When they planted Leaf Me Alone in the Ludum Dare 26 game jam, Mark Foster and David Fenn probably didn’t expect to grow their minimalist game (that jam’s theme) into a sprawling epic. But they watered this idea seed with, um, brain fertilizer? Look, we’re out of floral metaphors, so just read this interview the creators of one of the most fantastic, addicting games ever, only on AddictingGames.com!
Mark Foster: Game Designer, Cake Lover
David Fenn: Composer, Also a Cake Lover
What inspired you to develop Leaf Me Alone?
David: I think we just made what we most wanted to make for the most part, so I’d say the main inspirations were all the games that had brought us the most joy over the years. We naturally focussed on drawing inspiration from where our influences in games overlap, such as Zelda, Fez, Sonic and even a little bit of Journey.
Mark: The wind leaf in Zelda Wind Waker was my main point of inspiration.
What was your process for creating the soundtrack?
David: I like to prioritize establishing a mood through use of melody, and I came up with most of the main tunes for the game very early on, which had an impact on the feel of the game as a whole. Then, as we began to expand the story and world, I further developed the musical material to create a subtle emotional arc. You’ll hear a lot of recurring themes, which are adapted musically to match the atmosphere of each section of the game. You play as a small seed from birth though their lifetime. Most of the inhabitants have left the area after certain events happened, which drove them from their home. Exploring the world you encounter several remaining inhabitants including a mysterious masked character — perhaps they hold some clue to what happened to the others?
What was your favorite part of the game design and creation process?
Mark: Designing the world was a lot of fun and then my favorite part was packing it full of secrets and Easter eggs!
David: I think with this game it would have to be the little touches we added. Leaf Me Alone really gave us an opportunity to focus on the environment, so there are lots of details, especially in terms of art and audio, which really enhance the game and were super-fun to try out. I would list examples but it’s more fun to explore and find out for yourself!
Any games you’re playing right now?
David: I’m currently replaying Final Fantasy IX for the seventh or eighth time while waiting for my PS4!
Mark: I’m currently addicted to Vlambeer’s Nuclear Throne, and I also always seem to end up playing Spelunky most days.
This game started as a small entry in Ludum Dare 26, which had a minimalist theme. How was developing a full game different from the mini-version for the game jam?
David: Ludum Dare is all about fun, being super-inspired and getting loads of stuff done. For me, the rest of the process was slower and more focused, as a lot of the time was spent polishing and refining material rather than jamming out every idea that came into my head! But the end results are even more rewarding.
Mark: We mainly wanted to expand the story of the world into a fuller thing, and really wanted to make the game deeper by adding a lot of hidden secrets around the place. It was over a longer period of time compared to the jam (one month on this version and three days on the original jam), so we had a lot longer to polish everything and make it all more immersive and interesting, with more areas to explore and powers to acquire.
David: I’m going to continue doing what I love, working on games and making soundtracks!
Mark: I’m currently working on a game called CHROMA, which I’m hoping to release next year.
What do you listen to when you’re working on a game?
Mark: I enjoy the Leaf Me Alone soundtrack and sometimes would listen to it while making the game! Aside from that I tend to listen to faster-paced energetic music to “get into the zone” while programming or doing art.
What’s your favorite kind of leaf?
David: Big ones you can glide with or I’m not interested!
Mark: Probably a leaf from a chestnut tree, reminds me of collecting conkers when I was young!
Cake or pie?
Movember Fill in the Blank: If I could be any type of moustache, I would be __________.
David: One that is actually just a part of a big beard.
Mark: An evil villian mustache with twirled ends that I could stroke while I laugh manically.
The Ludum Dare minimalist adventure RPG you know and love is back and bigger than ever, and it’s only on AddictingGames.com. In Leaf Me Alone, you’ll explore four seasons of a mystical world, solving ethereal enigmas or simply leaping around the leafy labyrinth. But don’t keep the Squirrel King waiting. He’s getting hungry and you don’t get between a squirrel and his nut.
