The Keymaster is a game by Adrien Dittrick made for the 2019 Gamemaker Tool Kit game jam. This game jam had the theme of “only one”. The Keymaster explores this idea by having the player explore a vast dungeon with many locks, but those locks are all opened with a single key. To exit a room, you must unlock a lock, so the player must keep the key with them if they are to move between rooms.
The game starts out in a room with the key and several locks. You get taught how to move, how to carry the key, how to tilt the key and, of course, you get shown that the key unlocks the locks. You may hold the key high above your head, or tilt it so it is horizontally infront of you. The key is twice the size of the player, so holding the key trebles your hitbox size. This takes a little bit of getting used to since you need to make sure the key can fit before you move or tilt the key, which turns basic movement into a puzzle. What might be easy to navigate solo becomes much trickier with your hefty key!
The key is made out to be a very important tool throughout. When you collect an upgrade, you’ll find that it is actually the key that has been upgraded, rather than the player. There is even an variation on the background music when you are exploring the dungeon without the key.
Once you get past the tutorial room, the game opens out and you are given a map which shows the locations of several diamonds, so its time to get collecting! The whole game is based around using the key in different ways. As the key extends your hitbox, holding it horizontally means you can reach platforms you wouldn’t normally be able to. You can also place the key down and use it as a platform to reach higher areas. You just need to make sure not to leave the key behind, otherwise you won’t be able to leave the room.
The game makes it clear when there are parts of levels you should come back to with new key powerups, so you won’t ever be feeling lost. Unless, like me, you end up hopelessly stuck early on in the game before fully working out how the key tilting mechanics work (you only need the start and end positions of the key to be free from collisions, you do not need the arc of the key to be free).
Once you’ve been through the dungeon and gathered all the gems, you can go to the final area of the game. This is a more challenging area which will put your mastery of the key to the test. Once you’ve proved yourself, you’re rewarded with a very cool and well thought out ending sequence, with a lot of pieces suddenly falling into place.
It’s a short game, since it was made in only 48 hours, so it’s easy enough to beat in one sitting and it’s also playable in browser! Play the game and support the developer here: