NOTE: A longer version of this game is currently in active development!
Derelict was made for Game Boy Jam 5 and takes full advantage of its setting. Taking place on a deserted space ship overrun by evil robots, Derelict requires players to gradually restore power in order to open doors and make their way deeper into the ship. The twist here is that power not only controls the doors, but also the artificial gravity. As a result, there is initially very low gravity in each new region and players will have to hold down the jump button to rapidly accelerate through the air, but fully restoring power allows for backtracking through previous rooms in a new way with a more standard jump which sacrifices raw freedom of mobility for much more accurate control. Shooting the gun also results in a fair bit of recoil while in low gravity conditions, especially if multiple shots are fired in quick succession, which can lead to being flung backwards out of a room or straight into some spikes. The two modes of travel feel wildly different with low gravity requiring more cautious play where the best course of action is often to find ways to avoid enemies and hazards while normal gravity encourages a much more aggressive playstyle.
Though there are some references to Metroid along the way, they don’t actually share much in common beyond the abandoned space station setting as there aren’t any upgrades here and progression is largely linear beyond some minor exploration for the sake of power cells. Difficulty is also well-balanced for the most part, though the first boss is far too easy to kill simply by spamming attacks and the third area can at times feel overly punishing as it is a large, low gravity region filled with spikes and bumping into a spike even once can start a chain reaction where the protagonist is mercilessly bounced between spikes until they die. Gun upgrades also feel underwhelming as they only occasionally drop from enemies and getting hit even once will knock down the gun’s level, so they tend to not stick around for very long. Otherwise, this is a remarkably polished and, relatively speaking, lengthy contest entry as the only updates post-contest as of this time have been bug fixes, few balance issues, and some very minor content updates.