Much appreciated! Thanks for checking it out after all these years.
Recent community posts
Reid-level play through COMPLETE! Whew that was a challenge, although not as tough as some of your other games I think. I'm blown away once again at your inclusion and extension of the entire Haroldverse, and all those nice side stories that lead to unique end scenes. I'm certain I've missed some things even in a second play through, but I can say I enjoyed even the punishing combat much more this time around. Thanks for everything you poured into this entry.
Wow, this game was such an insane effort, and (at least the 1.3 version) was just really smooth and well polished throughout. I'm glad I finally beat the game! Satisfying ending, well written with some laughs along the way, creative combat system (though perhaps a bit easy if you eat a few salads) and about 2 hours of content make this an extremely ambitious and well-accomplished jam game!
Finally catching up on devlogs and such and wow, you really put yourself through a lot for this game! If there were an award for grit and focus, you'd get that one too! I'm now almost thankful that I goofed and you were allowed to submit after the fact. If not the narrative would have been quite different, even if the real products was the same.
You also pulled so many valuable lessons from this experience. Really hoping you find a good engine for your future projects, and make it into some Harold jams in the future (but not at the expense of your emotional health!)!
Truly was an honor to receive an entry such as this into our humble Harold jam.
Finally revisited this, got an alternate (absorb your friends) ending, and defeated that damnable Reid (so easy to miss)! This game really holds up. It was a total blast second time through.
Finally catching up on devlogs!
Thanks for this descriptive tour of your relationship with Harold(jam). The variety and creativity of your projects has been really impressive! I don't really understand the Unity lingo, but it's awesome how you use each jam game as a method to learn something. You've truly captured the spirit of the jam.
You and your GB roms! That was quite a trip. Somehow you used to minimalistic graphics to evoke a lot of troubling emotions. I got a little confused on some of the directional arrows, especially in the basement. Sometimes the movement get me a little turned around, but overall it made sense, and was a really impressive way to get some creepy house exploration in.
Really enjoyed this one! Also I would be taking a torch to that house pretty quickly if I were the protagonist.
Just beat the Blaze path (I thought there would be more fighting) and it's definitely quite an impressive three path game you made here. The mysteries were not too tough, but the triggers could have used a little bit of work. For example I tried to leave the vampire castle and Blaze said I had to talk to the vampires, which I already had. I had to talk to my fairy friend to trigger the exit. I also had to talk to both the vampires in the castle, even though the one I spoke to had already given me the information I wanted.
Little things like that make a game of this type more confusing, as one doesn't know when they missed some arbitrary trigger, or if they are missing a real clue. Still, it didn't take too long to figure these things out, and roasting the guilty parties was pretty fun at the end. Wish I had time for the other two paths!
Great original assets (love that giant frog), use of music and eventing struck the right horror cord as well. Gameplay was pretty typical horror chase stuff mixed with some satisfying directional input sections. I can't say I enjoyed the horror chase or the mushroom avoiding parts, but they were well done for what they were. The light effects were awesome.
Did I miss hotkeys for the abilities? Checking the menu to check for poison was probably the biggest issue I had. Second issue was finding the escape path during the chase scene. Neither one was much of a hindrance, and I feel like a little tweaking would have improved these a ton, but that's jams for you. I'd say this entry excelled in all the criteria!
Fascinating little game that sets a troubling tone. I'm certain I'll be dreaming of those elusive circles and hearing that haunting music in my dreams.
Gameplay was simple, but the variations in pets was really intriguing and tempted me into finding them all. The actual pets were (aside from the adorable fox) disconcerting in all the right ways. Seeing the rigged creatures was really awesome too. I'd suggest maybe some cool outlines for the evolution guide instead of the actual pictures to entice more people to completionist status. I'd love a little acknowledgment of finding all the pets.
I did enjoy playing, but finding the toughest pet was a trial of patience as triple triangles thwarted me again and again. Still, after about 20 tries I got it and was quite pleased.
It was a fun brief visit to a quaint little town. Each aspect of gameplay was very game jam appropriate, from the brief story, to the quick and easy mini games. I skipped weeding most days since it was a bit of a chore. If I had access to some of those New Game + upgrades during the first run, and if there were some explicit connection of the gameplay to the ending, that might have made it a bit more rewarding. Instead it felt like the gold, polishing, and pawn shop were things I was just tricked into when I could just had a beer 7 nights in a row and won. I enjoyed my time though!
The second I opened this game it was apparent that you have a really impressive understanding of the engine. The amount of customization from the title screen on is so refreshing to see, and I enjoyed exploring the novelty of it all. It's astounding that you could accomplish this much in the span of a month.
