ShuffleComp: the Review Playlist 🎶

14 entries (13 + 1 translated in French, - 1 because it’s mine), 9 days left to play and review them before the voting is over.
Will try to be partial… but a bunch of creators I like submitted… soooo…


Find the submissions here:

And the IFDB Page:

I’m following the order of submitted.


Space Wizard Rendezvous, by WizzBizz

A wizard going through a bad breakup gets recruited into a space heist.

This short entry combines my favourite things: wizards, space, and crime(-ish). Following Castillo and Daffodil through their little adventure (though it seems like you might be playing as Daffodil), with the goal of removing a curse casted by Daffodil’s ex, you must participate in a little heist to gather enough gold.

As with every heist, things go wrong and flight must happen to save your behind. Being a wizard, you can cast some spells to thwart the guards and escape! Choose the wrong ones and… : /
I didn’t have that issue, picking all the good ones from the get go, and finding the sweetest ending!

As for the spellcasting mechanic, the game provides you with different level of difficulty: a description of the spell, only the emojis representing the spell, or both - with the middle option being the hardcore one. A spellcasing book explaining each spell is also available for download.
And the mechanic is very charming, especially with the emoji chosen to represent the spell itself. I would be so down playing an extended version (maybe even with the same characters) with even more spells and shenanigans!

Being part of the ShuffleComp, the entry was based on the song Charlemagne by Blossoms, whose vibes were very much anchored in the game (with the break up/hurt vibe, the magic from the video). The entry also included lyrics of the song between scenes, forewarning the next snippet.

It was very sweet and charming, with the right amount of tension at the right spot.




Solkatt_, by BenyDanette

(french version) - (english version)

Pronunciation : sole-cat
Meaning : the spot of light from sunlight reflecting off a shiny surface.
(Note: it was also submitted to the SeedComp! and a Decker jam)

Played the French version before the English one (to see if there were any differences). This was the only non-English entry.

Made in Decker, this point-and-click game follows Linus (you), a young adult still living with her parents in what seems to be a Scandinavian Arctic town. Linus has not had the easiest of time, being a shadow of her brother, unsupported by her family, and having gone through a breakup. In this cold afternoon, you explore Linus’s home, looking first for a bite to eat, rummaging around and reminiscing about life.

With its low-bit and dithered aesthetic, the game falls deep into weirdcore when you hear a strange noise. The pixelled background sound and flipped palette renders the already melancholic-to-depressing atmosphere to a legit skin-crawling creepy one. I don’t know whether Linus was having some sort of out-of-body episode or some otherworldly beings were at play. I don’t think an answer is needed to enjoy the game however.

The entry used all songs (including mine!), and explicitly indicated where those bits can be found in the game on the game page and the credits. Each song has been used in different ways, from taking snippets of the respective music video, displaying lyrics on the screen, to using it as an inspiration for the setting and story. It is a nice blend.

I hope the next entry is chill and wholesome…


The Last of What We Once Were, by Jackson The Bear

Two old estranged friends meet back up to talk about when they were young, in love, and those who were beautiful and wonderful.

This is a short and emotionally charged entry, split into two mirroring branches, each providing a perspective on the relationship and set of events. Complimenting each other, as they provide insight into vague mentions, the story goes back and forth between snippets of the past and the present meeting. Said meeting is bittersweet, filled with regrets and sadness for past actions, but also reminiscing on the beautiful moments and feelings that was.

It was very touching.

The entry was based on Ballroom Extravaganza by DPR IAN, which I felt covered the emotional intensity and mixed feelings of the song.


The End of the Line, by Coral Nulla

On a longhaul train journey to the end of the world, you encounter a stranger with many stories to tell. These are tales of lovers and runaways and an ever-changing world. You can suggest how each story should end, and you will find out what lies at the end of the line…

With each participant given a playlist of songs to be inspired by and to use as a base for their entry, this game does not only take inspiration from all songs, but the theme of the jam itself. Through a sequence of snippets, which you can read in order or at random (like a playlist!), each inspired by a song, you get to uncover the backstory of different characters, they trials and tribulations, and maybe their ending (which you can choose).

The story takes on an interesting turn after you go through all snippets, as a way to link all stories together. Didn’t see the twists coming.

The interface, made through Decker, is pretty interesting: showcasing each story in the form of a “deck of cards”, with a retro/pixellated aesthetic. It gave me a bit of a StoryNexus vibe, with the story selection.
The game also provides the option of a “cheat” mode, to be able to re-read the stories and choose different outcomes for each characters without having to go through the whole game again.

