The Best of the 7DFPS Game Jam

by Marshall Sandoval

18 November 2014

There were 145 entries in the 7DFS game jam this year, and I played a lot of them. Here’s a list of a few great prototypes that were created during this jam that are worth your time.
Drones, a prototype game produced during this year's 7DFPS game jam 

For a game jam in just its third year, 7DFPS has drawn some big names. The game jam began as a throwaway comment made by Jan Willem Nijman. He tweeted, “FPSes are a horribly oversaturated genre, indies can easily do amazing new stuff. Who’s up for it?”. Now, he organizes the game jam with fellow independent developers Sos Sosowski and Sven Bergstrom. The seven day challenge has drawn big name participants like Notch, and in recent years, led to full length projects like Superhot. This year’s stylish keynote address is available on Youtube and includes insights from Steve Gaynor, Lisa Brown, and others.

There were 145 entries this year, and I played a lot of them. There’s a lot great prototypes that are worth your time on the 7DFPS this year, but these are my five favorites, which I selected to give you a sense of the breadth of prototypes produced for this year’s jam.
The Cabin by Jacob Vincent

(for fans of: The Room and Gone Home)

The Cabin places the player in a small cabin with locked doors, leaving him to his own devices to find a way out. I would love to see this prototype expanded into a larger game because a more fleshed out story could make this something really special. As it is, exploring the cabin and piecing the puzzles together is a short and spooky good time.

Adams Drive 32 by René Rother

(for fans of: Dishonored)

I don’t really care for stealth gameplay, but Adams Drive 32 won me over through the sheer confidence of its commitment to its aesthetics. Talented artists are increasingly demonstrating the complexity of visuals that can be squeezed out of simple game engines for first person games. However, I’d love to see more stylized minimalism along the lines of Return of the Obra Dinn or Adams Drive 32. It’s a tense ride to loot everything from Adams Drive, but I suggest you give it a shot.

Strange Gravity by ianburnette

(for fans of: Osmos

Strange Gravity is billed as an FPS/RTS hybrid, and that’s not a bad classification. The prototype allows you to send little spore units from planetoid to planetoid from a first-person perspective. It feels a bit similar to Brendan Chung’s Flotilla, but from a different viewpoint. The prototype is frantic and well balanced. The only drawback is that it’s a bit repetitive in its current form. I’d love to play an expanded version, though. As long as the developers drop the theme song, which was a bit grating.

Duality-Remastered by SteelRaven7

(for fans of: Portal)

This entry was originally created in seven hours for the 7HFPS jam that preceded the 7DFPS game jam this year. In Duality, the player navigates first-person puzzles by switching between two worlds with slightly different architecture. The stealth maneuvering can be tiresome, but the puzzles are well crafted. Using the pulsating object in your hand to peer into the other world is a satisfying form of exploration.

Drones by Urban Logic Games

(for fans of: Sportsfriends and Quake

Game jams are interesting, because of projects exactly like Drones. This multiplayer arena shooter can be played with just the mouse. Despite the lack of WASD input, movement can still be fluid and the shooting precise. All of this innovative control is set inside a thermal-imaged robot arena. I am a fan.

Honorable Mention recommendations: Colt55, Tailgunner, DUNGEN [star], ba buppa ba BA, ba ba baa, Verticorpse

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