The story seemed to be just a method of delivering the novel gameplay, but it had its charming moments. I was a bit confused by some early points. Some may take issue with the story, as there wasn't really dialog or character development or much of a story arc that I could perceive, but it doesn't really detract from the experience for me.
To me, the execution and presentation are crucial for a good jam game. In that sense I think the game hit the mark in many places and offered some real enjoyment, but there were some issues that prevented this game from totally knocking it out of the park.
My main critique is that the gameplay elements were too often frustrating or unpleasant. For example the bag minigame very quickly tired me out. I also found both the crits and the misses to reduce my enjoyment substantially. The feedback of getting a lot of points for clicking fast is the most satisfying part, but the slowdown of misses and crits both made me feel like I was straining myself for nothing. I also noticed the 100% crit potion tended to lower my score due to the slowdown. I eventually avoided this mode altogether due to
The moon howling game felt like it was mostly luck since the moons would fall a bit too fast, especially after the first bounce. They also went way too high, which often meant that 2-3 moons were still in the air when the game timed out, effectively making the last 10 seconds of the game pointless to play. I did notice on occasions the moons didn't bounce too high, so maybe it was a skill thing, but I don't anticipate many people to achieve that mastery if it is more than lucky angles.
Meditation was fun and decently satisfying. Fast feats was also really fun. My only critique with these is that it felt like too much grinding was necessary to become decently strong (although with my post game understanding of the rebirth mechanic, that may not be the case). Generally in jam games, I feel like something like repetitive random encounters don't value player's time, and it felt this way after 3-4 rounds of even the more enjoyable minigames.
Adventure mode offered some frustrations as well. I would train in a few modes for (in game) hours, then return to adventure mode expecting to mow down some monsters, only to be one-shotted by a crab. I imagine most players will be on 8x after one or two rounds, so the speed of losing just made it feel discouraging after all that training. Eventually I think I figured out that the rebirth mechanic would help with this, but not before throwing my hands up in the air many times in exasperation at some powerful slime wrecking me.
Ultimately I still think this entry deserves a high rating, and I can't help but be impressed by the whole thing. I think finding a way to ensure the gameplay loop is more fun and satisfying could have really made the difference with this one.
Compelling gameplay may be a matter of player preference. I just can't say I'm excited about finding hidden objects like I would be with a fun and intricate battle system and characters hitting each other with things. I wouldn't suggest you put battles in because that's not what your game is about. Perhaps the feedback is that this type of game will have a certain audience it appeals to (I also am no big fan of VNs).
The storytelling is also potentially personal preference to me as well. I see the story of Orpheus and Eurydice as a moral fable about patience, trust, and evading the tragic end feels like it erodes that a bit. It's like if you made a Gone with the Wind VN and you could unlock the ending where the two characters get married and live happily ever after. Again, this is a personal reaction, so I don't think I could suggest changing this. Other reactions may be totally positive, and my own reaction isn't even negative, it's more of a raised eyebrow.
Regarding the gameplay, it feels like opening and closing the tray interrupts the core of the gameplay, which is just looking for hidden things, and the tray obscuring part of the view meant that either a player needed really good memory, or they had to interrupt their search frequently to open and close the tray. I feel like some resolution or UI setup could both keep the picture on the screen and also the list of items to get without any need for opening and closing at all.
Had some fun with this simple game. I can't say I find the gameplay compelling, but for what it was, I enjoyed it. Well told story in between, although the fact that you can get around the original tragic ending feels wrong. I think I was craving a little bit of auditory or visual feedback on finding things as well, and the hiding and revealing the things to find I also expect some polish to in future versions. Lastly, I made the mistake of choosing "instant" speed for the text, which made the auto-story go by comically fast. Original submission, and great aesthetics. Would play a longer version.
This was a novel idea with really cool battlers used. Really wanted to like this one, but I found it a deeply frustrating affair. First of all, knowing the exact strategy of the enemies is either a game of trial and error, or paying for hints and/or using a scanner and losing. Learning weaknesses that way is not fun.
Second, even knowing the weaknesses, it's not always clear how to capitalize on them, and frequent misses on attacks are frustrating and can lead to failed attempts even when a winning strategy is known.
Lastly, the UX for selecting teams and entering battles is a bit clumsy. More than once I accidentally picked the first battle too quickly instead of scrolling down the list, and there was no way to cancel out but to enter the battle and lose/win. Picking teams had some of the same UX issues.
