting from the all-important dodging. I did get the impression that the frame rate was rather low, which surprised me on such a (physically and graphically) simple game.

I didn't really feel that the powerups helped me very much, but I attribute that to my skill as a player. There is enough depth that I can well believe that with practice they would become valuable weapons in my arsenal. The decision to use cool-downs rather than make me dodge enemies to pick up powerups, and the draining life rather than a handful of lifes discretely lost give the gameplay a modern feel.

A bit more graphical polish and a highscore table are the only things I really miss. Good job.

Bot Blaster 4K
by Rick Townsend
2117 downloads
The bots are attacking - blast them all! Zap endless waves of robots in classic FPS style. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 56%    
Well, don't know about "fast-paced action", it was a bit slow on my machine, and mouse seemed to lag a bit. Neat graphics, but my hand got too tired to continue. Wish the gameplay was better, instead of simply increasing number of animated robots on the screen.
demonpants
Overall: 79%    
The graphics are impressive and I think you've done a great job, but I found the gameplay a little lacking. It just sort of dragged on, without many interesting things happening. I also felt that it was inevitable I would eventually lose and there was no where to do better or worse (unless I was actively trying to fail) than I was. This is because the laser has a bit of a cooldown and there's no way to kill every robot on screen at any time. I'd try to make the player more involved and you'll have an excellent game.
Drabiter
Overall: 65%    
The laser and smoke effects are good enough. However it's too easy so there's no way someone will lose if they're not willing.
pjt33
Overall: 64%    
I'm not quite sure what Bot Blaster is trying to be. On the one hand it looks superficially like a defend-the-barricades game, but it doesn't play like one. This is one of the cases where I think that following conventions would have have strengthened the game.

Graphically the menus are a bit lacking (at the very least, a box indicating the "here" of "Click here to start" would help), but the main game is more detailed, especially the enemies. That's good prioritisation of the limited resources, because the enemies are what the player is looking at 99% of the time: I had played the game three times before I noticed the gun charging. The screen fading to red as my health goes down is also good, because it keeps me informed without having to look away from the targets.

But the gameplay is lacking strategic depth. A point-and-shoot game doesn't have to be mindless violence: variety in the enemies forces the player to prioritise targets. When all the enemies can attack me from any range and they differ only in their shield strength, there's little reason to shoot one rather than another. Adding a couple more axes of differentiation (typically speed and attack range) would make it more fun and more replayable.

There's definitely potential here, and I hope to play Bot Blaster 4k v2.0 next year.

Bubo 4K
by Drabiter
2709 downloads
Bubo 4K v1.4 has now two modes with 20 levels each. A remake with little changes of popular chain reaction game like Bombshine and Chain Reaction... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 58%    
I like this kind of game, but your implementation is rather crude and simplish, especially graphics-wise. There already exist pretty impressive 4k implementations of this game, you should have taken a look at that. It's amazing what cool graphics and effects do with a game like this.
demonpants
Overall: 88%    
Can't... stop... playing...

You have a really addictive game here. It's overall well polished and I didn't find any bugs with it at all. However, it doesn't add much to this "genre" that hasn't already been seen, and the presentation and graphics could be much improved. As a result, you get a very good score, but not an excellent one.
Drabiter
Overall: 0%    
[Judge wrote no review]
pjt33
Overall: 63%    
It's my impression that the chain reaction genre appeals primarily to people's gambling nature and desire to delude ourselves that we're not really gambling because that successful result was down to our skill. Its particular attraction over other gambling games, then, is novelty.

There seem to be more Java4k games this year than recently with sound; given how much of the constrained budget it takes, you really need to get your money's worth (and test on as many platforms as possible). Yet the only sound I heard was popping bubbles, which had such a steep attack that I worried it would damage my speakers and was glad when the sound thread apparently crashed and the game reverted to silence.

In my opinion those bytes would have been better used on two things. Firstly, the graphics. The balls are small enough that it's not really necessary to give them a gradient, but the large bubbles would have benefited greatly from some kind of gradient lighting effect. Secondly, some way to quit back to the main menu. When I gave up on level 20 of "Fate" and wanted to try "Skill" I couldn't find any way to do it other than reloading the page.

But on the metric of novelty, Bubo does quite well. The persistent bubbles and especially the reaction level aren't mechanics I recall seeing in other chain reaction games, and nor is the full-torus wrapping of "Skill" mode. And both the flying bits of exploded bubble and the camera shake are nice bits of polish.

Cave4k
by Damocles
8214 downloads
November 13th 2056, Geological Exploration Vessel \"CAV-Aplha\" Your ships systems start to malfunction. The thrust is on autopilot and your... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 82%    
It's so amazing this can be done in 4K. It never ceases to amaze me, to see 3D games in 4K. The gameplay isn't quite pointless, but chasing down that energyfield was quite difficult, it evaded fast, and I was never quite sure if I managed to pick it up... at least I didn't get some sorts of a "power up" notice. But, cool game nevertheless.
demonpants
Overall: 90%    
Extremely impressive technically. The graphics are excellent and it feels pretty good to play too. Managing to get multiple environment types in on top of your 3D terrain generator is pretty exceptional. My biggest issue with this is that I felt I had no control over whether I might run into 50 lights all at once or 0. Whether I won or not was pretty random.
Drabiter
Overall: 97%    
An awesome of in bringing 3D world to fit into 4K. The only thing that I miss is absence of navigation, since it has pretty large map. Sometimes I went around for 10 mins before found the last orb.
pjt33
Overall: 95%    
Outstanding.

My initial impression was that this was a beautiful tech demo but too frustrating as a game. And it still annoys me that I can chase an energy particle and it appears to run through a wall where I can't follow. But the combination of the twitch controls which let me get quite close and the infinite retries meant that once I got over the initial hurdle I made it up to Titan quite easily, and only the knowledge that I've got a lot of games to review kept me from trying to play through to the end. I'm very glad that you weren't seduced by the arcade mentality of limited lives and then back to level 1.

The graphics are, of course, the highlight of the game. I'm not sure that the decision to remove the flash in the "surface" levels was the right one, but apart from that I see little which could be improved and much to praise. Even the little touches like the different colours for different levels give the game a very polished feel.

The gameplay starts out feeling like hunting a needle in a haystack with the added disadvantage that the needle can run away, but after I'd got the hang of it it felt more like exploring an alien landscape, which I think was the intention. The irregularities of the landscape and the differing sizes of holes and stalactites / stalagmites are another contributing factor to the polished feel, and squeezing through a small hole gives a sense of achievement quite apart from accomplishing the designated goals.

This is one of the all-time great Java4k games. Be proud of yourself.

ChangeMan 4K
by SteveyO
1625 downloads
Eat the red pills and fill up the 9 circles in red to complete each level. Avoid monsters! Contact with circles removes any eaten/unused pills... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 88%    
Wow, I like this game. It's very original. A tad difficult, maybe in a fuller implementation you would have more missions and it would start easier, also different map layouts as well. Clean graphics and intuitive game.
demonpants
Overall: 70%    
An interesting new game idea but I found it difficult to understand exactly what was happening with the center red spots. Sometimes putting one spot in would completely remove another. I found eventually a pattern I had to follow to get them all in but it felt more like a bug than anything. In addition, the second level seemed identical and overall I felt like I spent most of my time waiting for red dots, not in being challenged.
Drabiter
Overall: 70%    
Very fun. Personally it's my first time to play a game with gameplay like this. Graphics good and everything work well.
pjt33
Overall: 87%    
Excuse me while I unfrazzle my brain.

The instructions were rather light on detail, and even after dying on level 5 I'm still not entirely sure how the centre block works - I just know that I should try to enter via a slot which already has a red pill.

Conceptually I see a lot in common with Pacman, but the unfamiliarity of Changeman makes it more interesting. Apart from the centre block, I think was able to figure the rest out.

The large hit boxes could be frustrating at times, particularly when a pill was too close to a blue circle. The strong points, in addition to the basic gameplay, were the variation between levels and the clean graphical style.

