Post-jam version with tweaks and improvements available now:

CONTROLS: Mouse and WASD/Arrow keys; Esc/F4 for fullscreen

Parum the dwarf is fighting a losing battle with poverty, and his family is starving. Despite tales of fright, he will fight through the haunted mine, taking down swarms of apparitions on his expedition with naught but the pickaxe at his side. If the tales of riches at the end are real, he and his family can once again enjoy a hearty meal.

Not that the pickaxe should be underestimated; with the right angle you can knock boulders aside, and with enough force you can smack spirits silly with it. Just be ready for challenge, the spirits have no mercy...

About 21 hours total development time. All art, sounds, programming, and other assets (except the font) are original and made for this project. The source code is available under downloads as well.

!!! IMPORTANT NOTE: This game can get rather difficult! Click the picture below for a YouTube video walkthrough if you need help or just want to see the rest of the game:


Good luck!

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  • Jupiter Hadley
    Jupiter Hadley Jupiter Hadley Level 11

    Neat game! I included it in my GM48: One Tool, Many Uses compilation video series, if you’d like to take a look. :)

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks for playing! It's always super helpful to see others play your game.

  • SirTotallyAverage

    Pretty much what everybody else has already said. Endless spawn, bit difficult, first boulder a bit non-intuitive, great music.

    And extra points for style. I love games that have consistent style to them, which this one did.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks for playing Sir, and I'm glad you liked the style and music. =)

  • Applepieman1990

    I enjoyed my playthrough of the game but I would note there were a couple points that got pretty difficult. The first major roadblock being one of the corridors toward the end right before the black ghost, the spawn rate just seemed to high. Also not to mention I accidentally made the end game far more difficult on myself not upgrading my pickaxe with the shockwave as I cashed in all my coins for more health. Though after a restart of the game and getting the upgrade made it an enjoyable experience.

    Will note the graphics were pretty good and the song that played through out was pretty solid. The ending though left a little to be desired but overall a good submission.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Sorry you had to restart! Because the shockwave ghost shows up first, it didn't cross my mind that the player could spend all their coins at the health ghost without shockwave until it was too late. Oopsies. The ending is definitely something I wanted to spend more time on too. Glad you were able to still enjoy it despite those hiccups.

      Thanks for your compliments on the graphics and music; I'm definitely looking to improve in that regard in the future too.

      Thanks for the feedback, dude!

  • Alan
    Alan Alan Level 1

    I enjoyed the experience, but it was far too difficult. Particularly, the black ghosts were an endless spawn of pain and misery. I also felt like the pickaxe should have been slightly extended with an invisible hitbox to be more forgiving when the player tries to hit the enemies. The boss wasn't so hard once I figured out how to eliminate the ghosts. The black ghosts spawning endlessly even though I left their spawn point behind was the worst.

    Other than that, the puzzles were solid! (Though, the first boulder was kind of oddly placed and unintuitive to move in my opinion.) Still, you definitely did a great job meeting the jam's theme. Plenty of uses for sure. The music was really good and memorable, always a plus. Kind of dissapointed that there wasn't an ending or at least some visual to show the player the treasure, but oh well.

    I also got a kick out of the Atari 2800-esque graphics!

    Just allow some time for testing next time to fix that difficulty!

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Yeah, I know the ending is a bit of a cop-out. I really wanted to let the player walk up to the treasure at the end but I just ran out of time and had to prioritize. I'll try the invisible extension of the hitbox next time, though the hitbox does cover the entire pickaxe as it is.

      The first boulder is placed the way it is on purpose to show the player that they can hit the boulder in ways they might not first expect rather than get stuck later on when there's more to explore. But, I do have in mind one idea that could get the best of both worlds.

      I'd say the graphics are closer to Atari 7800, but thank you. I'm not a fast artist so I chose a smaller resolution to make sure I could get in some variety by the end. Next time it may be worth trying to collaborate with an artist.

      The big thing to work on has definitely been the difficulty, so I'll be keeping that in mind, particularly the way the spawners work.

      Thank you for the constructive feedback!

  • reBTF
    reBTF reBTF Level 3

    A lot to love about this game. I really got into it at the start, it was really satisfying to smash the rocks and push around the boulders with some nice accompanying sound effects and music.

