Game jam produces excellent indie game

TURRETS HELP LORD LARD DEFEND a rail droid as it carts a load of treasure from the trove along the railway back to the player’s base. This trip must be completed 50 times in order to win the game.

Nick’s Take

Every time I hear the words “Mojang released another game,” I know that whatever the game might be, it will involve a grid system, it will be rather cheap, and it will be a lot of good, addictive fun. I started playing Catacomb Snatch, a 2D top-down steampunk shoot ’em up strategy game which I got along with two other reasonably good indie games for about $5.50 in the Humble Mojam Bundle, with the single player alpha version. While it was definitely a 60-hour indie game in terms of graphics and development, and I wasn’t sure at all how to win, I still had a lot of fun creating turrets and railroad tracks and killing off snakes and mummies.

However, since Catacomb Snatch was created, two free beta versions have been developed by other companies. One of the betas, Maescool Catacomb Snatch Community Project, included turret and harvester upgrades, new characters, a map editor, and a less laggy multiplayer than the original. The multiplayer opens up new strategies not seen in single player, such as suicide-running down to the bottom of the map to clear the fog of war away from your opponent’s area so you can see how much progress they have made and adjust your game based on that.

While the game does have some bugs, it is still quite worth playing in both single player and multiplayer. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. After all, it’s absolutely free for a great game, unlike the $60 kicked out of one’s pants pocket for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

James’ Take

The recent Humble Bundle Mojam included a game titled Catacomb Snatch, Mojang’s contribution to the bundle. A simplistic top-down shooter/real-time strategy game, Catacomb Snatch’s object is to build rail tracks to a treasure trove, escort droids along the tracks, and get 50 loads of treasure back to your base. You can play solo or against a friend, which is quite a lot of fun.

Impeding your rail-building progress are the fact that you can’t see the map until you walk through it, clearing the darkness away as you go; the enemies that spawn from sarcophagi, including bats, cobras, mummies, and scarabs; holes in the floor; spike traps (which are actually barely dangerous at all); and the other player if you’re in versus mode. Initially, you have only a gun (thankfully with infinite ammo) to shoot the enemies with, but they drop money that can be used to purchase turrets, money harvesters, and bombs from the shop in your base. Turrets and harvesters can be upgraded twice to increase their range and, in the turrets’ case, their firepower. Bombs are used to destroy cracked walls blocking off the path to the treasure, as well as being able to kill enemies.

Railway can be purchased by walking over a space and pressing the “build” button, which lays it down on the space. Building on a space that has rail in it will destroy the rail—at a cost. Your space starts with rail coming from it; building here purchases a droid, which will travel from your base to the end of the rail and back until it is destroyed by enemies. Multiple droids can traverse the rails at once, and will hand treasure to each other when they touch.

Overall, Catacomb Snatch is actually extremely fun to play. What’s more, Mojang released the source code to those who purchased the bundle, and an unofficially-official version is free to play and download at http://www.catacombsnatch.net/. I definitely recommend trying it.

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