City4K
by Russell A Spitzer
3299 downloads
Build a city of your dreams! All the fun of city planning without the hassle of actually dealing with people! Version 2.0: Lowered Road Mat... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 60%    
Very impressive game, technically at least. I'm finding it difficult to play however, especially understanding it and all the rules. The instructions are very complex, and it's not very straightforward to play. Also difficult to scroll the minimap (tried arrow keys).
If you would have just spelled out what R, C, I, P, L, S stand for the game would have been MUCH easier to play. It's regrettable, I really liked to play this, it seems like a remarkable game, but if I can't get going after a few minutes how can ordinary players get going?
demonpants
Overall: 84%    
You've gotten an impressive amount into 4k here. I was a huge fan of Sim City so I was excited to see what you had managed to do. In terms of depth, I'm not disappointed. Gameplay, however, is lacking. That's mostly due to having extremely low amounts of feedback as to what is really happening. Even though I read your huge description I never once got people to move into anything other than industrial. I was never sure if power was being properly conveyed or what.
Drabiter
Overall: 75%    
I love the graphic. It's really nice and make you feel the world. Little problem on the interface by using only one char. "Street" string is easier for player than "s".
pjt33
Overall: 78%    
It's obvious that City4k was built under constraints, but it still manages to pack a lot in.

It took me a few attempts to make any progress at all - "are the tiles not orange or red" isn't the most helpful criterion when there's a smooth gradient from red to yellow and the point at which it ceases to be orange is ambiguous. It was only when I decided that I had enough budget to build a stupidly long road and certainly avoid zoning issues that I was able to get anyone to move in. And then I ran into trouble with an inexplicable inability to build - eventually I concluded that the instructions are very optimistic in claiming that it costs $7 / square to build.

But once I acquired a few residents and was able to start building, I liked the random building icons. The graphics are blocky, but the randomness is a nice little touch of polish.

The interface on the left is where the pinch of the 4kB restriction really shows. If you had the bytes for FontMetrics, it would make a massive difference, but I'm not sure what you could sacrifice to get them. The minimap is the most obvious candidate, but I found it quite useful, especially in the early stages when I needed to scroll down to read the instructions and found the map wandering off.

The biggest strike against City4k is that, as with one or two other entries this year, it doesn't seem to be a game. Maybe there's some objective which isn't described in the instructions, but on the basis of what I've seen it's really a toy.

Conway's 4k Game of Life
by Duncan Horn
2062 downloads
This is an idea I had a while back, and I had nothing to do today since my textbook didn't come in the mail, so I decided to code this up.... Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 35%    
Haha.. Ok, sorry, I'm not laughing, but smiling maybe. What on Earth, strange game :) If it's a game. A bit pointless demonstration of some algorithm, but hey, it's 4k!
demonpants
Overall: 55%    
A cool implementation of this game, although I don't know if it turned out to be much of a game. :-P I couldn't really figure out anything to do that didn't in the end feel random. I lost once and never won, otherwise it was usually just a very long stalemate. Also this could really use drag-to-add (not click) as it's extremely slow to click each space one by one.
Drabiter
Overall: 56%    
Neat designed. There're bug where sometimes I can't start (not load) the game, so the computer keep placing cells.
pjt33
Overall: 50%    
I am unable to play this game on Linux in either Firefox or Chrome. It loads, I can place initial cells, but it doesn't hold the focus and so it doesn't trap the space. However, I did manage to play it under Windows.

Conceptually it's interesting; I think it's a nice touch that the AI builds its position up piece by piece, so that its advantage in not needing to use a mouse is reduced, and I get the impression that a lot of effort has gone into the AI.

However, unless the player is willing to expend an equal amount of effort on studying Life structures, victories are going to be a matter of luck. The time limits don't allow for any detailed analysis, so it's memory or coin-toss.

Graphically, the simplistic approach is suitable for the game, and I appreciate the choice of blue vs red as avoiding most colour-blindness problems. The only mark against the graphics is that the win/lose message suffers from being placed directly on a busy background with no border or background.

I think this game has great potential, but I don't think it's for realtime human-vs-AI play. Instead I see it carving a niche in the CodeWars genre of my AI vs your AI.

Dawn
by Zarkonnen
2330 downloads
Your possessive, manipulative, jealous boyfriend has snapped and is coming after you. Unfortunately, he\'s a vampire. You must survive until dawn. Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 65%    
Oh nice, I really like and appreciate the level of vector math that has gone into this to calculate visible areas of the map. Technically pretty cool, reminiscent of Left-4k-Dead. It's difficult to play the game, the vampire always kills me, and I get tired too fast. Also, it's not very intuitive to understand the layout of the map, what are corridors, doors, rooms, etc. Technically good, but playing is not that great.
demonpants
Overall: 88%    
Very cool game. It's unique and overall you did a great job. I found the balance perhaps a little lacking and whether I won or not was mostly luck based upon starting position and what I quickly found in chests, but it still remains quite cool.
Drabiter
Overall: 89%    
Interesting story. Suspensing gameplay. Beautiful graphic.
pjt33
Overall: 69%    
Great concept but insanely difficult. I've played it 10 times and I don't think I've ever lasted more than 2 seconds longer than the time it takes to destroy a door and a bed.

The graphics are reasonable by 4k standards, although I'm not sure why you didn't "borrow" the antialiased lighting code from Left 4k Dead. No space? It would also be nice to see a countdown of how long I have to survive (or how long I have survived) all the time, rather than just a "2 minutes" at the start.

But the difficulty curve is just a big sticking point. It probably doesn't help that the cursor keys are a long way from E and the space bar, but even leaving that aside I think this game is a good candidate for adaptive difficulty, making it easier when the player fails quickly.

Di4klo
by StephR
7669 downloads
An ancient evil is lurking in the nearby catacombs. Some say they conceal a gate to Hell... The elders considered sending the village idiot to... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 90%    
Wow, I got quite addicted to this game... well, until I simply got stuck and couldn't find my way. Despite crude and simple graphics, they seemed to work pretty well, and it was very easy to understand and play. Maybe add some guide for the player, like where to go, and this would be a rock solid top contender.
demonpants
Overall: 92%    
This makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It's Diablo in 4k! I think you did a great job making the procedural dungeon and more or less keeping the gameplay intact. To be perfectly honest I go bored relatively quickly (not enough variety, perhaps), but it still is quite an achievement.
Drabiter
Overall: 87%    
Great gameplay. Easy control. In first look I though I need to screw my soft WASD buttons but I was wrong. Only two butons, you need to explore (pretty) large area and kill'em all.

No stupid move from enemy. They attack in right time. The "stamina" system provides good balance between you and them.

I like the sprites which are very classic and the effect of blood splash on floor.
pjt33
Overall: 92%    
8-bit excellence.

There's a lot to like about this game. For a start, I like the way I was able to read the instructions without being attacked. The graphics are simple but effective, and the style consistent, albeit blocky. The enemies have quite a bit of variety, and leave behind gore on the floor when they die, which helps me know where I've already been. The controls were minimal but sufficient to get around.

The AI could possibly have been a bit better with corners, and the arrows a bit less keen to vanish into thin air near walls, and I would have greatly preferred it had you not been seduced by the arcade mentality of restarting right at the beginning of the game rather than at the beginning of the level, or at worst of the level before. It's not fun.

But the rest of the game was, and it belongs in the ranks of the great Java4k games.

Digits4K
by Eddie Rich
1611 downloads
Retro guess the number game. The computer will generate a random number and it is your job to figure it out using deductive reasoning. Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 40%    
I couldn't figure out how to play this game. I tried to understand the instructions, but couldn't understand what happened whenever I pressed some keys. A shame, because I do believe I have fine deductive reasoning, except when it comes to this game :)
demonpants
Overall: 46%    
I think your presentation is pretty good but the user experience is pretty lacking. Having next to no feedback is a huge issue. What number did I just type? What have I been doing? Did it correctly register what I just put in? What did I guess 3 turns ago? Those are all questions I had. Instead of your current presentation, I think you should list all the previous guesses and the amounts of each. I shouldn't need to write on a piece of paper in addition to playing your game.
Drabiter
Overall: 50%    
Find there's nothing special here, but I like guessing number. The interface works well.
pjt33
Overall: 25%    
Doesn't seem to want to run under Linux, although I got it to work under Windows.

Well, I got it to run. I'm not sure whether it's working. The interface is very pretty but not at all informative; and even with the instructions and my experience with games of this genre, I'm lost.

I'm expected to remember all of my previous guesses and the results? If I type the same digit four times it tells me that I got all four digits correct but only one of them in the right place?