2. The controls are written on the wall behind you – press left or
right to move your character and Z to jump. You’ll need to use these buttons to break free from your vine!
3. It’s time to explore the world. Start by having a wander around, having some fun and seeing what you come across.
4. Perhaps some new abilities will help you progress with your adventure? You can use the jump button (Z) to reach higher surfaces. Walk right from the starting position and jump up the bushes and hills until you come to a big tree on the other side of a wooden bridge. Climb the branches and leaves of the tree to find the first leaf power-up!
5. You can now glide using your leaf by holding down the jump button again when you are in the air. It feels good, try it!
6. One of the new areas the leaf power allows you to reach is the upper door of the tree on the left side of the starting map. See if you can find it by gliding from a high vantage point.
7. After you reach the upper door, press the up arrow key to enter it.
AREA 2: TREE LEVEL
1. You are now in the tree area. Use your jumping and gliding skills to ascend up the tree until you reach the spinning flower. If you hold glide while above the flower, you’ll be propelled upward.
2. Use this ability to reach the button to the left of your current position. This will open a locked passageway allowing you to progress.
3. That was easy, but you might need items to progress further. Try picking up and throwing the nut you come across near the next spinning flower by pressing X. Pressing X while holding a nut will throw it directly in front of you until it hits a wall. Try jumping and throwing to get it where you want it to go.
4. To unlock the next door you’ll need to throw the nut to a button you can’t reach. After you’ve done that, bring the nut with you as you progress further.
5. The next door has two buttons. Try throwing the nut to the far wall and standing on the other button. Voila! Now you have nut number 2.
6. The next section has three buttons that must be pressed. Throw nuts onto two, and stand on the 3rd.
7. In the next section, you’ll have access to a total of three nuts. Work out which buttons you can hit with the nuts and then stand on the final button yourself. (Hint: You need to stand on the third button yourself. Try using a wall to make a nut land on the first one.)
8. Now you have access to the Squirrel King. Walk past him while carrying a nut to pay him your offering. He seems hungry, wonder what will happen if he eats all three?
AREA 3: SKY LEVEL
1. You’re truly adventuring into the outside world now! Be careful though, as this area is dangerous. You must navigate through its flying islands while watching out for the strong wind, which will carry you with it if you try to glide.
2. It’s a bad idea to work against the wind, so try going to the left. This will bring you to a button that allows you to change the wind’s direction.
3. You can make it a lot further to the right now. Another button is at the far right side of the area. Time to change the wind again!
4. Now journey back to the left. This time, try climbing up the platforms near the spinning flower to reach higher ground. If you can get high enough, you’ll be able to glide with the wind to reach another button toward the left of the area – Yep, press this one, too!
5. Now climb up as many platforms as you can and glide to the right again. You’ll seen reach even higher ground with another wind button. Activate this one and climb the platforms to its right before gliding to the upper middle of the area, where you’ll find a strange contraption.
6. This is a giant cage which has imprisoned your next power-up, the cloud. Beneath it are two buttons. The one on the left unlocks the doors and lets the cloud free, but you’ll need to use the yellow button to change the wind direction until the cloud reaches the top of the cage.
7. With the wind set so it’s blowing to the left, carefully walk to the right along and up the platforms so you can reach the spinning flower resting on the right side of the cage.
8. Float up the spinning flower’s wind stream so you can gain access to the cage. If you’ve directed the wind correctly, you should now be able to reach the cloud power-up. If not, try the yellow wind button.
9. Press “C” to summon the cloud. If you use it where there is a water droplet symbol engraved on the wall, the green plant will grow into a vine you can climb by jumping up its various surfaces.
10. You can now leave the sky area. Make your way back the way you came
in, which is left and down from your current position.
