I tried to play (or at least load) every single game (except the .exe one) so I could give fair comments.
1. Aisleen – This was never in doubt in my mind. Awesome art, music, and story — all elements that make a great game in my opinion. I enjoyed the card game mechanic a lot. This game is basically perfect; it’s only missing a mute button and save feature, both completely forgivable for a time-limited contest like this. I felt a little sad when I realized the game was going to end after the final boss — Hoping to see a longer version soon!
I had a lot of trouble deciding on second best. There were a lot of good ones, but I had to choose…
2. Interdimensional Dave – First, I think the concept is great. I love both the intro music and the atmospheric music during the levels, and the creepy-eyed monsters. But most of all, I really like the fact that it juxtaposes a hellish landscape with the everyday mundane task of going to work — it feels like there is a real world where something apocalyptic happened, and the humans are just trying to live and adapt (the little quips from the non-playable characters were a nice touch here!). How did this world form? Why is Dave the only one who is linked to both worlds at the same time? Are there others like Dave? What is going to happen in Day 2? I’m hoping you can answer this in a sequel!
Here were my other considerations for 2nd place:
[S]GARDEN – I definitely liked this game, but not enough to win the top spots. It’s cute and cheeky, and the multiple endings were cool. Getting to them was a bit tedious though: the overlapping items, how the game was overly finicky about having the right position of the box/items, and how the dialogue would actually regress if you moved something out of place (combined with the need to pick up the box to advance the dialogue) just made it frustrating. A nice contained game otherwise.
Minimal Gravity – This is probably the most polished game (besides Carpe Diem). It has nice glow effects, a parallax scrolling background, level previews, even tutorials. There is almost nothing that needs to be added. The only (major) knock against it is that the gameplay is fairly derivative of other games. So for me it wouldn’t be a game to remember, but I could still see it being one of the (many) badged games on Kongregate.
Extreme Electronic Evasion – This is a nice, minimalist bullet hell. My favourite part is the elasticity of your main sprite/circle. It starts easy but gets difficult fast (I got to about level 7 before giving up). It could be more engaging with more interesting backgrounds, and some kind of progress meter — I like seeing a goal to work towards. Has a lot of potential. At the same time, there is a danger of being yet another forgettable Geometry Wars clone. Tread carefully!
Synchro – As simple as this game is, and even though most of my plays lasted under 30 seconds, I liked it a lot. The music is perfect. A nice exercise in multitasking. It was just hard to vote for this when there were many more, larger scale games (this feels more like a 24-hour game). I could see this being used in a future Kongregate tournament though…
Other notable games:
Carpe Diem – When I first loaded this game, I thought “This couldn’t be done in 10 days”. Even now knowing that it uses an existing RPG engine and prebuilt assets, I think it’s not fair to vote for this one. It looked like a large open-ended world, so I closed it soon after entering the first village because I didn’t have time to sit and play a long game. However, the music is very pleasant and I do want to give it a fair shot later.
Game in Ten Seconds – I’m surprised at how many people voted for this. It was one of the first games I tried, and I’ll admit that it was addictive enough to keep me playing for nearly a half hour (up to GITS #5), but I soon realized that this is a “game” to keep fools entertained and distracted. There are 7 minigames, but none of them are at all interesting or worth playing. Yes, I understand this is a parody of GITD, and the minigames themselves are mockeries of other games. But the main game mechanic is mashing your keyboard and mouse. The worst part is, despite the lack of anything worthwhile, watching meaningless numbers increase is addictive, and even now when I opened the game up to write this review, I couldn’t help waiting for the next GITS to mash my keyboard some more. Sorry, but I don’t like having my brain’s addiction centres toyed with, and I don’t appreciate games that encourage me to damage an important part of my computer. Interesting psych experiment: yes. Interesting game: no.