Frankly, this comes across as user-hostile.

Dotz4k
by mbottone
2090 downloads
A fun puzzle game that will make you want to get the high score. Get the Dotz into the center. Sounds Easy?? Haha, give it a shot! Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 73%    
Interesting game. I'm sure with, hugely, improved graphics this would be a entertaining puzzle game for everybody. Although, I found that systematically pushing the balls inward worked well, almost made it a pointless exercise, other than competing to do it in as few clicks as possible. Maybe there should be a limit to how many red squares you could use. Good game, I see potential.
demonpants
Overall: 85%    
I think this is a good idea and a fun little game. You set out to do something simple and you succeeded in it. I enjoyed the challenge and the presentation fits the bill. There is nothing super impressive here, but overall great job.
Drabiter
Overall: 63%    
Easy to play. This should have better graphics. Ability to freeze dots with red square is a really help to enjoy this. Overall, it's very fun.
pjt33
Overall: 58%    
A simple concept, and a novel (to me, at least) twist on the variants that I've played before.

However, it doesn't really have much replay value, in spite of the difficulty levels, and it doesn't seem that I can replay at all without reloading the page. That's a basic interface flaw, and interface design is an essential part of game design. You have to make it easy for the user to get to the fun parts.

Drift Driver 4K
by Craig Mitchell
4030 downloads
Drift your car through 12 challenging levels of asphalt, dirt, and snow. Get new cars along the way to do bigger drifts. Uses Verlet physics to... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 67%    
Looks pretty, handles nicely, but graphically it lacks important parts like where to finish. I just advanced levels out of nowhere, it seems, and I couldn't understand what all those +seconds or whatever that indication was all about. I liked the tire-marks :) Fine game, but lacks the traditional race car visuals, like minimap, finishing station, cheering crowd, trees, other cars, ok, I know it's 4k :)
demonpants
Overall: 86%    
Wait, didn't you submit this game last year? :-P Joking, but I do remember your other 4k racing game. I liked that one better, honestly, because in this one I ended up just driving doughnuts until I won each level. The challenge doesn't really feel like it's there, and there's not enough fun feedback over what is happening. Still, the physics are impressive and overall it's fun.
Drabiter
Overall: 92%    
A very good job on making a race game of 4k. All aspects are calculated perfectly, giving great sensation of drive.
pjt33
Overall: 64%    
Drift racing seems to be a fairly well-defined genre of racing game, and yet strangely I've never seen one which defined drift for the player. Drift Driver 4K doesn't make an exception: the instructions don't really tell me what I'm supposed to do, or how I get points. I can observe that it's not sufficient to be leaving rubber on the track, but I only got to level 4 by luck.

Graphically, the rubber on the track is quite satisfying, as is the non-uniformity of the track markings. It would have been nice to have a little bit of texturing of the grass and asphalt too.

Dungeon 4Keeper
by Mans Olson
2347 downloads
Dungeon 4Keeper is an exploration/digging game where the goal is to clear progressively harder levels by finding artifacts. For the first few... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 85%    
Interesting game, very clean look, beautiful. Took me a minute to figure out what to do, but after that it was simple to play. It is a bit slow paced. I feel like digging should cost as well, because what's to stop you from selecting all the tiles and go get a cup of coffee? Gold tiles didn't feel intuitive, maybe they need to be like rocks, ovals, or some sort of shape like that. But, good game, especially the graphics.
demonpants
Overall: 94%    
Very impressive. The graphics are good, the gameplay is fun and addictive. My one gripe was that the soldiers seemed a little bit too dumb, but I guess that's the way it goes with this sort of game. Well done.
Drabiter
Overall: 82%    
Great graphics. Everything go well. It's just too boring at start of each level. The movement of soldiers are too random, so they can be easily killed by enemy.
pjt33
Overall: 60%    
Graphically this is pretty good for 4k, but in terms of gameplay I can't work out what it's meant to be (strategy?) or why it's meant to be fun.

The basic mechanic seems to be that I spawn workers who would do Wally from Dilbert proud: they'll wander around aimlessly and occasionally do what I want them to. The result is a pretty slow game. Then with the money they find I can buy more workers or upgrades which appear to speed things up slightly, but deplete my cash resources so much that I can't compensate for the slaughter wrought by the enemies.

Visually there's a lot of polish. I love the line effect on the little men, and I had to look closely to see how few frames their animation uses.

Electron Golf 4k
by Duncan Horn
2536 downloads
This is a remake of a game I made and lost (didn\'t back it up) a few years ago. You are an electron with a -e charge and you have to maneuver... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 88%    
I love it. So intuitive to play, although I do think a improvement of the graphics is in order to make it even more intuitive, because I had to figure out what the white and yellow ovals were, but easy pie after that.
Great fun game. Nice one. I can easily imagine this being popular if it had cool effects and good graphics.
demonpants
Overall: 72%    
Had a decently good time until I got to the level with 4 blue balls surrounding the goal. I couldn't get the ball in no matter how hard I tried. I think you really should include a total restart button, not just a ball restart - that would help my overall feeling of helplessness that I had. It was always difficult to tell exactly where the ball would go, especially when "putting."
Drabiter
Overall: 90%    
Great mechanism. The ball moves smoothly and all force vectors are applied well.
pjt33
Overall: 70%    
I can scratch inter-planetary golf from my list of planned Java4k entries.

The addition of repulsion is interesting, and gives you more scope for level design. However, it also makes it far easier to lose the ball. Traditional minigolf games can be frustrating when you miss a shot and end up going backwards, but I've just discovered that it's even more frustrating when you have to keep repeating a shot trying to hit a small target, or when you can't quite tell whether you have escape velocity from the planet you're on. An "easy" mode which shows the initial trajectory of the ball would save a lot of ragequits.

Fleazy
by Jacob DeBenedetto
2405 downloads
Fleas are nasty little critters! It is your task to eliminate them all! Have at it soldier! Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 60%    
God I don't want to be a flea. I admit, I probably played this game longer than I should have, something so soothing about explosions and lots of particles. Anyway, it's too easy to play once you figure out the best way to kill the fleas, and once that happens the challenge goes away and it becomes boring. Alright game, but limited.
demonpants
Overall: 80%    
Pretty fun! It took me a second to realize that the fleas were following my cursor (as opposed to just going to the bottom of the screen), but otherwise it was very straightfoward to play. I would have loved a little more complexity here, but it is a strong showing.
Drabiter
Overall: 80%    
Amazing explode effect. Easy control and gameplay. The fleas move very well without bug.
Also, there're upgrades as long as I advancing.

The fact that this only needs mouse to play give me another reason to like this entry.
pjt33
Overall: 60%    
An interesting concept, but not really enough for 99 levels.

The idea that you have to keep moving in order to fire isn't one I recall coming across before, and it took me a few levels to work out the exact limitations. But because the fleas are so predictable it didn't take long to find a strategy which kept me out of any danger and allowed me to fire long strings of missiles and have most of them find a target - not that that really matters. A penalty for wasting missiles would give the game a bit more depth.

Graphically the simple style works because it removes distractions from the target. The slightly more detailed missiles look quite nice, although I can't understand where they fit in my tiny ship.

Galactic Conquest 4K
by Grunnt
3656 downloads
NOTE: an updated version is entered into the 2013 contest: http://www.java4k.com/index.php?action=games&method=view&gid=436 The year is 4096 and... Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 65%    
Ahh, reminds me of Galcon or Starbaron. Very fun games. Your implementation is rather slow, and lots of tiny planets. I think you should try to increase speed, enlarge the planets and reduce the amount of planets. I stopped playing because of how slow it is, would probably take me an hour to play this. I also found the controls a bit awkward, difficult to realize what planet is selected, maybe you should add drag-selection support.
demonpants
Overall: 86%    
Look, it's Galcon! This isn't the very first time this has been done in 4k, but I think you did a good implementation. The space monster felt like a pretty cool addition, and your AI was quite good. Well done.
Drabiter
Overall: 86%    
Great work on 4k real time strategy. Aggressive AI but not impossible to beat. It gives freedom to manage your spaceship as conquest resource. If only it had background music.
pjt33
Overall: 57%    
Some nice polish, but I didn't really get the gameplay. The basics of making ships and sending them around are straightforward enough, but what's the monster for? And it seems to hit some limits on ship counts - at least, I presume that's why so many stars would get stuck on 100% production - but then doesn't let me control the production. In a real-time micro-management game, losing control isn't fun.

