Many wonderful, amazingly polished games are made for the Ludum Dare — a quarterly game jam that gives developers 48 to 72 hours to create a game from scratch.
Most of the time games made for jams will disappear. Other times, the games may be touched up — with bug fixes, for example — after the jam along with a post mortem.
There are, however, a few games that have been completely polished and put on Steam! These are a few that I've played and enjoyed.
Laser Disco Defenders
You are looking to defeat the evil Lord Monotone who is trying to use the "Mirror Moon" to force the galaxy into dancing to his not-so-groovy tune. You're able to choose between a few different characters — each with varying amounts of lives, speed, and abilities — as well as different outfits and accessories that additionally enhance your abilities.
Once you've started the game, you'll explore different levels full of enemies. You are able to shoot at these enemies, but your projectiles will bounce around the walls and stay in the level — possibly deflecting back towards you and hurting you. So you must avoid not only the enemy's lasers, but your own!
These levels are randomly generated, so each time you play it will be slightly different. Laser Disco Defenders takes a few tries to master, but once you have the skill, you can sit back, shoot and enjoy the funky music!
You can play this game as a single player, or in local multiplayer with up to three friends. I prefer playing it with my friends, as it adds to the chaos.
In this game, you're fighting waves of fish enemies with different types of guns. Every 10 seconds, you get to pick a new upgrade for your character. This upgrade (which will be in effect for all of the active players) comes in a shop, with three to choose from. It can last for the rest of your time playing, until you die or for a limited number of rounds.
Your fish character can’t seem to remember much, so the descriptions for these upgrades are sometimes related, but at other times they're seemingly random stories you have thought up. You also only have a few seconds to pick one before moving onto another quick level.
You'll continue to take on waves of enemies and sometimes bosses until you die. The enemies, environments, and weapons all seem so random and unique — giving you a strange but very fun game to explore.
The Lion's Song: Episode 1 — Silence
#TheLionsSongEpisode1 — Silence is a beautiful point-and-click adventure that's divided up into chapters. The whole game is available on Steam. However, I'm going to focus on the first chapter of the game.
In this game, you're playing a girl named Wilma. She's a young musician who's currently in the process of studying composition. Her professor, Arthur Caban has invited her to Vienna to perform her music. This music was well received, but Wilma can’t seem to finish the next piece. To make matters worse, she seems hopelessly distracted by her attraction to Arthur.
He has decided to send you off to a cabin in the middle of the woods in the hopes that you can focus and create the music you need. Once Wilma gets to the cabin, it starts to storm outside. To make matters worse, she receives a letter from Arthur, stating she will need to have the new piece written within the next few days for a concert he has organised.
You need complete silence to work — but you will find there are lots of things to explore and distractions in this cabin. At the end of your work days, you explore Wilma’s stressful dreams, trying to figure out how she is coping with everything around her. The decisions you make in the first chapter of the game continue to affect the following chapters, so make sure you do what you want. This game is quite beautiful in graphics, sound and concept.
Once you have shot it, you must make your way back to it and collect before you can fire it again. On top of only having one shot, your quill also bounces off of the walls, moving quickly around the room when launched. This quill can kill you, not just your friends, so you need to be careful.
You can also gather the skulls of your enemies once they die for some added fun. This game is full of different arenas, obstacles, and enjoyment. I first played Porcunipine with a group of strangers at an afterparty for an event. The game is has rapid rounds, fun characters, and great environments, and allows you to customize the game to your liking. You can even play against bots if you don't have friends!
If you are interested in keeping up with Ludum Dare games that end up on Steam, there is a Steam group that you can follow to keep up to date! There are tons of different Ludum Dare games listed there. These were just a few that I have kept up with and checked out.