Sort the Court is free simulation game made in 3 days for Ludum Dare #34. Ludum Dare #34 (referred as LD#34 hereafter) took place on December 11th-14th, 2015. The theme(s) for LD #34 was two button controls and/or growing. Since there was two themes, developers were allowed to pick either one or even incorporates both themes if they chose too.
For those who do not know what Ludum Dare is, it is a game jam where people all over the world have the weekend to create a game, based on the chosen theme(s) voted by the community. Ludum dare events take place every year on April, August and December.
Sort the Court was created by Graebor (coding), Amy Gerardy (art) and Bogdan Rybak (music). The game is a simulator where you play the king who has to make hard decisions to grow the kingdom back to its former glory. You make these decisions by simply saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ which brings back to the theme of two button controls, while growing the kingdom ties into the growing theme.
Each of your decisions as king will have consequences, some are immediate and others appearing further down the road (or is that days…or years?). Some of your decisions will range from helping your grandmother set up a soup kitchen, sending your brave knight to find riches to possibly gambling away some souls of your people for extra cash.
Speaking of cash, in Sort the Court, you have a few things to keep an eye on which are: money, population’s happiness and population. You will need to keep these things in balance and will be harder to try balance as you get further along in the game.
Currently as far I know, the game ‘ends’ or well, you win when your population hits 250 but you can continue on forever. When I played, I went well past day 100 and had grown the once poor kingdom into a bustling city and decent happiness level. The money fluctuated quite wildly during my reign at times, and I admit I might have….sacrificed….a few citizens for money. For a good cause I swear! Update: the game does not end at a population of 250 like it did originally, the game ‘officially’ ends when you get your king inducted into the council of crowns. From there, you can keep playing to close up any loose ends if you wish too.
I think my biggest annoyance in the game so far was the ghosts. Dastardly ghosts!! Why ghosts got to ruin the good vibes? Not to mention, why do they need such a ridiculously high tribute?! Darn the witch for not coming to tell me when I needed to give the tribute on time till they were heavily haunting my people. *grumbles*
When I first played this some time back, there was no save feature from memory and no way to mute the music. Playing Sort the Court a few days back, there is now indeed a mute and save feature which is great. For me, since I like playing Sort the Court as a time waster while watching a movie/YouTube. So the mute feature was fantastic for me since the music gets irritating after a while. While the save feature is a bonus as you can now save your progress and pick it back up.
In short, Sort the Court is a delightful simulation game with cute art and music. The game brought the two themes for LD#34 and got it working well together. Some of the populace’s requests might feel a bit repetitive at times. Or frustrating as you struggle to get past the ghost hauntings as you are unable to do anything, till the elusive witch appears again. The biggest aspect that I enjoyed is how you do not always see the consequences of your decisions till further down the days. That, and seeing the gold pile growing to obscenely comical amounts around your throne.