In my view, one or two play testers would have shown the problems with this. Giving the players at least a few forgiving battles before getting into the more difficult challenges would have helped a lot. Instead, as early as the second battle it was a test of players patience, so I fear most people would miss out on the vast majority of the game.
Whew, you crossed into some tricky territory there mobius! Respect for all the clever things you did with the eventing. Sometimes it felt a little off in ways that often hindered the experience a little bit. For example the driving past the fields, the crops closer to the viewer should appear to move faster whereas the farther ones would appear to move slower. Or the hands coming in to open Ms. Amaranth's cloak to get the bone. Really clever stuff, but I think the hands were rotated in the wrong way.
The music and ambiance were well done and really built the tension. A bit too much reading though, without gameplay to break it up. Those stairs felt extremely long, and although I was interested in the story and the writing was pretty good, I felt the need to get to a game. It also felt like there was a clash in the tone. Some of the attacks were kind of jokey, whereas the game felt more dark and serious.
Nice, creepy take on the theme though! You went in a much darker direction than most, and it's cool to see you take that risk.
Oh, I had the same reaction to the icons! I thought maybe they were something I could click on for a cool effect. It did occur to me that it probably just signified my party after clicking didn't do anything, and the keyboard inputs didn't really lend themselves to some on screen buttons so it made sense after a moment.
You really got a talent for non-verbal emotional storytelling. I really don't know how you do it. I enjoyed the gameplay and the length. I do kind of crave a Berry-difficulty 8 bit memory challenge, but for the jam I really think it was perfect.
One thing I noticed was that if I thought I knew the pattern and pressed the buttons very quickly, there would be a slight delay in registering. It only messed me up one time, but if it were possible, instant feedback with no delay would have felt good to me.
Had a lot of fun with this one and I really like that heart guy. He's like my favorite character this jam. Would like to see more of him.
Human Jr. asks to listen to Axial music every single day. Is Axial good? That's a fuzzy question that may be hard to answer objectively. But has it made a real positive impact on a young person's life and led to bizarre dance moves on a near nightly basis? That is an objective "yes."
Tight game! Was satisfying to collect things and slowly bring back the town (except Nova, who sucks). The premise was pretty sweet, and it was executed well. Still, 10+ repetitions of basically the same thing didn't quite wear out its welcome, but I also didn't find myself particularly excited to walk the same paths, attacking the same things, albeit in different places. Some variety, challenge, or more progression in gameplay would have kicked this game a few notches up in my book.
Loved the paper aesthetic! Could have used either some variety in gameplay, or some progression, or maybe a cool boss? I felt little incentive to explore or defeat enemies, so I basically raced to the cat each time.
At this point I don't need to tell you how good your scoping of jam games is. You got a solid story, two endings, and a fun gameplay loop in, all in a short enough time that it was just concentrated fun. My biggest complaint is the feel of combat. The halting attacks felt clumsy compared to a Zelda game, even if it is super impressive that you could pull that off in RM.
Nice variety of gameplay, and decent length. Loved the brief little story. (I took a peak at your wingdings dialog and now it makes even more sense). It did take me a bit to understand how the QTEs worked. I thought I had to get the bar first pass, which made the fast ones impossible. Luckily the game was forgiving enough with lives that it worked. It seems like you were aiming for players to be able to figure things out on their own, but I could see little things like that making players a little frustrated, even if they didn't die. The damage from the secret doors felt a little unfair too.
Maps were nice looking, sound was appropriate, and a really nice HUD helped your game stand out. Cool submission!
Really impressed with what you pulled off here. It's just so satisfying to click everything. I got a little confused by the final boss mechanics and just ended up using my old method of boosting everyone's charge and mana and doing ultimate attacks.
I did replay and find the phoenix attacks really impressively evented, though unecessary to win (or is that the key to another ending?). I'm certain the judges will love your fast paced, out of the box game!
Hey that was a blast. Very fast paced and satisfying. The visual and aural feedback was on point. I found the people flying out the of the egg so funny too. I'm not 100% sure the scaling made sense. My points started hitting huge scientific notation numbers, but that was also pretty fun to experience too. This will definitely be a worthwhile entry for judges to play.
Hawk has kindly continued his yearly tradition of streaming every single Harold Jam game! See below for the time stamps and give Hawk a follow!