On the positive side, you managed to squeeze in AI (which didn't just pile on the player - I wished I could watch someone else play it so that I could see the inter-AI battles without having to worry about my own survival) and difficulty levels, and the graphics and post-game summary screen showed polish.

Griefer4k
by Damocles
7086 downloads
What do these weird peons do? Building up silly buildings in a Blockyworld? Your destination is to stop this nonesense! You are THE GRIEFER ...... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 74%    
Very impressive demonstration of 3D, particles and physics in 4k. It even has shadows!

I found the gameplay lacking, and somewhat buggy. I placed tnt but sometimes it didn't explode. Also, there's a limit to my desire to destroy buildings, at least without some sort of goals or challenge.
demonpants
Overall: 96%    
Holy guacamole. The tech in here is stupendous. You've got extremely effective 3D as well as sounds in a 4k package? AND they make procedurally generated crazy buildings? Exceptional. The actual gameplay is decent - I got pretty annoyed at when the peons decided to move somewhere else, and it was difficult not to blow yourself up. Still, impressive.
Drabiter
Overall: 94%    
Love demolition. 3D graphics is really fit for this one.
pjt33
Overall: 83%    
Beautiful. The trees are a very nice bit of polish, and you even managed to fit in some sound effects. The controls work well, and the AI is interesting. The constantly rotating board is a bit show-off, but I'm impressed with the overall technical skill shown.

What seems to be slightly lacking is the gameplay. Being a griefer is a funny concept, but there doesn't seem to be any challenge (unless that spider kills you? Which would be a bit random) or any attempt to quantify how well I'm griefing. It would certainly be difficult to balance a score system, but the effort would be repaid in increased replayability. At the moment I think you have a toy, albeit a skilfully developed one, rather than a game.

JewelKr4sh!
by Tryoneer
1708 downloads
A game inspired by FruitNinja. This is a fun 3D game. And the source code is available!! Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 73%    
Cool looking 3D'ish game. I played it until my hand got tired :) Gameplay a bit lacking, I wish there'd be bonus given for clicking on same color jewels multiple times in a row, like 2x bonus, 3x bonus, etc. But nice game.
demonpants
Overall: 78%    
The 3D in this is quite cool, but the gameplay is very uneventful. I played blaster mode for about 5 minutes without hitting a black gem, and in levels mode I never did either. There is a lot of time to see what's coming and therefore it's easy to avoid the black ones. Similarly, it's simple to click on every gem before it hits the ground.
Drabiter
Overall: 73%    
It's 3D. It has custom cursor. It has non ordinary explosion. It has two modes. The 3D feel give another points. Maybe adding some sound effects would be nice.

However got freeze a moment when testing. It's not break the game as it could recover.
pjt33
Overall: 59%    
An interesting tech demo, but unless the player can be bothered to reverse engineer the rules they miss out on the depth.

It seems that different colour jewels give different scores. Why aren't the different scores in the instructions? Knowing that they're not equivalent adds a strategic element to the game by requiring prioritisation. It also seems that in level mode there's some mechanism to gain extra time, but what is it? You have to write the instructions for someone who doesn't know how to play the game, not for yourself.

The gameplay seems to be sponsored by a mouse manufacturer. If you had taken your inspiration instead from Music Catch you could have had a game with more skill, less tendency to exacerbate RSI, and a few bytes fewer required in the mouse handler.

Graphically you're making good use of the 3D engine: I like the fact that the jewels aren't simply cuboids, and that the stars explode out on a plane which isn't perpendicular to the view direction; and the picking seems to work. The edge rendering on the jewels, however, seems to be badly off, so they continually have spikes appearing and disappearing at the corners.

There's definite potential here, but I think the big lesson is that you have to communicate the player's objectives clearly.

Jubik`s Cube
by Tryoneer
2480 downloads
This is the original Jubik\'s Cube!! And the source code is available!! Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 66%    
Maybe the game is bugged, or not working in Opera, but I couldn't manipulate the cube by clicking on it, it just rotated on its own without me doing anything. But in any case, it's a pretty straightforward game, Rubik's cube puzzle, which I was never really good at.
demonpants
Overall: 80%    
Super impressive 3D. The camera movement was good and the control overall felt very smooth. Unfortunately, I am teh suxorz at Rubik's Cube so I didn't win. But overall a solid implementation. My one minor gripe is that it wasn't clear how to actually start playing - I had to click exactly in the center of a side, which wasn't obvious.
Drabiter
Overall: 77%    
Nice looking 3D Rubik cube. Controls are impressive. Unfortunately I don't remember again how to play a Rubik. Adding difficulties menu on it and it'll be better.
pjt33
Overall: 40%    
Simple but familiar concept. I must say it's not reassuring to see that the timer is designed to support taking more than an hour to solve the cube.

The initial setup when it mixes the cube at random was quite frustrating. I want to play, not to watch the computer playing.

True 3D graphics are fairly rare in the Java4k competition. In this case they're obviously necessary, but for some reason they don't feel quite right. When I rotate the cube with up/down it seems to warp into a shape with trapezoids for faces and then back to a cube. Also, a bit more polish with a background and internal faces to the cube would go a long way.

The controls work, but are minimal. It quickly gets irritating that to rotate a middle slice you have to rotate one outer slice, then the cube, then the other outer slice.

In short, this implementation of Rubik's cube works but it scarcely goes beyond the most basic version possible. Even with the 4k limit it's possible to polish this up a lot. But please take this as an encouragement to be more ambitious next year.

Jump 4K Freedom
by unike
2331 downloads
The last thing your robot brain remembers is crashing into the deeps of the Planet-X. When you reboot you are not alone; there is another robot... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 85%    
Fun game, a bit too fast paced for my taste, but well implemented with lots of features. I do wonder if the buy menu is necessary for this type of game. But in any case, I think it's a good game and well worth a good grade.
demonpants
Overall: 75%    
A nice implementation of Doodle Jump. I felt the buy menu was a little overcomplicated and counter-intuitive to use (it's weird to halt gameplay in a game like this)- I would have rather flown into a specific space or something to access the store, or open it periodically. My biggest issue - why did I suddenly hit a roof? I understand after reading the how-to that I needed an upgrade for it... but I wasn't buying any because it felt weird to do it.
Drabiter
Overall: 88%    
Fun game. There're so many upgrades and the game controls work well.
pjt33
Overall: 85%    
The typical player, who doesn't read instructions, won't find much depth to this game. I read the instructions and couldn't figure out why the double-jump didn't work, but all became clear later when I acquired the upgrade.

The gameplay is pretty tough, especially on the third level. With the second level I thought that maybe the only point was to have checkpoints (and for that I was grateful), but the third level really got hard.

I found the polish a bit lacking. The 8-bit graphics are understandable, given the amount of your budget which must be used on the strings, but there are a few apparent bugs. Buying the Fx-plating at the end of the first level while bouncing off the ceiling didn't have any effect; the first frame after restarting is the frame where I died, so there's a flicker; it's possible to drop back from level 3 to level 2 by just moving right.

But overall I enjoyed the game, which is ambitious and packs a lot in.

Kobold Tournament 4k
by Damocles
4484 downloads
Kobold Tournament 4k - by Damocles Year 2150 ... You wake up on a backyard in a desolate and broken city. Your brain was inserted into a... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 94%    
First impression... WOW! Amazing depth in the graphics, clearly you've put a lot of effort into them. The AI seems pretty good as well, and the game plays good and is fun. I'm overly impressed by this. Nice job.
demonpants
Overall: 88%    
Pretty cool. I agree with one commenter, that jumping is annoying, and also it felt like the number of bullets I could use at one time was too limited. Still, the AI is impressive and the game feels very actiony and quick. It wasn't clear why the slow-mo was happening when it was, I wanted to be able to control it. Overall a good demake.
Drabiter
Overall: 94%    
The AI works great, even too great I think. This really needs full concern to play. Very fast and deadly.
pjt33
Overall: 93%    
The instructions could be more detailed - they don't count towards the 4k! - but the game is truly impressive.

The graphics in general show a good level of polish, although the powerups and the off-centre win/lose message seem to indicate that you were right up against the limit.