This was neat!


(You Can’t) Escape the Unholy City, by alyshkalia

(no description, but the title should say enough)

This is a short and surreal entry, where your goal is to escape… the Unholy city. It is not obvious however who or what your pursuer is at first, as the text focuses explicitly on you wanting to get away from they/it/etc. It is pretty eerie from the start, with the interface going darker as you get closer to your goal (or do you?), embodying a lucid-dream-like of narration - with the sudden jumps.

It’s a bit claustrophobic, with the sense of inevitable failure, hinted by the title. You can’t escape your fate no matter your actions.

Also a nice way of using the themes of the chosen songs!

(when the animation appeared, my brain was all like OOOooooOOOOooohhhh spoopy voice)


The Sun Will Blind My Eyes, by officecyborg

The morning after a one-night-stand with your abrasive coworker, you try to convince her to stay in bed just a little longer.

This game felt like a snapshot into a life, with hints and fragments into the previous night as well as further back into the past. I liked how you could piece out a (incomplete) whole with the little bits of information parsed through your “exploration” of the room. There are some suggestive elements in some passages (which are quite endearing),

While you can try to get your partner to come back to bed, there are three endings to this game, with varying levels of success to that task (if that is what you ended up wanting to do). Some will feel closer to the song the game is based on, but all are pretty satisfying.

Last one for today, jet lag is kicking my behind (actually crashed and took a nap between playing and writing the review).
I’m exactly half-way through anyway!
Tomorrow or Tuesday I should be done.


Starfisher, by Inmmni

You’ve returned home, but it’s not that bad.

Filled with melancholy and discomfort, this game displays a slice-of-life snippet between a dad and their child (you), stuck in a place of tension from unresolved (and undisclosed) issues. The pacing is fairly slow, with minimal dialogue between the characters - focusing instead on what once was and how things are now different/still the same.

Neither party want to acknowledge what happened (whatever that was, that may or may not involve the mother?), nor try to solve whatever issue either. The lack of resolution in the situation leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, though life doesn’t always provides resolution. Uncertainty is the only certain thing in life…

An interesting way to take the selected song (Starwatcher by The Decemberists).


Open Flame, by Damon L. Wakes

(no description)

An enigmatic entry, with an interesting interpretation of Hozier’s Arsonist’s Lullaby, as you play some sort of prisoner in an abbey/temple, trying to escape. You are presented with a few choices, some of which will have greater consequences than other - leading you towards one out of 5 endings.

The writing reminded me of text-adventure games, with its fast pace and concise prose, and the limited wording in actions. It gripes you, not letting you go until the end. Even then, the lack of answers from the questions it raises will probably prompt you to restart to get through another path. For me, it was the strange differently-coloured text line, which may or may not be voices in our head?

To follow the arsonist vibes (which you can try to emulate in-game), the interface includes a smoky animated background, and desaturated/low-opacity text (as if there was smoke hiding it).

Honestly was expecting something more cheerful from Damon, esp after playing his entries to past Neo-Int jams, so the dark vibes were a bit surprising. But it was still :100: on brand in the quality of the game as a whole


Yooooo the first parser of the jam!
I’m glad we at least have one every time. Thanks Joey!!

Vomit Economy, by Joey Acrimonious

Can you take a failing enterprise and make it prosper again, in a world where vomit is a valuable consumer good?

Vomit Economy is a resource management parser, where you take over your uncle’s factory creating gallons of vomit (why? don’t worry about it), and try to balance the profits and expenses, improve the recipe, and grow the company. Last as long as you can, through the ups and downs of the economy, and the emerging competition. Make your uncle proud?

So, will you be able to be up to the task?

The answer is definitely a no for me. Not for more than a year at least. I could stroll through a few quarters without switching things around, but as soon as passed the first year, I went full bankrupt. I don’t know whether I messed up the first few quarters or just didn’t get the recipe… The game is TOUGH!

In terms of gameplay, the input is limited to 3 commands (examine, set [to change production/characteristics], and advance), to influence a few dozens of elements in the factory: management, the formulation of the vomit recipe, the capacity of production, employee benefits, and marketing.
Trying to balance everything is pretty fun, even if tough, especially if you are into min/max-ing and resource management. However, because there is so much listed on the screen, you end up spending half the time scrolling up and down to check information and setting it to new levels…

I still haven’t figured out the perfect recipe tho…

It would have fitted so well in the Orifice Jam :joy:


Give Me Something to Dream, by JazzTap

Two -act psychological horror; spy thriller with D&D characteristics.