02:15 - Reid's Horror Stories in the Multiverse
07:00 - Harold the Head: TBA
11:50 - IN THE
19:33 - Harold In A Generator Dungeon
32:06 - Harold's Wrath
39:52 - Nightmare - A Harold Story
1:09:10 - A Harold Between Worlds
5:16 - Katalight
1:08:26 - PAC-HAROLD
1:12:53 - HarOldhar: Heroic Betrayal
1:24:51 - Super Har-Type
1:37:51 - Harold: Show-Stopping Hero
2:05:39 - Hrld
2:11:35 - Harry Paint
2:57:42 - Harold & Friends Steal From The Toy Store
Just like last year, here's my post covering my thoughts about the execution of the jam, results, mistakes, and more. This is also a helpful record for me to review if/when Haroldjam gets planned for next year.
(Last year: 43)
Entries at end of submission period: 35
(Last year - 35)
Entries by end of judgment: 35
(Last year - 32)
(Last year - 557)
Average ratings per game: 19.5
(Last year - 17.4)
Distribution: Max 24, Min 15
(Last year - Max 21, Min 1)
Return participants: 20
(Last year: 8)
New participants: 11
(Last year: 20)
Dual Submissions: 4
Ratings by submitters: 588
(Last year - 501)
Outside ratings: 95
(Last year - 56)
Extra special thanks to super raters! Almost everyone dropped a comment on all the games as well, which is doubly impressive.
We learned from last year and avoided double booking during the biggest event of the year (IGMC).
There were many repeat entries which I’m grateful for. I will absolutely be reaching out to previous jammers next year and asking everyone to return and showcase their dev progress.
This year I didn’t frantically and desperately push for as many entries as possible, so we had fewer jokey last minute submissions. This was by design, as it felt like people inflated our jam numbers last year in support. Still, we managed to get 35 entries, only a handful of which were Harold punch lines. This is really impressive in my book.
We did have fewer new participants than last year, but looking over the old lists, that is mostly because almost all jam-friendly server members had already participated in Harold jam. Most of the hype and promo is within our server, so we’re running out of server members who haven’t participated in a Haroldjam before.
Nowis’ artwork contributions were S+ tier, and like last year, probably contributed a great deal to the hype. I hope everyone acknowledges how great a person Nowis is to support the server and the jam so generously, asking nothing in return.
Promotions leading up to the jam were a bit inconsistent. Had trouble finding the time to post in all the places I wanted, and the variety of art that I was teasing took a lot of time to set up. Next year I’ll consider simplifying promos, posting some jam announcements and regular reminders, but not having to reinvent the wheel with every post.
TBA! I got distracted and neglected to update the required elements in time, so they were left as “TBA” ! It was only 30 or so minutes late but it nonetheless made its way into some jam games (how dare!). Will need to have a backup plan next year!
Harold Award for Excellence: There were some mistakes I made in listing the judgment criteria, which arguably changed how people evaluated some games. Looking at the results, I feel like it worked out alright, but gotta quadruple check next year.
EDIT: Also as KV mentioned, I didn't turn off uploads when the jam began! That meant hotfixes were allowed for a bit even when it wasn't the intent. Will seek to make it clear that no changes can be done after submission period, including hotfixes of game breaking bugs.
Jam time promos: I did very little during the jam judgment period to promote the jam. Would be great to get a few more outside judgers in. Begging stream watchers to do a little rating might be a step in the right direction.
Not necessarily a mistake, but if giant July jams are a pattern, I’d like to give jammers more recovery time, so I’ll consider an even earlier jam. I don’t want Harold jam to get in the way of people participating in big events, and it’s possible we could have gotten a few more big name participants in if they hadn’t been tied up prepping for IGMC.
Those are the things I thought of, but its the blind spots that are always most instructive. Drop some feedback on what was good, what wasn’t, and more, and help us improve for next year!
Haroldjam 2022 Survey:
Okay, may I begin by saying how insane it is that Final Fantasy (truncated) is a mini-game in your jam entry? There was just so much variety to this game, and so much fun stuff to experience. I thought the story was intriguing, and the writing was good. I enjoyed the references to concepts like the androids/redshirts. There were also some pretty hilarious moments throughout that struck me as very Aesica.
Gameplay got a me a little confused. I got stuck trying to get everything to everyone, and only got endings 1 and 3. A few bugs seemed like they could break the game as well, like getting stuck forever in the cargo bay.
If it's possible, would like to get the rest of the endings! This game had a ton of depth and thought put into it, but suffered from a few bugs and issues with execution.
Seemed like a straightforward jrpg, with at least a few little things to help it stand out. Custom art was pretty cool, and the depth of the karma system at least made me think twice about my decisions (I chose evil) and added some replay value.
