Tag Archives: Indie

legend of yore fi

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!

Armed-with-Wings-Culmination-logo

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.

stealth-bastard1

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.

TOKYO GAME SHOW 2011

Sense of Wonder Night 2011 Presenters Announced for the Tokyo Game show 2011

Hi there guys, following all the interest in Indie games on this blog, we have found a good piece of news that you may find interesting.  The Organisers over at the “Sense of Wonder Night 2011” event have announced ten titles that will be presented on the show floor at the incredible Tokyo Game Show later this month, on 16th September from 17:30-20:00.
Tokyo game show 2011
Tokyo game show 2011

SOWN is an annual event that aims to discover fresh and unconventional game concepts that “catch people by surprise and give them a sense of wonder, a sense that something will change in their world, right at the instant of seeing or hearing the concept.” The selected presenters for the event are as follows, you can also check out the videos for these games by clicking the links.

Presenters:
Eufloria (PSN) – Rudolf Kremers
I’m Gonna Be God of the Forest – Isao
Inside a Star-filled Sky – Jason Rohrer
KuraKuraMaze – Yoshimi Kurihara
Leedmees – Orihara Nagayo
Q.U.B.E. – Daniel Da Rocha
Reflow – Frederik Maucksch and Matthias Wolff
Solstice – Jordan Hemenway
Spruzel – Sprouts Colin Northway
Taplib – Yanagihara Takayuki

SOWN’s presentations are based on the standard type of workshop format, allowing each developer to take to the stage, demonstrate and explain the project, and answer questions for roughly around ten minutes. The developers of the chosen games will be asked to demonstrate their games on the show floor, with Japanese-English and English-Japanese translations available.

The Tokyo Game Show itself will occur September 15-18, as the annual expo aims to become “The World’s Largest Event.” The Tokyo Game Show will also have Cosplay Collection Night, which features a cosplay fashion show by Japan’s largest cosplay community Cure, and a dance party.

Io spacefarer clay gun

Indie Game of the Week: Level building, level editing, level destruction in Io

One of the cool things about Minecraft is that you can create a custom environment built from the game’s terrain. These painstaking masterpieces are an extension of the architects interests outside of the Minecraft world.  They can become deeply involving and extremely satisfying upon completion.  One of my personal favourites is this Minecraft Starship Enterprise creation, which perhaps says a bit about my interests.

So, let’s take a look at something similar: Io.  This is a game entirely dedicated to level building and editing.  Essentially taking one kernel of gameplay mechanic, adding sufficient warmth until it explodes into a deliciously sweet creative world building concept that oozes creativity and charm. Catering to such a specific taste is perhaps something that only an indie game developer could even dare to consider, but it’s great to see it carried off so well.

In fairness to the game, it should probably be viewed as a 3D platformer.  Whilst the video below does focus on level editing, when complete, the developers at Bytegrove intend to include puzzles which are solved using the unique clay gun, a level editing tool that allows you to bend, morph and burrow through rock, dirt and lava like it’s soggy cake and you have a chainsaw.

It’s an interesting start and I’m looking forward to seeing how this game progresses.  The video below should whet your appetite enough for you to take an interest too.

If you have any suggestions for next weeks indie game, send it over for us to consider.

Magicka fi

Indie Game of the Week #2 – Magicka: perhaps one to revisit?

This is the second instalment of the weekly series Indie Game of the Week.  The first can be found here, which took a look at Bastion.

It’s safe to say that the majority of us will be into one or all of the following: Star Trek, Star Wars, Monty Python, 300 and anything to do with myth and sorcery. Anyone not accounted for in that list? Great.  So that’s a good starting point as to why you may well be interested in Magicka.   Now let’s move on to the next feature you’ll like, the gameplay mechanics.

In Magicka, rather than pressing a button or selecting what magic spell you would like to cast, as you would do in Fable or Final Fantasy, you perform an incantation through skilled movements of your fingers through magical teachings.  This is an art form commonly known as typing, but nonetheless, it does present a strong characteristic of gameplay that is not found in many different games of this genre and it fits in really well with the overall style too.

