Game Jams! No, not a tournament involving the competitive consumption of preserves (as delicious as that sounds), but competitions amongst indie development teams! The idea of a Game jam is for teams to create a game within a time limit, sometimes involving a certain theme, and have often resulted in some real gems. Just look at Superhot, a game originally created for the 7 Day FPS Jam, and the success that has come from it. Whilst the final game is far more than was originally created, the game that was put together was pretty stunning for such a short period of time.
Resistjam is one such competition, with games revolving around resisting oppressive regimes (which considering the present climate is really rather relevant) being created between 3rd and 11th of march. At the time of writing, there have been 215 entries which is a whole lot of game! I’m going to look at one in particular though: Unloop created by Hexagon Blue.
Unloop is a short point and click game with a narrative focus (I’ll avoid any spoilers here, as going in blind makes a bit of a difference). We awake in a strange machine as Alby, a scientist involved in time travel experiments, who is approached by a very excited Ben. We quickly learn that their time travel experiment has been successful and Ben dashes off to being analysing the results of their success. I won’t say any more, but through exploring the small environment, we learn a little about the oppressive society they live in before events take a turn and the story grows with some unexpected turns.
The game has an unusual art style, with characters being made of voxels (the style reminded me somewhat of a grim 3D Dot Heroes) and a muted colour palette punctuated by bright reds and greens for the machinery you can interact with. As a look it’s quite different from most point and click games, but it works for the dystopian near future setting. The music is good and suits the setting well (it’s been stuck in my head for a surprising length of time), but sound effects are rather limited due to there not being many moments that would require them.
It’s difficult to talk about Unloop without spoiling anything about it. However, you can interact with various objects in the environment to learn more about the world, and talk to Ben to progress the story. You do have dialogue options, but the majority of them do not effect the game’s story. The final choice, though, has implications that aren’t explored. I would have loved to know what happened based on the decision I made, but I would put this down to making your own conclusions being as a great deal of the world and its machinations are kept hidden from you. The game can be finished in around 10-30 minutes, meaning it’s certainly worth a try even if you don’t like point and click games (I would be one of those people) as its not much of a time commitment.
Unloop was developed by Hexagon Blue as part of Resistjam. I played the game on PC and would recommend you take a look at it. At the low, low price of nothing and only needing around half an hour to play it’s worth a go. As a narrative point and click game it’s pretty good, especially given the time scale it was made in. Unless, of course, they have a time machine…
Disclaimer: I know one of the developers of this game; this write up is an honest reflection of my opinions but that fact should be noted. Nothing has been exchanged for any particular kind of write up.