Personally I felt the limited skill uses detracted from combat, as simply wasting a turn in combat to refill was all it seemed to contribute. When other skills are noted not to be refillable, that also disincentivizes players from using them, even when they should. Items weren't that hard to get, so there wasn't meaningful resource management as far as I could tell. I'd definitely suggest a different way to use limited skills, or abandon that mechanic altogether for future jams.
Lockpicking was just a bit of simple memorization (and a notepad made it trivially easy), so perhaps an alternative would have been nice there as well.
Thanks for another cool Harold jam entry!
As far as pure enjoyment goes, I feel like this game gets top, top marks. From the get-go, the open ended exploration, Legend of Zelda style overworld, dungeons and gameplay, combat, and meaningful choices all made me really intrigued and excited for each additional step. Typically I'd say an open world jam game is a bad idea, but you somehow mastered the scope, and there was not a moment I found myself feeling my time was wasted.
Combat felt like there was a best strategy of tanking some hits, then unleashing devastating bursts of damage. This basically "solved" all the bosses in my experience. However, this was still really satisfying every time, and figuring out the battle system (never played Bravely Default or Octopath) was a big part of the fun.
Story struck me as bleak and serious, and yet you also managed some funny lines and references while avoiding breaking the overall feel. The Visual style was quite a treat too, and I'm sure players will enjoy it, even without knowing the inspirations.
Super fun game, and one I'll be adding to my "revisit this after the jam for sure" list!
Really enjoyed this quick entry! Battles were fast and fun, references were enjoyable to see, and that custom artwork was impressive. The game felt a bit unfinished, as though you hit the 90% mark and ran out of steam. Battles were fun due to the varied skills and battlers, but it didn't feel like there was too much as far as meaningful choice.
Beating Oldhar felt like a roll of the dice as Time Ninja's blind basically destroyed him, but he was pretty hard aside from that. Seeing every party combination have some useful strategy would have really helped this entry, but as it was it felt like just picking the good characters was the real meta. Regardless, it was a blast seeing the cool art you made for the jam. Hope to see more of it in the future!
The sheer Haroldness of this is absolutely off the charts. I was in awe of every artistic interpretation of Harold I experienced. The fact that you could make such an amazing entry despite not being some Harold fanatic just speaks to your artistic integrity, and I'm honored every year you grace the jam with your creations.
I think you knowingly did not aim to please everyone, which I can respect, but no doubt it will drop you a few points in areas. Reid mode is hard. . . very hard, and I want to beat it! But the effort and time necessary to understand combat was just a bit too much for me to manage in the judging time period. On Priscilla mode, I don't think there was much thought I had to put into combat aside from trying to inflict status effects and then using the attacks that felt strongest, so on the lower difficulty, combat felt like a repetitive hurdle in the way of experiencing the dialog.
Story too felt a bit beyond me. Even though I fancy myself a bit of a Haroldjam scholar, I was somewhat confused by the plot. I think I picked up the main points of the tournament, secret plan, and sacrifice, but I always felt like my understanding was not doing your storytelling justice. The little side stories one gets from deepening relationships were really nice though. Regardless, you get the honor as the top Haroldverse world builder by far (and that ending was simply awe-inspiring).
I do plan a full scale Reid-level play through, I plan on getting all the endings, and I swear on Harold I'll decode your secret clues you've dropped. Thanks for submitting such an impressive entry!
This played like someone's first RM game that they used to experiment with the engine, but then ended up spending 4 years developing. And I mean that in a good way! There are so many hilarious art chimeras, ridiculous dialog moments, over the top mini-games and visuals. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and yet it looks like you packed an insane amount of effort into this.
Probably the weakest point here was the combat, which felt about repetitive despite the innovative mechanics. Bosses felt like a bit of bad luck could totally wipe your party. Even if grinding wasn't necessary, it felt important to avoid what felt like cheap boss moves.
Thanks for such a frantic and varied game!
Can't believe what you managed to accomplish during the jam period. I got more than an hour into the game and still and working through it. I didn't want to leave out the battles just to be able to finish. The premise and execution really hit the spot for me as a Harold jam entry. You avoided common interpretations of Therese and Lucius, and were able to execute some unique combat mechanics at the same time (though a bit imbalanced in my experience since you can perma-stun most enemies). The effort and polish that went into this were extremely impressive, from map and town creation to skills, NPC text, and more, and I know I haven't even gotten past the halfway point.
I think most people would have boosted your points a bit if you had managed a complete story arc within about an hour, and I would have loved to have finished it myself during the jam period. Really great job though!