Daniel Linssen has been on a roll in the game jam scene this year. He took 3rd place overall in the Ludum Dare 28 Jam with Javel-ein, 1st place overall in the Ludum Dare 29 Compo with The Sun And Moon, 3rd place overall in the Ludum Dare 30 Compo with HopSlide, and 1st place overall in GameBoy Jam 3 with Roguelight. Of these, he’s chosen to develop puzzle platformer The Sun And Moon for commercial release. The demo we were sent had only 15 levels, but those show off a much greater variety of challenges than the original prototype offered.
The basics of the game haven’t changed at all. The player’s goal is to collect the three orbs in each level and get to the exit portal. Movement is what makes the game interesting; the player can dive into the platforms, maintaining momentum but with gravity reversed. That allows for some amazing jumps reminiscent of the those that can be achieved in Portal, though the similarities between the two games end with that fun, physics-based acceleration. Controller support is one of the new features, though, and it makes the game even more satisfying to play.
Level design is really important for any platformer, but especially for one with unusual movement mechanics. The original Ludum Dare entry had some very interesting designs, a few of which have returned in the demo, but between the trailer and the demo (the content of which barely overlaps) it seems that a lot of thought has gone into how to design interesting challenges for the player. All of the levels in the demo are short and focused, with levels that require similar skill mastery grouped together and having similar color schemes. There is a good range of difficulty and levels unlock along non-linear paths that allow the player to skip some levels and come back to them later if they wish. The finished game is slated to have over 150 levels.
The last thing of note in the demo is that Linssen has added some features that seem to be aimed at the speed running crowd. The Sun And Moon is perhaps an ideal sort of game for comparing times with others simply because there are always multiple ways to beat a level and all ways to win are skill-based. The demo adds timers and a gold/silver/bronze trophy system using sun/full moon/waxing moon icons for beating target times. If Linssen were to add leaderboards as well, which should definitely be possible for the Steam release, players could easily show off their times to others.
The Sun And Moon has had its release date delayed to November 14th, at which time it will be available for Windows only, though Mac and Linux ports are planned for the future. The price is slated to be $9.99. In the meantime, the original Ludum Dare version is still available over on itch.io.
Edit: This article originally stated that the game’s price will be $11.99.