    It got really hard pretty quick at the black enemies, there was just so many of them swarming from all directions and I couldn't destroy the spawners because there were too many enemies in the way.

    Nice visual effects like the shadowy outline that gets stronger later on and I like the upgrading pickaxe.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      I'm glad you were able to have some fun with this one, and enjoyed pushing around the boulders. I think a few more puzzles like that towards the end could have added a lot to the experience. Also, apologies for not doing a better job balancing the spawners. I learned a big lesson there!

      Thank you for mentioning the darkness (shadowy outline) that closes in on you when you get farther in. It was an idea I liked too, and something I really wanted people to notice so they would feel like they are getting deeper into the mine. Also, to add a feeling of being trapped in the darkness of a haunted mine and to prepare the player mentally for the final challenges.

      Thanks very much for the feedback!

  • Kwisarts
    Kwisarts Kwisarts Level 56

    Cool game but the difficulty makes it impossible to beat.

    The main problem being the spawners: Waiting a bit more before spawning more enemies would have been nice.. before the last boss (i assume is the last boss) your life gets drained because the black ghosts keep repoping over and over without letting you the time to damage the nest. They pile up pretty quickly. The only time I destroyed the nest before the boss, the boss just had to hit me once. And whenever I got to him (followed by black ghosts) he seemed even harder to bit than them. :/

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks for the feedback! You did indeed reach the final boss. I agree about the difficulty; I ran out of time to playtest with others and didn't register how unrelenting the spawners could be.

      My biggest takeaway from this jam has definitely been to leave time for someone besides only myself to test my game before publishing next time.

      P.S. If you are curious how it's possible to beat the last boss I did make a video you can check out on the description page, where I played through the whole game with no deaths.

  • Fachewachewa

    This game is really really good! It's a little too difficult because of how the spawner work, and the boss have so much life, but apart from that I'm not sure what to add :D Maybe the viewport was a little too big for my taste.

    Oh, the music was great too!

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Agreed about the spawner AI and boss hp. I'll keep the viewport comment in mind too; I should be able to tweak the numbers so that it will only fill up a max of a certain percentage of the screen (maybe about 80%).

      Glad you liked the game and the music; I only spent about 90 minutes making the music so it's a bit of a miracle it turned out as well as it did. I really wanted to have instruments/parts change as you got deeper in the mine, but that would have taken a lot more time that I didn't have.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • anzaazna
    anzaazna anzaazna Level 5

    I liked this game alot. I liked the main mechanic,the artstyle and the way that you introduced new powerups, but I don't like how the enemies will keep on spawning when you see a spawner even if you're far away and how there seems to be no limit to them. I also think you could have given enemies being hit have more impact. I really did like how you introduced powerups. like how when you get the extra pickaxe strength, you can only move forward by destroying the black rocks. Had plenty of fun playing this and was engrossed by it. Still haven't beaten the final boss though.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! I ran out of time to playtest with anyone before release, so I overlooked just how overwhelming the ghosts can get in a short time if you don't kill the spawners really fast. Would definitely limit the number of ghosts that can appear from each spawner if I could do it again.

  • Veralos
    Veralos Veralos Level 33

    Really nice game. It seems very polished and The pickaxe is used in some interesting ways. I especially enjoyed pushing the boulders to activate switches.

    The presentation and atmosphere is also good. The pixel style look great and everything is readable. The sound effects are appropriate and the music is sets the mood well. The HUD elements are a bit bland though.

    Unfortunately, I couldn't manage to beat (what I presume is) the final boss. It seems impossible to hit him without getting hit back.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thank you for the kind words!

      Sadly the appearance of the HUD was one of the things I had to sacrifice to get everything ready in time.

      Well done on making it to the boss! There's an ability that gives your pickaxe a ranged attack that makes defeating him a lot easier, if you keep 15 coins handy to buy it. Without the upgrade it's still possible but it's basically a rather difficult battle of attrition (as you say, you basically have to get hit sometimes to deal damage). Would have definitely improved this if I had more time.

