Zayne Black of Games by Zed (AKA DedHedZed), developer of Flibble, knows a thing or two about the effective use of minimalism. Minimalism was the theme of Ludum Dare 26, so his 48 hour competition entry Please Ignore The Dancing Llama ticks all the right boxes and is one of the most complete and satisfying experiences of the many LD26 games I’ve played so far.
A fully voiced, rather funny, and very British story frames the action. It seems that there has been a tear in the fabric of reality, and you have two minutes to collect as many fragments of it as you can. It’s a wonderful excuse to run around grabbing doodads (pulsing X’s) while avoiding other thingies (little moving squares). Every fragment is worth points, and their value increases according to your number of combos. Your combos are reset to 0 if you get hit by one of the little squares (let’s think of them as chaos nodes).
You use the arrow keys to move, but here’s where it gets interesting. Every few seconds, reality shifts and the structure of the game changes. You’re always collecting reality fragments and avoiding chaos nodes, but your movement scheme depends on which “level” you are on. Sometimes the game controls like a side-view platformer where the up arrow key makes you jump; but it might shift to a top-down view, where each arrow key makes you run in a cardinal direction; or, you might find yourself controlled like a Pong-style paddle, your only movement options being up or down.
Pulsing music and flashing colors provide a backdrop for the action. And always present, like a laughing, malevolent deity, is the dancing llama. Is it a tribute to Jeff Minter? Is the llama there to cheer you on, or to spitefully taunt you? Only one thing is for sure: you’d best ignore it.
You can play Please Ignore The Dancing Llama in your browser. And you should.
By the way, if you enjoy this game, consider backing Zed’s project The BitJackers on IndieGoGo.