Texture beloathed…

This was a short kinetic entry, made in Texture, following Rahel (a witch/sorceress?) and Strider (apostle?) trying to - i think - run away from a hunter. In the background, there are hints of worldbuilding, with some sort of fantasy setting with religious power and witch hunts - though little is revealed in the short playthrough, with the text being very vague about… a lot of things. There is a sense of urgency and uncertainty, with the character being on the run and facing foes.

Though I am still pretty confused about the whole, I liked the little details in the descriptions (like what might be henna on Rahel’s hand?).

I didn’t particularly read the text as horror-y or spy-like either.


Messages From the Universe Graveyard, by KADW

Explore a dead MMO and leave messages for other players to find.

Wow, this one is insane… and I only scratched the surface of what’s in there.
This is an exploration game, mixing parser logics (rooms and navigation, puzzles) with hypertext interface. Inspired by the likes of MUDs, message boards, and defunct MMOs, you are transported inside a dead online game, somewhat broken and defunct, left behind by (dead?) players, in which you can see messages left by its previous inhabitants.

The game is full of layers, from the surface of the game itself, the lore of the game, and the different “storylines” of players (like the one going knees deep into the lore of the game and leaving hints for other players, the one leaving behind diary entries of their life…) on the message boards. There are so many rooms (over 100 according to the game’s page), I started a map to track it all down (see screenshot below), knowing full well it will take me a while to complete it (still hasn’t).

Another fun mechanic of the game is the ability to leave messages in each room. Like the previous players, you can too leave a trace of yourself while playing, even becoming part of its lore.

I already know this will be one of my favourite game of the year!

FUN FACT: the Neo-Int gals had a jam idea related to death of social media, like the Dying MMO Jam that ran a few years ago.

Partial Started Map

I’m gonna go back to the game once I’m done with the reviews!


night confessional, by sweetfish

It was several years before the abolition of the papacy that coin-operated confessionals began to populate the cities.

When hotlines meet confessions.

I feel like this kind of system sort of exists in real life, with phone lines open to let you scream in the void or whisper your darkest secrets, or many virtual confession booths on the internet (Tumblr has so many…). Yet, I’d never considered an actual religious confession booth, absolution and penance included.

There is something eery and creepy about those booth, almost inhuman. Being able to listen to people’s secrets, fears and wishes - only to give some sort of automated response in return. To have on the other side one of the most human and touching thing: bearing your heart to strangers. And the inherent wish to connect with others, even through a hotline leading to nowhere.
Each snippet has a heart and scars. It’s beautifully tragic, in a way…

In our age of automated process and AI replacing employees, it is not so far fetched to think priests could lose part of their job too to the almighty algorithm (also funny to play as an algo priest) - there are probably very few positions safe from our robots overlords… Though it is interested how it even rendered the whole catholic/christian system obsolete - to the point the Pope resigned!

This was strange. I liked it.


and the last one!

Summers with the Sea King, by Dry Cappuccino Games

A short interactive story about summer love and heartbreak.

This was a linear short story where you reminisce about summers from your childhood, and the time you shared with a friend (or was it more?). The entry contains 4 endings, which are dependent on both your choices throughout the game, and one specific choice. Though it is overall linear, your choice will bring quite a bit of variation throughout.

The path I ended up getting was full of melancholy, with the looming unescapable crossroad of adulting ruining everything the magic of summer for those two. Between the want of everything to stay as is and the practicality of things, the writing really portrays how relationship can come and go, and words - written or oral - have more impacts than we think.

Apparently, that ending is one of the saddest one, but it strangely felt satisfying to get (even if I tend to prefer more sweet/good ones). Growing up can suck a lot, and nothing ever stays the same, whether you fight it or not. It felt so meaningful and inline with the choices I had made (granted, I didn’t take the most hopeful ones…)

Also, extra points for the adorable UI!!


And I am done!

The whole comp was super fun to play through with a lot of different genres/tones in games (though a lot of dark ones), and very interesting interpretation/implementation of the different songs given.
I’m really looking forward to see the results and how my fav ranked :stuck_out_tongue:
(I tried not to be biased… but it’s hard)


lil shoutout to my own entry, (not so) strangers in the night, where I took the lyrics to the chosen song and just vibed (made it more narrative/interactive).
I usually don’t use Harlowe, and never had tried to customise the interface until now. It was fun! Especially for a short project like this.