1imel0ver1.jpgAcclaimed Italian indie Ivan Zanotti (I'm Scared, Nothing Else) took a stab at making a game for the Ludum Dare 27 jam, but decided to work an extra day on it instead of submitting a game that he felt wasn't up to snuff. 1ime L0ver is the exciting result. It's a short, timed platformer that boasts a couple of interesting mechanics in addition to its exceptionally good level design and lightheartedly spooky atmosphere.

To rescue your one true love, you have to pass a series of challenges, each in 10 seconds or less. This requires fast running and precise jumping, as well as astute planning. Before each trial begins, the game enters "Ghost Interface" and allows you to scope out the level with a spectral projection of yourself. When you've formulated a plan of attack, rejoin your body and go to work.

Besides running and jumping, you'll need to grab and use objects like keys and screwdrivers. The goal of some levels is to reach the exit, but others have you defusing a series of bombs by tapping the spacebar repeatedly. When you get to the boss, the rules change a bit and you have to employ knowledge you've obtained earlier in order to beat him and proceed to the twist ending.

The design of each level is amazingly tight and well-tuned. On nearly every level after the first, I completed the challenge almost exactly as the clock struck zero. Beating the game could conceivably take you 5 minutes or forever, depending on your platforming and planning skills.

The story is silly and romantic with a touch of eeriness and a dash of darkness. The charming character sprites and the spare, slightly sinister music fit the mood well.

Ivan Zanotti is currently working on a couple of larger projects that I'm excited about, but I'd also be quite happy if he released some more small games that are as innovative and fun as this one in the meantime. 1ime L0ver is a free download for Windows.