The gameplay is simple, but the AI is good enough to give me a run for the money. It doesn't seem to care much about the powerups, but that's to my advantage so I won't complain too loudly. Explaining the jump pad in the instructions would be a good idea, because at first I thought I'd found a bug in the controls. The slow motion when I'm about to die is a very nice touch.

Great job.

Laser Pinball
by zeroone
6701 downloads
Click on the game to acquire keyboard focus. The Apostrophe key is located to the left of Enter. Make sure that Caps Lock is off. Start off the... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 90%    
Totally retro impressive graphics... I mean, you can't make retro more retro than by using glow effects and bright colors :)
But, amazing implementation of pin ball, nice physics and collision detection.
demonpants
Overall: 86%    
I am most impressed by the number of collision angles and overall physics of the ball that you managed to achieve with only 4k. I have to say that the overall gameplay is a little headscratchy, though. Practically every time the ball came down it was somehow in between both flippers exactly, and each and every time the ball made it into the top area with the two bumpers it stuck there earning tons of points with me doing nothing. I was gaining lives faster than I was losing them. Could use some balance adjustments. Still, great work overall.
Drabiter
Overall: 96%    
Like the glowing effect. The ball bounces perfectly. The game controls are impressive. Unfortunately a bug kept the perfect score away.
pjt33
Overall: 91%    
I thought this game was pretty cool until I unlocked multiball. Then I had to revise my assessment up.

It has almost everything a pinball game needs: a distinctive graphical style, the standard arcane contraptions, and the mixture of reward and risk which gives it replayability. The only things I really missed were sound (understandable that you couldn't fit it in) and messages to tell me what I'd just unlocked or where I should aim next. (Players are lazy and don't read the instructions - although I applaud you for the effort you've put into them).

Other than those points, the only thing I can see which detracts from the game are the rough joins between some of the lines, which I presume are there to aid the physics engine.

Seriously nifty. Well done.

Mazer 4K v1.2
by Rick Townsend
2356 downloads
Now with music and a goal solution time! Solve the mazes. Increasingly complex mazes, always a different maze, generated before your eyes. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 86%    
Crude graphics, but totally fun gameplay. The music was really annoying :) probably better just to skip it and use the bytes for better graphics, IMO. But I really liked this, not often I play a maze game like this, and I think I did pretty good.
demonpants
Overall: 72%    
Good maze generation algorithm, reminds me of one I did a while ago (not in 4k, though). The music you got in here is good and the presentation overall is nice. The gameplay is a little boring, because it's solving mazes. :-) Good for what it is, though.
Drabiter
Overall: 77%    
Classic puzzle is back. Love the animation of maze creation. There's so much shortcuts, from giving hint, solution until to turn on/off music and sound effect. I like the hint that show you it's a wrong way. More useful than solution as you still need to control for winning.

On "where am I" level, the maze goes insane. It's a huge map and still there's a maze to be generated completely. It shows that the algorithm is really good.
pjt33
Overall: 50%    
This sets a pretty high bar in terms of polish: music, independent mute controls for music and sound effects, lots of explanatory text, display options... If I didn't know in advance, I might not have realised that it was written under space constraints.

However, in my view the gameplay lets it down. One important principle in game design is to let the player do the interesting stuff without being forced to do the boring stuff. In this case the interesting stuff is the decisions at junctions: which way do I go? Zigzagging along a path with no decisions to make is boring -- but I spent most of my time doing just that.

One other, minor, consideration is that you don't seem to have made up your mind whether this is a mouse game or a keyboard game. The main gameplay seems to be keyboard-only, but some aspects of the menus are mouse-only.

On a final note, well done for using soft time limits. Hard time limits in a game like this are a frustration waiting to happen.

McJob
by zeroone
2056 downloads
Patrons arrive periodically at the bottom of the screen and they state their food orders. The player must acquire the appropriate item and serve... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 80%    
Hehe, I got hungry for burgers playing this :) It looks good and plays good. Only problem was figuring out which aisle to drop the food, I think the worker should drop it straight towards the customer..feels more intuitive that way. Difficulty increased too fast and rapid. But fun game.
demonpants
Overall: 83%    
Impressive levels of detail here and pretty fun gameplay. The difficulty curve starts off a bit slow but eventually it gets relatively fun. Good job.
Drabiter
Overall: 70%    
Love the gameplay. It only needs one hand to play. The sprites are nice. Little surprised that it took long time to pass a level, which can produce more boredom.
pjt33
Overall: 79%    
Are my eyes deceiving me, or is this a Java4k game with a splash screen? McJob packs in the graphics so well that I would have attributed it to a deliberate 8-bit styling decision rather than a hard size constraint.

The gameplay is better than I expected, with some tough decisions. The returning serving trays are a great mechanic, and the fact that the bubbles with the patrons' orders aren't constantly visible really pushes the multitasking aspect of the game. However, there is an obvious potential problem with a game which is essentially, as the description implicitly recognises, a tedium simulator. Once I've seen the first couple of levels, why should I keep playing?

Perhaps a steeper difficulty curve would have helped; the only real saving grace of the game is the quality of the graphics and the animation, and they can't quite carry it by themselves.

Missile Command 4K
by Ivaxlar
2060 downloads
Defend your cities from alien invaders! Each city will grant you a different type of upgrade at the end of each round, so choose carefully who you... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 67%    
Ah, I remember this one, took me a while to figure out how it worked again. I think it was a bit easier back in the days. Level 1 is easy maybe, but following levels are pretty hard. Fun game nonetheless.
demonpants
Overall: 78%    
It's Missile Command! Not much to say about it... how do I control when the shots explode? They generally would explode slightly too late and I would get pwned. Maybe that's from the first game, maybe not. Good implementation!
Drabiter
Overall: 50%    
The effects of explosion are nice, but the game is slow I think. Some people may found it boring. It needs to be polished a bit. At first time I feel lost: which one the enemy, the player or the missile. I advise to choose better colors.
pjt33
Overall: 60%    
This didn't work at all on my Linux box - looking at your source code, you seem to have used an old applet template. For compatibility it's necessary to return from start() after spawning a thread to handle your main loop.

I did manage to play it under Windows. The graphics feel right for the era, the gameplay is typically unforgiving and stingy (+10 missiles per level? Anyone would think there was a recession...), and there's a bit of variety with the bombers.

The gameplay did seem rather monotonous, though. There are levels, but they seem to be more checkpoints for restocking than real increasing levels of difficulty - I noticed more than once that level 1 had more than one bomber, and level 2 had none - and so the main difficulty increase seemed to be the tight rationing of munitions.

The logic also seemed to be checked a bit too early, in the sense that the level would end with one missile still unexploded, or the game would end with one city still visibly intact.

I may be criticising you for producing too faithful a clone of the original, but I'm not an expert on the original and I have to judge the game which is put before me.

Some nice touches, a bit of strategy, and a blast from the past for us old fogies who remember the 80s.

Mystery Mash
by Matt Albrecht
1901 downloads
A 4k mashup from the silver age of computer games based around Pong. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 80%    
Interesting and original implementation of a Pong/Breakout hybrid. I like it. Not much else to say really, the game speaks for itself and I have nothing to suggest or complain about :)
demonpants
Overall: 84%    
Very cool idea. All the mashups were pretty hilarious, especially when the dropping laser beam things completely ate my paddle. My biggest issue with this is that every single obstacle that appeared benefited the computer player, to the point that it became impossible for me to score a point. He was always "defended" by arkanoid walls, tetris pieces, or other things.
Drabiter
Overall: 85%    
A very good creative game of Pong remake. Never imagine how can pong gameplay to be mixed with space invader. The game also give "frustating" feel where you feel computer and world are trolling you.
pjt33
Overall: 61%    
If the primary criterion of judging were the insanity of the concept, I think you'd be taking away a trophy in the shape of a straitjacket.

However, I weigh having fun more highly, and I think Mystery Mash spreads the fun a bit too thinly. The first time a new game item appears there's a blip of nostalgia (except for those angled walls - are those from a generic vertical shoot-'em-up, or am I supposed to recognise them?), but the fifth line of space invaders is just another obstacle to the ball, and the obstacles pile up so much that the game loses the interactivity of Pong - I'm not so much trying to get the ball past the other paddle as just trying to get it as far as the other paddle.

