Don't judge a public domain novel by its cover.
I must admit, when I first saw Paper Jekyll, I expected it to be a generic platformer re-skinned with Jekyll & Hyde characters. Was I ever wrong. The game starts out like any other platformer, with my Jekyll character walking right. Right, right, right. Only until I hit an obstacle, do I go left, flip around, and bam -- I'm Hyde.
That was the coolest reveal of a game mechanic I've seen in a long time.
You can only walk right as Jekyll, and only walk left as Hyde. Cops will only arrest you if they see Hyde, and thugs will only mug you if they see Jekyll. Also, Hyde kills people. It's such a clever combination of platforming + stealth + combat. Elegant. I'm immediately reminded of Osmos, whose simple mechanic combines movement + attacking + a life bar.
Both games have simple mechanics, but so much depth.
Paper Jekyll is short, but it explores the core mechanic quite a bit, and it's obvious it can do so much more! As a game designer myself, I can't help but think of all the possibilities. Maybe new mechanics like slippery floors, (so you can slide left but keep facing right as Jekyll) or items you can also "flip" around. (Jekyll's carrying a health-kit, turn left, Hyde's carrying a bomb)
That's why I'm happy to finally announce...
Paper Jekyll will be getting the $1,000 award for being the best public domain (CC Zero) game in the #PDJam!
No strings attached, they can do whatever they want with the prize. But I'm hoping they'll use the prize to expand on the core mechanic of Paper Jekyll, and build a fully-fleshed-out public domain game! It's possible. My own game, Nothing To Hide, is entirely public domain. Despite that, or because of that, it's gotten loads of press and raised $40K+ in a recent crowdfunding campaign. Together, we can keep the public domain alive! And make some cool games along the way.
We've got to keep going forward.
If we turn back, we'll turn into a horrible monster.