Home Row is a jam game, made for Extra Credits Game Jam #3, where the theme was "cycles". This theme is expressed in both the input and the gameplay.

  • The boat moves by pressing the A-S-D-F-J-K-L-; keys, and you get the best results when you sort-of roll through them, cycling the rowers' paddles.
  • The gameplay involves the classic idea of video games cycles: the obstacles move and become temporarily passable with some regular periodicity.

The goal of the game is to row your way home, through the gauntlet of obstacles in the lowest time you can manage! Each oar is controlled with one key, one of A-S-D-F-J-K-L-; (the home row on a QWERTY keyboard).

Rowing is definitely not a simple means of movement, so if you are having trouble getting moving, press V. This turns on vector drawing. The vectors correspond to the force from each oar's row--hopefully this will help you come up with the rhythm(s) you need to make it home! (Pressing V again will turn off this feature.)


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

home-row-win.zip 3 MB
home-row-linux.zip 4 MB
home-row-mac.zip 5 MB

Development log


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I've made it in about 2:30. Speed run community forming already?


Awesome time! Hey I'd be well pleased to have made a speed game!

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Really cool game! Took me a while to get the rhythm going, but after I got it things went smoothly. My record on reaching home is 5 minutes, I guess it is an ok time? hahaha
What is your's?
Also, I loved the vectors feature, really nice touch!


Hey, thanks for playing! I'm glad you enjoyed it! As far as times, anywhere between 3 and 9 minutes seems to be pretty common, so yeah nice job! My best was probably a bit lucky, around 2 minutes 20 seconds. I'm pretty sure sub 2 is possible, but requires some really clever input near the end. 

I'm happy to know the vectors were useful, too! I added them as a debug feature while I was modeling the rowing forces to make sure I was getting the right result. I figured if I needed help making it, it might not be bad to give the help to those playing. It was super easy since I already had the math done and GMS2 already has a draw_arrow(...) function--don't know if I would have done proper arrows without it, haha!

Got sub 2: 1:21 - It takes very clever use of the whirlpools, and I threaded the ending just right from the last whirlpool. Feels a little RNG, but some patience can make it work.

Wow! Nice job! And thanks for sticking with it that long! If I give the game any more dev time, I'll probably break it out into levels that introduce the mechanics--and definitely tone down the whirlpool chains.


Actually, if you angle your entry just to the left of the whirlpool center while rowing in a bee-line fashion, the way the whirlpools work makes it fairly easy to use as a speedboost.

Cool! That's another way I could take it I guess--provide more info to the player about how the forces are working.