On the other hand, the graphics are very suitable for the game, the technical achievement of fitting in so many different gameplay elements is impressive, and while it doesn't have much replayability it's good for a quick laugh.

Nameless
by 3darray
5763 downloads
Help the unknown man get to the end of the levels with as few deaths as possible in this 2d puzzle adventure! Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 96%    
Wow, very cool looking game, clean and stylish graphics. I think this is one of my favorite game this year, no doubt about it. The levels and puzzles to solve are fun. Wish dying and finishing level happened a tad faster, but not a big issue. Cool!
demonpants
Overall: 75%    
A good platformer, with a fun silhouette style. I like the mechanics for the most part, although a lot of the time I wasn't sure which way I should go. It would have helped a lot to make the switches a different color (so I always know when they're there) and also do something more clear when they're activated.
Drabiter
Overall: 87%    
Animation and fading effects work smoothly. I like the interface, because there's no one. Very simple gameplay to enjoy. Love the dark theme.
pjt33
Overall: 55%    
Simple concept, reused fairly inventively to create apparently different objects which I presume actually share all their logic.

Although the figure doesn't look very natural, the ragdoll arms are a nice touch, and the almost monochrome aesthetic is elegant. The lack of horizontal differentiation on the background, however, turns out to be a major problem on the moving platforms: I have no idea whether it's currently moving or in which direction, so I don't know whether to try to jump off the end.

I also don't know how far I was from the end when I gave up out of frustration due to the inability to tell my current velocity. Keeping the player more informed would be good. While I'm on my soapbox, what's wrong with cursor keys?

Some nice design went into this, but ultimately I found that the frustration outweighed the fun.

Nyan4k
by Streammz
2777 downloads
Nyan loves snake, too! Make him get the apple! (what? :D) Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 68%    
Ah, Snake... I remember playing this one on the old Nokia phones... an addiction I'm glad I'm rid of today. Your implementation is fine, but not exactly impressive. Graphics aren't very impressive for a simple game like this, looks like the bytes went into something else :) But fun and playable game still.
demonpants
Overall: 62%    
A nice remake of Snake with an amusing twist. Could have added more to the classic formula, though, and it crashed for me on top of that. :-/
Drabiter
Overall: 40%    
The game works well on me. However there's nothing special. No score or objective.
pjt33
Overall: 43%    
Am I supposed to know who Nyan is?

Uniquely of all the games I tested on Windows, this had startup issues on that platform, showing only a white screen two out of three times. It also had key detection issues. Next time you might want to check out the Java Gaming forum for a working template.

Snake isn't a very ambitious game, so lack of space isn't really an excuse for ignoring the most basic convention: it should tell me what I scored! Without that there is no replay value.

Graphically this implementation is slightly unusual. The two-frame animation was a nice bit of detail, but a bit of polish in the background as well would have given the game a more finished feel.

Pitfall 4K
by zeroone
5768 downloads
The optimal pathway through the maze can be viewed here: http://meatfighter.com/java4k2012/pitfall4k/map.html You can safely stand on the... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 89%    
Very impressive remake. Every level is unique, and the problems to solve are fun and of the right level of challenge. I do personally prefer original games over remakes, because you like to see something that's new, and remakes make you think about all the things that are missing. But this game has managed to squeeze so many things into it that I don't think about it. Nicely done!
demonpants
Overall: 86%    
Didn't you enter this last year or the year before? At any rate, the fact that you've managed to remake the entirety of Pitfall in 4k is extremely impressive. And overall it works quite well and is pretty fun. Would like to see more original offerings from you, though.
Drabiter
Overall: 93%    
I'm not really good at this kind of game but I can say it is great adventure game. Plus point for adding map.
pjt33
Overall: 60%    
I have to admire the dedication and technical achievement of this clone, although perhaps copying the copyright notice is taking it a bit too far. At the same time, I cannot but be glad that game design has moved on since the 80s. Being expected to practice until able to mechanically perform a 20-minute sequence of actions while being punished harshly for any mistake isn't my idea of fun.

The graphics fit the old-school feel and pack in quite a lot, and I appreciate the attempt you've made to reduce the harshness with the helpful arrow, although I couldn't work out why it changes direction when I go down a ladder. But missing the sweet spot on a crocodile gets old quickly.

Pocket Kingdom 4k
by Archibald
2310 downloads
Run your kingdom the best you can in 50 turns (castle and military force at the end determine the score). Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 70%    
Very clever. I don't totally agree with the representation of the data and options, I think you could have done something more intuitive visually, like add some graphics of iron, lumber, gold etc. I found it difficult to see quickly how much of what I had and what I could spend it on, and what the best path was. But I really like the general idea. Perhaps even adding a competition kingdom (computer) in there would be beneficial, I don't know.
demonpants
Overall: 72%    
I like this. It's simple but it's also pretty fun. It reminds me of a board game called Roll Through the Ages, if you've ever played it. Overall a good job, although I can't score you too high because it's so simple. Would have been improved with a little more detail over what was happening.
Drabiter
Overall: 65%    
It's fun and only takes little moment to play, although I don't see objective behind this. Adding some challenge (ie, random disease) would be great.
pjt33
Overall: 91%    
I'm not sure why economics isn't a common genre for the Java4k contest, because it doesn't require much logic or graphics to for compelling gameplay, as Pocket Kingdom demonstrates.

The graphics are simple but nicely polished, albeit with a couple of curious oversights. The "End Turn" button needs to move up to avoid overlapping the brick counter, and the score summary at the end lacks the shadowing of the rest of the text.

The gameplay appears simple, but the choices are anything but. The second time I played it I thought I'd learnt from the first time, but I still ended up overproducing weapons and hence wasting resources which could have been spent on my castle. And without doing some serious analysis (and knowing the details of the score system!) I'm not sure when to build the three upgrades.

So the result is a moderately deep game with a clean interface. Good job.

PORT4K
by Erik Byström
9311 downloads
You wake up and find yourself trapped in a maze of sinister tests. Fight your way out by jumping through portals to reach the green zone.... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 94%    
Totally cool looking 3D'ish graphics and fun portal game. It's pretty difficult, up to a point I think there are problems in the game, but then I realize I'm just bad at this game. I do love the style of it, and the gameplay and level design rocks. Salute!
demonpants
Overall: 92%    
I'm impressed. The gameplay is totally intact and your pseudo-3D effect is pretty good too. I couldn't get past one puzzle but then again after 30 4k games my brain is pretty fried. Well done!
Drabiter
Overall: 92%    
This kind of puzzle game is really nice to play, and I didn't imagine to find it out on 4k. Some levels are very hard. It reminds me to Portal at first look.
pjt33
Overall: 84%    
A technical masterpiece. 3D (or a fakery thereof), music, and the action-puzzle mechanic made familiar by the Portal 2D flash game.

I must say I wasn't entirely convinced that the camera movement is a good idea. My first reaction was that there was a rendering bug, but even after I realised it was intentional I think that Portal 2D's approach to a pseudo-3D which renders the walls is less distracting.

I found the music mildly disturbing, which I think was the intention, and sufficiently non-repetitive to not seem like it was squeezed in for the sake of it.

The gameplay is more or less what I expect, although I couldn't work out under what circumstances I died. Some gentle falls seemed to kill me even though much harder ones didn't. That made it harder than I would like to be sure that a plan which seemed good would actually work, and I lost motivation to play through to the end.

Sandie4k
by Cornel Stefanache
1976 downloads
You have to save all the bouncy dots through the maze. You can use the available fans and lines in order to guide them to the exit. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 20%    
Uhh... what the.. I can't seem to figure out what to do, I read the instructions and they are not helping. What should I do and how do I do it? Nothing intuitive about this game if you can't even realize what to do by looking at it.
demonpants
Overall: 85%    
Very cool little puzzle game. It got a bit too difficult rather quickly (started to feel luck oriented) but is a good achievement and I enjoyed it. Would be awesome to have a few more physics devices at my disposal, like maybe an anti-fan or other similar devices.
Drabiter
Overall: 78%    
This puzzle game applies physic very well. Sometimes I have to repeat a level because of the wrong placement of fan. A fan really needs to be placed correctly in order to make it work great.
pjt33
Overall: 71%    
The genre is familiar, but the fans are something I've not seen before in this genre, and you've used them to good effect in the level design.

