Category Archives: Indie game of the week

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Indie Game of The Week: Legends of Yore

All that talk of Diablo III earlier in the week has made us reminisce about the good old days of the dungeon crawler RPG, before fancy graphics and big budgets. This has brought us to an indie game that should be firmly in the heart of anyone who has a soft spot for collecting treasure and levelling up. Legends of Yore is a top-down RPG, with the graphical styling and controls of a game made for the original NES console.

Choosing one of three character types (archer, warrior or wizard), players make their way in the world, interacting with NPCs and completing quests for gold coins and experience points. With enough experience points you get to level up and gain new skills, as well as buy new weapons and armour when you get enough gold. The quests generally consist of exploring dungeons and killing enough of a certain monster, rescuing someone, or defeating a boss.

While this may sound fairly run of the mill, the game is very addictive, and there are a number of things to keep you coming back to it. The developer has split the game world up into continents, which you can only cross when you have enough money and experience. Players can also get their hands on a number of different pets, starting out with a chicken or monkey, which can help out by attacking enemies, and which can also be levelled up. It’s these little touches which make the game something you’ll want to come back to.

To make things even more addictive, the game can literally be played anywhere. As well as a standalone PC download, it is available through a browser and for the iPhone and Android platforms. All your progress is stored on a central server, so you can play at home, and then carry on playing during your daily commute. Just don’t blame us if you wonder where your day has gone!

The Binding of Isaac

Indie Game of the Week: The Binding of Isaac

If you paid attention in religious education classes in school, you might be slightly surprised at the name of this week’s indie game, whose plot is inspired by a story in the bible where Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. One of the recurring themes with indie games (and one of the reasons we love them!) is that the plot and premise is often not the standard aliens in space/war/racing idea that you get in many mainstream games. Whether its drunken wizards or a love story puzzle game, it’s hard to imagine a movie based on these games.

The Binding of Isaac (the game) follows the character Isaac as he tries to avoid being sacrificed. Fleeing to his basement, the game revolves around Isaac fighting off the numerous monsters that inhabit his basement. Playing like an old-school top down dungeon crawler, each stage features a boss, numerous enemies and the chance to buy power ups and new weapons. The game feature randomly generated levels, items and bosses, greatly increasing the game’s longevity. It also includes unlockable player characters, as well as multiple endings – not bad for a game costing less than a fiver!

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Indie Game of the Week: Drunken Wizard

Wizards are just like you and me, most like to socialise and when they do they have a dance, a sing-song and maybe even a drink or two. In fact there are some among the wizarding community, just like the non-wizarding community, that on the odd occasion can underestimate the potency of an intoxicating beverage. Now being drunk and magically endowed can be rather interesting, far from being a problem, it can be rather entertaining, as you might imagine.

Drunken Wizard is an excellent indie game (it took 1st place in the Build & Win Construct 2 Contest) that begins to explore some of the scenarios an inebriated wizard might encounter. One of the main issues is how to get some distance between yourself and an angry girlfriend, that just needs some time and space to cool off a little. The game itself is a short play through but there are a couple of different routes you can take to completion. Your main attack will be to shoot fireballs but there is also a staff that can be picked up to use as a secondary weapon.  Power-ups will appear when you kill enemies that help add extra burn to those fireballs.  All in all, it’s a game well worth your attention and a concept that has a wealth of potential.

If you’d like to give a go, click here. And if you’d just like to take a look, check out the video below.

For more information on Drunken Wizard and more indie games, visit Indie Games the weblog.

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Indie Game of the Week: Traitor

The browser-based Indie title Traitor applies an interesting concept and because it was on TV recently, the whole thing kind of reminds me of that seen in Avatar, when Michelle Rodriguez’s character Trudy, is sat in the cockpit of her aircraft while the military forces fire incendiary weapons at the tree that is home to the native humanoids the Na’vi. She says something like “I didn’t sign up for this!” and decides to fly off and subsequently becomes a traitor joining the Na’vi in their fight to save their home.

In Traitor, it’s your turn to fight and make decision of your own, which may well contradict the orders of your superiors’. It’s a very intriguing concept as it’s not often applied to a title of this genre or even of this scale. On the face of it, Traitor is just a normal Space Shoot ‘Em Up, which doesn’t have particularly lavish graphics or even a furious pace of gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, it does have power-up, upgrades and targets to shoot at and destroy but this isn’t a bullet-hell in the mould that you may be used to.  This really is not a bad thing, and I urge you to give title a go as you may find the narrative to be quite compelling, so much so that a couple of hours may pass before your realise how much time you’ve spent playing this game.

If you’d like to give it a go yourself, then you can have a play here. When you do, please let me know what you thought.

