April 26, 2012 3:00 PM | John Polson
Cute, exploding pixels, quick bursts of puzzles and a catchy piano loop occupy Jonathan Whiting's Ludum Dare 23 entry Niña Nueve. Whiting was in the top 10 for LD22 with Craequ, and he has a solid entry this compo, as well.
Whiting describes it as a "bit like a Zelda game trapped in a 9x9 box." The puzzler retains the classic Zelda, top-down view, and its goal is to choose or otherwise arrive at the correct arrow to advance to the next box-stage. Some choices will lead to inevitable death, but everything happens generally quickly, aside from baiting the pink blobs. Players later control a ball that can hit sensors and enemies.
As seen in Craequ and other Whiting titles, his games have a simple but effective palette selection. A user asked Whiting about his palette process, to which he replied, "I guess I pick palettes mostly by instinct. If anything the important bit is I pick my palette outright before I start pixelling, and force myself to stick to it."
The most interesting mechanic for me involved dying and respawning on the previous stage. Those curious can discover for themselves in Niña Nueve.