Judging the difficulty curve in a level-based game is always a challenge, and I think you did an excellent job on that. The first couple of levels introduced the mechanics and then they started requiring thought and a few attempts.

I did have the occasional problem with the UI - somehow I used two lines without intending to, or it took me several clicks to place a line. And I find it frustrating to have to clear everything because one line or fan needed moving.

But I love the slow-mo effect when only one more grain is required. And I admire your selection of a game which must be able to squeeze each level into just a handful of bytes.

Shanghai4K
by Gef
3264 downloads
You have to make pairs of colored tiles to remove them from the board. You win when all tiles have been removed, but you lose when there are still... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 84%    
Oh, pretty clever game. Some sorts of 3D pair matching. I like it. The level of difficulty is alright, not too easy and not impossible.

I do wonder if it's possible to do some sorts of 3D without the user having to move the camera to see the depth. Maybe with some heavy shadow and light calculations it could be.

Good job.
demonpants
Overall: 72%    
The graphics are impressive, but I got bored extremely quickly. Maybe it's because I'm a child of the Sesame Street generation and need instant gratification, but stuff just wasn't happening enough for me to care. On top of that the colors are so extremely close a lot of the time I have no idea what's what and why I can't make a particular move.
Drabiter
Overall: 85%    
A beautiful work on 3D mahjong. It has good feature to rotate the board, giving freedom of view. Some colors may looks like identic, but fortunately there's hint feature.
pjt33
Overall: 78%    
A classic game, with some nice 3D touches. This seems to be the year of the 3D engine; the camera control is something I haven't seen in other Shanghai games, and it's surprisingly helpful. The picking works well. It's a shame that you didn't manage to squeeze in textures too, because I found that I couldn't always be certain about colour correspondence. If you got any death threats recently they're probably from colour-blind people who tried to play this game.

The choice of boards was nice, and the translucent black over a sample board to distinguish menu from game was a good bit of polish. It could have been a bit clearer that right-click changed boards: I discovered that by trial and error, because I assumed that the instruction on the menu was a reminder that the right button controls the camera.

I don't find Shanghai a particularly deep game - the real challenge is figuring out how to lose, rather than how to win - but this particular implementation demonstrates some technical skill and polish.

Snake on a Plane
by Kevin Glass
4806 downloads
Snake with a twist, gravity. Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 95%    
What you've really come to expect from the master Kevin Glass :) Brilliant puzzle games are clearly your forte. I think this is the most original Snakes-inspired game I've seen... although this is really an original game by itself. It has exactly the right level of difficulty, and very interesting and amusing levels that clearly are well thought out. One of the best 4k puzzle games yet!
demonpants
Overall: 91%    
As usual you are exceptionally good at making simple puzzle games. The levels are smart, the mechanic is interesting, and the difficulty progression is spot-on. My only critique would be to remove a few of the situations where you can trap yourself and force a restart - ideally those are only until later and are rare.
Drabiter
Overall: 81%    
Love stacking the snake's body. All levels are also designed well. At start it may be easy, but later it becomes tricky and fun.
pjt33
Overall: 86%    
Snake on a Plane is immediately striking for the graphical quality: it's a beautiful demonstration of how simple gradients and shadows can add a lot of visual appeal to a resource-constrained game. The innovation of the twist and of the crowdsourcing of levels are also strong points.

I must say that I was surprised when level 1 came around again, for two reasons. Firstly, the graphical polish raised my expectations for a bit more end-game polish: perhaps a level selection screen or a score summary. Secondly, I was sure that the final level would be a real mind-twister, and I was wrong. Did the mechanic turn out to be too constraining?

Overall a solid entry, but not quite a world-beater.

TD4k
by JBell
1840 downloads
A 4k tower defense game featuring retro neon graphics and 4 levels of difficulty. Try to stay alive as long as possible to beat all 50 waves of... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 40%    
Very strange user interface interaction, very bad in other words. I want to select towers from menu and place them... yet I don't seem to be able to do that easily. And why does it alternate between showing up in the top and bottom? Confusing. Color selection is bad... difficult (for me) to see blue on black, and the path and outside are the same color, black, making it difficult to distinguish between path and not. All units the same? No bullet animation. Although I find DTD games fun, your implementation doesn't manage to incorporate any of the fun factors.
demonpants
Overall: 75%    
A fun little tower defense, but the balance is way off. In the very first level on easy difficulty I can spend all my money and still die immediately. That should not be the case - it should be simple to win with just 1 tower, especially 2. The game really needs a restart button to allow messing around with different placements, otherwise you just lose.
Drabiter
Overall: 72%    
Plus: The graphics looks great. There're health bars. Various towers. The towers panel adapts to mouse position. Minus: No shooting particles. Can't sell a tower. No sounds.
pjt33
Overall: 61%    
I'm not a great fan of tower defence as a genre, because TD games tend to be tedious. The few TD games which avoid tedium do so by adding mechanics which force the player to continually find a compromise between incompatible objectives. Unfortunately, that's not possible when your aim is to boil the game down to its bare essentials, and so TD4k fails to avoid the trap.

In particular, the gameplay doesn't seem to differentiate the towers. As far as I can tell they all do exactly the same thing but with different damage radius. The game also seems to be far too long on easy mode. I'm currently taking breaks from writing up my review to press Space to start a new level; I haven't built anything for about 12 levels, and have $35000 in the bank, but the creeps are only just getting past the top-right corner. And that's despite the fact that when I went to build my third tower, a yellow one, I accidentally built it on top of my fully upgraded blue tower and effectively threw away most of the money I had collected up to that point.

The extremely minimal graphics work for me as a stylistic choice, and in particular the differing circles for the upgrade levels are quite nice. The way the menu tries to move out of the way is a nice detail, although I'm not sure that the top-right is the best place to put it. And I appreciate the humour in the tower descriptions.

But overall, if you want people to play for 45 minutes you should give them more to get their teeth into. I've just watched the creeps on level 50 get completely destroyed by one yellow tower and one white tower, and my bank balance has passed $75k. Insane mode, on the other hand, really is. I can't find any way to spend $600 which allows me to survive level 1 even on hard mode.

The Little Scientist
by Marwane Kalam-Alami
8567 downloads
After an epically failed teleportation experiment, you find yourself on an abandoned planet. Fortunately, you're a scientist, so build what you... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 93%    
First glance and I'm already impressed by the details in the graphics, the icons and color selection. Very good on the eye, clear and easy to interact with.
Interesting gameplay, and well thought out. Although, if you spend all your wood and there's no way to collect more, you probably need a restart button :)
But wow, once I got the hang of it I got hooked... awesome game. Probably a bit too short, but I encourage you to make a full version (I rarely recommend that, but only do when I see potential for a good fuller version).
demonpants
Overall: 97%    
I think this game is really great. It takes the most addictive element of Minecraft (gathering materials), simplifies it into a 4k fashion, and then adds a very cool atmosphere and goal on top of it. Simple, easy to understand, but very fun and with a lot of depth. Excellent job.
Drabiter
Overall: 98%    
The best looking game for me. I played the earlier version too. Graphics are great, controls are easy. If only it had sound. Very Fun.
pjt33
Overall: 88%    
A fairly simple game which is easy to complete but gains some replayability from the scoring.

Graphically the style has a mixture of levels of detail. A bit more consistency would be nice, but I think it mostly works. The gradient on the planet, which draws the eye most because of its size and position, was a good choice of priority for higher detail. The spinning planet and counterspinning starfield add visual interest, and the rounded corners on the buttons and score panel are a pleasing detail.

In terms of gameplay, the instructions are minimal. It relies on the player figuring out that a mine stops mining because it's full, or that the build operation extends the point clicked to the surface, rather than the more intuitive (to me, at least) where the man is currently standing. And there doesn't seem to be any direct visual indication when a tree stops growing.

When I reviewed Pocket Kingdom 4k, I commented that economics isn't a common genre in this contest. Yet we have two this year - Pocket Kingdom is turn-based economics, and Little Scientist is real-time economics. It's all about optimising resource generation to get the lowest score. I suspect that the best strategy involves building enough resources on the first planet to scarcely touch the second and third planets - certainly adopting that strategy on my second playthrough dropped my score by more than 50% from 399 to 187 - so perhaps those planets could have be omitted in favour of another mechanic. But the choices involved aren't obvious, so the game succeeds at giving the player interesting decisions to make.

