As a part of a group effort, When Life Hits You was made for the Ukie Student Game Jam in late 2018. We had a little bit more than 24 hours to develop a fully functional game. The teams were graded by Ukie Game judges who searched for games with original concepts, high replayability potential, appealing visuals and impactful stories.
Since we had a very limited time to submit the project, we decided to work in a 2D environment, as all of my team members had previous experience with it. The platformer genre was also quickly chosen because it didn’t require a lot of time and resources, as well as it was known to have a high replayability element in its gameplay. My role was to design a level according to our theme and make sure the message behind it was efficiently told.
Since the year’s given theme was “a change”, we thought of a related story that would have a far-reaching meaning behind the game’s platforming mechanics. At the start, the players control a child whose path is filled with evidently easy obstacles. As the play continues, the players are facing bigger challenges and different swapping points in which their character turns into an adult and later on into an elder. Throughout the playthrough, a black wall is slowly moving from left to right, forcing players to move faster. The entire level design and visuals represent a human life in which the everlasting growth creates a variety of ups and downs (showcased by the different elevation). The wall represents time and the pressure it puts on people until they can’t escape it any longer.
Although my team and I found some difficulties working with such strict time limit, I am glad we participated in this Game Jam as we met a great mentor from Mediatonic Games who gave us some memorable advice. The whole experience was exciting and beneficial as we gained an opportunity to improve our design and fast-thinking skills.