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Indie Game of the Week: Gateways

A free trial version is commonplace for most forthcoming Indie titles but this is nothing to be scoffed at, as it’s a great opportunity to get to grips with a innovative title from its humble beginnings, and maybe one day it’ll turn out to be something as big as Minecraft.

This week, we’re taking a quick look at a title from Smudged Cat Games called Gateways, an 2D platform game that has strong puzzle gameplay elements.  Extending on the simple and elegant gameplay of Portal, Gateways also equips the main protagonist with a tool that  allows the character to pass through walls, floors and ceilings, passing through one gateway and emerging through the other.  The extension is that the gateways have different effects meaning that the player will either shrink, grow, manipulate gravity or even create a clone.

Other tools are also present within the game that can help access deeper areas of the map and unlock tougher puzzles. The game even has an able ‘help system’ to ensure you’re not stuck in a tough situation for any longer than you choose to be.

Needless to say, that given this is a free trial, it is more than worthwhile downloading and giving a thorough play through. If you like portal at all or would like to try a new take on the 2D puzzle-platformer this will be entertaining. Have a look at the video below and then give it a go. When you have had a play, let me know what you thought of it.

Mario Portal

Indie Game of the Week: Mari0

Ever wished a wish that seemed so implausible that even mentioning it to your closest confident was too risky, as it would likely result in prolonged mockery at your expense?

As a kid, I once considered who was better out of Mario and Sonic. Nowadays kids are quite spoilt and you have irritating crossovers where Mario and Sonic compete in Olympic events. Answer me this, how is that tubby plumber ever realistically supposed to keep up in a sprint against a blue hedgehog who can run so fast that his name is typically used before boom or after super? I could continue my rant, but that would be unbecoming, so let’s focus on the positive.

Occasionally an indie developer will happen across an idea so beautiful and seemingly simple that they are captivated by the concept and are forced to bring it through to fruition. This has been the case in the creation of Mari0, which put in the most simple terms is the answer to the question of, what would happen if, in Super Mario Bros. Mario was able to use a Portal gun?

And this is a true answer, as the developer Stabyourself has completed a full recreation of the Original Super Mario Bros., and equipped the Nintendo veteran with an Aperture Science Handheld portal device.  The game also features a four-player co-op, a level editor, 33 different Mario hats, Minecraft style toolbar and a bunch of other tweaks, edits, adjustments and modifications.  If the thought of this alone hasn’t whetted your appetite then this video will, because it shows how a classic can be re-awesomed by tenderly shoving some modern in its face.

This game is free to download but there are still a few teething problems so be patient and check the forum for solutions to known problems, if this does run smoothly, it’ll be pure joy.

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Indie Game of the Week: AirMech

We’ve covered a number of top tier, processor hungry games that have a multitude of options to mod, customise or play online in multiplayer format.  But we also like to cover smaller titles from independent developers or games that don’t require a lot from your system.

Today we have come across what can be called the spiritual successor to Herzog Zwei, a 1989 Sega Mega Drive time that is credited by some as being a precursor, to some of the contemporary real-time strategy games around.  The key difference with Herzog Zwei, is that rather that giving you the typical top-down view, it gave you direct control over a mech.  From this, you took control by issuing orders, transporting units and fighting directly.  This style of gameplay has been bundled up into this new title.

AirMech is great as somehow, developers ChimneySwift 11, have managed to package up what you might expect to have in a download only game, into something that can be played within the Google Chrome browser.  I should be less surprised by this feat, as there are already games like Angry Birds, Cordy and even Bastion available to play in the Google Chrome store.  Nonetheless, this is a great achievement and is another channel for indie developers to get their content out to as many people as possible.

The route that has been taken for AirMech is a little different.  An official forum thread has been set up, and the guys have asked that you leave a comment with a few details on the thread and they will then give you access on a first come first served basis.  These steps have been taken to ensure that the guys testing the alpha, are genuinely keen to give it a thorough going over.  And if you’re into RTS Games, you should be keen, as this is shaping up to be a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Give it a go, and be sure to let me know what you think.

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Indie Game of the Week: Culmination

It has been awhile since we looked at an in-browser game for Indie Game of the Week.  I guess some might argue that they don’t, strictly speaking, fall into the ‘indie’ bracket but I think for all but a few intents and purposes, these titled are best served in this section of the blog.

So it is with great pleasure that I present to you, ‘Culmination: Armed with Wings’, an understated but beautifully conceived title.  Even from the title screen, you get a sense of what is to come in terms of the movement of the characters and the influences that have been drawn upon in creating this game.  The references from the east of Asia, point towards modern Samurai manga animes that feature swordsmen with mythical powers at their disposal.

