Ten Horror Highlights From Ludum Dare 51’s ‘Every Ten Seconds’ Challenge

I think my favorite form of creativity on itch.io comes from game jams. Many of the games I’ve written about for DreadXP have been products of them, and on mine and Jay Krieger’s Safe Room podcast we cover a fair few in our monthly Horror Bytes episodes. Taking a prompt and running with it as the basis for a game made in a short timeframe is a great idea, and as I said, produces some interesting results.

Recently, Ludum Dare had its latest game jam challenge with the prompt of ‘Every Ten Seconds’ and I spent a while scouring through the short horror experiments made with that prompt in mind. Here are ten of the most interesting offerings I found.

Home R.I.P. airs (JoyKangpae)

In this charming 2D game, the player must protect their home from supernatural forces by fixing problems that crop up every ten seconds. These issues range in severity, and usually require a precise number of hits with your hammer, but you also need to keep an eye on salt levels and use salt to vanquish any pesky ghosts that get in.

Find it here.

Adrem Amet (Folz)

Plenty of horror games like to use the ‘woke up somewhere strange wtf’ setup and Folz’ Adrem Amet is no exception as it puts the player in a dilapidated house where someone is on the hunt for them. The ten-second twist on this established formula adds a bit of freshness.

Find it here

Termination Imminent (Kizilejderha)

It would be a pretty bad day if you were trapped in an underground facility whilst killer robots were out for your blood. So it’s an especially shitty day in Termination Imminent because you also have a bomb strapped to you that will detonate if you find yourself in the wrong place at the end of its looping ten-second countdown.

Find it here.

Ten Second Torch (aaronfnp)

A classic use of a simple premise. Ten Second Torch sees the player tasked with surviving a dark and deadly forest with only a flaming torch between them and a horrible fate. Problem is, it’s not all that easy to keep the flames flickering for long.

Find it here.

Bad Thoughts (Jay)

A trip to the subconscious where you mow down negative thoughts as they spawn in ten second waves? The concept alone made me download this so very fast, but it turns out it works in practice really well too! Bad Thoughts is a psychedelic shooter with a good dose of self-deprecating wit.

Find it here

Heat (EbbDrop)

No, not a game about Al Pacino and Robert De Niro having coffee in a different cafe every ten seconds, but it is actually a pretty clever first-person sci-fi horror where you navigate a space station with a broken thermal camera that only replays the last ten seconds. A touch discombobulating, to begin with, but works out nicely in the end.

Find it here

Please Don’t Litter (KenForest)

I recently covered KenForest’s smart LIDAR.EXE on DreadXP, and the latest game from them is wildly different, but still intriguing. In Please Don’t Litter, an anomaly drops trash into the world every ten seconds, effectively turning the planet into a giant landfill. The player’s impossible job is to get tidying. It takes a turn into the absurd after a short while though. Fine stuff!

Find it here

The Long Winter (JaGTek Games)

An isometric survival game where two people crash into a winter wilderness and must do all they can to live through the ordeal. Unfortunately, there’s something rather unusual about this place, and the friends soon discover they are not alone.

Find it here.

Woods in the Cabin (Stone Castle Lab)

With a title like that and a promise of the reverse of the film Cabin in the Woods, how could I not want to find out exactly what that meant? Thankfully, the discovery was a pleasing one personally speaking. I’ll not spoil it here though because it hinges on that reveal.

Find it here.

Toot-al Darkness (woahitsjeff)

Of course, I end on the silliest idea of all. Toot-al Darkness takes an all too familiar premise of being lost in cursed woods and tasks the player with the equally familiar job of collecting special items to hopefully vanquish the great evil. I know the title has a subtle pun in it, but I think you can figure out what’s ‘different’ about how woahitsjeff handles things.

I really need this puerile concept to be a film.

Find it here.

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