  • Jamblefoot
    Jamblefoot Jamblefoot Level 8

    Those caves were way more haunted than I expected. I couldn't get past that other dude, and those black guys were so fierce that plowing through them was becoming a grind. Does the shockwave work? I don't know how far I got in the grand scheme, but what I played was a ride. For a while, I kept playing through the same stretch, killing the same guys, wondering where the next checkpoint might be, but then I realized how clever you had been with the map, giving the player the ability to circumvent past areas altogether, and that it wasn't necessary to kill all the ghosts. Besides, ghosts can't die.

    There were some odd collisions with wall areas that I could walk into, but besides that it all seemed very stable. And I had fun. Great job!

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks for playing; it sounds like you made it to the boss.

      The shockwave works (same damage as axe) but has a bug that makes it do less damage to the spawners. It's mostly helpful for taking down the boss as you can keep your distance from him more easily than with normal attacks, but it's possible (albeit harder) to beat the him without the shockwave too.

      I found the odd collision you mentioned, whoops! Luckily it's not game breaking. Good catch!

      Thanks for the feedback, it means a lot! I'll definitely tone down the difficulty next time, haha.

  • JohnNWFS
    JohnNWFS JohnNWFS Level 2

    Joseph, nice job. I'm a sucker for top down and dungeon crawls, so probably a bit biased. I liked the concept and the gameplay. As you pointed out, it was really hard and I was happy to have the walkthrough video.

    If anything I would have like to have Parum face the direction I was walking but turn when I clicked towards the plus sign. This didn't affect gameplay at all and is I'm sure a personal preference. Good job and keep up the programming :-)!

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks for the feedback, and I'm glad the video was helpful.

      The idea of not facing the mouse except when attacking is interesting and not one I thought of while making the game, I'll definitely give that idea a test if I tweak the game after the jam is over or if I make another overhead view game.

  • Carvalho
    Carvalho Carvalho Level 2

    Wow, I love this game, the gameplay, the puzzles, the level design, the music, the sound. I'm really impressed you did all this by yourself in the short period of time.

    I found difficult that the creatures don't stop spawning after being activated. If the player retreats to get some air, it's over, you got surrounded by them.

    • Joseph Joseph
      Level 4

      Thanks very much for the feedback! I spent a few hours just on the music and sound, so I'm glad you liked it, also glad you liked the puzzles and level design.

      I agree that the monsters are very unforgiving, I would have done it a bit differently and probably limited the number that could come from one spawner before it stops if I had more time to playtest it. I'll have to make sure I give myself more breathing room next time. This was my first jam, so it really came down to the wire. Almost even ruined all my hard work by submitting the game with debug mode on, but thankfully I caught it in time.

      By the way, if you couldn't beat it and want to see the rest of the game, I just uploaded a full playthrough video you can check out if you like (it's in the description for the game).

      Thanks again for the kind words and feedback!

With this being my first game jam, things could have gone a lot worse.

The biggest mistake I made above all others was deciding to join in the game jam just one week before it started. I missed over 10 of the 48 hours just working my day job because I could not request those days off. I was also quite sleep deprived by the time I submitted the game, as I had to work the morning of submission and still hadn't quite got an entire level made. I ended up staying up all night, determined to at least make sure there was an end goal and ending screen.

Besides the big mistake of not taking off work though, there was also another glaring problem that taught me a lot. The difficulty. Or at least, the mechanical balance. Spawners keep making ghosts, and never stop. You can't escape from them. Even when they are way off the screen, they keep sending ghosts at you. The boss is very hard and several people reached him but only a select few could finish the game. I didn't realize this because I knew the code, and what to do and how to counter each enemy, so when testing I didn't even notice the problem; In fact I could beat it pretty easily. But make no joke, this is practically a last level in a proper length game once the difficulty kicks in. I'm convinced that if I had allocated more time on balance and had someone playtest for me before submission, I could have made the game a lot more fun to play for everybody.

There were some smaller things learned. In retrospect, I'm really glad I went with the simple graphical style as I'm not a natural artist and it takes me a long time to make anything decent. Next time working with a graphics artist would be wonderful. I also learned that I'm capable of making a decent piece of music in less than two hours (usually it takes me days, and I still don't like what I've made!). I also learned that GM Studio's room editor is ungodly slow when there's hundreds of objects in a layer.

All in all, gm(48) was a great experience! I learned a lot, and loved playing everybody's games.

Result 7th