Developed by Sun-Studios.net, Culmination starts off by giving you the option of playing in black and white or colour.  The colour option (not suitable for low-end computers) isn’t an indulgent cornucopia of colour, instead the developers have stayed true to the moody feel which runs throughout the title, by employing soft hues which create a complimentary backdrop to the silhouetted character you see running across the terrain, sword in hand.

Once you select play, the narrative begins, “…I will slay you, Vandheer Lorde!!!” turns out that the antagonist, this Vandheer Lorde character, is rather arrogant and condensing.  All the more reason to want to slay him, I say.  He says something along the lines of “Do you think you can catch me with YOUR speed? Do you think you can catch me with YOUR power?!” well you know what buddy? Yeah, I reckon I can!

The keyboard controls, are what you’d expect them to be.  This makes the game intuitive and the reaction is pretty quick.  Everything about it is smooth and fluid.  The combo count that flashes on screen is a contemporary touch that I liked, but you can switch this off if you’d prefer.  I quite enjoyed, catching the attacking monsters in mid-air with well timed sword slashes to increase the hit count.

When you break it down, the gameplay is the result of a tried and tested formula.  That’s not a bad thing, what makes this game worthy of your time and attention, is that it is all delivered in such a stylish way.  This isn’t a big budget title and it doesn’t need to be.  This is further proof that, accessible, engaging games, can be provided at no cost to me and you.  And isn’t that what we all want?

You can play Culmination: Armed with Wings here, and if you find a better way to pass the time spent in the office until Christmas, then please let me know in the comments.

Gunpoint FI

Indie Game of the Week: Gunpoint

I struggle not to start most of the posts in this series, with some sort of statement on how Indie Game developers form the nucleus of creativity in gaming and how their freedom from the constraints of big studios expectations means that they can push innovative gameplay.

This time around, I’m going to skip all that ( :-p), and get straight to what is shaping up to be a truly challenging and rewarding indie game title. What I will say is that, like a lot of Indie developers Tom has taken a great deal of time to engage his prospective audience, by creating a solid blog and regularly updating his YouTube page with the progress of his game development. That he provides so much commentary is very endearing and he even asks how much he should charge for this title, if at all.

Gunpoint is still in the works but from the trailer you’ll get a pretty solid idea of how the final product will look and play.

I’m going to attempt to give a written explanation of the distinct game mechanics but I’ll keep it brief because the video does a better job than any number of words. Essentially it is a puzzle game mixed with a bit of espionage and a dash of shooting. That may not sound amazing in itself but just take a look.

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Indie Game of the Week: Stealth Bastard

 There are some fantastic indie games out there and try as I might, I know I miss a bunch of thoroughly entertaining titles.  That knowledge is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night, the thought that I’m missing out, disturbs me even in my sleep.   And as well as that, these hard working indie game developers are the unsung heroes of the games industry, tirelessly pushing for innovation and creativity.  You’ll often read an interview, where the main reason an indie developer works on a title is because they want to make a game that they themselves would want to play.  That’s it, that’s the sole driver, which means that what they produce is the result of a love of their art form and a gift ti the end user.

Today I am pleased to shine a spotlight on Stealth Bastard.  First, let me start off by saying, it is FREE.  That’s my favourite price.  But more importantly than even the price is the gameplay.  The basic premise of Stealth Bastard is to avoid death by detection.  If you’re caught, then you’ll be killed in a grotesque manner.  So what is it that will relieve you of your life?  Spikes are the more rudimentary culprit along with sharp jagged edges, which rotate at speed.  Security robots don’t like you and they are armed with high powered lasers.  These lasers will split your left from your right, your top from your bottom and leave it all scatter about the room.  And then there is a full complement of traps that will crush you until you burst into chunky bits of inanimate flesh and bone.

You’re one friend as you attempt to escape these death rooms?  The shadows, from within the shadows, you are safe.  The biggest oversight in the series of impressively protected rooms are that none of the robot or security cameras are equipped with low-light sensors.  I bet the guy in charge of security is kicking himself for leaving that one out.  I mean, who goes through all the trouble and expensive of installing kill robots armed with lasers and then doesn’t consider what happens when the lights are switched off?

Playing through the levels that are preset, is great fun.  But this game extends its shelf-life by allowing you to create and edit your own level designs and then upload them so that other can best themselves against your maniacal constructions.  The global leaderboards means that you’ll see how you rank against other players and may mock you achievements or embolden you to achieve more.

This is a top game, that at the very least deserve your acknowledgement.  Take 15 minutes out of your day to give it a try.  And let’s all hope that there will continue to be more games of this quality.  The video below is the official trailer for the game.