Theseus vs Minotaur
by luisoft
2104 downloads
How to play: - Space to start - Guide Theseus (the blue circle) to the exit using arrow keys. - Avoid the Minotaur (the red circle). - The... Play Now!
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Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 82%    
Pretty neat puzzle, reminds me of Sokoban. Looks alright, fine levels, but I'm still a bit at a loss at figuring out how that minotaur moves. Also, there's a bug where you can move the blue into the red and then move again, but you die after that. Level 10 seems buggy when the minotaur moves before player. But seems like a fine puzzle game.
demonpants
Overall: 76%    
Nice execution of a good simple game mechanic. Your puzzles are generally smart and the difficulty progression is smooth. I personally don't like games of this type, but I still think you managed to fit a lot of levels in this small package. It is also very clear how to play, which is a big plus.
Drabiter
Overall: 55%    
The AI works well. There so many levels to beat.
pjt33
Overall: 72%    
A wonderfully simple mechanic and yet it's serious mental exercise. I strongly approve of allowing people to skip levels, and I think the difficulty curve is well judged.

The graphical style doesn't strike me as entirely consistent - you have some interesting gradients but a flat flashing E and aliased outlines around the tokens. But the gameplay is a fun challenge.

Tide Frog 2.0
by avarga
2165 downloads
You are a frog with the ability to control water. Use your power to manipulate the lily pads and rescue the baby frogs. NOW WITH LEVEL EDITOR! Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 70%    
I tried to complete level 1 but wasn't able to put the lily pad in place, so I got stuck. Looks like a fun puzzle game, retro graphics, I like them. Gameplay looks solid and puzzles clever, but I think it may be a bit buggy.
demonpants
Overall: 75%    
Cool take on the classic block sliding formula. It would have been really interesting (or maybe over the top) if you had added frog block-pushing on top of the lily pad control. I felt the puzzles were overall pretty good and the difficulty curve was pretty good. Didn't feel quite special yet, though.
Drabiter
Overall: 82%    
Creative puzzle game. The graphics are nice, especially the background. It has well designed levels. And wait, it also has level editor which is great. More, it has cheat code too.
pjt33
Overall: 89%    
An excellent contender.

The mechanic is familiar, and yet at the same time novel, with a very clever twist. The level design was quite clever, the curve was about right, and the alternation between levels with one lilypad and levels with several gave nice variety. Level 6 in particular was a well-designed level, with the added amusement of retracing level 5 backwards. The only negative thing I would say about the levels is that the last one was quite tedious: a small amount of thought to figure out the trick, followed by a lot of almost mindless button-pushing to implement it.

The graphics are quite pretty, and although there are a number of different styles they work together well. There is, however, a major graphical flaw: a constant flickering. Are you mixing active and passive rendering? If so, don't. I understand that the text box for the level editor complicates things, but the compatibility issues caused by mixing rendering modes mean that if you want the text box you have to either make it work with passive rendering or go fully active and handle thread safety.

Talking of the level editor, there was a small bug in that completing all the levels didn't unlock it, and I had to use the cheat code. But managing to fit it in is a definite bonus.

Overall, the game marries polish with fun gameplay. Well done!

Tilt Maze 4k
by luisoft
2182 downloads
4k version of tilt maze Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 84%    
Nice, clever puzzle game, I like it, very easy to play and intuitive to play. Arrows are really the only instructions you need, and I like it when the instructions aren't like 2 pages for something that should be easy to grasp. May be a bit difficult, at least on level 3, maybe adding some sorts of "hints" could be useful. Anyway, very good game.
demonpants
Overall: 70%    
Nice implementation of the classic sliding movement formula. Overall pretty polished and the level design was pretty good, but relatively quickly it got too hard for my feeble brain to solve. One level seemed completely impossible to me after hashing out all possibilities, but I imagine I missed something.
Drabiter
Overall: 60%    
Fun puzzle game. Straight to the point. Good to kill some time. Adding hint would be great.
pjt33
Overall: 81%    
The name led me to expect a physics-based game with a rotating board, but the mechanic turned out to be somewhat different.

As with Theseus and the Minotaur, the graphical style isn't quite consistent. Here it's also very wasteful of space - three quarters of the canvas is never used. Given that, I can't figure out why you chose to scale down the larger levels - with the bytes spent on that you might have been able to add scoring based on the number of moves taken.

I also found the controls a bit too keen to respond - a transition between levels to give me time to lift my finger from the key would have saved me quite a few restarts.

But I continue to approve of allowing people to skip levels, it's a good mechanic, the difficulty curve is right and has a lot of levels through which to develop, and the later ones add an interesting twist.

TruckMaze
by bainit
2434 downloads
Your have got lost in unknown town.You have some money and don\'t have map. Find way out from this town. Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 80%    
Nice, some sorts of truck-rpg game. Very impressive. The tires on the truck were difficult to see, just 1 pixel wide I believe :) Driving around lost is maybe not my idea of fun, but if I had to do it then your game would be perfect.
demonpants
Overall: 72%    
The graphics and level of detail are pretty impressive but I really couldn't get past the controls. I had an extremely difficult time navigating the truck around - it wouldn't stop turning and would always go crazy in one direction, unlike a real car (which tends to straighten out once you take your hand off the wheel). As such I died very quickly every time I tried.
Drabiter
Overall: 74%    
Love the graphics. However the truck is too weak. it's very hard to move without receive high amount of damage. The lack of map or hint and random location start make it the hardest game of this year, for me.
pjt33
Overall: 73%    
The first impression this game gives isn't so great, but a closer examination reveals some in some areas, at least, great attention has been paid to detail.

Graphically it's not very exciting, although the randomly placed bits of grass are a nice touch. Some of the font rendering comes out badly on my computer; I suspect the font isn't designed for rendering so small and with anti-aliasing turned off.

The gameplay is very simple in one sense, and a bit tricky in another. The mazes, although randomly generated, were well enough connected that I could go from petrol station to petrol station, but the controls broke with my expectations, based on convention and real-world experience. The way the steering works was a surprise, and I couldn't fathom out why my fuel consumption seemed to depend on my speed even when I was coasting. There is a place for challenging convention, but it always has to be balanced against the benefits of intuitive gameplay.

The little detail which really made the game for me was when, reversing, I jack-knifed the lorry (which in itself was a good reflection on the physics engine) and discovered that I took damage for the articulated halves overlapping. Brilliant.

ZZRace 4k
by Bonbon-Chan
2395 downloads
It is the ZZ racing contest. The amazing race with worn tired and 6 glass like tracks ;). Every thing is allowed - bumping in opponents, rushing... Play Now!
Details!
Arni Arent (appel)
Overall: 75%    
Pretty cool. One thing I hate about race games is going off road and getting slowed down by grass. Yours does not have that problem and I like it :)
Not the best implementation, I can think of several things I myself would have done differently. Instead of race cars I'd probably have had spaceships competing in some sorts of underground tunnel, and bouncing into walls would do damage to the ships. Missing is some sort of direction indication. Steering just rotates. Physics are fine though. Alright game, but can be made better with slight imagination :)
demonpants
Overall: 78%    
Music! In my brain! Slowly killing me! More seriously - the music was impressive but got a little painful, no big deal. I would rather you have used that budget for sound effects, probably would have been more... effective. Now to the meat of it. I felt the race unfortunately dragged on a bit and the rare cases that I passed a computer were the only interesting times. Otherwise it was a static race I was driving without much clue what was coming up. A minimap would really help things here, and more give and take with the other racers.
Drabiter
Overall: 71%    
Fun music, controls work smoothly. It's just the difficulty of computer opponents that is too hard I think. They move in very well manner without making any mistake. Green light and all cars move like flash leaving me alone.
pjt33
Overall: 64%    
I must say that the music sounds quite good, but I'm not convinced that the level of polish which was sacrificed elsewhere was the best trade-off.

In particular, some of the basic information I expect from a racing game was conspicuous by its absence. What position am I in? The only way to find out is to wait until the end of the race. Where's the finish line? Why am I currently on lap 0 rather than lap 1?

The physics also seemed rather odd. I'm sure that with a lot of practice I would realise that there's the possibility of some very skilful exploitation of the collisions, but the game doesn't grip me enough to keep me playing until I have that level of practice.