AREA 4: MOUNTAIN LEVEL
1. Now that you have the cloud power-up, you can grow more vines throughout the world. At the far right hand side of the home map, there is one which will allow you to access a hidden door.
2. As indicated by the symbol, this can also be activated with rain. Make your way through the passage to reach the mountain area.
3. Jump up to the surface above the entrance, and glide over to another vine to cast rain upon. You can’t reach it yet, so continue onward to the far right side of the mountain area.
4. From here, you should be able to get high enough to walk back to the left and climb across the vine you just grew, and continue to ascend. You might have noticed that you’re walking on more than just a mountain …
5. Climb up the colossus’ broken right arm and onto its ribcage. From the highest position, glide to the left to reach its other ribs, which you can climb up to get to its shoulders.
6. Get to the top of the dying tree on the right shoulder. Hear you’ll find a new leaf power, the dash, which can be used by pressing “X.”
7. The dash power is useful for propelling yourself forwards, but it also releases a gust of wind behind you. Try positioning yourself near the spindle and using the dash power so that the wind activates it. When the spindle is fully turned, the giant’s head will be revealed.
8. Activate the large door using the cloud power, and press up to enter the next area.
AREA 5: INSIDE THE COLOSSUS
1. Activate the first spindle. This moves a rock platform, granting you access to the area.
2. Walk into the room on the right side. There is another spindle here that will help you later. Float up the wind stream of the spinning flower, then use your dash power when you are in line with the lower half of the spindle to get the wind to activate it.
3. Move to the left side and continue downward until you reach the ribs again, this time on the inside. From the uppermost platform, glide as far as you can to the right. You’ll need to perform some dashes along the way to ensure you reach the other set of ribs.
4. At the top of the right set of ribs, you have access to another spindle which will grant you access deeper into the area. Jump and dash away, so the wind hits the lower half of the spindle and repeat until it’s fully turned.
5. Continue onward toward the lower left of the area and open up the next area by activating another spindle.
6. Raise the platform with the spinning flower to it’s highest position, then climb back around the platforms at the right so you can glide onto the spinning flower. Dash at the top of its wind stream to reach the next ledge.
7. Proceed to the left until you reach a vine that needs watering. Use your cloud power and ascend!
8. You’ll need to move each of the following platforms inwards, so the spinning flowers wind streams are as close together as possible.
9. After you’ve done that, float up the wind streams from the first flower as smoothly as you can. If you gain enough momentum, you’ll be able to get high enough to dash to the next ledge.
10. Proceed up the next vertical passageway using the spinning flowers here. You’ll seen reach a door. Time to leave!
AREA 6: GRAVEYARD + END
1. You are now back in the mountain, however your current position allows you access to a new area. Drop down to the vine that is visible from your position, and cast rain on it to grow it out. The fully grown vine allows you to reach a higher door, which will lead you to the graveyard.
2. Glide and dash to the steps at the right hand side, then climb up and glide over to the top of the door way. A couple more jumps to the left will bring you to a spinning flower, enabling you to get even higher.
3. Glide all the way to the right. You’ll need to dash to reach the lower of the middle platforms. Now, you can reach another spinning flower on the right, from which you can glide to the mysterious mask object in the middle.
4. Collect the mask and return to the home area. If you’ve noticed the other masked figure who seems to also be inhabiting this world, it’s time to confront them.
5. Enter the lower (ground level) door at the far left of the home area. Climb up this through this room and use your glide to get past the gap where the platform is broken.
6. Proceed through the next area. Now you’ll need to use your cloud power to water a vine to be able to reach the next passage.
7. It’s impossible to proceed through the next passage without the dash power. Copy how the mysterious figure jumps and dashes so that you can catch up to them!
8. It’s now time for the final confrontation and the end of the game.
9. After the credits, you arrive back at the start of the game. You might notice the appearance of a new power-up, the seed. You can now press down to lay a spinning flower wherever you wish. There are many more secrets in this world, so feel free to continue your journey!