This initially can sound a little complicated but it actually becomes pretty intuitive very quickly.  Fire and the various other elements are assigned to a key.  Fire is F, Cold is R and Lightning is the A key.  Then you’re able to stack the elements up to five times to boost the resulting power output, delivering more damage to those that were foolish enough to cross you.  When you become confident and begin experimenting, you can combine your elemental attacks for even more devastating and spectacular carnage.  For example, a combination of Cold, Lightning and Arcane unleashes a beam that’s ideal for foes hemmed into a narrow corridor such as a bridge or between two high-sided hills.

Whilst this should all sound like the making of a very satisfying RPG, Magicka suffered terribly from some hideous glitches when it was first released.  Lag would quite likely be the least of your worries, as the law of physics seemed not to apply at all in some instances and if they did, they were lethal.

The all powerful creators of the Magicka world have since addressed this, made improvements and added some of the more crucial laws of thermodynamics that we frequently take for granted.  Now is a great time to give this game another chance and if you haven’t tried it already, you may find that it rewards you handsomely.

Realm of the Mad God

Indie game of the week: Realm of the Mad God

We’re all for big budget games here at Dabs.com, and like nothing better than hooking up a fully tricked out PC to run the latest highly polished FPS or processor hungry Total War installment. Yet, occasionally, a low budget indie game gets into our sub-conscious and it can take weeks before we can even think about mainstream games.  I for one have been hooked Realm of the Mad God: An MRPG, browser based game with slick combat and a huge world to explore.on Minecraft for about 6 months now, so it’s no surprise that this week’s pick for Indie Game of the Week has to be Realm of the Mad God, another beautifully pixelated adventure, but this time with wizards, Orcs, and a some frantic point and shoot gameplay.

Realm of the Mad God is a cross between RPG and multiplayer elements taken from the likes of World of Warcraft and Everquest, the graphics and character of the old Zelda games, and combat mechanics taken from the classic (and simply superb) Cannon Fodder from years gone by.  Questing through dungeons with other players is a joy, collecting new items and weapons is, as always for an RPG, a total hook, and the sheer simplicity of the combat (WASD for movement, mouse for aiming and shooting)  keeps a player exploring dungeons and fighting through hordes of enemies.  I picked up on this game earlier this week and have found myself coming back for more, so it’s definitely one to have a go at. Whilst the opening training mission is a little dull, it is mercilessly short and quickly spits you out onto a beach overlooked by a forest, ready to start your quest.

Take a look at the review by MMOHuts:

Let me know what you guys think. Next week we’ll be posting another Indie game of the week, so stay tuned. Or logged on, or whatever.

Update: Now available on Steam as a free to play title. Official site here.

 

Bastion

Bastion: A thumbs up for indie games

The joy of indie games is that they are often much less inhibited than your multi-million pound mainstream title.  This means of course, that they need not conform to widely held conventions (pushed on them by the publishers) and this freedom of movement can ultimately lead to the popular indie games becoming the source of gaming features that can, occasionally, be groundbreaking.

However, it’s rare for an indie game to build pre-launch hype. Due to their nature, they are generally under-ground, unknown titles that only become well known through their success after release, yet recently I’ve been getting worryingly excited about a new title launching soon: Bastion. It is due out on Xbox Live Arcade in the summer (which may never arrive if this rain is anything to go by) and there will be a PC release later in the year.

But even when you take a look at the trailer (below) you can see how the fresh elements that are key to this title’s character could be adopted by a number of other titles that are within the same genre, perhaps even titles outside of the genre.  Essentially, I think Bastion could be groundbreaking, and I can see it altering future titles due to its popularity.

The ongoing narration sounds great.  It makes me wonder how this style would fare in sports titles or first person shooters as well as your more traditional RPG.  Also, the artwork is beautiful, especially as it all looks as though it could be hand drawn.  When I was a kid, I used to spend hours drawing pictures from computer game magazines, so I love to see games with that slightly hand drawn (yet crisp) style. Even the way in which the Bastion world falls into place as you move around is well done and contributes to the overall atmosphere, definitely something that I’d like to see more of.

I hope Bastion and other indie titles continue to get noticed by gamers and reap the rewards they deserve for their originality and depth of gameplay.  Too often these days games rely on visuals and a tried and tested tired and tested formula that is rehashed over and over again. Bastion is, hopefully, showing us that their are other options out there.