When a competition comes around with the theme “Advancing Wall of Doom”, you know that the games produces are going to be something special. Well, that’s exactly what the Ludum Dare 48 hour game competition did, as we reported a few weeks ago, and the submitted games certainly lived up to the challenge. The overall winner, however, was mrfun’s Mind Wall, a reflex/puzzle game that not only does full justice to the premise, but manages to be fun and innovative too.
The basic idea of the game is simple but effective. You’re faced with a giant Advancing Wall of Doom riddled with holes, creeping inexorably towards the camera. Your task is to remove a single cube from said wall so that, combined with the existing holes, an opening is created to allow a shape (displayed in the corner of the screen) to get through. Remove the wrong block from the wall, or wait too long, and your shape smashes against it, forcing you to try all over again.
This core concept may be simple, but Mind Wall is surprisingly challenging. It starts you off slow with simple shapes, then ramps up in difficulty as you progress, presenting you with larger walls made of more cubes, as well as increasingly elaborate shapes to squeeze through them. Walls are procedurally generated so no two are the same, and this means that you can’t just memorize a sequence to get you through. You need to think and move quickly to identify potential openings, and this can get rather tricky with more complex shapes. It’s not rare that you identify an opening just before you hit the wall, which sends you scrambling to clear a cube before it drifts off-camera. The tension is added to by the simple, but surprisingly atmospheric, music that plays in the background, which gets to be quite ominous in the later levels.
Given that it was built in 48 hours, Mind Wall is a little short, but it’s remarkably slick and polished, and showcases a great concept. Hopefully the developer will see fit to expand on it in the future, because there’s a lot of potential for more wall-smashing goodness here.