Small Game: The Spicy Meatball Saves The Day
Hi people!

Apologies for not giving a heads up on this one. I wasn't expecting to have time to participate in the Linux Game Jam, what with Pecking Order and everything else going on, but the opportunity presented itself yesterday and I jumped on it.

In The Spicy Meatball Saves The Day, you take on the role of the Spicy Meatball, a superhero who gets distracted by a burning building on their way home from stopping crime. You can find builds on Itch for Linux, Mac and Windows.

In all of the Icicle games I'd made previously, I held to the Ron Gilbert/LucasArts mantra of no deaths, no dead ends, but this time I thought it'd be nice to demonstrate that that's not an engine limitation. There are a bunch of instant deaths that aren't clearly signalled and are there to guide players through subsequent playthroughs.

I've also put in some diverging branches (as opposed to just non-linearity)  that change one or two puzzles depending on the approach the player uses to enter the building at the beginning of the game.

Beyond that, I've also added some optional objectives that players can discover. I've also intentionally not signalled those as obviously achievable so that pursuing them isn't a default choice.

For anybody who'd like to see what making a game like this takes, I streamed the first 3 hours of development. You can find the archive over on hitbox.

Tonally, the game feels humorous, but doesn't really have much comedy in it. I'd have liked to have worked in more funnies, but I'm feeling OK with how it came out in the end.

Trying to exaggerate the superhero aspect, I made a splash screen inspired by vintage comic covers and worked in action icons that look like the kind of action text pops that you find sitting over the top of starbursts (like "POW" or "BIFF"). Those combined with two of the Komika fonts pushes the comic aesthetic home more than I was expecting.

With 6 hours left on the clock, I spotted that using existing F/OSS assets that weren't created during the jam was frowned upon (my bad for not reading more closely!) and I put out a call for anybody who might be interested in composing some music. I definitely didn't have time to write something myself, and I wasn't really expecting anybody to be up for it on short notice, but Inverse Phase gave me a nudge and put together what you can hear in the game in just under four hours. I'm super happy with how it turned out and am very thankful for the last-minute assistance :)

I had wanted to use this project as a way to shuffle a couple of extra features into Icicle (such as a score summary screen at the end of the game and animated object colours), but unfortunately I didn't manage to squeeze that stuff in. I am looking towards doing an update for a score summary screen at least, so we'll see how things turn out over the remainder of the week.

At any rate, this was a fun project to work on. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for supporting me in making fun stuff! :D

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